Our relationship with God is made possible by God’s forgiveness. Jesus offers us cleansing and forgiveness through his “once and forever sacrfice” for sins!
Micah, chapters 5-7; Hebrews, chapter 7
Micah 7:18-20 (NLT):
Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago.
Hebrews 7:23-27 (NLT):
There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.
God’s Pardon for Sins
Micah ends his prophecy with a message of hope. Although Israel would suffer the consequences for their sins, God would pardon their guilt. That phrase reminds us that Israel was guilty. They had abandoned God for worthless idols. They had adopted the wicked ways of their neighbors, even though God had expressly warned them against it. Now, they would experience what it is like to be without God.
But only for a while. Although the Assyrians would come and conquer Israel, God would once again have compassion on his people. Israel would recognize their sin, and would return to God. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! Sin was the problem; sin is the problem. Sin separates us from God. But Micah understood that God would offer forgiveness: Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people?
The Once and Forever Sacrifice
Micah’s prophecy dealt with the sin and guilt of God’s “special people,” the descendants of Abraham and Jacob. But God’s love and his offer of forgiveness is not limited to the Jewish people. As Jesus said in John 3:16, God loved the world – and that motivated him to send Jesus, so that whoever believes in him might have everlasting life.
The writer of Hebrews tells us how God has provided this opportunity for forgiveness. Jesus did this – the offering for sin – once and for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. As Hebrews will go on to make clear, the old sacrifices “of bulls and goats” could not truly take away sins, because they could do nothing to change people’s hearts (Hebrews 10:4). But Jesus “offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time” (Hebrews 10:12).
The Once and Forever Sacrifice
It is impossible to overstate how important this is. If it is true that Jesus offered himself as the once and forever sacrifice for sin – and Christians believe that it is true – then how could there be any other way to God? Jesus only needed to offer himself once, because his was the perfect sacrifice. The “old way” could never provide “perfect cleansing” for sin; if it could, those sacrifices would not have needed to be repeated.
In the same way, if there were some other way for people to come to God, then why would God go to the lengths of sending Jesus to offer himself for our forgiveness? This is why many Christians are so passionate about introducing others to Jesus. If what the Bible says is true, then our love for others requires us to tell people about Jesus!
That message is not always popular – but Jesus warned us that many would reject us because of him. We aren’t supposed to “make” people reject us; rather, telling the truth will lead to rejection. Many people don’t want to hear the Bible’s claims, because they want to “make their own choice.” But if the Bible is true (and I believe it is), the “choice” is really a matter of life and death! I will always be willing to face rejection rather than to refuse to share the truth.
Father, thank you for reminding us that there is no other God like you, who pardons our sins – not because of our efforts, but because of your great love for us. Thank you for the incredible gift of life that Jesus purchased for us through his once and forever sacrifice.
As Micah said, you have shown us what is good: to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with you (Micah 6:8). Help us, today and every day, to do “what is good.” Amen.