Forgive Him, Oh Forgive

"Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24)

The third verse of the majestic hymn by Charles Wesley "Arise, My Soul, Arise" relates how the crucified but risen Intercessor, Christ, pleads with the Father to save a sinner, and why His prayers are heard.

Five bleeding wounds He bears, Received on Calvary.
They pour effectual prayers; They strongly plead for me.
"Forgive him, oh, forgive," they cry, (repeat)
"Nor let that ransomed sinner die."

When Jesus was crucified, they "pierced [His] hands and [His] feet" (Psalm 22:16) and "pierced his side" with a spear (John 19:34). After His resurrection His disciples would view these five wounds (Luke 24:39; John 20:27). It was from these wounds that His blood flowed, "and without shedding of blood [there] is no remission" of sins. "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many" (Hebrews 9:22, 28). Our text for today declares that it was His "stripes," literally "wounds," which heal us of our deadly sin sickness. His death provides life and health and righteousness.

If "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16), surely the pleadings of Christ, a perfectly righteous man, are of infinite strength. "Neither pray I for these alone [i.e., His disciples], but for them also which shall believe on me through their word . . . [that they] be with me where I am" (John 17:20, 24).

As a truly repentant sinner comes in faith to God seeking forgiveness for his sins, Christ pleads, "Forgive him, oh, forgive." "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:5-6). JDM

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