Growing up, we all have this theory of forgiveness embedded into our heads. It’s like when you were playing with your sibling and it broke out into a name calling fight because he won the game of battleship. When mom finds out, you know what she made you do. You each had to apologize and respond by saying: “I’m sorry, I forgive you.” If you didn’t, well, you were either threatened to be put in the corner or mom would tie you to your sibling until you made up.
It was such a simple thing to say… “I forgive you” as a kid. We didn’t look into how being called a mean name by our sibling affected us. We didn’t dwell on the mistake that they made after they apologized. And quite honestly, we probably forgot all about it and went back to playing battleship like it never happened… except now you know not to do it or else you’ll get in trouble.
That is kind of how Christ’s forgiveness towards us works. But in a much more sincere and greater way. God is not One who harbors our sins and mistakes; quite the contrary. The Bible actually says: “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103.12 | “Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” Micah 7.19
Listen, our human nature is imperfect. We are sinners. Even once we’ve come to Christ we find ourselves approaching God quite often for His mercy and forgiveness. We are a people who NEED Jesus and who NEED the Mercy and Forgiveness of God. Period.
Similar to our childhood arguments, when we confess the wrong that we did against God, our Creator, He forgives us. Not just because He can, but because He wants to – no strings attached. We are His creation and He longs to see us prosper in the things that He has put before us. He paid the price for our sin when He was on the cross. Not only that, He experienced the full wrath of God and separation from God in that moment when He cried out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken (abandoned) Me? ” (Matthew 27.46) For a Savior to do that?! That’s MERCY. That’s forgiveness at its pinnacle. Because of that singular act, now we never have to experience that same separation and wrath from God. Mercy… what a gift!
In today’s culture we think of forgiveness as something that has to be earned. That we have to go through some type of “punishment” in order to truly receive it. Or we have to do some “work” to merit God’s forgiveness. But there is no cost to receive the forgiveness of Christ. There is no punishment waiting for you. There is no work you can do to ever earn it. God is the God of second chances.. and third chances.. and fourth chances.. and so on. It is all free. I’m living example and recipient!
Not only does Christ want to give us His forgiveness, and give it to us freely, remember… He also forgets our sin. He does not hold us to it. When you were 16 you may have asked your parents for a car. Let’s say they gave you one. A really nice one… a brand new one as a matter of fact. You loved it. But one night you weren’t paying attention and lost control of the vehicle. You spun out and hit a tree. You are perfectly fine, your new car on the other hand, is totaled. If you were to ask your parents to give you another brand new shiny car, they are most likely going to say no and you’ll get a hand-me-down, or no car at all. Why? Because they’re keeping in the back of their mind your car wreck.
The forgiveness of Christ is just the opposite. When we “wreck” or mess up and are forgiven and ask for another chance, the slate is wiped clean. We get to start fresh. He doesn’t hold it against us that we sinned in the first place. Isn’t that such a gracious thing for Him to do? Who else does that? What other God is doing what Jesus does?! He is seriously AMAZING!
We serve a gracious God who offers forgiveness at no cost. He holds no record of wrongs. There is no file in Heaven that has every sin we ever committed at the exact date and time it was committed – those would be some pretty big files.
So be encouraged! As we continue to learn about the “Miracle of Mercy” it is important to understand how our God is merciful and forgives us. Check out pastor Aaron’s sermon this week “Mercy Forgives” to learn why it is important to understand and accept the forgiveness of Christ. http://painesvilleag.com/the-miracle-of-mercy
Remember Church, just like with your sibling, God is going to forgive you and go right back to playing… well, you know what I mean. All with no cost to you and all in the name of love. WOW.
Writer, Blogger, College Student