The reality of forgiveness of sins and salvation is one most perplexing. In this publication I want to lay the foundation for the separation of forgiveness and salvation. In my experience this was a profound revelation and one I struggled to accept. I came to Christ at the age of 37, and I thought that believing he was God incarnate come down to earth for the salvation of mankind and that he died for my sins was all I had to do to get into heaven – to be saved. The more I read the more I learned this was not true. I will address salvation in part 3, but now let’s speak of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a gift, but we have to accept it
God forgives and he does so only through love, his love of us. God wants to forgive us, why else would he?
Micah 7: 18 Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
It is awesome to know that God, for thousands of years, has taken our sins and tossed them away. He forgives us and knows we are simple creatures. He is our father who wants what is best for us. We are children who, as simple as we are, must trust in him. How can we accept this forgiveness? All we have to do is open the present.
1 John 1: 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Matthew 6: 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
God is always ready to forgive us, we can have it this forgiveness if we admit we sinned. When we think we didn’t do anything wrong, then there is no gift to receive because we don’t accept it as a gift.
Forgiveness has two parts and God wants us to have it all
Also in order be forgiven, to be able to accept forgiveness, we have to forgive others. Our selfish nature inherently wants us to be forgiven always and to never forgive. However, the reality of forgiveness is that it is a two-way street. For us to have forgiveness requires we experience all of forgiveness. This means we receive forgiveness from God and we have to give forgiveness to others. In this way we truly experience and have forgiveness in us.
Consider a person who continually makes mistakes and falls short of your expectations. Yet, you forgive them time and again, showing patience. This is a hard task in itself, but now consider that this person is vindictive and resentful to others who fail him. You can see clearly that in this person they may be forgiven by you, but they do not have forgiveness in them. How would you then feel about them? Let us always strive to forgive others; in this way we know we have forgiveness.
Experiencing all of forgiveness is the second step to salvation
Here we are now, understanding our failings and the failings of others. When we forgive others, truly, we understand how hard it can be and the love it takes to do so. Realizing how easy it is to forgive our children because we love them, we can begin to understand that God’s forgiveness is based on love. As we understand this forgiveness and love, we can clearly see the path Jesus walked, the path of our salvation.
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, I stand before you as a sinner. I have and will sin in my life and I pray that I have the courage to bring those sins faithfully to your feet for forgiveness. I know that if I do you will cast those sins away. As I actively bring my sins to you for forgiveness I pray I can experience the act of forgiving and cast away the wrongs others do unto me. In this way I can understand you better. I pray that forgiveness becomes a part of who I am and in this way I can be closer to you. With a heart for you I pray these things, Amen.