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Perspectives

Will God Forgive Me?

By Robert Harrell

This a serious question, usually asked by a tormented soul — “Will God forgive me?”  Some of us have done things about which we are so ashamed.  If we think over those misdeeds for a long and protracted time, we may even wish to crawl under a heavy rock and die  — “Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!”   It may be that in your past, even your very recent past, you became involved in certain sordid activities or shameful relationships, and now you ask your closest confidant, “Do you think God will ever forgive me for that?”  Well, let me take you straight God’s Book for His answer, for He is clear on this all-important matter.  The Bible graciously and astoundingly says, “Yes! ”  Declares the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”  Troubled one, though your soul be like darkened waters, know that God of Heaven is a Merciful God!  He is a God who forgives sin!  Said the prophet Daniel, “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.”  Yes, He is righteous and holy, and, yes, His standards of truth and morality remain.  Still, He hears the contrite ones who call upon Him to overlook their transgressions.  There is another salutary Bible passage in John’s Gospel, chapter 8.  There we read of a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery and brought to Jesus for a decision as to what to do with her.  Some Jews said, “Now, master, the Law of Moses teaches we should stone such a one.  What do you say?”  There she was, this woeful woman; pitiful and utterly undone.  She was a stained soul, crumpled up before the Master as a discarded piece of scrawled-on paper.  Mark this: She lay before Him guilty and condemned.  Yet, surprisingly Jesus did not immediately respond to their inquiry but continued writing in the sand with his finger.  They badgered him more and more.  Finally, he straightened up and said to the men who brought her in, “You who are sinless, pick up a stone, and throw it at her first.”  He then resumed writing on the ground.  A singular hush followed.  The angry men looked at each other, and then at their rocks, and then thuds were heard from the fallen rocks as the men walked away.  Now it was only Jesus and the woman.  Does it not always come down to this — the Lord and our self?  Then asked the loving Jesus, “Woman where are they?  Does no one condemn you?”   She softly replied, “No one, Master.”  Then said Jesus, “Neither do I, go your way, and from now on do not sin.”

Some clerics, in their elevated pulpits and endeavors, prefer to put a stop after Jesus’ antecedent words: “Neither do I condemn you”  [Stop].  They say this is the loving, accepting position to take.  Nevertheless, Jesus said more: “. . . go, and from now on sin no more.”  If I want God to forgive me I must not only be sorry for my sins; I must stop sinning.  I must come with a truly repentant heart.  I must “go, and sin no more”.  It has been rightly said that the groundwork of Christianity is repentance.  I can be sorry that I have been found out — but that is not enough.  I can be sorry that I did what I did — but that is insufficient still.  This is but remorse.  I must go further, viz., I must turn from my sin as I turn to God.  This, and this alone, is how I find true forgiveness and lasting acceptance with God.

No matter what you have done, God will forgive you if you sincerely ask Him to.  You can go straight to God in prayer and ask for His forgiveness.  Your first prayer is the prayer of salvation:  “Forgive me, I have sinned against you.  I accept your Son’s sacrifice for my sins on the cross.  I turn from my old way and ask you to help me walk in a new way of living.  Amen.”  This does not have to be and more elaborate than that.  You do remember the thief on the cross, don’t you?  What did he do?  He simply gazed over to Jesus on the cross next to him and cried, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”   Know this: that moment, the man was forgiven!  That day, the man entered into paradise!

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Now you may be a sincere Christian, and you have confessed to God in the past, but now you find that you have once again wandered down the dark path of sin.  You’re like a traveler who has taken the wrong turn and who cannot now seem to find his way back. What you must do then is get back on the right track!  “How?”, you say.  I tell you: first, realize you’re going down the wrong road, then call out to God for help and pardon.  You must admit your transgressions and plead for mercy, and God will restore you once more to where you need to be.  Once you have confessed your sin to God, believe now that he has thrown it into the sea of His forgiveness.  For, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).  Stand on that promise now!

Standing on the promises, I cannot fall
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call
Resting in my Savior as my all in all
Standing on the promises of God

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