Each one of us has sinned and continues to sin: Romans 3:32 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Because of our sins, we do not have the right to spend eternity in Heaven with God. Fortunately, God loves us so much that he provided a way out of this predicament. He sent His only begotten Son to pay the price for our transgressions: John 3:16 “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”. With the price that Jesus Christ paid, we can receive forgiveness for all our sins. How can we take advantage of this special gift? We need to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and our sins will be forgiven. Through Jesus, every sin, from the smallest “white lie” to the largest transgressions can be forgiven. Not only will our sins be forgiven, they will be completely wiped out: "…for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jer 31:34). Jesus provided us with the ultimate example of forgiveness. As Jesus was suffering on the cross, He forgave those who were torturing Him: But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing…" (Luke 23:34). The Bible contains numerous references to forgiveness and provides guidance on what we are to do. We are to prayerfully ask for forgiveness: Look upon my affliction and my trouble, And forgive all my sins. (Psalms 25:18). Also, When Jesus was teaching us how to pray, He included a request for forgiveness: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matt 6:12) God will forgive us for all our transgressions, if we only ask Him to.
Obviously, forgiveness is a great gift. If someone gives us a gift, it is customary for us to say “thank you”. Similarly, we are to show gratitude to God for forgiving our sins “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven” (Romans 4:7). In our prayer life, we should both ask for forgiveness and be thankful that God has forgiven us. What are we to do if someone has wronged us? The instructions are very clear… we are to forgive them: “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matt 6:14-15) Not only are we to forgive others, if we do not, forgiveness will not be given to us. Matthew 8:21-22 records a dialogue between Peter, one the Apostles, and Jesus: Then Peter came to Him and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?" "No!" Jesus replied, "seventy times seven!” Forgiveness is not a one time event. We must continuously forgive those who sinned against us as many times as necessary. So, in order for our sins to be forgiven, we need to do the following: 1. Accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, 2. In prayer, ask God for forgiveness. 3. Thank God for the gift of forgiveness and 4. Forgive all who have sinned against us. Mark Askeda