And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”— he said to the man who was paralyzed —“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” (Luke 5:20-24)
As a paralyzed man’s friends brought him to be healed by Jesus, Jesus addressed his sin by saying, “Man, your sins are forgiven you." But as the scribes and pharisees started questioning this, Jesus responded in a way that should have answered their question of, “Who can forgive sins but God?" with the revelation that Jesus is indeed God.
In our human minds, it is easier to simply say “your sins are forgiven” versus performing a miracle of healing, since forgiveness isn’t something tangible that can be proven. Yet when we really think about the cost of forgiveness, and the sacrifice Jesus had to make to offer us forgiveness, the miracle is the easier of the two.
I love that Jesus said, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” and then heals the man with His word, because if any of those pharisees or scribes were there at His crucifixion, remembering that He had proven His deity in that moment, then hearing His statement from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) could have had a profound impact on them. We know Nicodemus was affected by his experience with Jesus, and even though it wasn’t recorded, other pharisees could have been affected as well.
This little interaction that Jesus had with the crippled man and pharisees should give us a renewed appreciation for the compassion Jesus has on us, and His eager willingness to forgive us of the sins we daily commit. The only thing that stands in the way is our own willingness to come to or be brought to Him and receive His forgiveness.
How Long Has it Been?
When was the last time you asked God for forgiveness? If you’ve not already received God’s gift of salvation, then receiving forgiveness is the first time you will experience the burden lifting freedom yielded when you repent and receive Jesus as your salvation. If you’ve already received the gift of salvation, then forgiveness should be that familiar restoration in your relationship with Him when you commit sins. We all sin, it’s just a matter of whether those sins are being forgiven unto salvation and/or relational restoration.
Do you make it a habit to ask God for forgiveness? Regardless of being saved, we still sin because we’re in these earthly bodies in which our sinful flesh nature battles our regenerated spirits that are alive in Christ. But there is a big difference between the life a Christian who regularly seeks God’s forgiveness and the one who does not. Sin separates us from God. When we’re saved, that separation doesn’t mean we lose our salvation, but it does mean there’s a break in relationship. I don’t know about you, but if someone does something wrong against me, I’m not exactly going to be in the best relationship with them until there’s restoration. In our human relationships, that usually looks like the wrongdoer acknowledging they’ve done wrong, apologizing, and seeking forgiveness.
In the same way, when we do wrong against God (aka sin), then regardless of our salvation standing, it still separates us from Him in our relationship. If you want to have as close of a relationship as you can, then forgiveness needs to be a regular thing you seek from the One whom you’ve sinned against.
Lastly, it may have been awhile since you sought forgiveness from God, or maybe you’ve never come to Him in repentance and asking for forgiveness. BUT GOD is ready and willing to forgive you of your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness if you simply come to Him and confess. My friend, make it a habit to confess your sin and seek God’s forgiveness daily.