Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (ESV)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Have you ever struggled to forgive yourself?
More than once, I have heard a distraught brother or sister say, “I know that God has forgiven me but I just can’t forgive myself.” Can you relate? We have all done something that we struggle to get over. We are so disappointed with ourselves. We are disgusted by our sin. We can’t believe we stooped that low. So we keep it hanging over our heads. We wallow in it. We punish ourselves for our sins. But is this what God wants us to do? Is perpetual penance biblical?
No. It’s not. Today’s verse says that if we are in Christ, we have been made new. Our old, sinful selves are gone. God did this for us through Jesus Christ. Our sins separated us from God, but Jesus provided a way for us to be reconciled and restored to a right relationship with God.
Let’s look at what else the Bible says about God’s forgiveness.
Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions for us.”
1 John 1:9 tells us how to be forgiven: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Romans 8:1 assures us that we no longer stand condemned before God: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Friend, Jesus died to offer you forgiveness. If you have accepted that offer, you have been forgiven by the God of the universe. Who are you to now withhold forgiveness from yourself?
Jesus did not pay the price of your sin so that you could continue trying to pay the price yourself. If you are still clinging to your sins in unforgiveness, you are denying God’s gift of grace and forgiveness. There is nothing you can do to make your sin right before God except confess your sins and accept God’s gift of salvation and grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Continuing to condemn yourself is actually rejecting His sacrifice on your behalf.
In 1 Peter 2:24, Peter wrote: “He himself bore our sins on his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” You have been healed by His wounds so stop re-wounding yourself! If you are in Christ, you have died to sin and have been raised to walk in a new righteous life!
You are a new creation so stop clinging to your old self. Christ paid the price for your sins so stop doing penance. Walk in the righteousness He bought for you and stop looking back. The old you is gone. Let it go.
Jesus, I hate my sin. But I know that You paid the price for it. I have no business trying to continue to pay my own penalty. You already paid it all. Help me to accept Your gift of grace and move forward walking in righteousness as a new creation. My old self is dead and gone. Praise You, Lord! Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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