The words every cancer patient wants to hear are…”You’re in remission.” The surgeries, the infusions, the pills and the alternative therapies are all to receive this blissful state of remission. The painful recoveries and horrible side effects are prayerfully endured to march us toward a cancer-free body – at least that is the hope.
At medicinenet.com, the definition of remission is, “disappearance of the signs and symptoms of cancer or other disease. A remission can be temporary or permanent.” Cancer.gov expands the description to include partial remission, where some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. But as I jumped off medical websites to look at a more generalized explanation, the medical definition (“a diminution of the seriousness or intensity of disease or pain; a temporary recovery”) is listed as the second meaning of the word. The first? “the cancellation of a debt, charge, or penalty.”
Deuteronomy 15:1-2 says, “At the end of every seven years you shall grant remission of debts. This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the Lord’s remission has been proclaimed.” (KJV) No bankruptcy proceedings necessary. No court involved. No evaluating of assets or working out a payment plan. Debt is forgiven. Every seven years. Never to be spoken of again. This Old Testament law is a beautiful picture of my final definition.
The third meaning assigned to the word remission by dictionary.com is “forgiveness of sins”. In Matthew 26:28 Jesus, having His last meal with His disciples before His death said, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (KJV) Using symbolism, Jesus explained that the blood he was about to spill on the cross would be the only payment necessary for our sins. He would pay with His perfect life so we wouldn’t have to. And Peter tells us in Acts 2:38 how to receive that gift. “Repent and be baptized every on of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (KJV) (Repent – admit that you sin, but you are tired of living this way and want God’s way instead. Understand that belief in what Jesus did for us is the only way to that forgiveness and invite Him and His gift into your life.
Remission is a beautiful word, regardless of the context it’s used. Freedom is the common theme that runs through it. Freedom from a debt owed. Freedom from the cause or symptoms of disease. Freedom from sin. Unlike the remission of debt, however, you don’t have to wait seven years for God to forgive your sins. When you ask, it is done immediately. And unlike remission from disease, remission of sin is never partial. When God forgives you, He pardons the little white lie you told and He forgives the deepest, darkest deeds in your heart. And unlike cancer remission, God’s forgiveness is never temporary. “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18a) Once…For…All!
…and I think I’m buying this hat: