walk in the word
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:7–9, ESV).
We can’t grasp God’s capacity to forgive. It is so much bigger than our minds can contain. Anyone who claims to be able to fully understand God’s forgiveness is minimizing Scripture.
A person with a hundred billion dollars does not need to count pennies. So God, who is infinitely wealthy in forgiveness, doesn’t measure or count it in any way. Think of all of the people in all of human history and all of the forgiveness that God has granted. Can our minds travel that far? Since all our sin is ultimately against God, imagine how many times He has chosen to forgive. Isaiah’s comparison is right—God’s forgiveness is as high as the heavens are above the earth. Then double it, and again, ad infinitum.
Charles Spurgeon said, “God’s pardon is abundant because it wells up from an infinitely deep fountain. Our sins may pile as high as the tallest mountains, but Jesus’ blood, like Noah’s flood, drowns them all.” Now that’s abundant pardon.
While this is great in theory, perhaps you’re thinking, God could never forgive me. If I ever really brought my sin before the Lord, He would turn His back. I’m going to have to carry this myself because He’s just not merciful enough to forgive me. Wrong, my friend! God can completely forgive everything—and He will. His grace and forgiveness are on a level we cannot comprehend.
However, abundant pardon is not yours simply because it’s been offered. It must also be received. Here’s an incredible case in point.
In 1826, two men named were sentenced to hang for robbing the US Postal Service. One man, Porter, was hanged in July 1830. Three weeks later, President Andrew Jackson pardoned the second perpetrator, named Wilson—his death sentence was lifted. But in a bizarre twist, Wilson refused the pardon. It sent the court system into confusion and took three years to resolve. Finally, in the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice passed a historic decision regarding the acceptance or rejection of a pardon:
“A pardon is an act of grace . . . which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed . . . A pardon is a deed to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered, and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.”
What a perfect parallel to God’s pardon! If you will not embrace the pardon He freely offers, He won’t force it on you. But if you grasp the weight of the death sentence your sin deserves and choose to be set free, you have experienced abundant pardon. You know amazing grace.
Consider the greatness of that forgiveness. Picture yourself awash in the ocean of God’s grace—so unworthy but so abundantly pardoned.
How does human forgiveness differ from God’s forgiveness?
What keeps you from fully and gladly accepting God’s abundant pardon?
Lord, You are holy—so unlike me. My mind can’t begin to grasp Your abundant pardon. I don’t deserve your forgiveness, I can never earn it, and I can never repay it. It’s pure gift. Thank you for that gift, Father. I stretch out my hands and choose to receive it. Help me to stop striving to earn Your favor and to fully embrace that Your forgiveness is so far beyond mine—not a drop, not a trickle, not a river, but a full flood of grace into my life. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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