Forgiveness

One of the most amazing things about Salvation and also one of the biggest reasons that Jesus came down to this Earth is so that we would have forgiveness of sins. Yet sometimes it is hard for us to accept the forgiveness given to us, and we dwell on all the bad things that we have done in our life. It can happen to anyone, and that is exactly what Satan wants.

Forgiveness for ourselves is a lot harder to do than to accept forgiveness. If Satan can trap us in this downward spiral of doubting and depression of past sins then we cannot focus on helping others and also furthering our walk with Christ. So I guess the biggest question people have is how can we know that our sins have been forgiven and we no longer have to worry about past deeds?

Do we get some magical feeling that all our past wrongs are now forgiven? Or is it much easier than that?

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There are many, many examples in the Bible about forgiveness. One of the reasons the Lord had those bad things written in the Bible is because He wanted future generations to know that He is willing and able to forgive abundantly.

Look at the story of King David, he committed adultery and then had the husband killed in battle to cover up his deeds. Yet the Lord forgave him as he went before the Lord with earnest supplication, he wasn’t just sorry he got caught, he was truly repentant for the wrong that he had done. You can read the full story for yourself, it starts in 2 Samuel 11.

This passage in David’s history is full of significance to the repenting sinner. It is one of the most forcible illustrations given us of the struggles and temptations of humanity, and of genuine repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Through all the ages it has proved a source of encouragement to souls that, having fallen into sin, were struggling under the burden of their guilt. Thousands of the children of God, who have been betrayed into sin, when ready to give up to despair have remembered how David’s sincere repentance and confession were accepted by God, notwithstanding he suffered for his transgression; and they also have taken courage to repent and try again to walk in the way of God’s commandments. {PP 726.3}
Whoever under the reproof of God will humble the soul with confession and repentance, as did David, may be sure that there is hope for him. Whoever will in faith accept God’s promises, will find pardon. The Lord will never cast away one truly repentant soul. He has given this promise: “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” Isaiah 27:5. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7. {PP 726.4}

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Which also brings me to another question, what is the difference between true repentance or just being sorry that you were caught doing something that you weren’t supposed to? We will get into that in a little while.

You may also remember the time when Peter came to Christ and asked how many times we are to forgive and here is what Jesus said:

Matthew 18:22 – Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Read the full story in Matthew 18; the parable Jesus gives is very powerful. It shows us how important it is not just to ask for forgiveness but to give it to others as well. When we hang onto hurt and anger caused by someone else it hurts yourself. How can we expect to enter into the kingdom of heaven still holding a chip on our shoulder?

Matthew 6:14, 15 –  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

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Ephesians 4:32 – And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

We need to examine our hearts as a preparation for coming before God in prayer, that we may know what manner of spirit we are of. If we do not forgive those who have trespassed against us, our prayers for forgiveness will not be heard. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” When as sinners we approach the mercy-seat, we cannot express the sentiment of this petition without forgiveness in our hearts for all who have done us an injury. Upon this petition Jesus makes a comment: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Signs of the Times, August 21, 1884.)

You get the idea, with that I’m going to go back to give one more example of someone in the Bible who got forgiveness. We all know him, Paul, before his conversion his name was Saul and he went around killing and capturing the saints to put them in prison. He literally had to be kicked off his horse in the middle of the road and the Lord to appear before him before he realized the error of his ways.

He spent 3 days praying and fasting, repenting for his sins and being blind in the process. Then he was given his vision back from the Lord and was baptized and changed his name to Paul. We all know after that everything that he did for the Lord and it is an amazing story of conversion. You can read his full story of conversion starting in Acts chapter 9.

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The apostle could never forget his conversion from a persecutor of all who believe on Christ, to a believer in Him. What a bearing this conversion had on all his afterlife! What an encouragement it was as he worked on the side of Him whom he once ridiculed and despised. He could never forget the assurance conveyed to him in the first part of his ministry. He could speak intelligently because he had an experience, a personal knowledge, of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had a living, abiding faith, for he cultivated a sense of the presence of Christ in all his works. He received strength in prayer, and as a faithful soldier of Christ he ever looked to his Captain for orders. No amount of obstacles piled up before him, could cause him to regard the work as an impossibility, for he realized that “all things are possible to them that believe” (MS 114, 1897).

