This past week I had the opportunity to witness the battle that so often wages in our minds as we collide with the profound reality of our need to change; that is, be transformed, and the absolute nature of the work of Christ which promises to cleanse us. Central to our Christian journey is this idea of redemption…forgiveness. As one person rightly said, “Saving us is the greatest and most concrete demonstration of God’s love, the definitive display of His grace throughout time and history.” C.S. Lewis wrote, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” That is good news! Even so, it is here where the battle lines are often drawn and where victory is claimed, or defeat is our constant reminder.
One of my favorite verses I have preached on over the years is one that speaks to this battle. 1st John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I am taken by those last three words, “from all unrighteousness.” All! Not certain sins or those which I believe are forgivable. He forgives us from ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS! That is the promise He gives to those in Christ. Yet, do you doubt His forgiveness? Struggle with the reality that God could, let alone would, release you from the debt of your past, no matter how recent it may be? When it comes to meditation, this is one area we would all reap benefits from.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Can I ask a rather personal question? When was the last time you needed the Lord’s forgiveness? What was it that you did? A bad word spoken at work? An angry outburst towards a family member? A thought that should not be in your mind? I know the list can go on and it does. A common thought that often hinders us from asking for that forgiveness is our doubt that God would forgive us…again. Yet, so much of what and how we interact with others hinges on the conviction that we ourselves believe we are forgiven. You see. The “hope that is in you,” that people may ask you about (1st Peter 3:15), is not the hope that they can have in Christ’s ability and desire to forgive them; but rather, in your understanding that Jesus has forgiven you and your wish that they could have that same hope. So, here are just a few verses about His forgiveness that we could meditate on and even memorize to help fight that doubt.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow… (Isaiah 1:18)
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins… (Ephesians 1:7)
He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses… (Colossians 2:13)
So, why is grasping the depth of God’s mercy and grace, that is experienced through His glorious act of forgiveness, so important to us as Christians? It is the reason that drives us to live the gospel and share His hope! It is what empowers us to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted” to others around us, for that is what we received from the Lord ourselves. It enables us to be like Jesus who looked beyond the sin itself and see the lost soul and desire mercy for them (Luke 23:34).
His continued forgiveness and our acceptance of it is at the very core of our Christian journey. It is where we find peace, joy, love, hope for all the tomorrows of life. It is where yesterday remains and today’s opportunities are revealed. So, when was the last time you genuinely sought the forgiveness of the Lord? Do you believe He is willing to forgive you? The fact is, He is more than willing, and the proof is the cross He bore for sinful man…for you and me. May His love empower you today to live in the absolute hope of His forgiveness. Be blessed.