Article: REPENTANCE AND FAITH TOWARDS GOD FOR FORGIVENESS | Jacob Varghese

Once there was a wicked man living in the town, every day he would do bad things, he would lie about things, cheat, steal and even hurt others. Everyone in that town feared and hated him so. One day a Pastor happened to visit the town and heard about him. The Pastor decided to meet the man. He told the man about Jesus and how Jesus loves the man even though he has done bad things. How is that possible, the man thought to himself? Touched by the word of God and the teachings of Jesus, the man listened to the pastor and said. I have done lot of bad things, I have sinned greatly, is it possible that even such a person like me is still loved by God? The Pastor replied to the man warmly God despises the sin, not the sinner and he loves you very much. Finally, the man decided to repent, and to be a follower of Jesus Christ. From then on, he was with the Pastor to learn more about Jesus and the wonderful things he does. A few years later, the man came back to his hometown. The people of the town still remembered him for his wickedness. But he willingly apologized to all the people he had done wrong. He tried to convince them that he is a different man now that he had repented and is now following the footsteps of Jesus. The people of that town were wondering of the great change happened in this man’s life.

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God can change everyone. God can forgive you of every sin you have ever committed because the Bible says with God all things are possible. Here is what the Bible says according to Micah 7:19, God will take your sin and throw it into the deepest part of the sea. He will take our iniquities and cast them into the depth of the ocean and then God promises your sin and iniquities will I remember no more. Isn’t that good news? God will forgive your sin. He will forget your sin. Listen we should not choose to remember what God has chosen to forget. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. I am a sinner, you are a sinner, and we all have sinned. We never do know the depths of the love of God and the mercy of God and the forgiveness of God. It is hard for us to grasp it. The scripture says in Numbers 14:18, “the Lord is long suffering and of great mercy forgiving iniquity and transgression. In II chronicles 30:9, it says the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn His face from you, if you turn to Him. Yes, if you turn to Him. Our God is good and ready to forgive and abundant of mercy unto all of them those call upon Him. If you call upon Him, he will forgive, if you repent, He will forgive, if you turn to Christ and trust only on the cross and the blood of Christ, He will forgive. And God’s forgiveness goes a lot farther than what we think of yours and mine. God calls it justification, just as though you had never sinned. You are placed in the sight of God as though you have never committed a single sin. And the scripture says He cannot even remember your sins. When the thief on the cross was a murder and a robber, prayed to the Lord and said Lord, remember me when you come to your kingdom. Jesus said today you shall be with me in Paradise. At that one moment God for Christ forgave him and took him to paradise with him. He didn’t have time to be baptised, he didn’t have time to do any good works. He had time for nothing expect to just to trust in Christ and to go through the experience of crucifixion. And that is what you need to do. Put your whole trust in Jesus Christ. And that is what faith means. Faith means commitment. We commit our lives to Him.
Ask for forgiveness. There are so many promises in the Bible about forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 is the most famous one. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” If we admit it, if we freely admit that we have sinned; we find God absolutely reliable. Notice it does say, if we freely admit that we have sinned, we find God is more willing to forgive you than you are willing to admit. It doesn’t say God is going to punish you, going to be mad at you or utterly angry. But it says when we admit to God that we have sinned, that makes God happy, not sad or angry. You don’t need to bribe or bargain or beg God for forgiveness. You don’t bribe God telling that God, if you will forgive me then I will do this good work. You don’t need to bargain, God if you forgive me, I will never do it again.

