After 35 blog posts walking through Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices, I may be the most excited about the next five. That’s because the Lord Jesus and his strength to save are their center and focus.
Wielding the word of God as his choice weapon, Jesus defeated Satan in the wilderness. Crying to the Father in agony, Jesus defeated sin on the cross. And rising from the dead the day after Passover, Jesus defeated death for all who trust him.
This defeated devil isn’t finished causing trouble, though. Knowing he has lost, he desires to convince sinners they are too far out of God’s merciful reach.
Saving a tainted treasure
Years ago I dropped a valuable ring down a sink drain. Once past the initial self-berating and anger, I considered the situation. It was dark down there. And dirty – who knew what filth was present? Then there was the disposal. Those blades are sharp, right? Is this even worth it?
Yes, it was. Foregoing a rubber glove so my fingers would remain more sensitive, I held my breath and plunged a hand down. After a minute of probing, holding my breath in disgust, I retrieved the ring.
It was dirty and slimy. I could barely look at my hand without gagging. But I had redeemed the prize. A few minutes of vigorous hand washing and some deep breaths and everything was fine.
How much more valuable are you than a ring? How much greater a price did God pay to retrieve you from the mire of sin, to set your feet upon a Rock?
The parable of the hidden treasure
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”Matthew 13:44, ESV
It’s a simple, little parable. In two deft sentences, Jesus sums up God’s kingdom. But you may not see it the way the Lord intended.
I’ve heard sermons that explained we are the man and Jesus is the treasure. We should be wiling to give everything we have to gain Christ. This isn’t wrong. But it doesn’t hit the mark.
Jesus says “the kingdom of heaven” is like this story, not “I am like this.” God’s kingdom comprises God’s people. In that sense Jesus is the man and we are the treasure. Jesus paid it all. He purchased us with his blood. He ransomed the entire field because even more treasure awaits its unearthing.
Mighty to save
As many of us have sung in church, Jesus is “mighty to save.” Strong enough, loving enough, Savior enough.
Based on the writings of Thomas Brooks, here are eight proofs that negate Satan’s lies, demonstrating you can’t out-sin God’s love.
1. A great sinner needs a mighty Savior
Madness. This is what Brooks calls the logic that says, “I have sinned so much and so greatly that I can’t ask God to forgive me.
As a counter argument, he offers two scriptures:
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquityMicah 7:18, ESV
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.
I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.Isaiah 43:25, ESV
Micah and Isaiah both prophesied to Israel and Judah during the late eighth century B.C. Micah’s prophecies focused more on the immediate problems the Assyrian army caused in the North. To this Isaiah added warnings about the Babylonian invasion of the South that would happen more than 100 years later.
In many passages such as these, the prophets pointed to God’s great mercy despite his people’s great sins. Immediate mercy came with King Hezekiah’s repentance (see 2 Kings 20). But a future mercy would come when the remnant of Israel returned to Jerusalem after 70 years in Babylon.
God’s chosen people were the greatest of sinners. They chased after false gods, refused to show compassion for the poor and orphaned, and forgot God’s word. And yet God’s promise of forgiveness remained.
You cannot out-sin God’s grace.
2. No sin is mightier than repentance
Brooks compounds his arguments for God’s mercy here. The greatness of your sins is not the issue, but your remaining in them. Returning to God in repentance is the ever-effective solution.
The apostle John wrote that to deny our sins is to show ourselves as liars. But, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, ESV).
There is no other condition to this promise, no limit to God’s mercies in Christ. “All unrighteousness” means every kind, in any amount, and to every degree.
Don’t believe me? Listen to the words of God through the prophet Jeremiah.
“Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say,Jeremiah 3:12–14, ESV
‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD.
I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD;
I will not be angry forever.
Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD.
Return, O faithless children, declares the LORD;
for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.'”
3. Jesus has saved mightier sinners than you
Peter denied he knew Jesus three times during his Lord’s greatest need. Paul persecuted Christians before meeting the resurrected Christ in person. Matthew was a money-grubbing tax collector, a sellout to his people.
David stole a man’s wife before arranging the man’s slaughter. Moses grossly disobeyed God’s direct command. Gideon tested and doubted God over and over again.
Men of faith, all. God chose and set apart each one for his purposes. God faithfully completed the work he began in each. And He freely forgave each one their sins. This doesn’t exclude earthly consequences, but eliminates eternal penalty.
Are you a greater sinner than these? Mercy still awaits you.
4. There are no lost causes with Jesus
Read the scripture passages Brooks quotes in this section to assure you that Christ will not turn from your pleas for mercy.
And then, consider this: to refute those passages is to make God a liar. It is to suggest He didn’t think to include you in the “all” of Hebrews 7:25. Or worse, He didn’t foresee there could be a sinner as great as you. Greater than David, Paul, or Peter, mind you.
The only lost cause in God’s economy of salvation is the person who dies unrepentant.
5. Great forgiveness leads to great love
Read the account of Jesus at the home of the Pharisee in Luke 7. Note the parable he tells in response to the Pharisee’s quiet judgment of the loose woman in their presence.
The men of this village knew this woman’s reputation. Some may have been her clients. Yet it is her literal outpouring of love in response to Jesus’ forgiveness the Lord commends.
You who have sinned much will have that much more love to show Christ when he saves you.
6. Your mighty sorrow won’t save you
It is not resolving, it is not complaining, it is not mourning – but believing, which will make you divinely victorious over that body of sin that to this day is too strong for you, and that will certainly be your ruin, if it be not ruined by a hand of faith.
You cannot be sad enough, cannot apologize enough, cannot regret enough to undo what your sins have done. Faith in the crucified and resurrected Jesus alone will save you.
Instead of remaining in your guilt, you could be rejoicing in your freedom.
7. Jesus is a friend to sinners
Jesus dined with tax collectors (cultural sellouts) and prostitutes (moral outcasts). He forgave his deniers and rejecters, his accusers and his murderers. He came to call the sick. Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
Any voice you hear that says you are too great a sinner to be saved is not the voice of the Savior.
8. Faith is your only hope
Faith is the remedy for your sorrow. It is the balm for your wounded soul, the peace for your troubled spirit.
To remain unforgiven and without hope is to begin an eternity without God.
Think of the ring I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Look up and see the loving hand of God reaching down to gather you. By faith, no matter how much you have sinned, believe in the mighty rescue God offers you in the person and work of his son, Jesus.