Some will remember the story of Hester Prynne, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tragic character who had to wear the scarlet “A” because of her adultery. And some understand what it is like to carry a symbol or record of sin. Sometimes the consequences of sin are with us for the rest of our lives. And, if the reminder of our sin is always with us, how can we know that we are forgiven?
Well, for sins committed before we came to Jesus, we take great encouragement in the fact that we are born again, new creations. That which we were is washed away and today we are different persons. The Bible speaks often of the new life we have received in Jesus. That new life means that our past sins are gone from us.
But what about those things we do while we are believers? After we have received this new life, we still make some pretty stupid and self-serving decisions. Some people actually teach that there is no covering for sins committed by believers, that those sins must be dealt with through our good works. I guess I would have to say, “Good luck with that!”
No, we can’t pay for our sins after we are saved any more than we could before we are saved. And let me say this bluntly: Our good works have nothing to do with our sins. No amount of good works will cover even one sin. It doesn’t work that way and it never worked that way. For those who see a distinction between the way of salvation in the Old Testament and the New, which I do not, there is still nothing that teaches that sins are covered by good works. Someone will point to the sacrificial system, I suppose, but making an animal die for my sins is not a good work. It is an act of sacrifice.
So how are our sins covered after we become believers? The same way they were before we were believers. And when are our sins covered after we become believers? At the same time they were covered when we became believers. In other words, Jesus took all our sins on Himself at the cross. He justified us by His sacrifice.
On the cross, Jesus paid a price big enough to cover all the sins of the whole world forever. Yours and mine—past, present, and future. When we come to Him for salvation, for forgiveness, we bring the account book of our lives and He wipes away all record of sin. He removes the record from us forever. All He asks is that we come.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18
Come and reason with the Lord. Enter into a relationship with Him through Jesus. Then all your sins—past, present, and future—will be washed away. Even the scarlet letter.