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Pointers along the way #219

Accepting forgiveness
- Jacob Ninan

Have you ever thought that false humility is a weapon Satan uses to keep us down? One form of false humility is where we deprecate ourselves. We like to think of ourselves as being less important, more sinful, less capable, etc., than we really are, thinking that we are being humble! With a mistaken understanding of Php.2:3, we try to make ourselves out to be worse than others. This kind of approach also hinders us from freely receiving forgiveness from God. (Actually a correct translation (NASB) tells us to consider others as being more important than ourselves, meaning we should place other people's needs before ours.)

We think it is humility to consider that we are too sinful for God to forgive us, or that some particular sin we have committed is too heinous to merit any forgiveness. Of course we never merit any forgiveness. God gives it to us as a gift, free, because its punishment has already been taken by Jesus.

Due to some twist in our thinking we believe that it would be unrighteous to take forgiveness for our sins because they are no light matter. By punishing ourselves by belittling ourselves, continuing in condemnation, and not doing anything that might give an impression that we are saints, we derive some perverted pleasure! We think we are humble!

As much as we deplore ourselves for having sinned the way we have, we ought to maginfy God for the greateness of His grace in preparing a way of salvation for sinners like us. Otherwise, while we may be right in thinking that we are wretched sinners who do not deserve any mercy, we insult God by thinking that His heart is not large enough or His love is not deep enough.

Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (1Jn.2:2). By sacrificing Himself, the Son of God as a Man, the Lamb without blemish, He has put behind the problem of sin once for all (He.9:12,26). Now we can receive this forgiveness freely, for all of our sins and the worst of our sins.

The first step is to confess our sins. If we do that God will do His part, to forgive and cleanse us (1Jn.1:9). Though it is sufficient to confess only to God the sins we have done only against Him, it may be helpful sometimes to share it with someone who is mature, who can keep secrets and who can help us. If we have hurt others through our sins, we need to confess those to them too.

Once we have acknowledged our sin, we must realise that the only One who has the right and authority to forgive sins has Himself promised to do that for us when we confess our sins. There is no higher authority. And there is nothing else we can do to get forgiveness. Do we imagine that by letting ourselves feel miserable we can earn this forgiveness?

Let us learn to continually bask in the sunlight of God's forgiveness. If we fall at any time, there is still forgiveness kept ready for us (1Jn.2:1). We don't want to treat forgiveness cheaply, do we? Let us then be thankful for it as a most precious gift from God!