“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV UK)
One of the hardest things we as Christians have to believe is that God has forgiven us. We know it’s true in theory, but when it comes down to the practical, everyday situations of life, we so often behave as if it’s not.
To forgive totally and without reservation is counter to our nature. I am sure you remember the discussion between Jesus and his disciples about how many times we should forgive someone who sins against us. He told them to forgive again—and again—and again—if necessary.
It’s hard to fathom that level of forgiveness. We’re not capable of it, so it’s difficult for us to comprehend that God is. We often forget that his forgiveness is not provisional. We feel that although God says he has removed our sins, he’s really waiting to punish us if we fail to live up to his standards.
This is the way we tend to forgive. We behave like trick birthday candles. When you try to blow them out, they light up again. No matter how hard you try to blow them out—they keep coming back. These candles are a good representation of how we tend to see ourselves as forgiven, and how we forgive others. But that is not how Divine forgiveness works. When we repent of our sins, God forgives and forgets. There is no further penalty, no negotiating, no resentment awaiting further judgment.
God does not want to think of you as a sinner. He sees you for what you truly are—a repentant human being, cleansed of all guilt, paid for and redeemed by Jesus. Remember what John the Baptist said of Jesus?“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”(John 1:29). He does not temporarily set sin aside or just hide it.
God forgives totally, and that is how he wants us to see ourselves—and others—even though we are still imperfect.
When we ask for God’s forgiveness—it is given.
Merciful Father, we ‘know’ that we are forgiven, but we need that constant reassurance you give us that this is really so. Help us to accept that your mercy is not limited, but is extended to us all the time we seek your will and your way of life. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author: Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.