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Pointers along the way #55

The offer of forgiveness
- Jacob Ninan

Why is it that it is so difficult for many people to receive forgiveness of sins from God, and for many who have received forgiveness to come into a bold confidence that God has accepted them the way they are? I can think of two main reasons.

The first one is that it seems so incredible that God should forgive sinners like us. When we are so much aware of ourselves, our sins and rejection from people we find it difficult to imagine how anyone, especially God, could accept us.

The second main reason seems to be that we may not be willing to give up some sin or secret idol in our lives. We recognise that if we have to go to God for forgiveness, we would also have to give up certain lifestyles.

The first group of people do not lack conviction of sins or repentance - they have more than enough of those - but they have been overcome with a sense of hopelessness or worthlessness. These are usually people with a sensitive mind or who have been taught by legalistically minded people that acceptance is based on performance.

The second group has a different problem altogether. They have experienced some conviction concering sin, because they recognise that certain things need to be given up in their lives. But they do not understand the serious implications of those things that they are clinging to, how those things will strike them on their faces sooner or later.

The facts of the gospel are truly incredible from a natural point of view. It appears to be really illogical to believe that God who is pure and holy will forgive sinners and accept them just as they are. If we consider only the righteous part of God it would have been impossible for God to forgive us. But what makes it possible for God to receive us is His love, and its largeness. It is when we see this love of God that we can understand how the laws of justice are overruled in the process of God reaching out to us (Jas.2:13).

It is when we are gripped with a clear view of this love that we can know acceptance - independent of performance (Ro.4:5) - and also find it easy to give up sins and idols that hold us back from God (2Co.5:14,15).