Forgiveness

“Sin forsaken is the best evidence of sin forgiven.”’
J. C. Ryle

I am a flawed human being. I want to do what is right, but I don’t, I’m pulled by my own natural desires, I want to do my will and that doesn’t always align with God's will for my life.

“I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” Romans 7:19

My sins are many, and more often than not I’m convicted/feel guilty because I know I’m not giving God my best and, therefore, my family is also getting the short end of the stick.

“I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, ‘I am determined to be wise.’ But it didn’t work.” Ecclesiastes 7:23

Living with sin is exhausting. It’s like trying to juggle a power saw, a bomb and an alligator—it’s only a matter of time before one of them is going to get you. Asking for forgiveness is hard. First we have to admit to ourselves that what the world labels okay is—for a Christian—sin. Pride rears its ugly head to keep us from asking for forgiveness. But, it is impossible to be a Child of God and live in sin. The unrepented sin will fester like an open sore oozing shame and guilt. But confessing our sin to God is a safe place. Forgiving our sins—and restoring us—is the reason Jesus Christ came!

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”
John 3: 16-17

God is in the business of forgiving. There is a caveat though; in order to receive forgiveness, we have to be repentant. Not just regret the fact that we’ve sinned, but we need to abhor what we’ve done to the point that we turn away from that sin and not do it again.

This quote from “Judges - The Flawed and the Flawless'“ by Timothy Keller spoke volumes to me on the difference between regret and repentance:

“Regret and repentance are not the same thing. Regret is sorrow over the consequences of a sin, not the sin itself. Regret focuses on me, on what I have lost, how my heart is breaking. Repentance is about turning back to God; accepting how He has been grieved, how He has not received the honor He deserves. Regret stays sad; but repentance doesn’t because when we repent we are forgiven and restored. Regret never moves on or restores relationship with God; repentance removes all regret.”

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

As we are forgiven so we too need to have the same heart towards others who sin against us. Yep, I know what you are thinking—“Yeah, but you don’t know what he did!” or “She said those lies about me”. Jesus not only came to earth to give forgiveness but to teach us how to forgive as well.

“Then Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:21-22

Hebrews 11—we call that chapter “The Hall of Faith”—is full of people who the Lord used in many great ways. They were flawed, they sinned and then sinned again—the same sin! Sound familiar? (Genesis 12:13 and Genesis 20:2) God’s forgiveness is continual. Those men and women—when they weren’t falling on their faces in shame for sins committed—were falling on their faces in worship or walking tall and strong in the Lord. They knew what He said was true. Though they hit bumps in the road God's faithfulness to keep His promises kept them on course.

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13

I am a flawed human being, but I pray I would hold on tight to God, who has lavished me with His love, grace and forgiveness. Jesus, the one who has held me in His nail-scarred hands and will present me one day spotless to His Father, took the consequence for my sin and made it His.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

by Eve Montano