Our first question is this—Who has said that we did something wrong? If forgiveness is needed—just who needs to forgive us? Who is it that has such a sovereign reach over all mankind? Who is this who has established in every heart a sense that a wrong has been committed? Philosophers have tried for centuries to remove this sense of guilt from mankind with philosophies making man responsible to no one greater than himself—but to no avail. Conscience continues to be a universal phenomenon—bringing all under a sense of guilt as well as a need to be forgiven.
Our next question dove tails with the first. If there is a wrong that has been done, how can we be forgiven that wrong? What is it that needs to happen in order for us to be forgiven? Much of this depends on the answer that we give to the first question. For most of history mankind has answered the first question by stating that there is a god and that this god is the one who has been offended by our actions. Once man conceives of divine displeasure his actions are fairly predictable. There must be some kind of payment—a way of appeasing the god or gods who are offended. In history the religious nature of man has attempted a myriad of cures to this divine offence, but one thing is certain—man senses the need of obtaining forgiveness in some way—through some kind of payment. Unfortunately for man—he has to rely for the most part on the religious gurus to tell him what to do—and if we were to be honest—they really are not in any better position to answer that he is. If only we could know the mind and heart of God—through some kind of revelation given to us by Him. Then we would know how to get forgiveness.
That is where the Bible comes into our picture. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to us. It is the sure guide to the definitive answers on forgiveness. It gives us answers to the questions that we have. It answers the question concerning Whom we have sinned against. Our consciences bother us because we've disobeyed God and His Law. It also shows us the way sin has been paid for—as well as how God offers to us that forgiveness. We learn from Scripture that God Himself has paid that price. And the most amazing thing we learn is that after paying the price for sin through the crucifixion of Jesus, He now offers to us forgiveness for every single one of our sins as a gift of His grace. It seems too good to be true—that forgiveness requires no payment on our part—because God Himself has paid the penalty for sin Himself through Jesus Christ. But that, dear saints, is His grace. It is God acting on the issue of sin and a compromised conscience—and solving them through the death, burial, and resurrection of His own Son, Jesus Christ.