Job 30-31 Acts 13:26-52
“Brothers, understand what we are telling you: You can have forgiveness of your sins through Jesus. The law of Moses could not free you from your sins. But through Jesus everyone who believes is free from all sins.” (Acts 13:39 NCV)
I’m sure there was a discussion among the leaders of the synagogue in Pisidia Antioch. “Isaac, you’ve got to stop asking visitors if they want to say anything.” Someone had asked Paul and Barnabas if they wanted to say anything in the synagogue and Paul took them up on the offer and preached Jesus to them. He left them with the truth of salvation and the forgiveness of sins. He let them know that believing in Jesus gives freedom from all sins. And the people wanted to hear more. When the Jewish leaders saw the crowd, though, that green-eyed monster of jealousy made the leaders drive Paul and Barnabas out of the synagogue. That didn’t matter because Paul and Barnabas now had a new venue to spread the gospel and the people of the town began believing and following Jesus.
His message is pure gospel: sins are forgiven through Jesus Christ. Not only are sins forgiven, but in Jesus we’re free from all sins. Forgiveness is a basic spiritual need of all people. We need to know that things are right with God. In many religions of the world, their god is angry and, perhaps capricious. Adherents jump through hoops hoping to gain the god’s favor and to feel forgiven. Judaism had its own method to gain forgiveness from God. Paul made it clear that the forgiveness game had changed. Under God’s plan in Jesus, people no longer seek to appease an angry god, God Himself arranged for the penalty for sin to be paid and forgiveness offered to all. That’s an important message for our world today. When you think of the anger and divisiveness that permeate our world, imagine what a message that proclaims forgiveness can do. What would happen in our world if people not only felt forgiven, they were willing to forgive others because they were forgiven by God? What would happen if instead of every slight, real or perceived, igniting a firestorm of fury, social media posts, and calls to lawyers, people decided to forgive? What would happen if Christians took the lead in forgiving when people wronged us, instead of trying to find some way to gain an advantage over the other guy? We’d see a different world. We’d get a different reception. And even if we didn’t see either of those two things, we’d know that we’d been faithful to God’s call on our lives.
Lord, sometimes I want the right things to happen so badly that I don’t do the right thing and forgive when I’m wronged. Remind me in those times of how much I’ve wronged You and how much You’ve forgiven me. Help me to stop being angry and learn to be more forgiving.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved