Your Sins Are Forgiven!
Luke 7:36-50

Everyone owes God a debt he cannot pay. This debt has been incurred through our repeated acts of sin. Unless
this debt is paid, you cannot have fellowship with God, and you cannot go to heaven when you die. Our debts may
not be equal, but the consequences are very similar. Forgiveness is the merciful act of God by which He cancels the
debt we cannot pay.

Before us we have two sinners. One of them was publicly known as a sinner, while the other was recognized as
being extremely religious. The woman was probably a prostitute and had worked her trade on the back streets of
this community. The Pharisee was known for his unusual religious dedication. He invited Jesus into his home
because he was curious, but the woman had invited Jesus into her life because she was sinful. Jesus said to the
outcast woman, "Your sins are forgiven" Evidently Simon is still under the weight of his sins when the story closes.
He was not ready to admit that he had incurred any debt that he could not pay.

With which of these two people can you most readily identify? I hope that every person present can identify with this
poor rejected woman. By studying how Jesus dealt with this woman, we can learn much about forgiveness. Who
knows, you might hear the Lord say to you this very day, "Your sins are forgiven!" Would that not be good news?

At the close of this discourse Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace." This is very helpful.
It gives us a much needed insight into the manner in which God bestows forgiveness upon us.

A.        This means that forgiveness is at God's expense.
Faith in Him pays the debt you owe God. When this woman put her faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness, she did not
present anything to  Him. All she had was a life that was badly soiled with sin. She had nothing to offer to Him. Yet
because Jesus was ready to accept the responsibility for her sin, to bear the cost Himself, He could say, "Your sins
are forgiven.

This is the message of the Cross. “He 'bore our sins in his own body on the tree." Since He bore them, He can
cancel our debt. “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, Sin had left its crimson stain, He made it white as snow."

B.        This makes forgiveness available to all.
When the Pharisee became critical of Jesus for allowing the woman to bestow such devotion upon Him, Jesus gave
the little parable about the two men in debt. There was a considerable difference in the debt of the two men, but they
were alike in their inability to pay the debt. One man owed his creditor five hundred denarii. A man would labor for a
whole day for one denarii. You can see the size of his debt. The other owed the creditor fifty denarii    this would
take his wages for fifty whole days of work. But neither of them was in a position to pay what he owed. Because of
the generosity of the creditor, his willingness to absorb the cost of their unpaid debt, both were forgiven their debt.
All they had to do was accept the generosity of their creditor.
This was the only thing that gave this woman any hope. Unless God was willing to absorb the cost of this woman's
debt, she was without any hope. The same was true for Simon even though he did not realize it. Making forgiveness
available to those who come to God in faith makes it available to all.

Some of you have given up hope of ever being right with God. You are painfully aware of the debt that you owe. You
know that you cannot do anything about it. In spite of your best efforts, the debt keeps growing day by day. The
good news is that God's forgiveness comes to those who will receive it by faith.

This is a beautiful story of love that is understood only when you see that love is the fruit of forgiveness. Two
responses to Jesus stand in bold contrast in this text. This woman whose reputation was bad in the community
demonstrated a great love for the Lord Jesus. Jesus explained her action as being an expression of the love that
comes from forgiveness. Jesus said to Simon of the woman, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you
gave me not water for my feet, but she has washed my feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.
You gave me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss my feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint my
head with oil, but this woman has anointed my feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you her sins which many are
forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." Jesus did not mean that the woman
was forgiven because she loved Him, but rather her love is the sure evidence that she had already been forgiven.

A.        Forgiveness produces a grateful love.
The woman was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. As she stood at the feet of our Lord in the house of Simon,
and considered who He was and what He had done, it was almost too much for her. Her own sense of unworthiness
and gratitude for His goodness brought a stream of tears to her eyes. These tears began to fall on the feet of the
Lord that Simon had neglected to wash. She was so grateful that she was ready to do anything for her Lord.

The actions of Simon indicate that he was curious about Jesus, but had no real love or devotion for Him. He would
entertain Him in his home, but he would not bow before Jesus in worship. The difference between these two
responses is forgiveness. One had been forgiven, while the other felt no need of forgiveness.

B.        Forgiveness produces a sacrificial love.
The gesture of the sinful woman was sacrificial. She brought with her a "flask of fragrant oil." It would have been
proper for the host to have anointed the head of Jesus with olive oil which was plentiful and cheap. Simon did not
even bestow this courtesy upon the Lord. But this woman brought something of great worth to her. The flask was
expensive   made of alabaster. It was filled with perfumed oil that was expensive. It was doubtlessly representative of
the very best that this woman had. She broke the neck on the flask and began to pour it on the feet of Jesus. She
did not think that her best was good enough to go on His head. This is the way love reacts. It gives sacrificially.

This love must be explained by the forgiveness that she had received. How much love do you have for Jesus our
Lord? According to this parable and incident, this is determined by your awareness of God's forgiveness. Those who
feel that they have been forgiven little love little. All of us who have been forgiven have been forgiven much so we
should love much. We should have such a sacrificial love.

C.        Forgiveness produces selfless love.
It is obvious that this woman forgot about herself. Her love for her Lord caused her to do things that shocked the
proper religious folks like Simon. When she took down her hair and began to wipe the feet of Jesus, it was a thing
which a proper woman just did not do in public. A woman did not take her hair down in this way. When she began to
kiss the feet of Jesus, it was the kind of gesture that was reserved for unusual circumstances. You kissed the feet
only of those from whom you had received a great favor, or to whom you were making a great surrender. It was her
way of publicly declaring, "You are supreme in my life." Evidently the woman said nothing through the whole
encounter but she did not need to. Her actions said everything that needed to be said.

Simon could not take this in. Religious people who seek to live life by the rules still have difficulty with this kind of
action, but not the forgiven. Forgiveness will produce a quality of love that will shock the world.

The last word of Jesus to this woman is very significant. He said to her, 'Your faith has saved you. Go in peace." He
could say this only to one to whom He had already said, "your sins are forgiven." only the forgiven can know this

A. Forgiveness precedes peace with God.
This was a word that sent the woman away with the favor of God upon her life. When she had sinned, she had
brought the wrath of God upon her life. But when God forgave her, his wrath was removed, and replaced with His
peace. He began to bless the life with prosperity and spiritual fullness. You may have been looking for this. It comes
when you know that your sins are forgiven.

C.        Forgiveness precedes peace with oneself.
When you begin to be aware of your sin, you begin to hate yourself. Sin is so destructive to one's self image, and
sense of self worth. Unless you can know that your sins have been forgiven, you will never begin to be at peace with
yourself, to wish for yourself prosperity. Some of you walk under such a load of guilt that you unconsciously set
yourself up for hurtful failures. You can not let yourself prosper as you are because of what you have done. Jesus
sent this poor woman home rich in peace.

You cannot change the order. It will always be forgiveness and then peace. If you are trying to find peace without
finding forgiveness for your sins, you are wasting your time. Peace comes to the forgiven.

Where do you find yourself in this story? Are your more like the woman or like Simon? I pray that you can identify
with this woman. You do not have to have been a prostitute or thief to identify with her. If he could only have seen it,
Simon's religious pride was just as offensive to God as her immorality. Simon's attitude toward women like her was
just as bad as her sin. If you can identify with her at the point of need, you can know that you have been forgiven.

The blessing forgiveness comes to those who come to God in faith. Do not make this too hard. This simply means
that you come to Him just like you are, confessing your inability to pay your debt and pleading for mercy. You
receive His forgiveness as a free gift. Won't you do that right now? Come to Jesus and be forgiven!