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Forgiveness is critical because – you can never confidently come into God’s presence if you don’t know and believe that your debts have been forgiven.
You need to know and believe that God has forgiven you of all your sins.
Psalm 86:5 “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” NKJV
“What is forgiveness?” We first need to understand what forgiveness is – before we can look at why it is necessary.
Forgiveness: Strong’s #5483 To do a favour, show kindness unconditionally, give freely, grant forgiveness, forgive freely. The word is from the same root as charis, “grace” (act merciful, compassionate toward).
Now that we know what forgiveness is, we need to know what we have been forgiven of. We have been forgiven of our sin.
Sin: meaning “to miss the mark”, failure or wrongdoing.
Why does God forgive us?
1. Because God is good and his love endures forever. Psalm 136:1
2. Sin brings forth condemnation – which works guilt in us and guilt always feels the need for punishment. Sin >> Condemnation >> Guilt >> Punishment
3. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The consequences of your sin will kill relationships, friends and ultimately it will also kill you. (Remember that it is sin that kills you and not God)
God hates sin, He does not hate the sinner – but He hates sin. Not because God wants to spoil your fun, but because sin will kill you.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard”, and need to be forgiven. NLT
Forgiveness of sins comes through blood (Exodus 30:10) that is why God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to come and die for our sins so that we would not have to die (John 3:16).
Realize that God wants to forgive you:
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us argue this out … No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool.” NLT.
God wants to restore your conscience to what it was, before you sinned. You desperately need a clean conscience otherwise it will haunt you.
How do I receive forgiveness?
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.” NIV
You only need to confess your sins to God and then repent. Just say, “Lord please forgive me of doing …”, and believe that God has already forgiven you. That is why Jesus died, to cleanse us from unrighteousness.
Now you need to repent, this does not mean that you have to fall on your face and beg God to forgive you or that you have to walk across burning coals to obtain forgiveness. Repentance means the following:
Repentance: To change the way that you think about something.
You need to change the way that you think about forgiveness. Stop thinking that it is something that you have to earn, Jesus has already paid the price and we have been forgiven of all unrighteousness.
God wants you to forgive others, this is often very difficult as you may feel that you always have to be the one that forgives and forgives and forgives.
It is very important that we forgive others, because when we choose not to forgive we become bitter and resentful. Bitterness develops like a cancer and slowly spreads. Bitterness can make you very sick, that is why He does not wants us to be bitter.
That is why Jesus said that if you are in the temple and you remember that someone has a grudge against you, you should leave your gift (offering) and go and make things right with him (Matthew 5:23-24).
There is also a parable where Jesus tells us how much we are forgiven of and how we should forgive others the little that they owe us. Matthew 18:21-25 Jesus tells about a greedy servant, who owed the king $10 000 000! Now this servant would never in his whole life be able to repay such a debt, so the king had mercy on him (treated him better than he deserved) and forgave him. Now that is allot of debt to cancel.
God has forgiven us of our debt that was so great that we could not pay it. The debt of sin which can only be forgiven through blood. Your life was the only thing that you could give to be forgiven, but then you also had to be pure because only a pure offering could be accepted. That is why goats, lambs and oxen were offered to God in the Old Testament, their blood made atonement (covered) the sins of the people until Jesus could forgive them entirely.
The next part of the parable is how the servant meets someone that owes him money and how greedy he is, having been forgiven of a debt of $10 000 000 he will not let the $10 his friend owes him go. His friend even offers to pay it back, but this is not good enough for him and he has the poor man locked up in jail.
This is not the way that we should relate to people who are indebted to us. We are to forgive because we have been forgiven of an unbearable debt.
Forgiving is most definitely a process. Sometimes you may find that the pain that someone has caused does not go away the first time that you forgive them. With hurts that are very deep, it takes more time. It also takes prayer because we truly need to forgive them. We need to keep on forgiving people until thinking about them stops hurting. Only then can we truly say that we have forgiven them.
Choose to forgive yourself, don’t grind yourself because of the mistakes that you have made.
God has forgiven you and not even Jesus would condemn you. John 8:3-11 Jesus forgives a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery, in her culture she was deserving of being stoned to death.
A most gruesome end. He forgave her without her even asking for mercy or forgiveness. Jesus never called her names or ridiculed her or even asked her how she could possibly have dulled her conscience enough to be capable of doing such a thing. He just loved her.