Inspired by Fully Justified’s Song “Forgiveness”
“The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The LORD is like a father to his children tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.” Psalms 103:8-13 (NLT)
Do you serve God or your feelings? Now, that may sound like an odd question for a believer, but really, it isn’t. Let me put it this way… When you ask God to forgive you, do you accept His forgiveness right away or do you waste time feeling guilty? So many Christians struggle with guilt and condemnation. They’re trying to pay God back for what they did wrong when Jesus already made it right. God’s unconditional love is a very difficult concept for people to accept because, in the world, there’s always a payment for everything we receive. It’s just how things work here on earth. But God is not like people and He doesn’t work like we do either! Aren’t you glad about that? We need to learn that whether or not we feel forgiven, we’re forgiven.
Nothing quite compares to the experience of forgiveness. You know the feeling. That sense of relief when a heavy burden is lifted off your shoulders. Something happens when you believe that you are forgiven. That is why God says to you, “I want you to believe that all your sins I will remember no more. I want you to believe that you are My child enjoying My mercy and that you can always count on My forgiveness.” It’s God’s nature to forgive and we know from the Bible that we can trust if God says He’s going to do something, He will. It’s part of His divine nature and character. We never have to doubt or wonder when it comes to God.
The psalmist David was struck by this as he reviewed Israel’s past. At every historical turn, God’s forgiveness was always there…so much so that he identifies the God of Israel as the “God-Who-Forgives.” And God’s forgiveness doesn’t dim one iota in the New Testament. Just the opposite, it intensifies. We see His forgiveness in the form of His own Son coming to live among us and eventually dying for our sins. King David also had an acute understanding of the love of God. It is as if he could see the very heart of Jehovah Himself. David, who knew sin so well, knew the forgiver of sin better. He who struggled with sinful passions in such profound ways, was also set free by the miraculous compassion and mercy of God. Listen to what he writes. “The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. – He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. – His unfailing love for us is as high as the heavens. – He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Finally he writes, “The Lord is like a tender and compassionate father.” Who could write such beautiful words? Who could so eloquently write about God’s forgiveness other than someone who knew first hand, the love of the Father. David knew God. God offers the same experience to us.
Feelings of guilt and condemnation are a huge problem in the Church, but I want you to understand that’s what they are; feelings. If you really know God’s Word, no matter how you feel, you can speak scriptures over your life and pretty soon your feelings have lost their authority. For instance, 1 John 1:9 says that if we repent and confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us. You need to take hold of that. Praying and declaring Scripture out loud not only helps to renew your mind, it helps you stand firm, and it certainly puts the devil in his place. The devil will try to make us feel guilty even when we didn’t do anything wrong. So we need to confess our sins until everything is out in the open and told, and then get dressed in our spiritual armor so we can firmly stand our ground.
When it comes right down to it, we just want to be loved unconditionally and accepted for who we are. We don’t want to have to pretend or perform. We just want to be accepted and loved. And God offers that to every single one of us. None of us can earn God’s love. But in order to receive God’s love we need to first believe that He loves us. If you have trouble believing God in this area, don’t just put up with it and wish that you felt better. Study the love of God. Read books about it. Listen to teachings on love. Start talking about it. Say, “If anybody can have God’s love, I’m going to have it. If anybody can be free, I’m going to be free. If anybody can be happy, I’m going to be happy. If anyone can have peace, it’s going to be me. If anybody can be used by God, I can be used by God. If anyone can get over their broken past, I will.” Don’t give in to your emotions, minister to them. Manage them. Remember that every day you’re in Christ, you’re a new person.
If you know who you are in Christ and you choose to grow, you will have a lot less trouble fighting guilt and condemnation. As a matter of fact, you will love God and the people He uses to correct you because they’re helping you change and grow. I don’t want you to wake up every day and just live your life based on how you feel. I want you to know that God loves you no matter what and that you don’t have to let feelings dictate the course of your life. Remember that all your sins have already been paid for by Jesus on the cross. And the more you count on the fact that you have the Father’s forgiveness and that He does not condemn you because of Jesus’ finished work, the more sin and its effects: sickness, hatred, lack and so on, will lose their grip on you. You will find yourself walking in a greater measure of God’s grace and blessings each and every day! And that’s definitely something NOT to feel guilty about!
Tim Ewing is the founder of Kindred Concert Ministries. You can learn more about Kindred by going to facebook.com/kindredconcerts or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fully Justified is a rock band based out of West Virginia. If you’d like to read the lyrics to this song or any of their songs, you can go to: reverbnation.com/fullyjustifiedband. For more information on FullyJustified you can also go to: facebook.com/FullyJustified
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