It is quite a game-changer when we understand that Jesus has complete authority to forgive sin. Once we have experienced His forgiveness, we have open access to the Father. The power of forgiveness lies in it breaking down of the wall of separation which sin causes between God and us. In the same manner, our forgiveness extended to others breaks down walls of bitterness, non-communication, hate and disappointment.
“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].” 1 John 1:9
“In Him, we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor,” Ephesians 1:7 (AMPC)
The President of the USA has the power to do the following with regards to a wrong which has been committed by the justice system:
- The President can commute the sentence, which means the conviction stands but the accused is freed from prison and no longer needs to pay the penalty for his/her wrongdoing.
- The President can pardon, which is a complete nullification of the conviction. Legally it is as if the accused has never committed the crime.
When Christ forgives us, He does not commute our sentence but He fully pardons and forgives us! What is amazing is that His forgiveness not only removes the penalty, but it removes the shame as well. You can stand blameless before God without shame or guilt. People are restored to wholeness and sonship through the power of God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness is therefore not a weakness, but a powerful instrument of restoration. Through forgiveness, people can start living with purpose, creativity and freedom.
“Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon.” Isaiah 55:7
Good works alone have no power to free you
Most religious systems follow a pattern of “good works” and devotees follow certain set procedures to cleanse themselves from any wrongdoing and to atone for sin. The Bible clearly shows us how Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice and atonement for our sin when he paid the death penalty on the cross. Because of this, it is only in Him that there is total forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t occur because of the individual following any given pattern, it is freely given based on what Jesus did, to anyone who turns to Him.
“Now where there is absolute remission (forgiveness and cancellation of the penalty) of these [sins and lawbreaking], there is no longer any offering made to atone for sin.” Hebrews 10:18
“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which [ratifies the agreement and] is being poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28
“In Whom we have our redemption through His blood, [which means] the forgiveness of our sins.” Colossians 1:14
”But there is forgiveness with You [just what man needs], that You may be reverently feared and worshipped.” Psalms 130:4
Through His death on the cross, Jesus has earned the right to forgive you fully and freely.
Freed from perfectionism
Years ago as a university student, I struggled to forgive someone close to me. His expectation of me was meant as an encouragement, yet my perception of these expectations put a great burden of perfectionism on me. Everything on me and around me had to be perfect, my dorm room was painfully neat, the bookshelf was in alphabetical order and if anyone would dare to change anything I was uncomfortable and irritable. It started affecting my health and relationships and I realized I needed to change. I made an appointment with a pastoral counsellor who explained the power of forgiveness; both of God’s forgiveness to me, and my forgiveness to others. That night I lay in bed and battled with this concept of how to forgive. While asking God to guide me, I suddenly understood that when I have experienced the liberation of His forgiveness for my own sin and weaknesses I am enabled to extend that to others. I confessed my sin and immediately experienced God’s embrace. I then grabbed a pen and paper and wrote down a few pages of painful incidents which I needed to forgive this individual for. Once everything was on paper, I committed it all to God and made a decision to forgive. An overwhelming sense of peace and relief flooded my being. I no longer needed any man’s approval, I lived in a relationship with my Heavenly Father and that freed me from striving towards perfection. Pretty soon, my dorm room had all the signs of a busy, but emotionally healthy student!
“Forgiveness is the ability to permanently release those who wronged you, and treat the offenders as if they never did a thing to hurt or harm you. Forgiveness is defined as being merciful, understanding, tolerant and pitiful. It is in the light of our dependency on God that we liberally forgive.” Dr Hendrik Vorster
Once we grasp the power of what Christ did on the cross and how He can free us from any burden or sin, a whole new life awaits! Not only do we experience freedom and joy, but we are also empowered to break down walls of separation and bitterness by our choice to forgive! Why live with past regrets and hurts when the power of forgiveness is yours to experience, and to use?
“Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiveness doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free.” Dave Willis.org