Sometimes we truly do not understand what Christ did on the cross at Calvary; what He went through when He manifested Himself in the flesh. We are so intent on the things we have done in the past, feeling ashamed and guilty. We feel as though we won’t ever be forgiven, not even by God Himself. The truth of the matter is that when we begin to feel this way, we make void the sacrifice of Christ and minimize what His sufferings and death meant. The apostle Paul wrote that Christ’s shed blood was a free gift given by God in order for us to be set free from the guilt and shame of sin (Romans 3:24-26). When Christ said He came into this world to save us and forgive us of our sins, He absolutely meant it. He did not lie; it’s impossible for Him to do so (Hebrews 6:18).
There is not a sin so great that God cannot forgive. Paul, before he became a Christian, persecuted the churches of Christ. He was throwing them into prisons, encouraging their execution and blaspheming Christ Himself. Such actions never left Paul’s mind when he finally submitted himself to the Savior. It led him to say this, “This is a trustworthy saying, worthy of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.But for this very reason I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His perfect patience, as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:15,16). Christ’s forgiveness displayed on “the worst of sinners” is an example to all that the Lord will be merciful and compassionate to us, too, when we repent of what we did and obey the gospel.
So when we say things like “God won’t ever forgive me,” we essentially make Him out to be a liar, and say Christ’s sacrifice was not enough. We say His beatings, His scourging, His accusers and mockers, His crown of thorns, His innocent blood shed, His tears and prayers for us, His hands and feet being nailed to a cross, His side being pierced and opened–all of this–was not enough. But it WAS enough and He freely bore every single one of our sins so that we could be forgiven. The apostle Peter wrote: “Christ died for sins once for all..so that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
For those in the body, which is the church, of Christ who are holding on to the past thinking it won’t ever be erased: let it go. Cast all of your cares and tears to God because He cares about you (1 Peter 5:7). It is written, “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” and He will cast them “into the depths of the sea” never to remember them no more (1 John 1:9; Micah 7:19; Hebrews 8:12).
For those who have not yet given their lives to Christ because they feel unworthy: come, and follow Him and He will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30). His arm is not so short that He can’t pull you out. We’re all unworthy, and that’s what grace means: unmerited favor. His grace is sufficient because it was given for and made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). All He asks from you is to repent and turn away from the old you to live unto God. Come to Him believing that He died for you, that He bore your sins so that you wouldn’t have to. Come believing that He was buried and rose from the dead with power; that He is the Son of God. Upon your confession that He is, you can be buried with Him through water baptism, obtaining the forgiveness of all of the sins you have done–receiving a clean slate in the sight of God as a new individual (Acts 2:38; Romans 6).
So let us move past from the past, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what’s ahead: the high prize and upward call of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:13).