“With You is forgiveness.” Psalm 130: 4.
Here is one of those heavenly grains of seed that have only to be received and kept in the heart to become living, and to bring forth faith, peace, and blessing. Let me have the privilege of commending it to you this morning, anxious soul.
It is such a simple word: every one can understand it. Every one knows what is meant when an earthly father forgives his child. He answers him that he will no longer remember his sins, will not impute the evil experienced, and will not punish him. He will deal with the child as if he had done no harm. In like manner the guilty and consciously-condemned soul looks to God on high, and says: “Lord, with You there is forgiveness. My guilt is heavy, I have deserved Your severest punishment; but with You is forgiveness. Of free grace You have promised to acquit the guilty of everything, and not to impute his sins to him.” This is the simple, and at the same time the only way along which one exposed to the curse, who can do or bring nothing, can be saved. Altogether freely and for nothing, without the least worthiness or merit on his part, he receives the divine acquittal from all his guilt.
Is it not also a glorious word? Should not every one desire this boon? For a soul that, with David in this psalm, has to cry “out of the depths”: “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who will stand?” it is glorious to be able to look up to God with the assurance: All these sins will God blot out and bring to nought. Yes: very blessed it is to be able to look up to God out of the distress and anxiety with which the soul has felt its heavy guilt and deep misery, and to say: “With You is forgiveness; the Lord looks upon me in grace, His anger is turned away from me, and He comforts me.” What a blessed peace, what a heavenly joy then falls on the heart. O, it is glorious, in the face of all conviction of sin and experience of misery, in the face of every thought of death and judgment, to be able to say: “With You is forgiveness.” Who would not desire it?
It is also such a sure word. Everyone may believe it. The whole Bible announces it. Jesus came from heaven to obtain and to seal it for us. His blood is the pledge of it. Thousands of the greatest sinners can support the truth of the cry: “With God there is forgiveness.” All heaven confirms it. Eternity will re-echo: “With God is forgiveness.” It is sure. The certitude of it depends not on your faith. Whether you believe it or not, whether you despise it or not, “With God is forgiveness.” As truly as He is God, is He a God of forgiveness, a God who abundantly pardons. As certain as you are that He is God, may you be certain that there is forgiveness with Him. Before you believe it, it is truth, and you may rest your soul and safely commit yourself to God upon it. You will experience it: with God is sure forgiveness.
Further, it is such a powerful word. Every one can receive blessing from it. Although you have as yet no faith, take this word as a living seed into your heart, and it will awaken faith. Although you dare not as yet call God your Father, lay up this word in your heart, give it a place there, think over it, and say in spoken words before your God: “Lord, with You there is forgiveness.” This word is living and powerful; it will cause hope to rise in your soul. It will inspire you with new thoughts about God, it will instil into you confidence and boldness before Him. Insensibly you will get up to saying: “With You there is forgiveness also for me.” It will thus awaken the fear and love of God in your soul. It will bind you to Jesus, it will impel you to dedicate yourself wholly to Him. O soul, mourn no longer over your weakness. Receive this word; it is “living and powerful.” Go with it trustfully to your knees, and, although it should be the thousandth time, use it as the language of your heart to God: “Lord, with You there is forgiveness.” This word will work mightily, and faith and peace and love will be its fruits.
Beloved, I offer to you this word of God. God gives you freedom to use this word with Him; God commands you to think thus of Him. True, your heart says, “I do not know whether there is forgiveness with God”; but come, let these perverse thoughts of yours go and give room for God’s thoughts in your soul. Let it stand fast with you: “With God is forgiveness,” and you will speedily be able to add: also for me. And so you will soon learn to sing: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, who forgives all your iniquities.”