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Does God Forgive Or Not?
By Grant Phillips
Far too many people are walking around with a heavy load of guilt for one reason or another. Some have even contemplated suicide to end their long nights of despair, while others have actually carried out those thoughts.
Not every anguish of soul is about forgiveness or the lack thereof, but often that is the case. I truly believe that many of those sleepless nights can be avoided, if we actually believed in the complete forgiveness that comes from Almighty God.
Every man, woman and child can receive total and complete forgiveness from God for any action or thought they may have had or have. There are only three requirements; (1) we must admit we are a sinner and need forgiveness, (2) we must accept God’s only way to forgiveness which is through His Son Jesus Christ, and (3) we must ask.
Those who refuse to believe in Jesus must suffer the penalty of their own sins and that penalty is eternal separation from God in hell. Those who have trusted Jesus as their Savior and Lord will never pay the penalty for their sins because Jesus took that penalty upon Himself and paid it for us.
For a believer or unbeliever, that isn’t to say that if you steal and get caught you won’t go to jail. If you are caught speeding you will pay a fine. The law is not designed to forgive, only to punish. Also, someone you wronged may not ever forgive you. The question is, “Will God forgive us for our sins against Him?”
Bottom line for unbelievers: if you are not a true Christian, God is not your Father and will not hear your prayers, until you come to Him by faith through His Son Jesus, and become His child.
Bottom line for believers: if you are a true Christian, God is your Father and will hear your prayers.
In the remainder of this article, I will list several Scripture references that speak of forgiveness for the child of God. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, but it can provide a great start for your own study time.
Many true Christians are carrying heavy loads of guilt around with them and this should not be so. When we carry these guilt feelings around, we are doing exactly what Satan wants us to do. Why is that you say? I’ll give you two answers.
First, when we sin it effects the fellowship we have with our Heavenly Father. When we do not confess those sins and ask His forgiveness, we remain in that state of broken fellowship. Let it be clear, we do not lose our salvation, but our fellowship with Him has been cut off.
Secondly, when our fellowship with God is broken, we obviously are not growing spiritually and are an unproductive Christian.
One problem with many Christians in this state of confusion is: they will not forgive themselves. Now think about that. If God will forgive us, just who do we think we are? Are we better than God? Also, aren’t we calling God a liar? That’s not good. Think about this again. If we can’t forgive our ourselves, then we must not believe His promise to forgive His own children. The fact is…God does not lie.
In the following verse King David is calling out to God. This was probably after Nathan confronted him about sinning with Bathsheba and murdering her husband Uriah. When confronted with his sins, those sins beat him down to a pulp, but then he went to God and confessed. As terrible as his sins were, God recognized his true humility and forgave him. The slate was clean between David and God, but as you read the rest of David’s life, it’s easy to notice that he paid dearly.
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah”
Another prayer of David shows you and me that our God is good. He is ready to forgive and is abundant in mercy when we call upon Him.
“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”
I love this next song of David. Notice that God pities His children (that’s us!), and notice just how far He removes our sins (transgressions). East and west can never meet! True forgiveness.
“As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”
Another favorite verse is this one from Isaiah. When we go to Him in humility, He will make our scarlet sins as white as snow. Even if they’re crimson red, they will be as wool.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”
God blots out our sins and never brings them up again. This is what we do not do. We bury the dog, but leave the tail sticking out so we can pull it back out again. God forgets it. Why can’t we?
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.”
Again, in the next verse we are told that God blots out those confessed sins.
“I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
If we just return to Him, He will have mercy on us.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”
Even in our rebellious state our Father forgives when we come on our knees to Him.
“To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.”
Would you like to have your sins cast into the depths of the sea, never to be seen or heard of again?
“He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.”
If you’re like me, you’re so thankful Jesus said these words in Matthew. I’m sure my 490 times expired long ago, but I also know I can still go to Him anytime.
“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
In this next passage Jesus says for us to forgive our brother every time he comes to us in repentance. Do you think He would tell us to forgive our brother repeatedly and He not do so?
“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
Just as He blotted out our sins when we were saved, He will do so as we come to Him confessing our daily sins, which is truly a time of restoration.
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, “and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, “whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”
Blessed means to be happy, and who wouldn’t be happy when their sins are forgiven, covered and never credited to us. They’re never imputed (credited) to us because Jesus paid our debt.
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.”
As children of God through Jesus Christ, we have been forgiven to the utmost and reconciled to Him.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
When we sincerely confess our sins to Him, what does He say He will do? He will not throw them in our face later.
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
In this passage He repeats that, “I will remember them no more.”
“then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
If we go to our Heavenly Father and confess (name) our sins to Him, and ask His forgiveness He will forgive those sins and also wash us clean of any sins we are not aware of that are in our life.
1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Don’t let Satan take the joy from your Christian life. When you were saved you were forgiven, so forgive yourself. Still having an old sin nature and being in these earthly bodies, we still keep sinning, so take them to Him as in 1 John 1:9 (above) and put them behind you, as God does.
Who wants to go through life carrying Satan’s bag of rocks? Not me! How about you?
Notice the following Scriptural facts concerning God’s forgiveness in these Scripture passages.
– The Lord is good
– He is ready to forgive
– He is abundant in mercy
– He will remove our transgressions, as far as east is from west
– He pities those who fear Him
– He knows our frame, that we are from dust
– Our sins like scarlet, He makes them white as snow
– Our sins red like crimson, they shall be as wool
– Blots out our transgressions
– Does not remember our sins
– He redeems us
– He has mercy on us
– He abundantly pardons
– He has mercy and forgiveness
– He has compassion on us
– He subdues our iniquities
– Cast our sins into depths of the sea
– He will forgive repeatedly, without end
– He covers our sins
– He will not impute sin
– He reconciles us
– Forgives our sins
– Cleanses us of all unrighteousness
For all true Christians broken down by the guilt of sin, your salvation is guaranteed and your fellowship can be restored by going to Him in repentance and asking His forgiveness.
Hopefully, no true believer in Christ would ever think this is a license to sin.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2)
No, it is not a license to sin, but our opportunity to remain in fellowship with our Lord and defeat sin.
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24)