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May 30, 2014

Forgiven

Young man, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:20b (NLT)

Imagine this young man. Luke tells us that he was a paralytic and was carried to Jesus by some friends. They believed that if they could just get their friend to Jesus, he would be healed. The crowd was too great to get near Jesus. So, they took extreme measures and carried their friend to the roof. They removed some tiles from the roof and lowered him right in front of Jesus while He was teaching the crowd! I imagine that would stop a service in progress. The focus shifted to the paralyzed man on the mat suspended in air in front of the teacher. But, what Jesus said surprised them even more. Jesus said to the man,“Young man, your sins are forgiven.” Only later, after some discussion with the indignant religious leaders, did Jesus turn to the paralyzed man and say, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home.” The man received both physical and spiritual healing. Luke tells us that he “jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God.” Jesus went deeper than the man’s physical needs. How often do you stop there in your prayers? Jesus saw the man’s heart. It was paralyzed with guilt and sin. The good news is that God offers the same forgiveness given to the paralytic to you and me. The Greek word for forgiven is aphiemi, and it means to let go, to release or to send away from oneself, to be released from a debt. He was forgiven! His sin was put away! But, how does God do that? First, Jesus paid the sin debt that we all owe. His death on the cross satisfied the judgment of God against sin so that sin can no longer be held against one who trusts Jesus as their Savior and has turned from that sin to Christ. Secondly, the guilt caused by sin is removed and replaced by the righteousness of Christ. That’s ultimate forgiveness! You are so forgiven in Christ that, in God’s eyes, it is as if you had never sinned! If you are carrying a heavy burden of guilt for sins you have committed, confess them to Christ and receive aphiemi – ultimate forgiveness! Then, like this paralytic, you will jump up with a clear conscience praising God! You are forgiven!