Forgiven: Yesterday, today and forever

Recently, I heard about a man who won a medal in life’s great race – he gave his life to Jesus.

Coming from an abusive home, he began using drugs as a young teenager.  His life went downhill until he put his faith in Jesus.  He is now fighting the hold that drugs had on his life through an addiction recovery program.

What struck me is he still feels condemned for his past.

I am not surprised.  Many believers have trouble accepting that they have been forgiven by God for their sins – past, present and future.

I put myself in that camp – at least until a few years ago.

Most believers feel that God has forgiven them for the sins they committed before they allowed Jesus to enter their lives.  But many don’t believe he continues to forgive them for the sins they still commit today.

The other day, a friend gently questioned my view, suggesting that people will continue to do wrong if they feel they are already forgiven for sins.

It is a good point.  It is typical of our upbringing – we need the fear of punishment to keep us from breaking the rules.

But, that view of God runs counter to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  Did Christ die for only part of my sins?  Does that mean I have to be good enough to deserve forgiveness for my sins today?  If so, I have no hope because I can never be good enough for God.

The apostle Paul says in Ephesians 1:4: “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.”

For me, the last three words – “in his eyes” – say a great deal.  God is not looking at me through my eyes or the eyes of those around me.  When he looks at me, he sees Jesus who died for my sins.

It is true that I need to recognize – confess – when I fall down.  But I must not obsess about what I have done.  I need simply get back on my feet and continue following Jesus.  God has already forgiven me.

But what about my friend’s point?  Won’t I just sin more if I feel God has already forgiven me?

Not if I recognize what Jesus has already done for me.  If I know that God loved me so much that Jesus died for me, shouldn’t I be filled with gratitude?  Shouldn’t I love him more?  Shouldn’t I want to please him?  Shouldn’t that change the way I live?

I see this truth now.  Slowly, it is sinking into my heart.

Years ago, I accepted Christ’s Easter gift.  I was forgiven all my sins forever.

 

 

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