Have you ever fully thought about God’s forgiveness? About what it means that He has forgiven us?
I’m not good at forgiveness. I hold grudges. I say I forgive but then I don’t forget. I am not slow to anger and quick to forgive. In my sinful nature, I don’t want to forgive someone easily. They need to earn my forgiveness. I am so thankful that God’s forgiveness isn’t like mine.
Forgiveness is at the heart of our relationship with Christ. Through the forgiveness won for us on the cross, we are a part of God’s family. It’s an amazing gift that we receive through the Sacraments. Here are four verses to consider when thinking about God’s forgiveness toward us.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
You’re probably wondering why I chose this as the first verse. We often forget why we need forgiveness. We think our sinful nature isn’t important because we are forgiven, that we are free to do what we want and focus on that. We forget that “only God can judge me” means that He can and will judge us.
Now don’t get me wrong; I am not trying to put boundaries on the gift of forgiveness found at the cross. But when we see sin as okay or not-a-big-deal or when we minimize the fact that we have done wrong, we neglect Christ’s sacrifice. He came to earth as a suffering servant. He died a painful death so that you and I may have an abundant life. Although forgiveness comes to us freely and while we are covered and cleansed by Christ, we need to remember the WEIGHT and WAGES of sin.
Woah. That’s a lot of Law, I’ll admit. So I ask that in all of this, please remember that God’s love and your worth to His kingdom are NOT dependent upon your performance. And it is NOT required for Christ’s forgiveness.
So now let’s say you are in a situation where you have sinned and you want to know what to do next. The simple answer: repent. Turn and give it to the Lord, ask Him for forgiveness and help. Be held accountable. I would highly encourage you to talk to a pastor. He will not judge you.
As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
We do not have to live with the burden of shame that sin can cause. Again, it’s not that we don’t recognize sin’s seriousness or understand that sin will have earthly consequences, but we know that Jesus takes on our sin and removes it completely from us. When Christ lifts the shame, guilt, or darkness from our actions, we are able to move forward in our spiritual walk.
We know that we can take the burden of our sins to Jesus and that He is creating all things new. That we are being sanctified through the gifts He has given us. No matter how terrible our sin is, He promises that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). We know that the sin will remain a part of our story, but with Christ in the picture, we don’t have to dwell on it.
We see this in the account of the woman at the well in John 4. She is able to bring people to see Jesus as the Messiah because He knew what she had done. It is through her story of sin, while not celebrating it, that people see Christ. Reminder, this happens not through the act of sin itself but through the story of her past. It was not good that she sinned, but Christ turned what was a painful past into a story in which she could point to Him.
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
I once got into a loud fight with a good friend of mine. Some of our other friends witnessed this fight, and even though the original sin was between the two of us, our other friends were hurt by our behavior. I needed to ask for forgiveness from each of them as well as the original person I had hurt. Even though we have asked God for forgiveness and received it through the Sacraments, we still need to seek reconciliation with those around us.
Find the appropriate way to apologize and seek forgiveness. I believe that nothing hidden gets healed. Acting like everything is fine may seem okay, but that keeps it from being brought to the light so we can bear one another’s burdens.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.
The richness of forgiveness found in Christ means that we have redemption. We know that the story doesn’t end with us but Him. That He is the source of everything. Therefore, we must remember that this is God’s salvation story and He has brought us into that plan.
What does this mean? Looking at the verses following this passage, we see that His plan is “to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth” (v. 10). We see that through Jesus we can joyfully look forward to the day this comes to fruition and sin will no longer exist.
Forgiveness is a multi-faceted gift from God. And it flows from the cross.