"Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?" Micah 7:18

"Earthly pardons are cheap luxuries. Although often hard to get and difficult to give, yet most cost but the sacrifice of a little personal feeling. Let that go, and it is easy to forgive. I can easily imagine there are two here this evening who have long been severed in their friendship. Both feel a reconciliation ought to have taken place before this, but they say, if spoken to on the subject, "it is impossible."

Why? The simple reason is that neither is prepared to pay his share of the cost of a pardon, and that amounts to the sacrifice of a little personal pique, and a good deal of foolish pride. Neither likes to be the first to offer his hand. Both are waiting for each other, and so a miserable estrangement is carried on through weary months and years, because neither will exchange pride for pardon. O 'tis a thousand pities that when pardons are so cheap, they yet remain so scarce!

Turn now to the pardon of our God and see if it be not an incomparable one for cost. Before God could forgive a sinner in accordance with His infinite holiness and perfect justice think what had to be done, sacrificed and suffered. Measure God's desire to pardon by the obstacles His pardoning love overcame, and then you can form some idea of its intensity. No little sacrifice of feeling - no small surrender of pride would have availed here; something infinitely greater must be surrendered, and the sacrifice must be that of a Son. God has fathomed His love and pity in one text, "God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." That little word "so" contains more than heaven or earth can describe. In it is the heart of God - in it is the depth of pardoning love.

O think for a minute what that pardon cost that now makes your soul to sing for joy. You received it freely enough because another paid the price; but what was that price? It cost the Father the gift of His beloved Son - He who from eternity had dwelt in His bosom, must be surrendered and become incarnate. It cost the Son a price no lip can tell - no heart conceive. Do you see Him tied to yonder pillar - mark you that awful scourge as it falls again and again upon His quivering flesh; do you note, how deep the thongs cut, drawing blood at every stroke? Your pardon cost that. "By His stripes we are healed." Follow Him in that weary walk to Calvary - linger by Him as fever courses through His veins, whilst head and hands and feet all drip with gore - stay by Him until His sacred head falls upon the breast, and His great heart breaks with anguish, and then looking up into that white countenance, say "my pardon cost Him that."

Yes, no pardon could ever have come to guilty man had not an atonement been made that satisfied justice, honored the Law and magnified the holiness of God. Sweet work is it to trace the silver stream of forgiving love; and mark how it would flow on until it reached the sinner, yea, even though it flowed along the channel of a Savior's wounds. Contrast beloved, this evening, the poor cheap pardons of man, often withheld because he will not sacrifice his foolish feelings or his paltry pride, with the rich costly pardons of our God, given at the price of His own Son - given through the agonies of Gethsemane and Golgotha."

Archibald Brown from his sermon, "Who Is A Pardoning God Like Thee?", in 1871 at Stepney Green Tabernacle at the age of 27.

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simul iustus et peccator

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