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.
Paid in Full
When Jesus died on the cross, the last thing He said was “it is finished,” and in the Greek, it essentially means “paid in full” (John 19:30). So my question is how many of our sins were ahead of us when Jesus died on the cross? The answer is all of them! Every single sin that we would commit would be hundreds of years in the future. Do you think Jesus’ death on the cross was enough to pay for our sins, which means that all our sins, including every past mistake we’ve made, would be forgiven? If my son came to me after committing something I told him to not do and asked me for forgiveness, would I keep bringing it up every time I spoke with him? Certainly not. In the same way, we don’t have to keep asking God over and over again to forgive us of certain sins that we have already asked to be forgiven, do we?
Do We Accept Forgiveness?
I can’t tell you the number of people I have spoken with who still feel like they’ve never been forgiven for things they’ve done in the past, even though they’ve asked God for forgiveness. They still carry around the heavy yoke of guilt and a burden that they were never intended to carry. This robs them of their joy, strips them of any witnessing they might do for the Lord, and loads them down with unnecessary guilt that they have absolutely no reason to still carry. When Isaiah saw a vision of the Lord and felt unworthy to speak with unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5), the Lord sent a seraphim to touch his lips and told him his sin is taken away and his guilt cleansed (Isaiah 6:6). That’s what forgiveness is. We who trust in Christ have been given the very righteousness of Christ, and that’s how God now sees us (2 Cor. 5:21). So why do some still feel overburdened and overwhelmed by guilt? God has forgiven them, but they won’t forgive themselves. Maybe it’s because they trust their feelings, which are highly subjective and subject to error, over what the Word of God objectively says–that our sins are all forgiven.
Washed and Cleansed
In Psalm 51, David’s great psalm of repentance, he asks God to wash away all his iniquity and cleanse him from all his sins (Psalm 51:2), to create in him a clean heart (Psalm 51:10), and to restore to him the joy of his salvation (Psalm 51:12), not to restore his salvation but the joy of his salvation, indicating that David thought he would not lose his salvation but the joy of it. David was forgiven, and he must have known it because he goes on to say that he will declare his praise and sing aloud of God’s righteousness (Psalm 51:14). Doesn’t that sound like David accepted God’s cleansing, for how can a guilty sinner who is condemned sing of God’s forgiveness like that if he has not truly been forgiven of his past mistakes? Remember that David had committed adultery of the heart, then adultery in the flesh, then conspiracy to commit murder, and then murder in the first degree, all of which were punishable by death. That’s about as serious as it could be, but later in David’s life, by reading the psalms, you could see that he didn’t carry this guilt around for his past mistakes. Guilt strips our joy away because we haven’t realized how forgiving our God truly is.
A Closing Prayer
You, Oh Father, are such a gracious God, rich in mercy and full of grace. By Your loving kindness, You sent Your Son to die for me; otherwise, I could never move beyond my guilt of the past and all the mistakes I’ve made and will yet make in the future. For such goodness of Yours, I give you thanks in Jesus’ name.
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