Forgiveness does not change the future but it clears up the past. You don’t even need to beg God for forgiveness. No, you need to just ask. Romans 3:23 &24 says this “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Yes, “all of us have sinned, yet God declares us not guilty” If we trust in Jesus Christ, who in His mercy freely, yes freely declares us not guilty. You don’t need to bribe, bargain or beg. He freely takes away all our sins. Now notice it says if you just trust in Jesus Christ-He will say it doesn’t matter what you have done, I don’t need to know what you have done. I could tell you this- what matters is what Jesus has done for you and me. That is what the cross is all about. We see that when we look at the cross, Jesus hangs on the cross and the first thing He says is “Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.” So, the first message of good news, the first word of love from the cross is the word of forgiveness and when you come to God humbly, honestly admitting, accepting and asking God-Jesus Christ says Father forgive them. They don’t know, Jesus says father they don’t know what they are doing. Here comes His immediate response of forgiveness. Now you may be saying you know, I have done that, I have asked God over and over again to forgive me. But I don’t feel forgiven. But let me just say-you don’t have to ask over and over again. When you ask over and over again, you are acting like God didn’t hear you the first time. When you ask over and over again, you are saying God; I don’t really believe you forgave me. So, I am going to ask again because I haven’t forgiven myself. That is a false guilt from sin. Now let me explain how it works. Before I commit a sin, Satan minimizes it- Satan put it in our hearts that it is no big deal, go ahead and do it, everybody does it. The moment I do it, Satan changes strategies and he maximizes it. He puts it into our minds that it is so big; you will never have the blessing of God in your life again. See how Satan works. If you keep asking over and over again, that shows your lack of faith. You don’t really believe God forgave you. So, what does Jesus do when we do it His way and ask forgiveness for sin? When we ask, accept and admit our sins, He forgives instantly. You do not have to suffer a little while, He never makes you wait, and He doesn’t say He will think about it. You don’t need to feel guilty-just confess your sins and receive forgiveness from God. God forgives completely. Yes, he forgives completely. What does it mean? It means as if it never happened. When God forgives-not only He forgives but He also forgets. The problem is if we do not understand complete forgiveness-every time something bad happens in your life, you are going to think, God is punishing me for what I did. No, God doesn’t work that way. God forgives repeatedly. Have you ever committed the same sin more than once? Yes, then do you feel embarrassed to ask for forgiveness again the next time? You can come back to God again this time. God does not get bored with your confessions. It is God’s nature to forgive. Hebrews 7:25 says “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Christ is always interceding on our behalf; He forgives repeatedly over and over again. God forgives freely. You don’t earn it; you don’t deserve it. It is a gift of God’s grace. Because you are human, forgiveness is your greatest need and because Christ died for you, forgiveness is God’s greatest gift for you.

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Acts 13:38 declares, “Therefore my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” The word forgive means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt. When we wrong to someone, we seek their forgiveness in order for the relationship to be restored. Forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. No one deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is an act of love, mercy and grace. That can come only from God. Forgiveness is a decision to not hold something against another person, despite what they may have done to you. The Bible tells us that we are all in need of forgiveness from God. We all committed Sin. Ecclesiastes 7:20 proclaims, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” 1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” All sin is ultimately an act of rebellion against God. As a result, we desperately need God’s forgiveness. If our sins are not forgiven, we will spend eternity suffering the consequences of our sins. Thankfully God is loving and merciful-eager to forgive us of our sins.2 Peter 3:9 tell us “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God desires to forgive us, so He provided for our forgiveness. The only just penalty for our sins is death. The first half of Romans 6:23 declare “for the wages of sin is death”. Eternal death is what we have earned for our sins. God in His perfect plan became a human being in Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross, taking the penalty that we deserve that is death. 2 Corinthians 5:21 teaches us “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”. Jesus died on the cross taking the punishment that we deserve! As God, Jesus’ death provided forgiveness for the sins of the entire world. 1 John 2:2 proclaims “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world,” Jesus rose from the dead, proclaiming His victory over sin and death. Praise God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the second half of Romans 6:23 become true that “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Do you want to have your sins forgiven? Do you have a distressing feeling of guilt that you can’t seem to get away with? Forgiveness of your sins is available if you will place your faith in Jesus Christ as your saviour. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of Sins in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Jesus paid our debts for us. So, we could be forgiven. All you have to do is ask God to forgive you through Jesus, believing that Jesus died to pay for your forgiveness and he will forgive you! John 3:16 &17 contains this wonderful message. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Yes, it is that easy! You cannot earn forgiveness from God. You can’t pay for your forgiveness from God. You can only receive it, by faith, through the grace and mercy of God. Do you want to accept Jesus Christ as your personal saviour and receive forgiveness from God? Nothing else can save you. It is only trusting in Jesus Christ that offers forgiveness of sins. We need to simply express to God our faith in Him and thank Him for providing for your forgiveness.

Mark 1:15 says “The time has come,” Jesus said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Our Lord Jesus Christ preached about repentance, “repent and believe the gospel” Luke 5:32 say “I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance”. What is meant by repentance then? It means a complete change of heart and mind, to think and act differently, to reconsider, a turning point from sin to God. Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” That is what repentance ultimately means. It is the Holy spirit that convicts and reproves the world of sin” and it is the same spirit that enables us to look to the author and finisher of our Faith. Hebrews 12:2 says “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” It is the Holy Spirit who points us to Jesus Christ, and makes us to look to Him for our salvation. It is therefore clear that repentance towards God, followed by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is important for the forgiveness of sin.

JACOB VARGHESE

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