“I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget!” “I’ve forgiven them, but I’ll never speak to them again for as long as I live!” “I’ll forgive as long as they don’t do it again.” Forgiveness from our human perspective is limited. It’s just not in us by nature to forgive completely and unconditionally, no matter what. Remember Peter’s question to Jesus: “How many times shall I forgive my brother?” (Matt. 18:21).
What if God’s forgiveness were like that of people? What if He said, “OK, I’ll forgive your sins today, but that’s it, no more. You’ve reached your limit. Lie to your spouse, cheat in school, have a lustful thought tomorrow, and I won’t forgive”? What if He said, “I’ll forgive as long as you always put forth your best effort to be good?” It would be hopeless! Paul writes, “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Rom. 7:19). “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jer. 17:9).
Thankfully, God’s forgiveness is different. Amazingly, when God forgives, all sin is sent away and gone for good. It is not that He simply ignores it or excuses it. That can’t happen because God is holy and just. Where there is sin, it has to be punished with death. But “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us. All the guilt of all sin was put on Jesus. He suffered the punishment and satisfied God’s justice. The whole world is declared, “Not guilty” for Jesus’ sake. Sin is gone for good, sent away forever. Sin is gone for good, for the eternal good of all who believe.
We missed the mark of God’s holy will yesterday, and already this morning we have sinned against Him and our neighbor. We have no excuse, but we do have a Savior. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7). Believe it, it’s yours! And then let’s live it. With sin gone for good, may we just as freely and unconditionally forgive others.
See you tomorrow,