BellaVista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

07/12/2017

Randall Caselman

 

Finding Joy In His Forgiveness

 

  Some of us have real difficulty dealing with everyday life because we do not know how to accept God’s forgiveness. We need to be reminded that when God forgives, He forgets. It's over! It's a done deal! God doesn’t bring up our past, forgiven, sins again... Ever! He doesn't plug our past sins into His current relationship with us. So, we need to forget them, let them go! Somebody says, what you're saying is that we need to forgive ourselves. No! We do not have the ability to forgive ourselves. There is only One who can forgive our sins, and that's God. But we do need to accept His forgiveness.

 

  God wants to forgive! "I am He that blots out your transgressions and will remember your sins no more" (Isaiah 43.25). Other scriptures tell us He places them at the bottom of the seas, He removes them as far as the east is from the west. They're gone! The real and unique joy of Christianity is that we don't have to worry over forgiven sins any longer. We are the prodigal. God is the Father. God is running to us, wanting, anticipating, willing, to forgive us. "God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son" to make forgiveness possible. Catching a glimpse of such love should help us understand why there's rejoicing before the angels in heaven at our repentance. God chose to forgive us before the foundation of the world, worked through thousand of years to make the sending of His Son possible; no wonder there is rejoicing.

 

  Why is forgiveness necessary? Because without it we are separated from God. Isaiah says sin separates us from Him. Paul tells us we are all guilty. James lets us know that God and sin cannot coexist. "God cannot sin, be tempted to sin, nor does He tempt us." God and sin are mutually exclusive. This is why Jesus came to be our substitute, once for all, sacrifice. He came so that God could forgive us, live in us, and save us eternally. Thank God for His mercy and grace… Amen?

 

  Conditions for our forgiveness? We must be willing to admit that we are sinners in need of His pardon. Luke tells us that the prodigal son "came to himself." Some of us need to understand our pig-pen condition. Indeed, we’ll not change until we see the need. God has a better way of life for us, but we must come to ourselves and respond to His loving kindness. We must be changed people! It's called repentance, our agreeing with God on what sin is and be willing to forsake it.There is no joy for those of us who are unwilling to repent. This doesn't mean that we'll never sin again, or that we'll never be guilty of a particular sin again. It does mean that we are making an effort to forsake the sin. Repentance means we take ownership of our sin, acknowledge it, stop trying to justify it, stop excusing our behavior. A part of repentance is begging God's help, His intervention on our behalf, to help us forsake the sin that easily besets us, that so easily entangles us.

 

  Repentance is a product of our faith in God.The Hebrews’ writer says without such faith, we can never be pleasing to Him. Do we believe in God enough to meet His conditions for genuine forgiveness?

 

  Paul tells us that we must be clothed with Christ. Read it again: "For we are children of God by faith, for as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ, have been clothed with Christ" (Galatians 3.26-27). When this happens, God doesn’t see our sins, but sees the righteousness of His Son. This is forgiveness!!

 

  Well, how do we maintain our cleansing? I believe John tells us: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies, continues to cleanse, us from ALL our sins" (1 John 1.9 & 7). Walking in the light is the same as walking in His truth, in His Word. Jesus said: "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." (John 17.17). So, our continual cleansing by the blood of Jesus becomes a reality as we walk in the light of His Word.Think about it, no guilt, no regret, just forgiven. What a joy life becomes!

 

  So, with forgiveness, life can be enjoyed to its fullest, and we can have the hope of heaven.

 

 —Randall Caselman