Does God Forgive?

Many people believe that they have done such terrible things in their past that God could never forgive them. Perhaps it is because they cannot forgive themselves. But remember God is a loving God and He will forgive anything, if we are sincere in our repentance. In fact, He has already provided the means for our forgiveness. All we have to do is to receive it.

God Already Forgave Us Of Our Sins

This is what Jesus did for us on the Cross. Look at just a few of the verses that tell us this truth.

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Romans 5:1 (NIV) “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

1 Peter 3:18 (NIV) “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.”

These are just a few of the verses that tell us that God has already provided forgiveness for us, no matter what we have done in the past.

Forgiveness Must Be Received

Forgiveness is a gift. When you go out and buy a gift for another person, as soon as you buy it, you do not consider it as yours, but the property of the person you purchased it for. This is what God did for us when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Forgiveness is already ours. This is why it is called the gift of salvation.

However, until that person for whom you bought the gift, reaches out and takes it for himself, he will never receive the benefit of that gift. For him, it will be just as if you had never bought it for him. This is the same with the gift of salvation that God bought for us through the death of Jesus on the cross. We will never receive the benefit of that gift until we reach out and take it unto ourselves.

How Do We Know That God Forgives?

The Bible is full of assurances of God’s forgiveness.

I John 5:12-13 (NIV) “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

John 20:31 (NIV) “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

John 5:24 (NIV) “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

II Cor. 5:17 (NIV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

These are just a few of the verses that God has given to us to assure us that He will forgive us of any sin that we have committed. All we have to do is to ask.

Forgiveness Brings Reconciliation

When we sin against God, we separate ourselves from God. We may not feel that separation because we live in an environment in which God exists and furnishes everything that we need exist. But our sin does separate us from God and if we die without having that sin forgiven, we will be eternally separated from God.

I am not talking about every individual sin that we commit. I am talking about living a life of sin. Living a life away from God. Living a life without His presence living in us.

When we ask God for forgiveness from our sin, He immediately gives it to us because He is standing right there wanting to give it to us. All He is waiting for is for us to indicate that we want to receive it. He created us as free creatures and He will never take away our attribute of free choice. Thus, He will never force forgiveness on us, we must ask for it.

It is up to us whether God’s forgiveness is going to be effective in our lives or not. If we do not want it, it will not happen. If we do want it and ask for it, it will happen. And remember, it makes no difference what we have done in the past or how long we have done it.

Forgiveness Develops Friendship

When we ask for and receive forgiveness from our sins, we are reconciled with God. That is, we are welcomed into the fellowship of God. In other words, we become friends with God.

Think about this. If we forgive someone and they do not receive it, you will never become friends with that person. However, if the other person receives your forgiveness and changes his attitude toward you, you can and will become friends.

You may desperately want a friendship with another person, but if they do not want that friendship, it will never happen. God desperately wants to be friends with every human being, but if you do not want that friendship, God cannot and will not force you into that friendship. Just like you cannot force someone else to be your friend.

Forgiveness can only bring about reconciliation when it is both given and received. Unless we receive forgiveness, we cannot be reconciled to the one who forgives us.

Unless we tell God that we receive His forgiveness by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we still cannot enter heaven.

Heaven Is Filled With The Friends of God

We must become a friend of God to be able to enter heaven. We become a friend of God when we ask for and receive His forgiveness from our sin. Have you become a friend of God? God wants to be your friend, but you have to tell God that you want to be His friend.

God has made it very easy for us to let Him know that we want to be His friend. All we have to do is to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. If you have not yet made this choice, go to How To Live Forever and find out how.

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