Forgiven Much
Given By: "Glenn D. Blank" On Tuesday, September 25, 2012

 

 

God designed Yom Kippur so His people would really know the weighty cost of our sin and iniquity.

Yet even more so, HaShem wants us to know, with absolute confidence that He has forgiven us.
When we appreciate how much He has forgiven us, then we will be renewed and reunited with our Father in heart, and truly be motivated to pray for others to know what He has done for us all.

V’eemru? (And let us say?)

 

In ancient Israel, the weight of our sin and iniquity was made vivid through a dramatic ceremony of the two goats. [s] Leviticus 16:9–10, “Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat.”

Before all the people, the blood of one goat was spilled and later carried into the Holy of Holies as a sin offering. Our sin costs that innocent animal its life—for the life of the creature is in the blood.

That was the principle of God-ordained sacrifice—it wasn’t to appease God, but to illustrate the principle of life for life. It cost something to atone for our sins—Al Chet.

The second goat became the Azazel, bearing our iniquity—the High Priest put both his hands on this goat and confessed over it all Israel’s iniquities and rebellious sins on it.

Then the kohen hagadol sent it off into the wilderness. 

All the Israelites who saw it knew what was in store for that goat.

The Judean wilderness is a trackless, hot, burning waste. 

The Azazel was left out there, tied to rocky crag, doomed to die a terrible, suffering death. 

Goat-lovers of the world may grieve, animal-lovers of the world may protest.
God was making a point as vividly as possible.

It costs something, grievous and terrifying, to atone for our sins and to bear away our iniquities.

V’eemru?

 

Yet, since the Temple has been destroyed, how do our people know what it cost to atone for our sins, let alone know with confidence that God has really taken away our sins?

After the Second Temple was destroyed, Yochanan Ben Zakkai, who escaped from Jerusalem before it was destroyed and went on to be one of the founders of Rabbinic Judaism, expressed this uncertainty. The Talmud records that as lay on his deathbed, “His disciples addressed him, 'Rabbi, light of Israel, thou strong rock, right-hand pillar, why dost thou weep?' He answered:

‘If they were about to lead me before a king of flesh and blood, who is today here and tomorrow in the grave, who if he were angry with me, his anger would not last forever; if he put me in bondage, his bondage would not be everlasting; and if he condemned me to death, that death would not be eternal; whom I could soothe with words and bribe with money; yet even in these circumstances,

I should weep. But now I am about to appear before the awful majesty of the King of Kings,

before the Holy and Blessed One, who is, and who lives forever, whose just anger may be eternal, who may doom me to eternal punishment. Should he condemn me, it will be to death without further hope. Nor can I pacify him with words, nor bribe him with money. There are two roads before me, one leading to Paradise, the other to Hell, and I know not by which of these I go--should I not weep?"

 

Without the certainty of the Temple sacrifices, and more importantly, without a certainty of the shalom of God in his heart, this famous Rabbi was reduced to anxious tears on his deathbed.

Brothers and sisters, such uncertainty is not God’s will and desire. Hashem wants us to know Him, to know how much He loves us, to know how He has has provided complete atonement for our sin. V'eemru?

That is why, before the Second Temple was destroyed, Messiah Yeshua revealed the chesed (loving-kindness and mercy) of God to sinners and then suffered and died to make atonement for us.

In Isaiah 53:5 we see some amazing parallels between Yeshua and the two goats of Yom Kippur.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities; the chastisement that brought us peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.”

"He was wounded": The Hebrew word for "pierced" is khalal, meaning a "breaking of skin."
On Yom Kippur, once the sacrifice goat's skin was broken, it died instantly from blood loss. 
Its blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat above the Ark of the Covenant—and God had mercy. 
In the same way, the blood of Messiah Yeshua was shed, flowed out of his wounds on the cross—another mercy seat—so that God would see His blood as the atonement for our sins.

Isaiah 53:5 also says that the suffering servant was "crushed" or “bruised”—the Hebrew word is daka, meaning beat to pieces, broken, crushed, shattered. 

You may have wondered, why did he have to die like that? Why did Yeshua have to suffer so much? 
Why did he have to be whipped, crowned with thorns, made to carry a cross, led outside the city onto a rocky hill, nailed to a wooden beam, hung up naked, taunted and humiliated by his own people, 
then left to die, of exhaustion and thirst, asphyxiation, and a broken heart. 
Like the scapegoat driven out into the wilderness, the suffering servant was led outside the city to a rocky crag, where he suffered and died—all to bear away our iniquity. 
[s] As Isaiah 53:6 says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; 
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." 

How many of you know that God really has provided atonement for all your sins and iniquities?

How many of you know how much God loves you?

 

Once you understand how much He forgives you, you will understand how much He loves you. 
Turn to Luke 7:36-48, where Yeshua himself elucidates this principle: 

Now one of the Pharisees invited Yeshua to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Yeshua was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is--that she is a sinner.'

