William Booth, the founder and commanding general of the Salvation Army, was unable to sleep one night. His son Bramwell, who lived next door, saw that the light was on in his father’s home. Thinking something might be wrong, he went to his parents’ house. He found his father pacing back and forth with a wet towel wrapped around his head. “Father,” he asked, “shouldn’t you be asleep?”

“No,” William replied, “I am thinking.” Seeing the puzzled look that crossed his son’s face, he put his hands on Bramwell’s shoulders and solemnly said, “I am thinking about people’s sins. What will they do with their sins?”

That question should disturb all of us. Sin separates people from a holy God, and it will do so forever unless it is forgiven. There is nothing we can do nor any amount we could pay that could ever atone for our guilt.

But the joyful message of the gospel is that God through His Son’s sacrifice on Calvary has made it possible for our sins to be completely forgiven (Heb. 10:12-14). That miracle of mercy takes place, however, only when we personally acknowledge in sincere trust that the death of Jesus Christ is our one hope for forgiveness.