The big question is; how do I get in on the forgiveness of God? The Jews asked Peter this same question at Pentecost.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
The third step in the process is that there must be repentance. This is has to be done in order to receive forgiveness. It’s is even true for personal relationships.
Of course, we don’t like this word. It has a bad connotation to us. In the Greek, it’s the word metanoia which means to change your mind. It also means to turn around.
“I was wrong. I want to change.”
…yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10
Repentance is usually preceded by distress, sorrow, or sadness. We don’t like these feelings. We would much rather use a word like apologize.
“If you apologize, I’ll forgive you.”
The fact is you don’t really want an apology. The Greek definition of the word apology is to give the reason. In that case, you might hear something like, “I hate you and I want you to be miserable.”
What you want from the other person is repentance.
“I’m sorry over what I did.” (Godly sorrow) “If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t do it.” “I will never do that again.”
But we have to remember that with God, forgiveness is given before repentance. It then takes repentance in order to position yourself to receive forgiveness.
True repentance isn’t easy.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Confess means to speak the same as. I must agree with God that I was wrong. That’s the hardest part.
I want to apologize. There’s a reason that I did what I did. But it doesn’t really matter; I must confess and repent.
That leads us to the final step, which is to receive forgiveness. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
I hear the Word of God. It shows me my sin and my faults. I’m distressed and sorrowful over it. I’m led to repentance. But now I have a problem.
I know how I forgive. I know how others have forgiven in the past. There was not true forgiveness given. I still harbor bad feelings. Sometimes I project that image to God.
“He’s still going to remember my sin and hold it against me.”
That’s the enemy’s lie. God’s forgiveness is for everyone who BELIEVES. Receiving forgiveness requires faith. I must trust the One forgiving me.
1 John, above, tells us that He is FAITHFUL. He’s not a human who harbors evil thoughts. When He forgives, my sin is removed and He forgets.
Strive to always walk in the forgiveness of God. More than that, be quick to share this forgiveness with others.
Question: How have you exemplified God’s forgiveness to others?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017