Christianity is so simple, intellectuals completely miss it. Conversely, Christianity can be made so intellectual that the simple miss it. As adults, at times even after weâ€™re saved, we canâ€™t seem to get past our desire to earn our salvation. Before we get saved we think weâ€™ve done too many bad things to ever receive Godâ€™s forgiveness. After we get saved, we think we can be bad enough to actually lose Godâ€™s forgiveness. King David knew something about Godâ€™s forgiveness; thatâ€™s why he could write:
â€œFor as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.â€ (Psalm 103:11-12)
When God forgives our sins, He doesnâ€™t put them in a little red wagon and then have us drag it along with us everywhere we go. Thatâ€™s what we do to others when we forgive them. We like pointing out others past mistakes by grabbing them up one-by-one out of the little wagon where weâ€™ve put them.
However, our God is a merciful God. His forgiveness is not conditional or temporary; it is unconditional and permanent. That doesnâ€™t mean we have a license to sin just so we can go back and take advantage of Godâ€™s mercy well and dip our sins into it. The Apostle Paul demolished that idea when he explained the notion to the Romans:
â€œWhat 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?â€ (Romans 6:1-2)
So then why does God forgive us for our sins? One, His only begotten Son died for our sins; paid the wages of sin as Paul writes of in Romans 6:23. Second, God loves us and that is why He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins as Jesus explained in John 3:16. Lastly, God forgives us our sins because He has promised to do so and His promises are true and trustworthy:
â€œI, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.â€ (Isaiah 43:25)
God not only removes our sins from us as from as the east is from the west, but He doesnâ€™t remember them. Somehow in Godâ€™s omniscience He no longer remembers our sins. Humanly, I can forgive someoneâ€™s sins but it is quite another thing for me to forget them. In fact, should that actually happen I must give credit where credit is do; it is the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Casting Crowns does a great song titled â€œEast to Westâ€ where it speaks of the struggle we face as Christians trying to remember Godâ€™s great forgiveness and forgetfulness when it comes to our sins. One part of the song sums up what many Christians face:
I start the day, the war begins, endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I’m in
Today I feel like I’m just one mistake away from You leaving me this way
I love the Old Testament because God doesnâ€™t present His chosen people as a perfect people; quite the contrary. Israel rebelled over and over again against God and yet His mercy always wins out when His people repent. God promise of forgiveness, grace, and mercy are always true. We need not apply our way of dealing with others to how God deals with us. If our hearts are contrite and we seek true forgiveness for our sins, then God is faithful to forgive us as the Apostle John reminds us in 1 John 1:9.
It is good to go back and visit Davidâ€™s great psalm of repentance as we close:
â€œThe sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heartâ€”these, O God, You will not despise.â€ (Psalm 51:17)
Dear sinner (that would be all of us), God doesnâ€™t want your efforts or works as though you can earn your way into heaven. We are reminded in Isaiah 64:6 that â€œall our righteousness are like filthy rags.â€
No, what God wants from you is admit that you are a sinner. Most people have no problem doing that. Next, you must acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin. That can be a little more difficult to admit; that is where a broken and contrite heart come in. Then you must turn from your sin and turn to Jesus Christ; that is called repentance. Lastly, you must ask Jesus to come into your heart and to be Lord of your life; thatâ€™s called salvation.
It is actually that simple; it becomes easy when you humble yourself and take the steps Iâ€™ve written above. If youâ€™ve never done that, I pray you will today. If you have but youâ€™ve strayed away from God and think youâ€™ve made that one last mistake that God has left you in the mess you find yourself, then understand that He is ready for you to return to Him. God never left you; you left Him.
Go back to Him; do it now. Iâ€™ll be praying for you.
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Copyright Â© 2014 David Jeffers