I'LL never forgive you," shouts an enraged husband haranguing at his harassed wife. "You've gone too far; that's the last straw. I've had it with you!"
Would God ever talk that way?
Many have pictured Him as a harsh hanging judge just looking for an excuse to unleash His fury against a helpless, trapped human being.
But is God really so unmerciful, unreachable, unapproachable and lacking in compassion?
A thousand times, NO! Our God is most merciful. Mercy mirrors His very character. God is truly a forgiving Father!
Every man and woman who has ever lived has racked up an enormous debt of sin to God Almighty. Comprehending this, King David cried out: "... Mine iniquities [sins] have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me" (Ps. 40:12).
And since "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23), the payoff for what we owe God is eternal extinction.
But God, in His great mercy, sent Jesus Christ of Nazareth to annul — to abrogate — to completely cancel out this enormous debt. He suffered a brutal, excruciating death at the hands of an angry mob to wipe the slate clean.
The Apostle Paul wrote: "And you, being dead in your sins [transgressions of God's law — I John 3:4]... hath he quickened [made alive] together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses" (Col. 2:13).
It matters not how many or how few your sins. God will forgive! It matters not how many times you've committed the same sin. God will forgive! It matters not how heinous or hideous your sins have been. God will forgive!
No sin — no matter how ugly, how sordid — will ever be held against you if you repent of it toward your Creator.
But real repentance is a vital and necessary precondition to God's total forgiveness.
Repentance simply means change. If you truly repent, you will turn from sin as a practice. You will quit sinning and begin keeping the Ten Commandments — all of them.
Make no mistake about it. God stands ready to forgive all your sins! But that forgiveness is conditioned upon your making a I80-degree turn in the road.
It is beyond the scope of this brief article to give a detailed description of true repentance with all of the attendant ramifications. We suggest that you read our free booklet titled What Is a Real Christian? Its second chapter is captioned "What Is Real Repentance?" It will fill in what this article leaves out.
Suffice it to say that salvation hinges on having "the real article" when it comes to repentance. Fool's gold will not do!
But once you really do repent, there are no longer any contingencies -.or conditions — no.. if's and's or but's. God then absolutely binds Himself to forgive you. It is sure!
Can we believe the Apostle John when he said: "If we confess our sins [truly repent], he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"? (I John 1:9.)
You can count on God. He will not withhold his forgiveness. The instant you really repent, you are at that very moment forgiven.
Remember, you have a most merciful and compassionate heavenly Father. He is literally filled with the spirit of forgiveness (Ps. 86:5). He is eager and anxious to forgive sinners. He sent Jesus to this earth to mercifully call sinners to repentance (Matt. 9:13).
And God's true ministers, though not perfect, mirror a portion of God's very character in this very important respect.
God's true ministers are warm, friendly and balanced. Like the Head of God's Church, Jesus Christ, they are literally filled with forgiveness, compassion and mercy. They do not condone sin; but they won't condemn the sinner either.
A true minister of God will show you how to turn from your sins. He will show you the way out of sin.