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May 27 – LD 21, Day 7: The Forgiveness of Sins

  1. Psalm 51, Psalm 32

There is no greater blessing that we can receive than the forgiveness of sins. If we have this blessing, all is well, no matter what the circumstances of our life may be. If we have not this blessing, we have nothing, neither in this life nor in the life to come.

The Apostles Creed makes this confession purely objective: I believe there is such a blessing as the forgiveness of sins. But our teacher makes this confession very personal: “That God…will no more remember my sins, neither my corrupt nature, against which I have to struggle…, but will…impute to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may never be condemned.”

It is necessary and important to make this confession our own.

The teacher calls attention to many aspects of this confession. Let us enumerate them.

First, all this blessedness of forgiveness is “for the sake of Christ’s satisfaction.” We did not earn it, nor even desire it. It is freely given because Christ earned it for us.

Second, we need forgiveness of our sins, but also of “our corrupt nature, against which [we] have to struggle all [our] life long.”

This may come as something of a surprise to us. We are not only to ask for God to forgive our sins, but we are also to ask for forgiveness of our sinful natures, which are the fountain and cause of our sin. In other words, we are responsible and can go to hell for our sinful natures.

You ask how this can be when we are born with corrupt natures. The answer is that we are guilty for Adam’s sin and therefore, deserve the punishment of corrupt and depraved natures. They need to be forgiven also.

Third, when we confess our faith in the forgiveness of our sins and our corrupt nature, we ask God to forget them. This is a bold request. We ask God to put them so completely out of his mind that he does not remember a single one.

Fourth, we ask God that he will impute to us Christ’s righteousness. That is, we ask God to declare legally before the heavenly bar of justice that Christ’s righteousness is actually our righteousness, and that therefore, God sees us as without sin not only, but as righteous as he is.

Finally, we confess that we believe we shall never be condemned for any sin: not now in our consciences, not in the judgment day at the end of time, and not ever in heaven.

That is a wonderful confession to make. Even if the world condemns us, or even the devil, or even our own consciences, we say against them all: “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”

Hanko, Herman

Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)

Ordained: October 1955

Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965

Emeritus: 2001


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