I love talking about God’s forgiveness, don’t you? Everything I’ve ever done (or will do) wrong is covered by God’s forgiveness, thus giving me a free pass to heaven. It’s Christianity 101! We often overlook, however, that God’s forgiveness necessarily implies that we have sinned, and that our repentance is a blessing which allows us to easily see God’s faithfulness.
Let’s think about our sin differently. Imagine that a terrible crime has been committed, and the victim immediately forgives the perpetrator. The criminal is ecstatic about being forgiven and boasts about their newfound freedom. Isn’t there something wrong with the criminal celebrating deliverance from a crime for which they refuse to take responsibility? Yet, we do that continually to God, and it’s no less offensive to Him.
When we speak of God’s forgiveness without acknowledging our sin, it’s like using a calculator before learning how to do arithmetic. You have no idea how great the remedy is when you don’t know what it’s saving you from! Here’s what John and Paul are telling us today: “..You, who were DEAD in your trespasses [sin]…”; “… If you say you have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness [sin], we lie…”; “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves…”; “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar…” The common thread here is that forgiveness is necessary because of our sin… since “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all…” (God is Holy), our sin requires God to act. And boy, did He act!
God’s word is SCREAMING at us that forgiveness and repentance are two sides of the same coin. Our repentance actually increases our joy by making God’s free gift MORE of a blessing once we realize where we’d be without it! Here is where God’s faithfulness REALLY shines… when we humbly come before God’s throne to repent of our sin, we are ALWAYS forgiven by a loving, merciful God. In case you’re wondering; always means EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. To make His gift more complete, we are also promised that God “… will remember their [our] sins no more” (Heb. 8:12). This is an amazing demonstration of God’s faithfulness for His church; the acknowledgement that God is faithful to forgive our sins FOR ALL TIME; He is faithful unto eternity.
Here’s how you can use these promises: make repentance part of your daily prayer routine; ask God to make you aware of your sins, and actively speak those to God, asking Him to forgive you. Thank God for His amazing grace, and remember that you don’t need to be ashamed when you come before God, because He knows what you need before you even ask it (Matt 6:8). There can be no shame when God promises that your sin is NOT held against you! Praise God that He is faithful to forgive!