Almost every person has been affected by unforgiveness in some way or another. Either we have held a grudge or known a relationship hindered by someone who refused to forgive. Friendships and fellowship have been ruptured by wounds, unforgiveness and bitterness.
As I have pastored local churches for over 35 years, I am convinced that the #1 obstacle to spiritual revival personally and in the church, is the sin of unforgiveness. Nothing has built a taller, deeper, and thicker wall in the hearts of people and in the churches of our land.
Thank God, He forgives us
Human relationships fractured by unforgiveness are damaging, to be sure. What about our need for God’s forgiveness? Is God forgiving? Can anything be done if we have offended Him?
Thankfully, God has not left us in the dark. Yes, we have offended God, and yes, He will forgive.
The Bible is clear in both the Old and New Testaments that humans have sinned against God. Jeremiah laments on behalf of his kinsmen in Israel, “Let us lie down in our shame; let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned against the LORD our God, both we and our fathers, from the time of our youth even to this day. We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.”1 The Psalmist wrote even more broadly, “The LORD looks down from heaven on the human race to see if there is one who is wise, who seeks after God. All have turned away; all alike have become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one.”2
Yet, God forgives us. We are grateful!
How can God ever forgive?
We are not let off the hook in the New Testament. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.”3 Humanity has a problem, and that problem is the sin that separates us from God.
How can God ever forgive? Only through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. As Peter and John told the religious leaders of their day, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.”4 As Freddy Cardoza puts it, “The debt we owe God because of sin is beyond our ability to pay. But God provided a way for the debt to be paid through the death of His Son. God always forgives the sins of those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord.”5
What about those who have already accepted Christ? Is there forgiveness for the manifold sins we commit between the time we are saved and the time we leave this earth? Does God forgive the forgiven? Thank God, the answer is yes.
The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”6 Those of us who have believed in Christ are forgiven at salvation and forgiven as we are made more and more like Christ. This is one reason we are encouraged to forgive others. We need to experience the ongoing forgiveness of God that restores our fellowship with Him.
Therefore, Forgive Others
Since God so freely and sacrificially forgives us, we should forgive others. Friends, never let anyone outside of your circle of love. Forgiveness is imperative in the life of a Christ-follower.
Therefore, walk in forgiveness toward others.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd
1– Jeremiah 3:25
2– Psalm 14:2, 3
3– Romans 5:12
4– Acts 4:12
5– Bible Studies for Life, Beyond Belief, Freddy Cardoza
6– 1 John 1:9