9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9 (KJV)
Many Christians struggle with feeling undeserving or unworthy of God’s forgiveness. However, this need not be so.
In fact, the Bible’s teachings about God’s forgiveness are at once freeing and profound.
In this devotional we’re going to look at these teachings in a concise yet thorough manner as we seek to fully understand God’s forgiveness.
Faithful and Just
We can be forgiven because God is faithful and just.
“Faithful” means God forgives because he is trustworthy and reliable. He fulfills his promises and never goes back on them. God always does what he says he will do.
“Just” means that God is fair, but not in human terms. He is fair because he is righteous. God is right and he is holy.“God forgives because it is within his character to do so.”
When used to describe God in the New Testament, the word just corresponds with God’s fulfillment of his covenants, wherein he always acts justly and proper.
Therefore God forgives because it is within his character to do so.
Put simply, he wants to forgive you, and he went to great lengths to be able to offer forgiveness to you.
God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for all of the sins of mankind. He was and is our perfect substitute.
He was “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities.” (Is. 53:5) Jesus placed all of our sins on his shoulders when he died for us on the cross.
To deny or discredit God’s forgiveness is to deny Jesus’ work on the cross.
Therefore, God forgives us every and anytime we ask because in his justice the penalty for sin is met by Christ. Jesus makes forgiveness possible.
Everything about forgiveness is by God’s power. We are forgiven because of who God is and through the work of his son Jesus Christ.
None of these involve our own strength; we do not add anything of ourselves to God’s forgiveness except open hands. We cannot merit God’s forgiveness.“We are forgiven because of who God is and through the work of his son Jesus Christ.”
Yet God loved us so much that he took it upon himself to do all that we could not. As Isaiah states, by his strips we are healed. (Is. 53:5)
That is why God presents forgiveness in 1 John 1:9 as a promise. If we confess (acknowledge) our sins then he will do all that only he is able to do for us by forgiving and cleansing us.
Forgiveness is entirely in God’s power and not ours. For this reason we can come to him without hesitation, doubt or contingencies.
We’re not unworthy because Jesus was and is worthy to be our substitute.
We need not add requirements to God’s forgiving power. Doing so only seeks to elevate us above God when his faithfulness and justice are more than enough.
Additionally, it is not necessary for us to feel undeserving of God’s forgiveness.
No one is undeserving of God’s forgiveness because he is faithful and just.
Any attempt by the enemy to convince us otherwise is only meant to keep us from being in fellowship with God, and free from sin.
Even when our sins seem too large, nothing is impossible with God.
The next time you feel undeserving or unworthy of God’s forgiveness, remember that you are forgiven because of who God is, and because of what Jesus has done.
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Cover Image Credit
Mountain View, 1863-67. Robert J. Pattison (American, 1838-1903). Watercolor with graphite and touches of gouache and scraping on paper. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Dudley P. Allen Fund 2016.6