In every place where the apostle Paul was called to go after his conversion, he gave a vivid presentation of the ministration of heavenly angels in his conversion (MS 29, 1900).

Jesus gave us the parable of the Prodigal Son as a representation of forgiveness. Luke 15:11-32 gives the full parable, read it on your own time and see for yourself what that parable is.

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In the light of divine revelation, through the atoning Sacrifice, we may see the glorious plan of redemption whereby our sins are pardoned, and we drawn near to the heart of infinite love. We see how God can retain all his justice, and yet pardon the transgressor of his law. And we are not simply forgiven, but we are accepted of God through the Beloved. The plan of redemption is not merely a way of escape from the penalty of transgression, but through it the sinner is forgiven his sins, and will be finally received into heaven,–not as a forgiven culprit pardoned and released from captivity, yet looked upon with suspicion and not admitted to friendship and trust; but welcomed as a child, and taken back into fullest confidence. The sacrifice of our Saviour has made ample provision for every repenting, believing soul. We are saved because God loves the purchase of the blood of Christ; and not only will he pardon the repentant sinner, not only will he permit him to enter heaven, but he, the Father of mercies, will wait at the very gates of heaven to welcome us, to give us an abundant entrance to the mansions of the blest. Oh what love, what wondrous love the Father has shown in the gift of his beloved Son for this fallen race! And this Sacrifice is a channel for the outflow of his infinite love, that all who believe on Jesus Christ may, like the prodigal son, receive full and free restoration to the favor of Heaven. {RH, September 21, 1886 par. 12}
Have we not grand themes for thought, and a solid foundation for our faith? What more can we ask of God than what he has already given us? Oh the love, the infinite love of our blessed Lord, to be our sacrifice! What joy should fill the heart of the Christian, and what expressions of gratitude be heard from his lips! that through the blood of Jesus it is possible for us to gain the love of God, to be one with him. If by living faith we accept this wonderful salvation, we shall never perish as guilty transgressors of God’s holy immutable law. Believing on the Son, we shall be obedient to all of the Father’s commandments, and have life through Jesus Christ. {RH, September 21, 1886 par. 13}
But many fail to act upon this faith, and therefore God is dishonored. They go about as if under a weight of woe and condemnation, when they might have peace and comfort and hope and fullness of joy. If they would but bring Jesus into their life, they might receive the rich blessings in store for them. When we have such daily manifestations of God’s love to us, why should we continually act as if suspicious of him? Rather, let us honor him by implicit belief in his word. {RH, September 21, 1886 par. 14}

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Here are some wonderful promises you can claim if you are feeling despondent for the wrongs that you have done.

Psalm 86:5 – For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

Colossians 1:14 – In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Daniel 9:9 – To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

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Ephesians 1:7 – In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Psalm 103:3 – Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

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

Acts 3:19 – Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

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Philippians 4:6-8 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Some seem to feel that they must be on probation and must prove to the Lord that they are reformed, before they can claim His blessing. But these dear souls may claim the blessing even now. They must have His grace, the Spirit of Christ, to help their infirmities, or they cannot form a Christian character. Jesus loves to have us come to Him, just as we are—sinful, helpless, dependent. {CCh 56.4}
Repentance, as well as forgiveness, is the gift of God through Christ. It is through the influence of the Holy Spirit that we are convicted of sin, and feel our need of pardon. None but the contrite are forgiven; but it is the grace of God that makes the heart penitent. He is acquainted with all our weaknesses and infirmities, and He will help us. Darkness and discouragement will sometimes come upon the soul and threaten to overwhelm us, but we should not cast away our confidence. We must keep the eye fixed on Jesus, feeling or no feeling. We should seek to faithfully perform every known duty, and then calmly rest in the promises of God. {CCh 56.5}

