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Who Can Be Forgiven? Does God Forgive?

field of green grass

Here’s an important question – does God forgive? Stephen explores the nature of sin and our need for forgiveness through Jesus.

Saved From Our Sin

The Bible teaches that if we believe in Jesus, we will be saved from our sin and have everlasting life.  But is there a point when a person can’t be forgiven?  Is there a sin so great that it can keep a person from being saved?  The answer to this comes from understanding what the Bible says about condemnation.

Our societal view of condemnation involves the idea of a harsh rejection of something.  A government might condemn an action taken by another nation or group which may even lead to a declaration of war.  A judge will condemn a criminal to a sentence that fits the crime committed.  Even a building can be

Sin is Detestable to God

In the Bible, to be under condemnation incorporates all of these ideas on a personal level.  Our sin is detestable to God, so he speaks out against it in His word.  The penalty for our sin is death, which means if we come into judgement, we must be sentenced accordingly, which is to our destruction.  Scary stuff when we remember that the Bible teaches that all have sinned.

Thankfully, we have that great verse in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life”  There is also 1 John 1:8-9 which says “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  But is there a limit to that?  Let’s look at John 3:18;

“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God”

From this verse we learn that it is not our wrong doings that cause us to fall under the wrath of God, but failure to believe in His Son, Jesus.  This is the result of our sin nature.  We are born under the curse of sin, with the inability to resist sin.

I think about this as I watch my children grow.  I never taught them how to lie, hide things from us or disobey, but they do it, often out of fear of getting in trouble, they picked it up all on their own.  And while some people grow to practice these things more than others, there is no one on earth that can say they have never sinned, that they have never done something wrong.

A Perfect Sinless Life

When Jesus Christ came, he lived a perfect, sinless life, so that he could offer himself as the sacrifice for all sins, for every act of disobedience ever committed, but in order to receive this forgiveness of sin, we must put our trust in Him and believe that Jesus is who He says He is, the Son of God.  John 3:18 makes it very clear that the reason a person is condemned or not condemned is based entirely on what they have decided about Jesus Christ.   No committed sin, that is nothing we do, say or think, is unforgiveable, so we never have to feel we are too far gone to come to Jesus.

Believe in Jesus and Be Forgiven

God has given us a choice, He doesn’t want to destroy us, but our sin already has us in danger of that.  We can believe in Jesus and be forgiven, accepting that Jesus has already paid for our sin, or, we can reject Jesus, and remain under condemnation, to pay the full penalty for all of our sin.  The only thing we can do to not be forgiven, is to not believe in Jesus Christ.

This can be hard to take sometimes, especially when we think of some of history’s greatest villains, how people who have caused so much pain and suffering can be given a seemingly free pass.  Remember though, first, it wasn’t free, Jesus suffered and died for it, and He did it willingly, He chose to offer salvation to all.  Because no matter how far from God we wander, He wants to bring us back to himself.