1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Many times when we accept that Jesus is our Lord and we have prayed for forgiveness we forget to accept that we are really forgiven.
Another way of thinking is that if your sins are a case in God’s court then when you accept Jesus Christ as your redeemer, you have apologized to God for your sins and Jesus has taken the blame for you…if Jesus is your “lawyer” in God’s court, then Jesus Christ has gotten the case of your sins thrown out of court. The thing is that Satan wants to stand in front of our house in his capacity as accuser and keep throwing the evidence up in front of us. Or in other words, Satan wants us to dwell on the sins that we have already had forgiven by God. If he can just keep us in bondage to our past sins then we cannot move forward in our lives and enjoy the peace of God. We cannot be the best servant we can be for God. Our lives do not reflect that freedom that God has given us.
Now, I know that all of this sounds really negative, but it isn’t. I thought to discuss this because after hearing our Pastor speak on the subject this week, I realized that hanging onto forgiven sins just makes a person stay in bondage to their past.
This world loves it when we stay in bondage to our past because then “we know our place”…we cannot be effective in telling and showing people who God is in our lives if we cannot accept that forgiveness has really occurred. People who don’t know God and have not accepted the redemption offered by Jesus Christ are in bondage to their sin…they have not been forgiven…so how can we show them the divine and freeing forgiveness of God if we cannot actually in our hearts and minds really accept that we are really truly forgiven and enter into the “rest” that Jesus has promised us?
I heard a really interesting example of this on Sunday when I was listening to my Pastor on this very idea. Here it is picture this in your mind. A man is in a dungeon prison cell. He has been locked up for life, and all he sees day in and day out are the damp stone walls, and the iron bars. A couple times a day a guard shows up with some kind of food for him, but other than that, he sees nothing but the walls, and the bars….and the hole in the corner for his waste. So what does this man long for? I think we would all answer that he wants his freedom more than anything else in the world, right?!!
So one day, the guard arrives and instead of food, the guard unlocks the door, and tells the man that he is free to leave anytime. Now, one would think that the man would just up and leave as soon as possible, right?!! The curious thing is that he does not…he turns his back toward the open door and looks the other way, and continues to dream of his freedom day after day.
When I heard this story, I thought how impossible! No one would really do that, right?!! That is the saddest idea I have ever heard.
Yet, millions of Christians do that very thing, every day!
We have the head knowledge that Jesus came to forgive our sins and draw us close to God, and we have accepted the head knowledge…but we fail to understand all of the ramifications of that head knowledge….we have to come to a “heart” knowledge understanding of this great freedom that has happened to us. (I know that in the world there are consequences to sin, if you steal you can end up in jail…that is not the freedom we are talking about here! Once a person serves their time in jail for that theft then they are freed from the condemnation for that item.) Jesus came to free us from condemnation by God or more accurately by Jesus himself, since God has given Jesus the authority to judge the world in the time to come.
The thing is that when we are forgiven, many times we continue to beat ourselves up over our past. I know that many of you have seen the Disney Movie called “The Lion King”….well, my favorite scene in that movie is where the baboon konks Simba on the head with his pole. Simba had been feeling sorry for himself and wallowing in his responsibility for his father’s death, which happened when he was a young cub. Anyway, he suddenly gets konked on the head with the pole and Simba says, “Ow! What was that for!” (a bit of paraphrasing here, but that is the gist of it.) The baboon’s response was amazing…I could just about hear God in the words…”Doesn’t matter…it’s in the past!”
When our sins are forgiven that is how God views it…”doesn’t matter”….or another way to say it….it is as if they never happened….they are not being held against us. There are worldly consequences, but God is not condemning us for them.
Read Psalm 103…focus on verse 12. It says that he has removed our sins from us as far as the East is from the West. (If you take into account that many people prior to Christopher Columbus’ time believed that the Earth was flat and that you could fall off of it if you went too far in one direction…this really gives you the idea that the meaning behind this statement is that your sins cannot ever meet up with you again, once they are forgiven! They are truly in the past and you are not to be looking into them as something you need to keep beating yourself up about.)
A psalm of David.
1Let all that I am praise the LORD;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2Let all that I am praise the LORD;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
4He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
6The LORD gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
7He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.
8The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
10He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
13The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
15Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
17But the love of the LORD remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children
18of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!
19The LORD has made the heavens his throne;
from there he rules over everything.
20Praise the LORD, you angels,
you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
listening for each of his commands.
21Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels
who serve him and do his will!
22Praise the LORD, everything he has created,
everything in all his kingdom.
Let all that I am praise the LORD.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007.
2 Samuel 12:1-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
Nathan’s Parable and David’s Confession
12 Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. 3 But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. 4 And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
5 So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! 6 And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! 9 Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’”
13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.