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At times a deep sense of our unworthiness will send a thrill of terror through the soul, but this is no evidence that God has changed toward us, or we toward God. No effort should be made to rein the mind up to a certain intensity of emotion. We may not feel today the peace and joy which we felt yesterday; but we should by faith grasp the hand of Christ, and trust Him as fully in the darkness as in the light. {CCh 57.1}
By faith look upon the crowns laid up for those who shall overcome; listen to the exultant song of the redeemed, Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain and hast redeemed us to God! Endeavor to regard these scenes as real. {CCh 57.2}
If we would permit our minds to dwell more upon Christ and the heavenly world, we should find a powerful stimulus and support in fighting the battles of the Lord. Pride and love of the world will lose their power as we contemplate the glories of that better land so soon to be our home. Beside the loveliness of Christ, all earthly attractions will seem of little worth. {CCh 57.3}

The living oracles do not teach that the sinner must repent before he can heed the invitation of Christ: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Men must come to Christ because they see him as their Saviour, their only helper, that they may be enabled to repent; for if they could repent without coming to Christ, they could also be saved without Christ. It is the virtue that goes forth from Christ that leads to genuine repentance. Peter makes the matter clear in his statement to the Israelites, when he says, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Repentance is as much the gift of Christ as is forgiveness, and it cannot be found in the heart where Jesus has not been at work. We can no more repent without the Spirit of Christ to awaken the conscience, than we can be pardoned without Christ. Christ draws the sinner by the exhibition of his love upon the cross, and this softens the heart, impresses the mind, and inspires contrition and repentance in the soul. {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 3}

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Forgiveness is a gift from God, and a precious gift at that! All we need to do is to come to Jesus, and yes sometimes wrestle as did Jacob did – Genesis 32: 22-32.

True repentance is not just realizing you need a Savior it is also letting go of those things that you used to do. You are not just sorry because you got caught but you put away that sin, with the Lord’s help. It is a day by day, moment by moment experience. We cannot do this alone.

Satan was sorry after he got kicked out of heaven, not because he was truly sorry but because he was sorry for the things he had lost, he was not truly repentant.

The law of God is an agent in every genuine conversion. There can be no true repentance without conviction of sin. The Scriptures declare that “sin is the transgression of the law,” [1 John 3:4.] and that “by the law is the knowledge of sin.” [Romans 3:20.] In order to see his guilt, the sinner must test his character by God’s great standard of righteousness. To discover his defects, he must look into the mirror of the divine statutes. But while the law reveals his sins, it provides no remedy. The gospel of Christ alone can offer pardon. In order to stand forgiven, the sinner must exercise repentance toward God, whose law has been transgressed, and faith in Christ, his atoning sacrifice. Without true repentance, there can be no true conversion. Many are deceived here, and too often their entire experience proves to be a deception. This is why so many who are joined to the church have never been joined to Christ. {4SP 297.3}

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“The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” [Romans 8:7.] In the new birth, the heart is renewed by divine grace, and brought into harmony with God as it is brought into subjection to his law. When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has passed from death unto life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression and rebellion to obedience and loyalty. The old life of alienation from God has ended; the new life of reconciliation, of faith and love, has begun. Then will “the righteousness of the law” “be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” [Romans 8:4.] {4SP 298.1}

We must have that true repentance, forsaking all the things of our old lives. Accepting the forgiveness of our sins and holding onto the promises of the Bible. Rebuking the Devil and quoting the Bible verses out loud, when he tries to tell you that you aren’t good enough.

There is still time for repentance, but not for long, the door of probation is about to close. Remember the parable of the Ten Virgins. Now is the time, don’t put it off anymore, for you don’t know what tomorrow holds. Life is not guaranteed. Prayer is powerful and if necessary the Lord would send every angel out of heaven to keep you out of sin’s grasp and to keep you from temptation. Jesus is stronger than the Devil always remember that!

I want to be truly repentant and accept the gift of forgiveness, don’t you? Read these verses as well: Isaiah 1:18; Psalm 103:12; & Hebrews 8:12 and the many other verses as well. There is so much more in the Bible and SOP, so go read for yourself and hid them in your heart. Study to show yourself approved…
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