In one sermon, we walked through love: its entity, its meaning, its definition. Because we are forgiven by a truly loving God, we are able to not only see love in action through Jesus’ life, but we are able to demonstrate love ourselves, rejoicing in this salvation. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Yet, sometimes as believers it becomes so hard to believe we are forgiven, for it comes as no surprise when we hear “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). To what depth are we actually forgiven? How was forgiveness accomplished?
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15). Since we are forgiven, we are expected to forgive as well. This is the condition to our forgiveness. For just as if we were to deny Jesus (resulting in him denying us), we are to forgive (in order to be forgiven by the Father).
Forgiveness was accomplished at the cross and by the grace and love of our father. ”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). His son, Jesus, died as the atoning sacrifice for everyone’s sins.
Through confession and repentance, we humble ourselves to our God. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Confession is an important aspect in Christianity. It is us humbly admitting a mistake has been made, and rather than trying to hide in shame, confession brings our sin before the Lord in an act that asks for the forgiveness we received at the cross. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
Sometimes forgiveness can come as a struggle, especially if you carry around hurt every day. But just as Jesus forgave you, it does you good to forgive the one who hurt you as well. Do this not only to receive forgiveness, but as an act of love. If any one of you finds yourself struggling with forgiveness, pray. Ask the Father to change your heart and soften it. With forgiveness, unbelievable healing will come.
Verses to reflect on:
“I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:35).
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
“‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’” says the Lord. “‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).