As children, we are told that if we do anything wrong--tell a lie, steal, be disrespectful in church--God sees us. And He does.
However we are also given the impression that once our sins are written down in God's book, they can't be erased. We are even led to believe that God is just waiting for us to sin so He can strike us down with lightning. We think that God is against us.
But God is not against us. The Bible says in Romans 8:31 that He is for us when we accept what His Son did on our behalf.
What did His Son do?
God created man and woman (Genesis 2). He put them in the Garden of Eden. He instructed Adam to eat of any tree in the Garden except one (Genesis 2:16-17). They could eat of any of the others. Just not of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Eve, beguiled by the serpent (satan in disguise), ate the fruit and gave it to Adam (Genesis 3), who the Bible clearly states was with her when she spoke with the serpent (Genesis 3:6).
Through this act of disobedience, sin entered the world (Romans 5:12). God's price for sin was death (Romans 6:23).
None of us can conquer sin on our own. Our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
God loved us so much, though, that He made a plan of redemption (John 3:16). In order to save us, He had to sacrifice a sinless, blameless person. Only His Son, Jesus, qualified.
Without hesitation, God sent His Son to Earth. To be considered a legal sacrifice, Jesus had to be conceived of and born to a virgin. The Holy Spirit impregnated Mary with the seed of His Son (Matthew 1:18).
Jesus grew up. His mission? To be crucified on a cross for us. On that cross, God placed the judgment of all of our sins--past, present and future--on Jesus. Jesus died for us (Luke 23:48). Jesus shed His blood for us.
The story doesn't end there. God raised Him from the dead and ascended Him into Heaven (Romans 10:9). Right now, Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus' shed blood makes us righteous. Now we are in right standing with God (II Corinthians 5:21).
When we accept Jesus and what He did for us on the Cross, we receive God's forgiveness. We don't deserve it. We didn't earned it. No, we received it because Jesus died for us, because Jesus rose from the dead for us, because Jesus shed His blood for us.
After we accept what Jesus did, any time we sin, or mess up, all we have to do is ask God to forgive us (I John 1:9). He will because of Jesus' shed blood.
The Bible says that God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalms 103:12). He does not deal with us as we deserve, according to our sin (Psalms 103:10). No, instead He has compassion on us as a father has compassion on His children (Psalms 103:13).
God sees everything we do, even the things that we hope He doesn't. The things that we would be embarrassed if anyone found out. He sees everything, and He still loves us--faults and all. He knows what we've done, and He still offers us forgiveness. Not just for minor offenses but for major ones as well.
Paul murdered Christians, thinking he was doing God's will (Acts 22). Moses murdered an Egyptian (Exodus 2:14). David had his lover's husband killed in war (2 Samuel 11:15,17). Yet God forgave them all. And He can and will forgive you too if you will just ask.
God's nature is love (1 John 4:8). One of the descriptions in I Corinthians 13 of love is that it doesn't keep a list of wrongs. It is not puffed up, arrogant and doesn't think about itself. God forgives us for Himself, yes, but it is more for us than Him.
If we don't know we are forgiven, we have trouble coming boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). It breaks our relationship with our Father.
It's like when we messed up as a child, and our parents found out. Our relationship with our parents became tense. When we admitted our mistakes, though, from the onset, our parents' forgiveness came more readily.
The same is true with God. When we admit our mistakes and ask Him to forgive us, He does, keeping our relationship with Him intact. When He has to show us our mistakes, we strain our relationship with Him.
The Bible says that God not only forgives us, but He also forgets our sins. He remembers them no more (Jeremiah 31:34).
Think about that. When we confess our sins and ask Him to forgive us, He not only forgives us, but He chooses to forget it ever happened.
How many times have we had a spouse or friend bring up an offense we committed against him fifteen years ago? God is not like that. He will not bring up our sin after we ask Him to forgive us.
Now many of us believe that He will remember our sins again on Judgment Day. If He has forgotten them, how can He remember them?
When we are reminded of our sins after we have repented of them, then we can be assured that it is not God condemning us. He says in His Word there is no condemnation in Him (Romans 8:1).
Therefore it must be the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10)--satan--or ourselves.
Once we have repented of our sins, God forgives us and then He forgets it. Therefore He cannot condemn us concerning it. It is forgiven and forgotten.
We may not feel as if we are forgiven, but we are nevertheless. God's forgiveness is not based on how we feel. It is based on Jesus' shed blood on the cross.
Does God hold our sins against us? No. Does He encourage us to sin? No, He wants us to do things according to the Bible. If we do sin, though, God forgives us. All we have to do is ask.
God doesn't hold our sins against us. He doesn't remember them after He has forgiven us. If He doesn't remember them, why should we?
Annagail Lynes is a writer of devotionals, ebooks and articles. Her articles and devotionals have appeared in publications online and offline around the world. You can order her books at http://www.annagaillynes.net
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