Thursday, December 15, 2022

Finding Forgiveness (1 John 1)

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Yesterday we briefly touched on a difficulty common to most Christians—the inability to accept forgiveness. This is especially true when people commit heinous sins or when they sadly repeat sins following sincere repentance. It is also common when a newly converted Christian commits a sin committed frequently before conversion. Even though a Christian may confess and repent of such sins, the believer often finds it difficult to believe God really has forgiven such heinous acts.

The reasons for this common refusal to accept forgiveness are many. First, the natural man possesses a legalistic disposition. Grace is foreign to our nature, and we think we can earn our own merit instead of resting on the the grace of God for forgiveness of our sins. The folly of such a disposition is that we can never make up for our sin—God is too holy and just, and we are too sinful and guilty. Only the merits of Christ can remove our guilt. God is more glorified in our coming to Him for forgiveness than our obedience. When you recognize your utter guilt and your inability to atone for even the slightest sin, you bring Him great glory because you are confessing your total dependence on Him for your salvation. God is glorified in our dependence, a reality we too often overlook. Do not steal glory from God by depending on your own merits. Glory in Christ alone, for only He is able to forgive all your sins.

Second, unbelief often erects an unscalable wall in the way of forgiveness. When a person has sincerely confessed and believed on Christ yet continues to refuse His forgiveness, unbelief is the root cause. If you have confessed, the Scriptures say God is faithful and just to forgive. If you continue to claim that you have not been forgiven, or that you don’t feel forgiven, you are calling God a liar. You have confessed and repented, and He has forgiven—that is the end of the matter. You may not feel forgiven, but that does not change the fact that you are forgiven. Do not let unbelief in the promises of God stand in the way of peace and joy in your life. The problem might be that you have not truly repented; if not, do so and find forgiveness with Him. If you have repented, accept the pardon of God and find peace in His everlasting mercy.

Do you struggle with finding forgiveness from God? Have you repented of your sins and put your faith in Christ? Are there any known sins that you have not repented of? Confess them to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness. If you have confessed, yet do not believe His pardon, confess your unbelief and accept His forgiveness.