The royal decree: freedom
“Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:38-39
This is a royal proclamation: “Let it be known to you . . . .” The King of the universe proclaims total amnesty for all his enemies through Jesus his Son. This royal proclamation doesn’t say, “Forgiveness of sins is negotiated with you.” We don’t negotiate with the King of grace. The proclamation doesn’t say, “Forgiveness of sins is forced on you.” We have to open our hearts. The response God wants is that we would believe him. We don’t believe because we deserve it; we believe based on God’s testimony alone. We look at our sins and think, “God couldn’t forgive me. God shouldn’t forgive me.” But the gospel tells us to stop listening to ourselves and start listening to God and believe him.
Here is how far-reaching God’s policy is: “Everyone who believes is freed from everything.” What do you need to be freed from? What do you so wish you had never done? What do you wish you had done? What makes you say, “Oh, if only I could go back and relive that moment”? Now listen to God: “By Jesus everyone who believes is freed from everything.”
We might have thought that God’s law was our second chance. We might have thought that doing the right thing from now on would free us from our past. But the truth is, the law can make us worse. After all, what is our deepest sin? It isn’t this behavior or that. Our deepest sin is that we put ourselves at the center, and we expect God and everyone else to orbit around us and please us. The law can’t save us from that. But obeying the law — doing the right thing — we tend to think we’re obligating God and others to adjust to our self-exaltation even more.
How can we be set free both from our ugly disobedience and our cosmetic obedience? Paul tells us: “through this man” in verse 38, “by him” in verse 39. Not the law, but Jesus. “Through this man” and “by him” we can come to God right now. We might have thought, “I need to live a better life first,” or, “I have to stop doing this or that first.” But let’s hear the policy of heaven: “Let it be known that through Jesus forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.”
Spread the word.