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Prayers

Bless the Lord

O Lord, I bless you, not only for your pardon of those sins I have committed, but also for your goodness in preserving me from those many thousands of other sins I was prone to fall into.

If I could repent to the highest degree, or achieve the holiness of men and angels, it could not make up the damage sin has made upon me.

Who was more plunged into sin than I? Whose diseases were greater than mine? It may be that thousands and thousands of other souls are now taking their place in hell, for less and fewer sins than I have committed.

I do not call upon you to repeal any threat or nullify your word. I do not ask you to become unjust. But your wisdom has found out a way that I may be pardoned and you may be satisfied.

Your overflowing goodness overcomes me. If only I had the hearts of all men and angels to praise you. Amen.

Anthony Burgess (1600-1663) taken from Piercing Heaven, 217.

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Excerpts

God-centered Forgiveness

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
Isaiah 43:25

  1. That it is God only who can pardon sin. How vain, then, is it for man to attempt it! How wicked for man to claim the prerogative! And yet it is an essential part of the papal system that the Pope and his priests have the power of remitting the penalty of transgression.
  2. That this is done by God solely for his own sake. It is not (a.) because we have any claim to it; for then it would not be pardon, but justice. It is not (b.) because we have any power to compel God to forgive; for who can contend with him, and how could mere power procure pardon? It is not (c.) because we have any merit; for then also it would be justice, and we have no merit. Nor is it (d.) primarily in order that we may be happy; for our happiness is a matter not worthy to be named, compared with the honour of God. But it is solely for his own sake—to promote his glory—to show his perfections—to evince the greatness of his mercy and compassion—and to show his boundless and eternal love.
  3. They who are pardoned should live to his glory, and not to themselves. For that they were forgiven, and it should be the grand purpose of their lives so to live as to show forth the goodness, compassion, and love of that merciful Being who has blotted out their sins.
  4. If men are ever pardoned, they must come to God—and to God alone. They must come, not to justify themselves, but to confess their crimes. And they must come with a willingness that God should pardon them on just such terms as he pleases; at just such a time as he pleases; and solely with a view to the promotion of his own glory. Unless they have this feeling, they never can be forgiven, nor should they be forgiven.

—Albert Barnes
Notes on the Old Testament: Isaiah, 2:124.

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Excerpts

Proof That We Are Forgiven

Forgiveness of others is made an express condition of our obtaining pardon and forgiveness from God (Matt 6:14, 15); and the nature hereof is expressly declared (Matt 18:23–35). Such evangelical conditions we have not many. I confess they have no causal influence into the accomplishment of the promise; but the non-performance of them is a sufficient bar against our pretending to the promise, a sufficient evidence that we have no pleadable interest in it. Our forgiving of others will not procure forgiveness for ourselves; but our not forgiving of others proves that we ourselves are not forgiven. And all these things do show what weight God himself lays on this duty.

—John Owen
Works, 6:496–497.

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Excerpts Quotes

The Duty of Forgiveness

Forgiveness of others is made an express condition of our obtaining pardon and forgiveness from God (Matt 6:14-15); and the nature hereof is expressly declared (Matt 18:23–35). Such evangelical conditions we have not many. I confess they have no causal influence into the accomplishment of the promise; but the non-performance of them is a sufficient bar against our pretending to the promise, a sufficient evidence that we have no pleadable interest in it. Our forgiving of others will not procure forgiveness for ourselves; but our not forgiving of others proves that we ourselves are not forgiven. And all these things do show what weight God Himself lays on this duty.

—John Owen
The Works of John Owen, 6:496–497.

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Quotes

God Not Bound To Forgive

God was not bound to forgive

It was not necessary for him to forgive; but if he does gratify his love in acts of pardon, he owes to himself, and to that everlasting difference between right and wrong which he himself has established, to do it in a way that satisfies and supports his immutable justice.

The necessity for the sacrifice of the Cross, therefore, is absolute. It is a necessity that is felt in all the stages of Christian experience; and where it is not felt, there is, there can be, no Christianity.

Unbelief in Christ as a Saviour is a necessary part of unbelief in God as a Judge. Men despise his mercy, because they do not respect his justice. One of the first lessons which the anxious sinner learns, is to feel his need of Christ. His conscience finds no relief, nor can it ever be disburdened of its mighty woes, save at the Cross.

—Gardiner Spring
The Attraction of the Cross, 48

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