There are to many people who think they are beyond God’s forgiveness. They believe that they have done too many bad things for God to want them, or forgive them. That is a lie, God’s love is greater than your sin. It is the truth in God’s word we must believe, not our emotions that can mislead us.
John 8:32; “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
What and where are the teachings? The bible, God’s love letter to humankind.
The lie that God won’t forgive you comes from our enemy Satan. His strategy is to keep us from knowing God’s love for us. Failing that, he wants to keep us under such doubt and condemnation, that we are miserable and ineffectual for God.
John 10:10; “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.”
2 Corinthians 4:4; “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.”
John 8:44; “He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.“ – Jesus
One of the truths Satan doesn’t want you to know is that you are loved and God desires to save you.
2 Peter 3:9; “…he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
2 Samuel 14:14; “Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.”
Ezekiel 33:11; “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness,… Why should you die?”
1 Timothy 2:3-5; “This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.”
God’s love is endless and his forgiveness is a free gift if we would only accept it.
Jeremiah 31:3; “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
Romans 5:8; “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
Ephesians 2:8-10; “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
John 6:44; “For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me,“ – Jesus
You see, “while we were still sinners”, he saved us. There is no need to “clean up” before coming to God. We can’t anyway; it is the power of God who cleans us up from the inside out. Our salvation and righteousness has nothing to do with anything we can do for him. We cannot earn his acceptance. God accepts us completely when we accept him.
If you are feeling a pull towards God, or wondering if he is truly real or not, that is God drawing you. It makes no difference what you may have done, God knows and he is calling you anyway. He wouldn’t be doing that if he didn’t want you. Let’s look at some great men and woman of the bible who really messed up, just like we do.
King David was a man after God’s own heart.
Acts 13:22; “But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart.”
Psalm 119:97-99; “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.”
David is a pillar of the bible, a man after God’s own heart that knew, studied, meditated on and loved God’s word. Yet he committed adultery with Bathsheba, got her pregnant, then tried to hide his misdeeds by having her husband Uriah killed [Samuel Chapter 2]. David committed willful ongoing rebellion for over a year before he repented and turned back to God. He allowed himself to be seduced by pride, fame and success as King of Israel.
Apostle Peter denies knowing Jesus three times
Luke 22:56-62; “A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!” But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!” After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!” “No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted. About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.” But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.”
Peter told Jesus he would die with him if need be, yet he denied knowing him three times as his faith failed him. Jesus knew in advance Peter would do this and told him when he turned back to strengthen others. He is clearly forgiven for his weak faith. We are told in scripture that even when our faith fails, God remains faithful.
Luke 22:31-32; “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”– Jesus
2 Timothy 2:13; “if we are faithless, he remains faithful,… “
Tamar the prostitute
In Matthew chapter one, we see Tamar listed in the genealogy of Jesus himself. She prostituted herself and became pregnant by her father in-law Judah, then gave birth to Perez, who is listed in the line of Jesus [Genesis chapter 38].
Abraham tired of waiting for God
God told Abraham he would have a son. A long time past and Sarah had not yet become pregnant, so Abraham took her maid servant Hagar as his wife and she gave birth to a son named Ishmael. Like so many of us, Abraham tried to bring about God’s will by human effort.
The Middle East is suffering the consequences of Abraham and Sarah’s actions to this day. Ishmael’s descendants [Ishmaelites] became today’s Arab peoples. Ishmael is one of Islam’s patriarchs and being Abraham’s first born, Islam claims God’s promises to Abraham. Though God said the promise is for Isaac, through Sarah, not Hagar. Thus, the conflict between Isaac’s Jewish descendants and Ishmael’s Arab descendants was born.
Genesis 17:19-21; “Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.”
Genesis 21:12-13; “But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”
Many of God’s prophets suffered from rebelliousness [Jonah], fear and depression.
1 Kings 19:4; “Then he [Elijah] went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die.”
Jonah 1:3; “But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.”
The point I am trying to convey, is that we are all messed up and continue to mess up. We are all in need of God’s continual mercy and forgiveness because not one of us is perfect. We get tired, we are deceived and follow promptings that sometimes are not our own. [See Is Satan Real]. We rebel as pride leads us from God’s way to follow our own way because we trust our own feelings instead of God’s word.
In the book of Numbers chapter 20, Moses disobeyed God’s direct command. He apparently did not trust what God had told him. He was forgiven, though it cost him entry into the promise land with the Israelites.
Numbers 20:12; “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
The Apostle Paul
Paul hunted down Christians, threw them in prison, beat them and stood by while they were murdered.
Acts 22:19-20; “But Lord,’ I argued, ‘they certainly know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. And I was in complete agreement when your witness Stephen was killed. I stood by and kept the coats they took off when they stoned him.’”
It is clear in scripture that we are no different than those of great faith. They too experienced fear, deception, anger and even doubt. Some committed adultery and even murder but still found forgiveness after facing their sin and accepting their responsibility for it. The men and woman were not great, it was God working through them. He can do great things through anyone who lives for him.
James 5:16-18; “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
It isn’t us, it is God in us.
ALL HEAVEN IS WORKING ON OUR BEHALF
When you put your life in God’s hands by trusting and believing him, all of heaven begins to work on your behalf. It is God who enables his children to stand against sin, it is not our own effort, and that is why we can be confident of our salvation. It is a free gift, provided to us by God himself.
Romans 14:4; “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.”
Romans 8:28; “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
This doesn’t mean only good things will happen once you give your life to God, it means that he will turn even bad things that happen to us into something good if we continue to trust him.
Genesis 50:19-20; “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Romans 8:26; “the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us”
1 Corinthians 3:16; “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?”
1 John 4:4; “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”
God gives us his Holy Spirit who prays when we don’t know what to pray and gives us the strength to overcome that which comes against us. In addition to the Holy Spirit God sends his angels to minister to those who are his children. We don’t pray to angels or worship them, they are provided to us from God to help us.
Hebrews 1:14; “Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.”
Then there is Jesus himself who is in heaven interceding for us. He is our lawyer before God the Father, reminding Satan who accuses us that we have been forgiven and our debt has been paid.
Romans 8:32-34; “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”
Once we accept Jesus Christ, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, the angels and Jesus are all working on our behalf.
You are not good enough, I am not good enough, and the saints of old were not good enough to earn a place with God in his kingdom. God loves us because he made us in his own image [Genesis 1:26] and nothing can separate us from that love. We cannot disappoint him because he knows everything we have ever done, and everything we will every do, yet he still calls us to be with him.
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Not only is there nothing that can separate us from God’s love, there is no sin that can keep us from God’s forgiveness. Not lying, not adultery, not stealing or murder. God’s forgiveness is available to us all.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean we are absolved from the consequences of our actions, but it means that there is mercy in the life to come for those who are genuinely repentant of those actions.
Acts 13:38-39; “Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through this one forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by this one everyone who believes is justified from everything from which the law of Moses could not justify you.”
Titus 2:13:14; “while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin,…”
1 John 1:8-9; “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
God has done all the work. He called us, he justified us and he alone makes us holy. We are not perfect nor can we be and that is precisely why God’s grace is so amazing.
he LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the LORD remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children
of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!
Crowder Band 2015 GMA Dove Awards