Why was the Pharisee or Parush so concerned about the woman touching Yeshua? 
You were not supposed to touch an unclean person—and this woman was a sinner!
Shimon the Parush had a concern about ritual cleanness.

Yet which is more important: ritual cleanness or forgiveness of sins? 
Which is more important, ceremonial observance or wholehearted love? 
Shimon the Parush thinks, "if this man were a prophet..." 
Yeshua shows that he is indeed a prophet, by hearing Shimon's thoughts. 

Luke 7:40. Yeshua answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. "Two men owed money to a moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." "You have judged correctly," Yeshua said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, 

"Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." Then Yeshua said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

Shimon had not given water for Yeshua's feet or given him a kiss or put oil on his head—these were all customary ways, in that culture, of showing honor to a special guest. 
By not doing these things, Shimon had shown that he regarded Yeshua as a common man. 
But this woman had shown Yeshua very special honor, by anointing his head with a jar of expensive perfume and bathing his feet in her tears.
That jar of nard, which came all the way from India, was worth a whole year's wages! 
Those tears, which came all the way from the depth of her soul, were worth even more to Yeshua.

Thus this woman showed that she regarded Yeshua as an exceptional man: the Mashiach. 
She showed that she understood why Yeshua had come into the world—to forgive sin.

Now it's important that we understand this principle and not be confused about it. 
After telling the story, Yeshua asks Shimon, "Now which of them will love him more?" 
Yeshua says: “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. 
But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

Now, was the woman forgiven because she loved much? 
No, God does not base his forgiveness on how much we express our love for him. 
She loved him much, because she knew, by faith, that she was forgiven much. 
She came, already knowing that Yeshua did not come into the world to condemn but to forgive. 
She loved him, because he loved her first. She was responding to his mercy, the chesed of God.
By faith, she loved him: her faith told her that Yeshua is the fullness of the merciful chesed of God. 
His very coming into the world, healing and forgiving sin, revealed the chesed of God in person. 
He has loved us—He has loved you—from eternity to eternity—unconditionally. 
The Parush didn't love Yeshua much, because he didn't understand that he was forgiven much—if he knew that he was forgiven at all.

Yeshua has revealed a very important principle about our relationship with God: 
We love God in proportion to how much we understand we have been forgiven. 
Great love for God is a sign that I know that I have been forgiven much. 
This is a problem for some of us: we don't understand how much we have been forgiven. 
Some of us do know, because we made messes of our lives. 
But some of us may think, well, I haven't been so bad. 
So, if you don't know how much you have been forgiven, how can you love God much? 
It is so important that you know, on this Yom Kippur, how much you have been forgiven, so that you would love God with all your heart and all your soul, and long for His will to be done on earth! V’eemru?

Some people think, if I haven’t committed a crime, I’m good.

Yet 1 John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves.”

A lot of people are deceiving themselves, covering up their sins with excuses.

But the Al Chet prayer reminds us that the standards of the Holy One are high. 

For example, if you have committed lashon hara—bad-mouthing or gossip—it’s serious business.

Leviticus 19:16 commands: “Do not go about as a talebearer among your people.”

In Matthew 12:36, Yeshua says, “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”

I’m not looking forward to that day of accounting. How about you?

Take a moment to consider all the careless words, unkind words, angry words, foolish words that came spilling out of your mouth.  Not to mention the thoughts…. I wouldn’t mention them, I could mention them… except God knows the heart and judges its thoughts and attitudes, too.

Jeremiah 17:9–10, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” O boy….

It’s no use covering up, for the Almighty sees it all, and in that day all will be exposed….

 

Unless… unless it has all be covered already, by the blood of the sacrifice Lamb.

Thanks be to God, for the amazing atonement Messiah Yeshua has won for us. V’eemru?

Isn’t it awesome that He became both the sacrifice goat and the Azazel goat for us?

We have been forgiven so much…. Isn’t He wonderful?

One who has been forgiven much, loves much.

Ki l’olam chasdo! For His merciful loving-kindness endures forever! V’eemru?

Take a moment to consider how much you have been forgiven! So that you may love Him more!

Take a moment to confess your sins before the mighty God…

Remember, the more you confess, the more you’ll love!

And the more you love, the more the power of His love will cleanse you, and empower you to pray for others to be forgiven and delivered and healed! [s]

When the four friends lowered their severely disabled friend through the roof so that he might appear before Yeshua, what did the Master do first for their friend?

He forgave all his sins. Yeshua knew that’s what this man needed first and foremost!

The condition of our souls is so much more important than the condition of our bodies—after all, these bodies are going to wear out anyway, but our souls were designed to live forever!

Then Yeshua healed him, too—at once the man got up from his mat and walked!

Just last week, Yeshua healed a woman who had been disabled her whole life!

Not only is she walking freely again, her ears that were 80% deaf have been completely healed!

It happened right here in Allentown! Beckie wrote to many of us that her diabetes has been healed.

I believe that God wants to pour out his forgiveness and healing love on his people.

Ki l’olam chasdo! For His merciful loving-kindness endures forever! V’eemu?