by Keith Giles: All my life I’ve been told by my Sunday School Teachers…
Bible Teachers and Pastors that the only way to receive God’s forgiveness is to repent of my sins, confess my sins to God, and plead for forgiveness.
Even then, that forgiveness expires the moment I commit the next sin, which according to them is in about thirty seconds after I’ve prayed and asked for forgiveness.
So, obtaining, and maintaining, God’s forgiveness is essentially an endless merry-go-round of sinning, repenting, confessing, praying, receiving, and then sinning again, and round and round we go.
But, what if that’s not at all what we see in the Scriptures?
I mean, what if this constant hamster wheel of forgiveness is not only unnecessary, it’s actually not supported by Scripture at all, and in fact is something created by Church leaders to keep us in an endless loop of fear, shame and doubt?
Well, as you may have already guessed, that is exactly what I think has been going on in Christendom for a few thousand years now.
The evidence from the New Testament, and the Gospels especially, is actually really, REALLY Good News!
See, Jesus is the “exact representation of the Father” [Hebrews 1:3], and Jesus “only does what [he] sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does,” [John 5:19], and if we want to know what the Father is like, we just need to look at Jesus, [John 14].
So, what do we see Jesus doing? We see Jesus forgiving people. All sorts of people. All of the time. Almost none of them ever even ask Jesus for his forgiveness, he just forgives them right off the bat.
In fact, I invite you to read through the Gospels and underline all the times Jesus tells someone “Your sins are forgiven.” Then, take note of how quickly Jesus says this; usually before they’ve even opened their mouth to ask him anything at all.
Here’s the reality: Jesus forgives everyone. All the time. Therefore, God also forgives everyone. All the time.
How does Jesus respond to our sins? He forgives. Completely. Automatically. One hundred percent.
Jesus never waited for anyone to repent. Jesus never asked anyone to confess. Jesus never did anything but forgive everyone he met; every single time.
We are forgiven.
And, knowing that we are so completely and effortlessly forgiven is what empowers us to freely and extravagantly forgive those who harm us.
Freely we have received, and so freely we give.
Once we realize how loved we are, and how totally forgiven we are, it’s much easier to love others and forgive them when they sin against us.
See, God was, in Christ, not counting our sins against us, but reconciling the entire World to himself. Now, our only mission is to act as ambassadors of this message of extravagant forgiveness, as if God himself were making an appeal through us. [See 2 Cor. 5:19]
Jesus forgave even those who were murdering him on the cross. Who could ever be exempt from such wide open forgiveness as this?
You are loved. Your sins are forgiven.
Spread the word.