Matthew 6:12 “Forgive us our sins.”
Four simple words that sum up the entire message of The Bible. Four words that describe the mess. Four words that promise a solution. Four words that need to be asked. Four words waiting to be received. Four words that admit wrong. Four words that promise healing. It’s the message of The Bible in four simple words.
The Bible is an amazing book. Actually, it’s an amazing love letter written by God describing his heart felt desire for relationship with all mankind. When you open the pages of this love letter, you will find that God has a lot to say about his love for all of us. So much so, that it takes him 66 books, 1,189 chapters and 23,145 verses just to say it all. Yeah, it’s is one long love letter.
Yet within the entirety of this letter, you will find only four chapters that do not have mankind messing up the story with his sin. Four chapters where God and mankind are working in complete harmony and relationship as it was originally designed and intended. Four chapters that have the souls of mankind running towards God rather than away from him. Four chapters where God is not having to pursue mankind and bring him back from the brink of his own self made destruction.
These four chapters that are absent of any human sin are not hard to find. You can’t miss them. It’s not like they are hidden away somewhere secret and out of sight. They are not buried treasure only to be found somewhere in the middle of the story only by the most studious of scholars.
These four chapters that are without sin are simply the first two chapters of The Bible found in the book of Genesis and the last two chapters of The Bible found in the book Revelations. That’s it. That’s all she wrote. Anyone can find them. You do not have to be familiar with the Bible in any way to find them for yourself. Here, let me show you how easy it is.
Do this for me if you will. Pick up any Bible you have laying around your home. If you do not have one in your home from some grandparent or great grandmother, then go to the library or nearest bookstore. Maybe even if you willing to take a risk, this Sunday go to that church just down the street that you have pasted by for years with little or no notice. Ask them if they have a Bible you can borrow for while. They will be about as shocked in your asking as you will be in their willingness to comply.
Once you have a copy in your hands, then open it to the first book of Genesis page one. Don’t read it, just grab within your fingers the first two or three pages of the text. Once you have done that, now move to the back of the Bible to the book of Revelation. Now grab the last two or three pages of the text. Don’t read it, just grab them between your fingers.
Once you have done that, take a look at the two sections of pages within your fingers. See how small is the amount of written material where things are working perfectly as they should be? All the rest of the pages in between what you are currently holding . . . is a story in need of forgiveness. A story in which we as a race of people are in need of forgiveness. A story in which you as a person are in need of forgiveness.
Does it bother you when you read a statement like that? Does it make you squirm a bit to be told you have sinned and are in need of forgiveness? Well join the crowd, because the love letter of God has something to say about that as well.
Ecclesiastes 7:20, “there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.”
And why is that a problem? Well here’s the next chapter in the story.
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The short answer is this. If you have ever sinned, even once in your lifetime, you deserve eternal damnation in hell. You do not pass go. You do not collect $200. There is no heaven. That is the big problem our sin creates. But the solution to our problem is unbelievable.
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life.”
Short answer, if you believe and trust that God sent his only son, Jesus to die in your place for your sin, then you are forgiven of all your sins, down to the very smallest, and you get to spend all of eternity with God in heaven. Listen to what the love letter has to say about this amazing gift.
Romans 10:9, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Hopefully the questions that immediately pop out of your heart is, “So do I have to ask? Do I have to believe? Doesn’t God just doesn’t just forgive me automatically? What if I am basically a good person? Doesn’t that accomplish basically the same thing?”
Well fortunately for you there are still 1,185 chapters left to read within his love letter that can tell you why it doesn’t work that way. Good news is, those 1,185 chapters also go on to tell you how it does work. Or if you want the shorter version, you can take it all in with one verse found in the first book of John chapter 1 and verse 9.
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
That is a promise from God’s love letter.
But first, you have to ask.
Are you ready?
D. Mike Collins
Habakkuk 2:4 “The Just shall live by faith.”