A Fountain Of Forgiveness
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose].
1 John 1:9
No one in his or her right mind would live with an open sore if a tube of medicine would heal the hurt. In the same way, God has given us the incredible promise to heal the wounds of our guilt. His promise to forgive is ready and waiting for us to claim it. Will we?
For some of us, the gift of forgiveness seems too good to be true. We’re convinced that our sin is too bad or that we’ve been doing it too long for it to be within the scope of God’s cleansing. And besides, we’re convinced we’ll probably do it again, so what’s the use?
God’s promise is not to forgive us once and then leave us alone. His forgiveness is comprehensive, covering all our sins. None of them surprise Him. He’s omniscient, and He knew each one before He created the world! He forgives with His eyes wide open.
John tells us that God is “faithful and just” to forgive us. He is faithful to fulfill His promise, and forgiveness is an act of justice because Christ already paid the price on the cross. Our confession doesn’t make us forgiven, but it taps into the limitless well of forgiveness provided to us by Christ’s sacrifice.
If we grasp the scope of this promise, we won’t hesitate to respond to the Spirit’s tap on the shoulder to tell us an attitude or action is sin. We’ll say, “Yes, Lord, I agree with You. Thank you for the forgiveness you promised!”
The phrase, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it,” is only partially true. My friend, if God said it, that settles it, whether you believe it or not.
In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.
Max De Pree
Sometimes it’s the simple things that are the most difficult to believe. Christ has made reconciliation with God incredibly simple but far too often, we try to make it complex. We can believe easily in complex things much easier that we can accept simplistic promises of God. It isn’t that God has made everything easy. Indeed the faith life isn’t an easy one at all. But God has made them so simple that even a child can grasp the principles. Salvation doesn’t come through a complex set of rituals but by the simple acceptance of all the promises of God. Sometimes in our attempt to understand God, we try to bring Him down to a human level. In doing so, we often attribute to Him human qualities. But He is far above humanity even though He understands us better than we understand ourselves. We miss the fact that we aren’t more aware of our sins than God is or that there is nothing that is hid from Him. Gods promises aren’t contingent upon us. They are solely contingent upon the nature and character of God.
“For when God made the promise to Abraham, He swore [an oath] by Himself, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, saying, “ I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” And so, having patiently waited, he realized the promise [in the miraculous birth of Isaac, as a pledge of what was to come from God]. Indeed men swear [an oath] by one greater than themselves, and with them [in all disputes] the oath serves as confirmation [of what has been said] and is an end of the dispute. In the same way God, in His desire to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable nature of His purpose, intervened and guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge would have strong encouragement and indwelling strength to hold tightly to the hope set before us. This hope [this confident assurance] we have as an anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it]—a safe and steadfast hope that enters within the veil [of the heavenly temple, that most Holy Place in which the very presence of God dwells], where Jesus has entered [in advance] as a forerunner for us, having become a High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Hebrews says that the promises of God are bound by the word of God and that God never lies or breaks His promise. Doubt and disbelief are normal human responses to promises since most of us have had our share of untruths and broken promises. We reason that if those closest to us would break promises or not be totally honest, then why wouldn’t everybody else including God be that way.
Everyone has doubts. No one is perfect. All need grace and mercy. Everybody needs forgiveness. Most of us would agree with all this. I have no doubt that we would tell our friend who has sinned that God offers forgiveness without reservation. We would tell them to confess their sin and they will absolutely in every case receive pardon. We would tell them that no one is ever beyond help or hope. We would say that they could trust God to love them, forgive them and receive them. We would say this with confidence for we believe it to be true. But what about us? Can we also believe that it’s true for us too? Can we take God at His word? Can we trust His promises?
We must reason that if God’s promises are true for others than they are equally true for us. Peter tells us that God deals with every person equally and without favor. He says that anyone who will may come to God and receive forgiveness.
“Opening his mouth, Peter said: “Most certainly I understand now that God is not one to show partiality [to people as though Gentiles were excluded from God’s blessing], but in every nation the person who fears God and does what is right [by seeking Him] is acceptable and welcomed by Him.”
As a Jew, Peter had been taught that only certain people qualified to receive the grace of God. He thought that Gentiles were excluded from the promises of God. At Cornelius’ house, he received the revelation that God shows no partiality and no one is excluded. The only condition is to believe and receive.
Friend, God’s forgiveness has been already granted. The Bible says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins while we were still sinning. God’s forgiveness has always been available to you. The only holdup is you. God has already decided to forgive you. Will you just ask?
Like you, I don’t comprehend such great love as this. It’s beyond amazing to me that God can forgive someone like me when I find it hard to forgive myself. But the choice that lies before us is whether or not we will accept God’s word as truth or whether we will rely on our feelings and perceptions. If God decrees something we can declare it. God has decreed that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us all our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness. Therefore we can declare we have been forgiven, not because we feel like we deserve to be, not because we won’t ever fail again but because God has said it is so.
So today choose to believe Gods promises even though they are beyond your understanding. Trust that His love for you is stronger than the power of the sin holding you hostage. Trust the promise that “whom the Son sets free is free indeed.”
Dr. John Thompson