“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19
Who is a God like our God? Though He carries out judgments against His own people when they turn aside from His ways and disobey His commandments, “He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.”
Our God delights in mercy. He would rather deal with us in His mercy for the sake of Christ Jesus and his innocent sufferings and death on the cross than to deal with us in His just wrath which we merit under His holy law. And though He chastises us because of our sins, His desire is that we repent of our sins and look to Him for mercy in Jesus Christ.
God tells us, in His Word, “‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’” (Ezek. 33:11). He tells us that He is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
For you and me, this means that God desires to deal with us in mercy rather than in wrath. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to fulfill the demands of the law for us and then to suffer and die on the cross to make atonement for the sins of all — God did this that He might deal with us in mercy. As Micah writes, He subdued our iniquities through the shed blood of His Son.
If we continue on in our sinful ways and do not repent and turn to Him for mercy in the cross of Christ Jesus, He will (and must) deal with us in his wrath. But, if we repent of our sins and look to Him for mercy in the atoning blood of Jesus, He casts our sins into the depths of the sea to be remembered against us no more.
God’s Word assures us that when we confess our sins and look to Christ Jesus and His cross for mercy, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:7 — 2:2). And when He forgives our sins, He also accepts us as His own dear children and gives to us the blessings of life eternal in Christ’s heavenly kingdom (cf. Eph. 1:6ff.).
I, therefore, ask you before God: Do you acknowledge that you have sinned? Do you confess and agree with God that you are guilty and deserving of his wrath and punishment?
Do you trust that Christ Jesus has truly redeemed you from the curse of God’s law? That He fulfilled the law’s righteous demands and then took your sins upon Himself, along with the sins of the whole world, and suffered your just punishment when He died upon the cross?
Do you also believe that Jesus, in the Sacrament, gives you to partake of His body and blood which was given and shed that your sins might be forgiven you?
As a fruit of your faith, do you truly desire and seek God’s help to amend your life and live it in accord with God’s Word?
If you are truly sorry for your sins and look to Christ and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross for pardon and forgiveness, I announce unto you the grace of God and, in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.