The Forgiven Believer

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Sometime back, a bumper sticker found its way on the bumpers of many automobiles that read: “Christians are not perfect, just forgiven.” While certainly not a full description of what a Christian is, Christians are more than “just forgiven”, it does bring out a marvelous truth: Christians are forgiven.

When we come to Christ, God cancels out the debt against us (Colossians 2:14), and declares us innocent of breaking His law (Romans 5:1). Of course, in ourselves we are not innocent. But because of Christ and His work, God can forgive us.

Guilt and guilt feelings cause more trauma than we know. In fact, guilt could be a cause of the deep psychological disturbances that plague modern man. Things we have done come back to us, and often take sleep away. But in Christ, we rest upon His marvelous forgiveness and work on the cross. When we sin, we confess it to God, and He is faithful and righteous to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9-10). We then experience the peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7).

When we ponder the rich forgiveness we receive in Christ, it makes it easier to forgive other people, as Paul reminds us:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Because we have experienced eternal forgiveness, we can extend it to others in this life. Believers should deeply rejoice that their sins are forgiven and that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Praise be to God for His unspeakable gift!

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