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Youth Supplement – Really forgiven?

July 2008 | by Rebecca Bridge

Really forgiven?

 

Even as Christians, we are still sinners. We constantly fall short of what God requires of us. The penalty for sin is death, and that is what we deserve. But 2000 years or so ago, a man named Jesus walked on the earth and died that we might have eternal life. By dying on the cross, Jesus made a way for sinners to be forgiven and set free from sin. This is the Good News!

 

Now I know that we hear this all the time. It is, after all, the centre of our beliefs as Christians. Yet many Christians don’t

     This article aims to show you how much you are forgiven if you trust in Jesus Christ. Let me say it again – you are forgiven. Really and truly forgiven!

Struggling with sin

For years I struggled with a certain temptation and every time I gave in, I felt a real sense of guilt and shame. It made me feel really low about myself and the question that filled my head every time was, ‘How could God forgive me when I let him down like this?’

     I really did wonder if I was forgiven. If I could sin so many times, could God really and utterly forgive me? The Good News is, yes! The Bible says: ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:8-9). So we need to start living out this wonderful truth!

     This is something I have recently come to learn. We do not have to live in guilt or constantly feel bad or ashamed. Of course sin is bad, and we should strive to avoid it. God hates sin. But at the end of the day, believers in Christ are sinners saved by grace; we do sin and will continue to do so. We can’t always get away from it, but we are forgiven through his Son Jesus Christ!

No condemnation

As John points out, we need to remember that we are all sinners, ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). And other people do, in fact, commit the same sins as us. I used to think I was the only person in the world who gave into the temptation that I did, but I now realise that many others do as well. I am not alone. And a verse that helped me with this was 1 Corinthians 10:13:

     ‘The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure’.

     However, when we do fall into sin we do not need to feel captive to feeling guilty, for ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). And it is through Christ that we are free, both from the guilt and power of sin!

     ‘So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit – a power that is mine through Christ Jesus – has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death’ (Romans 8:1-2).

A wonderful thing

So instead of feeling down every time we sin, we need to ask for God’s forgiveness and then live in that forgiveness! To carry on being captive to our sin, to feel regret and shame all the time, is really to reject the forgiveness that God gives us so freely through his amazing grace!

     And here is the wonderful thing. Since realising the truth that I am truly forgiven, I have found it much easier to resist temptation! So remember – you are forgiven. Start to believe it and walk in the strength of it!

Rebecca Bridge