The Forgiveness of Sin
The forgiveness of sins is, of course, provided by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgement following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:16,17)
The sacrifice of Jesus Christ has provided a means to escape from death. As death is the consequence of sin, the death of Jesus has also provided a way for the forgiveness of sins. This means that the way is open for God to put the earth right and to make it a paradise.
The point about Jesus’ sacrifice is that it makes salvation possible for everyone, and not only for a few.
"Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men." (Romans 5:18)
The problem is that for all men to make use of the sacrifice of Jesus, and hence to have their sin forgiven and to gain eternal life, they need to associate themselves with Christ’s sacrifice. This is the point of a day of judgement. The world cannot be put right yet, because there are still sinners in it, but one day God will intervene and judgement will take place to cleanse the world from sin.
The reason for the sacrifice of Jesus, and its effect are summarised at the end of the chapter:
"So that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:21)
Salvation and eternal life are available to us through Jesus Christ. The word “grace” means a gift that we haven’t earned. It is something that we can’t insist on because we deserve it, but one which is provided for us by the goodwill of the giver. In our case, we can make no claim on eternal life because we are sinners, but God has provided us a sacrifice for sin which can open the way for us to receive eternal life. It is this sacrifice which removes sin and gives the possibility of a world where there is no more sin, where there is no need for the consequence of sin, and hence no death.
This world without sin, death or suffering is described in the Revelation:
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'” (Revelation 21:3,4)
This is the Kingdom of God. It is one of the main points of the teaching of Jesus, one which was carried on by the Apostles and is still a core idea of the Gospel.