God Forgives :: by Ron and Nathele Graham

“For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin” (Psalm 38:18).

David took everything to the Lord. If he was joyful he sang praises to the Lord. If his enemies attacked, he took it to the Lord and found his strength in Him. If he did something wrong he humbly went to the Lord in repentance. The psalm cited above is a cry from David’s heart. He had done wrong in the sight of the Lord and he was truly sorry.

Whatever sin David had committed had caused sickness in him and he was suffering physically and in his soul. He doesn’t say what he had done wrong, but the point is, he was truly repentant. God, our Father, is always willing to forgive. He loves us even more than our earthly fathers and wants us to come to Him in all things…even when we need forgiveness.

“If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).

David was a man after God’s own heart, but he was just a man. Like all of us, he was a sinner. But he was deeply sorry when he committed sin. He knew that if God kept a tally sheet of sins nobody could stand before Him. Even one “little” sin is enough to put an insurmountable gulf between us and our Lord. David understood that God forgives sin and this forgiveness isn’t to be taken lightly. God forgives, but we need to humbly ask for His forgiveness.

We don’t have to learn to sin, it is in our nature. Even children have to be taught right from wrong. If they see a toy they like they take it even if another child is playing with it. When our children do wrong we expect them to say, “I’m sorry.” But that doesn’t mean the child feels remorse. He or she may just say the words because dad or mom insist on it. Saying, “I’m sorry” and meaning it—are two different things

True sorrow over a wrong comes from learning what is wrong behavior and having a desire to do right. Asking for forgiveness humbles the one who has done wrong, it eases the hurt of the one who has been wronged, and helps the wrong-doer to think twice before doing that same wrongful act again. When we accept Christ as our Savior it should become of the utmost importance to learn God’s ways.

When we fail Him, we need to go to Him and ask forgiveness. A child does not lose the love of his or her parents when they do wrong, but over time and through many apologies—the child will learn not to take the toy. In the same way God teaches us repentance, and even more than our earthly parents, He forgives us. He loves us more than we can imagine and when we sin we need to go to God with a repentant heart and ask Him to forgive us.

Like children, Christians need to learn God’s view of right and wrong. Christianity isn’t a list of rules and regulations, but it is faith and a way of life. When we accept Christ, our sins—past, present, and future are forgiven and our salvation is secure.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Yes, we continue to sin, but now we are covered by the blood of Christ. As we grow closer to Him we learn His ways and our desire should change from pleasing ourselves and living a humanistic life, to a strong desire to please God.

“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).

Prayerful study of our Bible will teach us how we should live and to recognize sin in our lives. When we sin we need to feel remorse and ask God to forgive us. Our human understanding may allow us to justify telling a lie, but to God a lie is sin. To human understanding anger toward another person may be justified, but to God it is a sin. When we sin we don’t need to confess to a priest or any other man, only to God.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

It is important to go to the one who we may have wronged and tell them we are sorry, but only true forgiveness comes from God. If someone has wronged us we need to forgive him. It isn’t always easy to forgive someone, especially if the hurt is deep, but every Christian needs to learn to forgive others. Forgiving others helps both parties to find peace with God. If we withhold forgiveness our anger and hurt will fester and become a stumbling block for us.

We like to think that God is required to forgive us an unlimited number of times, but that we mortals are only required to forgive once or twice and only if we feel like it. Jesus says otherwise:

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22).

That doesn’t mean that we keep count and when we have forgiven a person 490 times we can stop. No, “seventy times seven” is a way of saying there’s no limit on the number of times we are to forgive others. It isn’t always easy but it is always necessary.

It is important to remember that when we have done wrong, either against God or against our fellow man, that we should not to do it again. We need to learn from our mistakes. The Pharisees were always trying to trap Jesus in order to condemn Him. One day they brought an adulterer before Him and wanted Him to condemn her.

Yes, adultery is a sin and was punishable by death according to Jewish Law. Both parties, male and female, were to be stoned to death. The Pharisees only brought the woman to Jesus and seemingly overlooked the man’s part in the sin. Jesus would not condemn her but made the Pharisees acknowledge that they were not without sin and they quietly walked away.

The Pharisees had only condemnation in their hearts, but Jesus had compassion. Like all sin, her sin was against God and only God can truly forgive. Jesus could have condemned her because she had sinned, but instead He chose forgiveness. The Pharisees all left the scene and the woman alone stood before Jesus, and He asked who was there to accuse her.

“She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).

Jesus forgives us our sins, but we mustn’t forget His admonition to “…go, and sin no more.” We like the forgiveness part, but it is harder to stop sinning. The apostle Paul addressed this issue in his letter to the Christians in Rome.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2).

Remember Jesus’ words “…go, and sin no more.”

It is human nature to hold a grudge and wish evil on anyone who hurts us. The question is, what does Jesus tell us to do?

“But I say unto you, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you’” (Matthew 5:44).

These words were spoken by God Himself. We are told to forgive our enemies. Jesus is our example and even while He hung on the cross He asked that those who had abused Him and crucified Him be forgiven.

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots” (Luke 23:34).

What wondrous love He has for us. You see, He looked down upon the Romans who pounded the stakes into His hands and feet. He also looked down upon the Jews who falsely accused Him. This was the very reason He had entered His creation. His sacrifice on the cross…His shed blood…is where all sinners, both Jew and Gentile, find forgiveness.

It was my sin and yours that held Him on the cross and His words of forgiveness are for us, too. When we sin we need to humbly go to Him and ask Him to forgive us. Then, we need to forgive ourselves. Sometimes that is very difficult, especially if we think that the sin we have committed is so horrible in the sight of God that we can never be forgiven.

“Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47).

When we have truly accepted Him as our Savior the Holy Spirit is sealed in us. Even though we fail Him on many occasions, He is always willing to forgive us. Even though our sin is huge we need to learn from our failures and “…go and sin no more.” Forgive yourself, don’t repeat the sin, and serve Him.

Christians are people who have recognized that we are sinners and we can do nothing on our own to obtain salvation. Faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is what allows God to forgive your sins and mine. When we truly repent of our sins and accept His sacrifice on our behalf we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and our salvation is secure. We have to mean it, though.

We cannot be like the child who takes a toy and only says, “I’m sorry” in order to please his parents. If you reject His forgiveness or didn’t mean it when you said you accepted it, then you have chosen to spend eternity separated from Him. It is your choice.

I’m so thankful for Him and His love for me. Jesus, please forgive me when I fail You.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham