Mankind’s Greatest Need — A.W. Pink
The first important lesson that all need to learn is that we are sinners, and as such, unfit for the presence of a Holy God. It is in vain that we select noble ideals, form good resolutions, and adopt excellent rules to live by, until the sin question has been settled. It is of no avail that we attempt to develop a beautiful character and aim to do that which will meet with God’s approval while there is sin between Him and our souls. Of what use are shoes if our feet are paralyzed? Of what use are glasses if we are blind? The question of the forgiveness of my sins is basic, fundamental, vital. It matters not that I am highly respected by a wide circle of friends if I am yet in my sins. It matters not that I have made good in business if I am an unpardoned transgressor in the sight of God. What will matter most in the hour of death is, Have my sins been put away by the Blood of Christ?
The second all-important lesson that all need to learn is how forgiveness of sins may be obtained. What is the ground on which a Holy God will forgive sins? And here it is important to remark that there is a vital difference between divine forgiveness and much of human forgiveness. As a general rule human forgiveness is a matter of leniency, often of laxity. We mean forgiveness is shown at the expense of justice and righteousness. In a human court of law, the judge has to choose between two alternatives: when the one in the dock has been proven guilty, the judge must either enforce the penalty of the law, or he must disregard the requirements of the law – the one is justice, the other is mercy. The only possible way by which the judge can both enforce the requirements of the law and yet show mercy to its offender is by a third party offering to suffer in His own person the penalty that the convicted one deserves. Thus it was in the divine counsels. God would not exercise mercy at the expense of justice. God, as the judge of all the earth, would not set aside the demands of His Holy law. Yet God would show mercy. How? Through one making full satisfaction to His outraged law. Through His own Son taking the place of all those who believe on Him and bearing their sins in His own body on the tree. God could be just and yet merciful, merciful and yet just. Thus it is that “grace reigns through righteousness“.
A righteous ground has been provided on which God can be just and yet the justifier of all who believe. Hence it is we are told, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission [forgiveness] of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47). And again, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39). It was in view of the blood He was shedding that the Saviour cried, “Father, forgive them”. It was in view of the atoning sacrifice He was offering, that it can be said “Without shedding of blood is no remission.”
- A.W. Pink (1886-1952)
taken from: The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, pp. 28,29.
• This book can also be read online, or downloaded for mobile device, at the Arthur W. Pink Archive.
• Learning to Look on No One as Beyond the Reach of Prayer — A.W. Pink