New City Catechism 25.2
Question 25: Does Christ’s death mean all our sins can be forgiven?
Answer: Yes, because Christ’s death on the cross fully paid the penalty for our sin, God graciously imputes Christ’s righteousness to us as if it were our own and will remember our sins no more.
If we are going to be right with God and inherit eternal life, two things need to happen: (1) we must have our sins forgiven, which removes God’s wrath from us; (2) we must have righteousness counted to us, which entitles us to the reward of eternal life with God. Together, these two actions (the forgiveness of sins and the counting of righteousness to us) constitute what the Bible calls “justification.” We will look at the first of these today.
The forgiveness of our sins is essential for our right standing with God because our sins deserve only his wrath. Because God is holy, he will not simply sweep sin under the rug or ignore it. It must be addressed so that it may be removed from us in accord with his own righteous character. The promise of the gospel is the promise of the forgiveness of sins. As Peter preached to the crowd gathered at Pentecost: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The forgiveness of our sins removes the wrath of God that hangs over us and makes us a fit dwelling place for God’s Holy Spirit, powerfully demonstrating our full reconciliation with God.
Suggested passage for personal or family reading: Psalm 32. What does this psalm teach us about the forgiveness of sin? How do we obtain it? How should we think about our own sins in light of its teachings?
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