Why the forever pardoned seek daily forgiveness

Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, “There is a wide distinction between confessing sin as a culprit and confessing sin as a child. The Father’s bosom is the place for penitent confessions. We have been cleansed once for all, but our feet still need to be washed from the defilement of our daily walk as children of God.” [“Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. © 2003, Good News Publishers]

That may resolve quite nicely the tension followers of Christ sometimes feel between His words in the Gospels and the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans.

Paul wrote, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1 NIV),” but Jesus said, “if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:15 NIV).” Paul wrote in the context of praying in the Spirit, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us (Romans 8:31 NIV)?” However, Jesus said, “when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25 NIV).”

Are there two kinds of situations in which we seek God’s forgiveness?

It may not be helpful to create such a distinction, but the reality of life as a believer and the testimony of the Scriptures is that there is a distinction to be made between two different persons seeking God’s forgiveness – between the “culprit” and the “child.”

  1. The culprit seeks a forgiveness that is judicial – a pardon for sin that will free him from the sentence of death and eternal separation from God.

Slide3God’s forgiveness because of Christ’s death on our behalf “justifies” us forever. We speak of this justification powerfully moving us from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light, or lovingly moving us from being lost in ourselves to being found and made part of His eternal family, or resurrecting us from being dead spiritually to being living temples of the Holy Spirit. For the believer in Jesus Christ, the Scriptures are quite clear there will never will be any judicial condemnation that can separate us again from God and eternity with Him.

Jesus said in John 5:24, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life (NIV).” Paul echoed his Lord’s words in Romans 3:21-26 stating “all those who believe” are “justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” The presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life is the decisive factor. With Him present, there is no possible way to fall into eternal condemnation ever again (Romans 8:1-4; Ephesians 1:13-14).

For the culprit, the essence of seeking forgiveness is a repentant heart.

Jesus, echoing the words of the prophets, came preaching repentance. Repentance is the essence of forgiveness for the penitent culprit-sinner-enemy of God seeking His forgiveness, and it still holds true today. See Isaiah 30:15; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 5:31-32; 24:46-48; and Acts 2:37-39.

  1. The child seeks a forgiveness that is “familial– an “okay” from the Spirit of the Lord.

Slide4Reconciling “hugs” from our Heavenly Father frees the child of God to thrive in God’s love. Familial forgiveness enables us to enjoy the blessing of a restored fellowship with Him free of any strain (that strain which hid God’s face for a season). The relationship after the forgiving hug from the Lord is the more intimate and deeper kind of a tested relationship that lasts forever.

For the child, prayer seeking a complete, love-saturated acceptance is the essence of seeking forgiveness.

In prayer we seek the same familial unity with Jesus that He enjoyed with His Heavenly Father (John 17). It is the basis for the Lord’s teaching on prayer, and truly the basis for humility before God in all things. The child seeking forgiveness is actually walking out the repentance that first brought him to Christ, and is finding rest in the absolute and total love of God that sent Jesus to the Cross on our behalf. See John 17:20-26; Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:24-26; and compare with 1 John 1:5-10 and Romans 6:8-19.

Jan Lievens_The-Return-of-the-Prodigal-Son-pptThe story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32 illustrates why and how the believing child of God will always seek the best of relationships with his Heavenly Father. The returning son said humbly, “Father, I have sinned,” but the beauty of the story is in the healing forgiveness and grace flowing from the father’s heart of love for his son. The father’s loving forgiveness restored his son completely and represents exactly what we seek when seeking God’s forgiveness.

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him…”

Are there two kinds of situations in which we seek God’s forgiveness? It may not be helpful to create such a distinction, but the reality of life as a believer and the testimony of the Scriptures is that there is a distinction to be made between two different persons seeking God’s forgiveness – between the “culprit” and the “child.”


Recommended resource:  https://www.truthforlife.org/?date=2/26/2018
Whether it’s accusations from the enemy or our own troubled conscience, many of us feel like we’re living under a guilty verdict. In a sermon from Romans 8:33-36 entitled “Case Closed,” Alistair Begg provides biblical evidence to set us free!

