Understanding the forgiveness of God is crucial to developing our relationship with him as a son or daughter. For example, if you believe that someone is angry with you or holding something against you, you feel awkward around that person. You walk on egg shells. Eventually you may get angry that the person seems to hold a grudge against you. Most likely you’ll spend your days worrying about what you did to the person and how you can make amends. Basically, you just aren’t relaxed and the relationship is strained.
Guess what? God isn’t like humans. Isn’t that fantastic? The Bible is the Teacher’s Edition into our heavenly Father’s heart regarding forgiveness. What do I mean by the “Teacher’s Edition?” When I was in high school, I stumbled across a teacher’s edition algebra book. To my surprise, the answers to all of the math problems were in red. I was so EXCITED. I was going to get 100 on all of my homework. The challenge came when I had to show how I arrived at my answer. I was out of luck. The Teacher’s Edition only had the answers. Much to my sadness, I also realized that I had the first edition of the math book and my class used the second edition. The problem sets had changed.
Regardless, it was interesting to have the answer first and then work my way backwards. Guess what? God gives us the answer regarding his forgiveness before we even ask. Let’s take a look at some scriptures.
Here is a conversation between Jesus and his disciple Peter.
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.”
If I were Peter I would hope that no one was around to hear that but me! Jesus can’t be serious?! How could Jesus preach this type of radical forgiveness? Next thing you know people will be taking advantage of you all the time. They would know ahead of time that forgiveness is available even before they ask. But, that’s what God does for us.
In Matthew 9:2 and Luke 7:48 Jesus forgave a paralyzed man and prostitute and they hadn’t even asked for forgiveness! Here is a key scripture to review.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
God provided a path to forgiveness before we were even aware or even cared about Him. When we were at our worst, God was giving his best. I can see why David wrote a Psalm praising God for this very blessing.
Psalm 103:1-4, 11-12
Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.
For 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.
When you come to God, you can approach him with a settled heart regarding your relationship with him. Why is that important? It affects your faith. You cannot have confidence in your prayers if you believe that God is holding something against you. Period! How do I know that? Galatians 5 says that our faith works by love. Our faith cannot work by fear. You might ask ”Is it His love for us or our love for Him that makes faith work?” The answer is “Yes!” to both of those questions.
Why does God do this for us? God is LOVE! (1 John 4) Paul describes God’s love as one that doesn’t hold grudges. (1 Corinthians 13:5)
Isaiah 43:24b – 25
But you have burdened Me with your sins, You have wearied Me with your iniquities. “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.“
The main reason he forgives us is for HIS OWN SAKE!!! What???!! God doesn’t need any forgiveness because He is perfect. What does he mean by that? There can be only one reason. Relationship! God doesn’t want any interference in His relationship with you. Unforgiveness kills relationships.
When you screw up God wants you to be confident that his forgiveness is sure. Let that sink in. Does that make you want to run away from God or run to Him when you have caused a mess?
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Is there a smile coming over your face? There should be.
Here is one last Scripture that will be a teaser for our next post. We are going to look at how God’s forgiveness can cause a blasphemer and a murderer to complete change to become two of God’s greatest advocates.
Psalm 130:3-4 3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
He’s a good, good father!