With the exception of Jesus Christ, every person who ever lived is a sinner. Not only have we all sinned in the past, but we continue to disobey God and remain sinful. We are all born into this state of sin and the best we can ever hope for is to reduce the quantity and severity of the sins we commit. However, each sin, from the smallest white lie to the largest transgression, is enough to deny us eternal life. Fortunately, God provides us with a way out of this problem. That way is called forgiveness. God will forgive our sins if we simply accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and ask for forgiveness. In Hebrews 8:12, (For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer), and again in Hebrews 10:17, (Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer), we are told that God will not only forgive us, but he will not even remember our sin any more.
But are there limits to God’s willingness or ability to forgive us? Answers to this question can be found in the Gospels. No better example exists than the Crucifixion of Jesus. As Jesus was suffering on the Cross, He forgave those that were torturing them (Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them; for they know not what they are doing). If Jesus was willing to forgive his tormenters, He will clearly also forgive our sins. There is no limit to the severity of the sin that will be forgiven.
What if we persist in the same transgressions? Is there a limit to the number of times that God will forgive the same sin? Matthew 12: 21 – 22 describes a dialogue between the Apostle Peter and Jesus. Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother and suggests that 7 is a reasonable number. Jesus replied no, not seven, but seventy times seven. This does not set the numerical limit at 490 times, but rather suggests that there is no limit to the number of times we are to forgive someone. If Jesus commands us not to put a ceiling forgiveness, he will obviously not put a ceiling on himself. He will forgive us as many times as we ask.
How can we take advantage of the special gift of forgiveness? First, trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Second, simply ask. All you have to do is ask for forgiveness. As John wrote (John 6:37) …and the one who comes to me, I will never send away.