“Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:48)
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be face-to-face with Jesus when He said those words? Your sins are forgiven.
These words provide freedom from the chains that bind us. Jesus said them to the woman who anointed Him with oil (Luke 7). He said them to the the paralytic lowered through the roof (Luke 5). And when we come to Him, He says those words to us too.
I like to imagine meeting Jesus and hearing those words. “Your sins are forgiven.”
I imagine that it is like a wild animal being returned to its natural state of being, free in its habitat.
I like to imagine that it’s like one of scenes from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. Specifically, the part where Eustace is desperately trying to return himself to human form. He longs to be how he’s supposed to be. But he can’t do it himself no matter how much he scratches and pulls at his skin and scales. He can’t free himself from the form of a dragon.
We cannot free ourselves from the chains of sin by our own power. This I believe with my whole heart. It takes the Great Lion coming and breaking those chains (or in Eustace’s case, stripping the layers of skin) to free us. It is how He shows us that we are forgiven.
When Aslan strips Eustace of his dragon form and returns him to his human state it’s like he’s saying “your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.”
When Eustace was freed from his dragon form, he was free to trust Aslan and do His work. When Jesus says that our sins are forgiven, we are free to return to our calling to glorify God.
This is exactly what the paralytic man did. “Immediately he rose up...and departed to his own house glorifying God” (NKJV) or, as the amplified version reads, he “went away to his house, recognizing and praising and thanking God.” (Luke 5:25)
Being forgiven allows us to come alongside Paul in saying “forgetting what lies behind [all that has been forgiven] and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13b-14)
Because Christ has forgiven me, I am free to forget the past and free to strive for the day when I get to meet Him. I am free to press on in the calling He has placed on my life. I am free to love and I am free to forgive.
Let me leave you with these lines by Chris Tomlin that I sing when I need a reminder that Christ has forgiven me.
My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God my Savior, has ransomed me
And like a flood, His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace
(Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone)
Beloved, do not forget that you are forgiven and you are free because of the love and grace of Jesus Christ, our Savior.