Can I Be Forgiven?

We have all done things of which we are not proud.  We all have “a past.”  Everyone.  We have all made mistakes; and, yes, we can all be forgiven.

“Yea, but you don’t know what I’ve done!”

True, but I do know what God has said and what God has done.  The Bible makes it very clear that God’s forgiveness is available. This is the very reason Jesus came

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).  Or, as Jesus says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

As a matter of fact, God has gone to great lengths to make forgiveness possible.  Perhaps the best known verse in all of the Bible, John 3:16, sometimes called “the golden text” of the Bible, affirms that God has made forgiveness available through His Son Jesus because He loves us so much.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Notice, this offer is not restricted.  Anyone can be saved.  It is “whoever believes” that will be saved.  Forgiveness isn’t reserved for a certain group or class or race or whatever.  It is available for everyone.  “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people” (Titus 2:11).

So, availability is not the problem.  Neither is capability.  That is, God has forgiven sins before, and He can forgive mine.

One group of Christians in the Bible was reminded about their forgiveness.  “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  And these were people who had been, or at least some of them had been, sexually immoral, idolaters,  adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers (1 Cor. 6:9-10).  God forgave.

The apostle Paul considered his own case particularly serious.  He even called himself “foremost” of all sinners because he had been “a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” of God and Jesus (1 Tim. 1:13-15).

So, God has, and God can forgive sin; even mine.

Still, our mind wrestles with the very idea of it.  Isn’t that because we know we don’t deserve forgiveness?  That is exactly right; we don’t deserve it.  But this is the great beauty and power of God’s forgiveness.  God doesn’t deal with us in terms of what we deserve.  Instead God extends His mercy and grace.  Paul, again, says that even though he was “foremost” of sinners, “I received mercy…and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me” (1 Tim. 1:13-14).

Mercy and grace are wonderful.  Mercy is our not getting what we do deserve, and grace is getting what we do not deserve.  We need both.

To illustrate the fact of God’s willingness and desire to forgive (even me), Jesus told the well-known parable of the prodigal son.  It’s worth hearing again:

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.  And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.  So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.  And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’  And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.  And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:11-24; ESV)

Yes! A thousand times, yes! I can be forgiven.

God bless,

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