Grasping the greatness of God’s forgiveness
The moment you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, God promised that He would never stop forgiving you, no matter what you do.
1 John 1:5-10
A genuine Christian walks habitually in light (truth and holiness), not in darkness (falsehood and sin). Their walk will result in cleansing from sin as the Lord continually forgives his own.
Burn this in your brain: While God wants us to know forgiveness, Satan wants us to feel guilty. Satan the prince of darkness knows our feelings of guilt keep us (in our minds) separated from God.
Revelation 12:10 – While Satan tries to accuse us and make us feel guilty, God declares that we are as pure as Jesus Christ. God said that we are completely forgiven because Jesus paid the penalty for our sins when He died on the cross. Colossians 1:22
God has done a truly awesome thing. Because you have believed in Christ and accepted what He did for you, God sees you as completely pure and holy, without any faults. A lot of what we believe about ourselves is based on our feelings which are easily changed. The weather can affect your feelings!
But nothing can change the facts in God’s word. And that is where we need to put our faith-in the facts revealed in the bible and not in our flawed human feelings. When you struggle with guilt, go back to the facts. Those facts tell you that are loved by God, completely pure and holy through Jesus Christ and constantly cleansed by our heavenly father.
How much does God forgive?
First of all we all sin – Romans 3:23
The fact that you recognize your sin and feel badly about it should give you encouragement for several reasons. First, a lot of people sin and don’t think anything is wrong with it – but God has opened you eyes to see how destructive sin can be. God does not want you to live with guilt. He wants you to know and fully experience His forgiveness.
God does not simply overlook our sin and say “you are forgiven”. God sees our sin but is ready to forgive us because Jesus took OUR sin on himself and paid for our sin by His death on the cross (Isaiah 53:4-6). Our sin is serious and it cost Jesus incredible suffering. But from the moment we received Christ into our lives, His forgiveness is ours. WE CAN’T EVER MAKE UP FOR OUR OWN SIN OR SUFFER ENOUGH FOR IT-nor does God want us to-Romans 5:8.
Writer CS Lewis said: “I think that if God forgives us than we need to forgive ourselves, otherwise it is almost like setting ourselves up as a higher tribunal than God”. A tribunal is a seat or court of justice.
But, what about when we struggle with an area and keep on sinning? Does God get so weary forgiving us that we, at some point, reach our limit? Will God continue to forgive you if you commit the same sin over and over again? – Matthew 18:21, 22
Understand Jesus’ point here. It’s unlikely that peter could keep track of whether he forgave a particular individual 490 times, so you see Jesus’ point. We are to always forgive, because God always forgives us. God does not have a limit. Christ died for every one of your sins-those you’ve committed and those you will commit – that covers past, present, and future sins.
Because of Christ’s forgiving power, we can always be made clean after we sin if we humbly seek it. At the same time, it must be noted that it is not biblical for a person to sin habitually and continually as a lifestyle and still be a believer (1 John 3:8-9). That is why Paul admonishes us to “examine ourselves to see whether we are in the true faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). As Christians we do stumble, but we do not live a lifestyle of continual, hardened, unrepentant sin.
Those walking in the light hare in the character of God, they will be habitually characterizes by His holiness (3 John 11), indicating their true fellowship with Him (James 1:27). A genuine Christian does not walk in darkness but only in the light (2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 1:12, 13), and cleansing from sin continually occurs (1 John 1:9).
All of us have weaknesses and can fall into sin, even if we don’t want to (Romans 7:15). Like Paul, the response of the believer is to hate sin, repent of it and ask for divine GRACE to overcome it (Romans 7:24-25). Although we need not fall because of God’s sufficient GRACE, sometime we do because we rely on our insufficient strength. When our faith grows weak and like Peter, we deny our Lord in word or in life, even then there is still a chance to repent and be forgiven for our sin. We have been given GRACE for grace – God’s immeasurable love and favor piled one upon another (John 1:16).
You need to begin looking at your sin the way God looks at it as He has revealed in the bible (1 John 1:9; I John 2:1, 2; Psalm 103:8-14).
How does God forgive?
God forgives by Removing –Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 38:17
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us –this speaks of the limits of our imagination as to the extent of God’s forgiveness. It means that He has put our sins entirely away. They are removed that they cannot affect us any more-we are safe from all condemnation for our sins, as if they had never been committed – Romans 8:1.
This removing is the utter destruction of something that is written. God erases from His book. There are books in heaven. It is a written record. God promises to eliminate from the book (Revelation 20:11-15). When He forgives He has removed the record (Colossians 2:13-14). The books – these books record every thought, word, and deed/actions of sinful men – they will provide the evidence for condemnation. The Book of Life – it contains the name of the redeemed. It is a divine journal that records the names of all those whom God has chosen to save and who, therefore are to possess eternal life (Revelation 21:22-27).
The ledger is more than balanced by what Christ did Isaiah 53:6. Because of Christ God sweeps away the cloud between us and Him – Isaiah 44:21-22.
God forgives by Forgetting – Isaiah 43:25
He remembers your sins no more. When we are forgiven our sins are no longer on God’s mind. They are rendered to oblivion. This means that God does not meditate or brood over our sins. So we must cease from doing so –Micah 7:18-19.