Devotional: ‘How Can a Holy God Forgive Sinners?’


Jeremiah 33:7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.

The one great question that men must answer is – How can a holy God, who demands perfect justice, ever be able to forgive sinners? Some suppose that either God will sweep our sin under the rug or that He will say – “Let’s just let bygones be bygones.” Yet according to scripture, that is not how it happens. The Bible teaches us that God has provided a way so that His righteousness is completely satisfied and the sinner is completely forgiven. Consider these words found in the book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 33:15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.

First we see that Jeremiah speaks of a Branch that is “righteous.” To be righteous means to be ‘right’ in the sight of God. A truly righteous person is someone who does everything absolutely right according to God’s perfect standard.

The Bible teaches us that none of us can claim such righteousness on our own. “There is none righteous, no, not one…” (Romans 3:10) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Therefore, in order for this Branch to be truly righteous, He must be someone separate from the rest of fallen humanity. Note this passage found in the book of Galatians.

Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

The righteous Branch is God’s Son sent to us from heaven. The righteous Branch is the person we call Jesus.

Not only is this Branch ‘righteous’, Jeremiah says that He is also associated with David. “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David…” The righteous Branch has a connection with humanity. How is this possible and why is it important?

Two thousand years ago a child was born from the womb of a virgin. When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would give birth to a son, Mary asked: “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34) Mary clearly understood that this was not biologically possible. Indeed it wasn’t. It was a supernatural miracle. Gabriel said to Mary: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee …behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.” (Luke 1:35, 31) Scripture teaches us that the Spirit of God caused a child to be conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary and we call that holy child – Jesus. This is very difficult for us to understand, but it is a wonderful and necessary truth taught to us in scripture.

Because this Branch became a man, His sacrifice can be associated with the needs of man. Because this Branch is holy and righteous, His sacrifice can be acceptable before God who demands perfect justice. Jesus Christ is the sinless sacrifice that enables God to completely forgive us of all our sins.


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