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“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified [acquitted from guilt, put into eternal right standing with God] by his grace [unearned favor], we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.” (Titus 3:4-8)
God sends His Holy Spirit to “…convict the world of guilt in regard to sin…” (John 16:8), but God’s ultimate purpose in doing this is not to condemn us but to lead us towards forgiveness and reconciliation with him.
God is “…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
The Holy Spirit reveals our sins to us in order to point out our need for a Savior–Jesus Christ. Jesus is the One whom God specifically sent to save us from our sins. In fact, Jesus’ name actually means “the LORD saves” (Matthew 1:21). (See “John 3:16 (For God So Loved The World) Series”.)
When the Holy Spirit fully opens our eyes to how offensive our sin is to God and how much it grieves him, we know to the uttermost depths of our being that we are fully guilty and fully worthy of condemnation and punishment.
“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity…they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death…” (Romans 1:29, 32)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
BUT, the grace (undeserved and unearned favor) of God is this:
God will freely pardon us and take away ALL our condemnation and punishment forever, if we accept his terms for forgiveness! (See “Message “)
When Jesus died on the cross, he took the entire punishment (wrath of God) for ALL of our sins–past, present and future.
“There is no difference for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified [forgiven, acquitted from guilt and put into eternal right stand with God] freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement (as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away sin) through faith in his blood.” (Romans 3:22-25)
In order to be forgiven and reconciled to God, you must first repent (confess and turn away) from your sins. Secondly, you must trust in Jesus Christ to be your personal Savior. You must trust that his death on the cross personally paid the full punishment for all your sins.
When we place our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, he washes us clean of all our sins and imputes his perfect righteousness to us. As a result, there is absolutely no condemnation or wrath left for us for all eternity –Jesus took it ALL for us through his death on the cross! By taking away our sin, Jesus reconciles us to God and grants us a brand new life of peace with him.
“Therefore, since we have been justified [put into eternal right standing with God] through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace [unmerited favor] in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2).
God is extending his grace to the man in this picture. This man knows in the very depths of himself that he is not worthy of being forgiven, but nevertheless, God has lovingly forgiven him of his sins.
The man bows his head in humility, still feeling his extreme unworthiness of such a free, undeserved pardon. Jesus speaks words of comfort to him, encouraging him to fully embrace the full joy of being forgiven. Jesus wants him to rejoice in being at peace with God rather than to continue on in the memory of his shame and condemnation (which has been fully removed from him through his faith in Jesus as Savior), for God has said to him: “‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’” (Hebrews 8:12).
“Who is a God like you, who pardons sins and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:18-19)
An angel is providing the man with the clean clothes of the righteousness of Jesus and of salvation (Revelation 19:8). Another angel removes his soiled clothes, which are completely stained black with his sin.
This drawing is partially based on Zechariah 3:1-5:
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’
‘Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’
‘Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.’
‘Then I said, ‘Put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by.”