Sometimes people do not obey the Gospel because they feel that they have sinned too much for God to forgive them. Sometimes even Christians who have sinned feel lost and defeated because they think there’s no way God will forgive them for what they’ve done. Have you ever heard someone say that? Or maybe you have felt that way yourself.
But is that true? Is God unwilling to forgive someone because of how much they have sinned? Or is God unwilling to forgive one of His children who have sinned?
Thankfully, and amazingly, the answer is no. That is not true. There is no one that God is not willing to forgive who is willing to repent and seek His mercy. The good news of the entire Bible is that God is not only willing to forgive but that He WANTS to forgive us. We have many examples and passages in Scripture that bear this out. We are shown that no matter what we have done or how much we have sinned, God is more than willing to forgive if we are willing to repent and obey Him.
Consider Isaiah’s message to God’s people in Isaiah 1. After describing the sinfulness of Israel in many different ways in Isaiah 1:1-15, we then find God’s offer to them in 1:18, “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” No matter how much God’s people had sinned (and it was really bad, by the way), God was still willing to wash their sins away if they were willing to repent and obey. If God’s people Israel could be forgiven, then so can we.
What about King David? Think of all his sins in 2 Samuel 11. He lusted. He committed adultery. He lied and deceived. He got Uriah drunk. He had Uriah killed. And then married Bathsheba and went about his life like everything was okay. But when Nathan was sent to confront David about his sins, David willingly acknowledged them and repented. He would go on to write a beautiful psalm, Psalm 51, about the mercy and grace that he trusted God would give him for his broken and contrite heart. If David could be forgiven, then so can we.
Saul of Tarsus was a Jewish man who rejected Jesus of Nazareth and hated Christians. So much so that he went about arresting men and women who were Christians, torturing them, and even killing them. But then the Lord Jesus came to him as he traveled on the road to Damascus in Acts 9. It is then that Saul had a change of heart, repented, and devoted his life to serving Jesus the Christ. We know him as the apostle Paul. Paul would later write to Timothy, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:12-17). In short, Paul way saying that if he of all people could receive mercy and grace, then all who believe can. If Paul could be forgiven, then so can we.
How do we know that God is willing to forgive no matter how much we’ve sinned, no matter what we’ve done? Because He was willing to send His only begotten Son Jesus to die for us on the cross so that we could be saved (John 3:16). Why would God go through all the trouble of sacrificing His Son just to turn around and refuse to forgive us? John tells us in 1 John 1:9 that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” He is faithful. He is just. He will forgive. Read passages like Ephesians 2:1-10 and Titus 3:3-7 about how even though we were dead in our sins, lost, and hopeless, we have now received God’s abundant grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. By the grace of God we are forgiven, washed, made holy.
Do not doubt God’s love for you. Do not doubt God’s promises. Never feel that God would be unwilling to forgive. God’s promise to you and to me is that if we are willing to confess our sins and repent, He is more than willing to forgive us. That’s good news! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.