How wonderful it is that we have a God who not only tells us what he expects, but also forgives when we fall short of those expectations. According to the Webster Dictionary, to forgive means “to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; pardon”. We have numerous examples of God’s forgiveness throughout the Bible. God is able to forgive what we would consider a little sin (such as a white lie) or a huge sin (such as murder). It is God’s desire to forgive us if we only repent.
God Forgives Us
In the book of Jonah we read how God sent his servant to tell the people of Nineveh of their wickedness and of their impending destruction. These people realized they had sinned against God, so they repented and God forgave them.
King David, described in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart, committed adultery with Bathsheba. Afraid that his sin would be made public, he had her husband Uriah killed in a battle. When David realized his sin he truly repented and asked for God’s forgiveness (2 Samuel 12:13).
Paul was a great writer, apostle, and example for us; yet he called himself “the worst sinner” (1 Timothy 1:13-15). Before he had become a Christian, Paul had persecuted Christ’s church in Jerusalem. He even stood by at the stoning of Steven. Paul had planned to go to Damascus to arrest more Christians, but Jesus appeared to him on the road and blinded him. When Paul realized his errors, he asked for forgiveness and repented. God forgave Paul’s sin and forgot his past.
We Must Forgive Others
Jesus said to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” We should be grateful that we have God’s forgiveness, but let us also remember the duty that we have to forgive others.
Even after all the torture that Jesus was put through on the cross, he forgave those who were killing him and asked God to do the same (Luke 23:34).
Forgiving others is a lesson we can actually learn from our children. Minutes after two kids have had a horrible fight, they become best friends again. They continue to play as though the fight had not occurred. This is true forgiveness. I am so glad that God is not in Heaven keeping score of all our previously forgiven sins. When He forgives us He does not remember them any more. We have a clean slate (Hebrews 8:12).
How To Obtain Forgiveness
If it weren’t for God’s grace and love for us which led him to send his Son to die on the cross, forgiveness would not be possible (Ephesians 1:7).
Take a good look at your own life. If you have never repented from your sins I would invite you to ask God for forgiveness. Peter preached the first sermon given in Christ’s church, in which he explained the divinity of Jesus and the unrighteousness of those listening. The people were convicted in their hearts and asked Peter what could be done for forgiveness: (Acts 2:38)
If you are a Christian, still examine your life. If there is any unconfessed sin in your life ask God to forgive you now (1 John 1:9).
We have a wonderful God who loves us more than we can understand and who wants us to be faithful children. We need to change the things in our lives that cause us to sin, and he will show us mercy (Ephesians 4:22-24).
We have an awesome God who tells us what he expects from us, forgives us when we fall short, forgets our sins, and shows us mercy (Micah 7:18).