God Can Forgive

God Can Forgive!

Dear Friends,

I was asked a few days ago by someone close to me who was hitting bottom, “Do you really believe that God can forgive anything”?  The short answer is, yes, I do.  But you don’t have to listen to what I think…  You can trust in what God’s Word tells us directly from Him!  When we feel guilty and desperate or are mortified by some of the things we’ve done, it’s natural to wonder if forgiveness is possible?

The conviction of sin can bring us to a place of feeling helpless and hopeless. Our shame tempts us to think that no one, much less God, could ever forgive us. So, we lose hope.  We wonder how we can go on. But here is the Good News; no one is beyond God’s forgiveness. No matter what we have done, we have not out-sinned God’s ability to forgive us.

The Bible tells us that all humans have sinned (Romans 3:23). Each of us is deserving of eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). No matter the sin—rape, murder, terrorism, adultery, theft, pride, gossip, jealousy, lying, prostitution, on and on, etc.—we deserve to be punished. It’s an all-or-nothing scenario. God does not judge us on whether our “good” outweighs our “bad,” but on whether we will accept His way of salvation.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16–18).

God made the one and only way of forgiveness, not just for some sins but for all of it. There is no sin that God cannot forgive. No matter what we’ve done, God will forgive us if you come to Him in faith.  Now, for many this has become a sticking point.  Many have a hard time accepting the truth of the Bible and the exclusive claims that it presents.  That’s why it’s called faith.  It’s not a blind faith, without proofs and contrary to all evidence, but neither is it a reach out and touch it beyond all doubt’s faith either.  There is a point in every believer’s life that we have to stop and admit, “I don’t understand it all, I cannot find all the answers but I see and know what God has done in and around me and I commit to put my faith and trust in Him alone for my salvation and surrender to follow His Word and His guidance in the rest of my life.”  God won’t forgive us because we promise to do better next time or because we make amends or because we do good deeds. No, He will forgive us because sinless Jesus paid the penalty for sin on our behalf and we accept that gift with gratitude and faith (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The worst thing anyone can do, is to fake it.  Don’t do that!  Rather, open your heart and mind and allow God the opportunity to make Himself real to you.  This may take time but be patient, His timing is perfect and He desires that all people be reconciled to Him.  He gives us the right to shut Him out but His love is relentless and He will pursue us no matter where we go or what we do.  It’s ok to ask questions and have discussions and debates as long as we are open and respectfully seeking Truth.  Paul tells us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).  We must pray to Him, pour out our heart, our hurts, fears and anxieties…  We need to beg Him to convince us of His truth and then to strengthen our faith.  When we find that, we will have access to His power that can overcome any temptation this present kingdom of darkness throws at us!   

Now, God’s promise of protection does not guarantee that we will never know pain or loss, just consider our 2021!  Job’s story shows us that, although God is able to deliver us out of every physical calamity or trouble, it may not be His will to do so. Sometimes He uses trials to purify us. At these times, James says we should “count it pure joy” because, by allowing trials, God tests our faith to develop a deeper faith so that we persevere and grow to maturity and Christlikeness (James 1:2–3).  In other words, protecting us from trials is not always the best thing for us.

As well, God does not always shield us from the results of our own sins or the negative effects of the sins of others. Our world is fallen, and we will endure its hardships. Many believers endure persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Of course, Jesus assured His disciples and us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The truth is that even when we cannot see it, in every situation, God remains in control, and our sufferings have a limit. God will not allow us to be tested beyond our ability to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).   This year has pushed me personally past the point where I thought I would break, but God knew better and I am stronger than I was. 

Ultimately, no matter what happens in this world, heaven is the believer’s home. We are spiritually safe and sound for eternity. “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).  This has become my verse(s) for this coming year.  I am intentionally applying it to my life and ministry.  Maybe you can hold on to it as well?  I know that as I draw near to God and trust His protection, I invite His work in my life.  When I do that, I know (I have faith) that He will accomplish His good purposes in my life (Romans 8:28–39).  That is the type of hope and peace that I long for you to experience long term.  It doesn’t rely on money or companions or material things but looks to the only One who is always faithful to forgive us when we fail.

Only by Grace!

Pastor Mike