In the Garden of Eden, the first seed of doubt is planted by Satan in saying “Has God not said?” The lie worked incredibly well back then. It’s worked so well that I believe it’s the main lie used today. Imagine how different our lives would be if we really believed the great truths of Scripture. If we knew God said them and that we could believe him, our lives would be radically altered.
I was pondering this today as I wrestled with some past sins. There are things in my past I’m ashamed of. As I say such, I realize that it is 99.9% likely that I am not alone and the same percentage could apply to you having the same problem. I find it amazing that the hardest person to forgive often is ourselves. I used to think it might be that we were taking our sin too seriously, and maybe in some way we are, but now I suggest that it is us taking ourselves too seriously.
I can look at someone who has the exact same sins as I do and say “Oh God can forgive you! Your slate will be wiped clean!” However, I turn and look at myself and say “Oh no. Your sins are too horrendous to be forgiven.” How do I know I question their forgiveness? Because I still dwell on them and repent of them over and over.
Why can’t we let it go? Why do I say we? Because again, I suspect you’re in the same boat. I just don’t think we realize how awesome this grace is. What would God have us to do? Change the past? We can’t do that. What could we do to possibly earn his forgiveness in any way? All he tells us to do is to ask to be forgiven and we are forgiven. It’s that simple.
I think that’s a large part of the difficulty. We find it hard to believe that it could be that simple. We live with the mindset of “There’s gotta be a catch.” We will watch and say “Did I really repent of that?” Did we say the “sinner’s prayer” right? Were we baptized in the right way? Depending on how you view salvation, these questions can come to mind.
What would it mean if we really believed we were forgiven? It would mean we were trusting God, but as I said yesterday, trusting God goes against our very nature. We are so fallen that we run from him every chance we get. We are more prone to believe the father of lies than the God of all truth.
God has said it. God has done it. We need to accept that. We need to move past our past and live in the present. There can be nothing that we can do to change the past. Now there might be times we need to go to other people and make up for some wrongs for them, but not to earn our forgiveness. We do so merely because it’s the right thing to do.
I wonder how awesome it would be for many of us if we had Christ appear to us today and say to us “I love you and you are forgiven.” Most of us would be on cloud nine for the rest of our lives after hearing that. The truth is though that he has said that! It’s no less him saying it because it’s contained in Scripture. Perchance we need to get into this book more and read about the awesome promises God has made to us.
Maybe then we can learn more to trust him. The more we see who he really is and not the way we think he is, the more we can see the good news. We are loved and we are forgiven. Welcome home Prodigal.