 

Have you ever said, “I can’t forgive myself”

There are three realities that need to be worked through in order to forgive myself.

  1. Guilt – the reality of being morally unjustified in the hurt I caused, especially before my holy God
  2. Restitution – the very real responsibility I have to restore what I’ve taken, or repay what I’ve broken
  3. Shame – my deep soul stain of unworthiness, ugliness, and fear of rejection

226256bf69baaa647fecfd65edfe2adc pinterest (GardensDesign_com)Guilt arises because I’ve no moral justification for doing what I did, especially before my holy God who holds every life sacred and is exalted as the ultimate judge over all matters. The remedy is singular. To be free from guilt, I must recognize that ultimately only God can forgive sin, and accept humbly what he has to offer. My friend’s forgiveness does not pardon my guilt, nor will any act of forgiveness toward myself. My only option is to accept God’s forgiveness through Christ.

Restitution is appropriate and honorable.  But restitution can only go so far. Usually what is taken away or destroyed can never be completely restored by the offender.  But what I can do to make restitution, I should.  When I do, my responsibility toward the offender returns to respecting and serving him as my neighbor – like every other neighbor I have.

Shame is another matter altogether.  A sense of guilt is taken away when I rest in God’s mercy. The responsibility of restitution is over when I’ve done what I can to make amends.  But the shame cast over my soul is another matter because it’s the sense of unworthiness and ugliness that now grips my soul.

In shame, I see myself as unlovable – especially to myself. Another way of saying I can’t forgive myself is to say I cannot love who I’ve become, based on what I’ve done. That’s the problem of shame. I may fear I am likely to cause the same injuries again, and I certainly fear that I won’t be found acceptable by those I value the most.  Shame colors me so deeply at that point that I can’t imagine ever being free again to enjoy being the person God has made me to be.

How am I finally freed from shame and able to smile again at the unique person God has created in me? 

1912898824-How_do_I_forgive_myself quotesgram_comLove is the answer.  The Scriptures teach us that God’s perfect love casts out fear, and over and over again calls us to forgive one another.  This is an extreme, radical kind of loving that can heal my guilty soul at the deepest level – where the pool of shame I’m hiding in is deep and dark.

So, my shame-covered soul begins to move from living in the stagnant, stinking waters of shame to living in the life-giving stream of love that flows from the heart of God.  I say, “Please God forgive me.” And He does.  I plead, “Please God, LOVE me,” and miracle of miracles, I discover that He does!  I say to the one I’ve offended, “Please forgive me.” And in God’s grace, he may.  I wonder if I’m lovable, and miracle of miracles, God puts people in my life who choose to respect me as a human being and go beyond that to love me in tangible ways. It’s then, that I am able to once again be thankful for who I am in God’s creation.  I no longer feel any need to justify myself, or make myself lovable because simply, I AM loved.

David Ewert (Thursday, February 1, 2018)

A month of Bible verses for reflection and growth toward being once again fully, freely alive!

  1. Genesis 33:1-17
  2. Genesis 50:15-21
  3. Exodus 22:1, 3-6, 14
  4. Leviticus 6:2-5
  5. Psalm 19:12-14
  6. Psalm 32
  7. Psalm 51
  8. Psalm 103
  9. Psalm 139:7-16, 23-24
  10. Isaiah 6:6-8
  11. Isaiah 30:15
  12. Isaiah 44:21-23
  13. Matthew 6:9-15
  14. Mark 12:29-31
  15. Luke 5:31-32
  16. Luke 19:1-10
  17. Luke 17:3-5
  18. John 8:1-11
  19. John 21:15-23
  20. Acts 3:18-20
  21. Romans 3:9-26
  22. Romans 10:9-10
  23. 2 Corinthians 7:5-13
  24. Galatians 6:1-5
  25. Ephesians 3:14-21
  26. Ephesians 4:25-32
  27. Ephesians 5:15-21
  28. Philippians 2:1-8, 3:7-21
  29. Philemon 1:10-20
  30. 1 John 4:7-21