In Christ we have “the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of [God’s] grace, which He lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:7-8).
On Israel’s Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) the high priest selected two goats. One was sacrificed; the other set free. Before releasing the second goat, the high priest symbolically placed the sins of the people on it by laying his hands on its head. This “scapegoat” was then taken a great distance from camp and released—never to return again (Lev. 16:7-10).
The Greek word translated “forgiveness” in Ephesians 1:7 means “to send away.” It speaks of cancelling a debt or granting a pardon. Like the scapegoat, Christ carried away our sins on the cross.
In Christ, God cancelled your debt and pardoned your transgressions, and He did so “according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon [you]” (v. 8). That means you have infinite forgiveness because God’s grace is infinite. You cannot sin beyond God’s grace because where sin abounds, grace super-abounds (Rom. 5:20).
God delights in lavishing His grace upon you. Such grace is overflowing and cannot be contained. You are forgiven for every sin—past, present, and future. You will never be condemned by God or separated from Him (Rom. 8:1-2, 31-39). Even when you fail, God doesn’t hold your sins against you. Christ bore them all so that you might know the joy and peace that freedom from sin and guilt brings.
Let the reality of God’s grace fill your heart with joy and assurance. Let the responsibility of glorifying Him fill you with awe and reverence. Let this day be a sacrifice of praise and service to Him.
Suggestions for Prayer
• Thank God for His infinite grace and forgiveness.
• Look for opportunities to extend forgiveness to others.
For Further Study
Read Matthew 18:21-35.
• What characteristic marked the wicked slave?
• What was the king’s response to the wicked slave’s actions?
• What point was Jesus making? How does it apply to you?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187