Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven
What makes the word forgiveness so special and beautiful? Well, consider some of the results that flow from forgiveness: reconciliation, peace, harmony, understanding, fellowship. Or consider some of the consequences that flow from our failure to forgive and be forgiven: bitterness, strife, disharmony, hatred, war. At times, it seems as if the human race is in danger of being overwhelmed by these evil, negative forces. We can escape this terrible fate only as we learn and apply the principles of forgiveness.
Let us remember that two directions of forgiveness are represented in the Bible. They are well portrayed by the symbol of our Christian faith, the cross, which has two beams—one vertical and one horizontal. These beams represent the two directions of forgiveness: the vertical beam represents the forgiveness we need to receive from God; the horizontal beam represents the forgiveness we need to receive from others, as well as the forgiveness we must extend. The grace for this kind of forgiveness comes only through the cross.
The kind of forgiveness we need and can receive from God is set forth most beautifully in Psalm 32:1–2, where David said, “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit” (niv).
Again, the Bible does not talk about a man who does not need forgiveness. It clearly indicates that all of us need forgiveness from God. There are no exceptions. Other psalms tell us there is no man who does not sin. (See, for example, Psalm 14:1–3; 53:1–3.) We have all sinned. Therefore, we all need forgiveness.
Thank You, Jesus, for dying on the cross for me. I admit my own need for forgiveness, and I proclaim that Jesus was punished that I might be forgiven. Amen.