There are many times when people recognize the truth of the message of the Gospel, yet believe that they cannot be forgiven of sin. Perhaps you feel that you have sinned so terribly that you could never be forgiven of it. Is this so?
It is understandable why many people feel this way. Sin is a terrible matter, and many times you feel great guilt when you have wronged someone. That guilt can be healthy if it is a “godly grief”, one that leads to repentance from sin (2 Corinthians 7:10). If, however, the guilt leads to you sin further or try to hide, it will lead to death!
It is good for all of us to remember that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and there is no evidence from the Scriptures that God considers some sins to be “worse” than any other sins. We can have confidence from this, then, that all of us are on the same playing field, and no one is any worse off than anyone else: we have all sinned, and we all need redemption.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul teaches that even though some had committed great sin, whether through sexual immorality, lust for money, etc., they were still saved! The blood of the Lamb could cleanse them of their sins!
Paul himself is a great example from the Scriptures of one forgiven of great sin. He tells Timothy of himself in 1 Timothy 1:12-16:
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
Paul sheds some light on the reason why God would use such a violent enemy of the church as one of its messengers: so that you and I would be able to see an example of one who had sinned greatly and yet found salvation in Christ Jesus. Paul considered himself the foremost of sinners; certainly you cannot consider yourself worse than Paul, who persecuted those who tried to follow God!
We are blessed to have an awesome God as our God, and we can have full confidence that He is able to forgive us of any wrongs we have committed. I do not believe that you want to believe that God is not capable of forgiving you of your sins, and I hope that you accept the witness of the Scriptures in that God is willing to forgive you of your sins. Is the issue, then, not that you are concerned that God will not forgive you of your sin, but in fact that you cannot forgive yourself for your sins? If this is the case, hear the witness of John in 1 John 3:19-20:
Hereby shall we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before him: because if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
If God can forgive you of your sins, and He certainly can, you can also forgive yourself of your sins. God will not hold them against you, and if you continue to hold them against yourself, they can lead to your condemnation (1 John 3:21). In Christ Jesus you will be able to end your past and begin your future.
Please, dear reader, hearken to the words of the inspired apostles and obey Christ today!
Ethan R. Longhenry