In our King James Bible, we find the word Forgive, 48 times, Forgiven, 38 times, Forgiveness 7 times, and Forgiving 4 times.
The scriptures teach that God will forgive us, and we as Christians are to forgive others. Scripture also teaches us the unsaved can forgive one another, but they do not have God’s forgiveness.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church of Ephesus in Ephesians 4:32,
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
When we truly forgive someone, there is no more bitter feelings or resentment in our heart toward them. We are to learn to forgive others when they have wronged us no matter how unfair it may seem, or how hard it really is to do. But Jesus says,
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: Matthew 6:14
Once sinners are saved there are no sins charged against them to condemn them by God. We all need to remember this scripture in John 3:17,
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
God wants all people to be saved. He is willing to forgive all who will trust his Son as their Savior. On the other hand, true Christians still do sin after they are saved. This does not condemn them, but it breaks their fellowship with the savior. A believer who has sin in their life will not enjoy sweet fellowship with the Lord. They will not have the peace they could have if they lived a separated life for the Lord.
That is why in 1 John 1:8-10 says,
If we say that 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. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word not in us.
As Christians we can have sin that we are unaware of, as well as sin we are aware of. Under the Mosaic Law there was a sacrifice that had to be made for sins of ignorance. When Christians have unconfessed sin, they become carnal minded.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8
Unsaved people cannot please God, and Christians with sin do not enjoy life as they should with God’s peace.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTION
A sinner is convicted by the Holy Spirit when they hear the gospel. If a person does not hear the gospel message they will not be convicted of their sin. People must know they are sinners and only the Word of God and the Holy Spirit draw a person to see their need of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 16:8-9,
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Then, He gave the great commission in Matthew 28:19-20,
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen
FORGIVENESS BEFORE SALVATION
Before one can be saved, they must first be forgiven. Forgiveness comes after sinners confess their sin. God does not deal with us like some business owner might do. In business you may make a down payment on some product and take it home with you. God only forgives when a sinner is sincere and turns from their sin to trust Jesus as their savior. Salvation is not something you try and if it does not work for you, and you drop it or give it back. Salvation is something that is permanent. Salvation is eternal.
Sinners are not given salvation before they are forgiven. You may have heard someone say, they want to get things right in their lives before they get saved. Well, my friend, it doesn’t work that way. First you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! Then, you repent of your sin, sincerely ask for forgiveness and He will forgive you. It is then you can get your life straightened out because HE will help you.
God does not give out salvation on a trial basis either. Go to some car lot and they may allow you to drive a used car several days to see if you like it. But God does not operate his business that way. God knows if someone really turns from sin, or if all they have is a dose of “religion.” It is going to be surprising how many church members just have religion and not salvation, at the judgment.
I ask all my readers today, have you sincerely turned from sin to embrace Jesus as your Savior? Only you can make this change. You will not be able to blame anyone else for your decision. You need to listen to what God says in his word and base your decision on what he says, and not what some religionist says.
Writing to the church at Corinth, Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 13:5,
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Keep checking what you believe & BE SURE of it! If you desire to be saved you must have forgiveness and then trust Jesus as your savior. You cannot trust Jesus without repenting of sin. If we repent, we are forgiven. So, in this sense forgiveness comes before salvation. There is no short cut to salvation because everyone is saved the same way, “if they are saved.” No one is more saved than any other person. Saved people have been given eternal life which allows them to live with Jesus, forever!
Let me also emphasize one thing that is very important. Believing in God does not and will not save anyone. Jesus is the Savior. God the Father says we must trust his Son who suffered, then died on a cross to pay for our sin.
Salvation is a gift that is not deserved or earned by anything we have done. It is a gift to sinners who will ask to be forgiven by trusting Jesus who died on the cross for their sin.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
FORGIVENESS LEADS TO SALVATION
When a sinner recognizes they are lost and need to be saved, that is one blessed day in their life. Many people never feel they need to be saved and this is tragic. The way to know you need to be saved, is to hear the gospel concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. But one must not only hear the gospel they must also believe the gospel.
In the book of Hebrews, the writer talks about the gospel being preached, yet some still failed to believe.
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Hebrews 4:2
If the gospel is not believed it will not bring salvation. It will not lead to repentance. Each person is responsible for what they believe. Many people believe wrong to their own eternal destruction.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6.
When I was young growing up, we often heard of those who wanted to be saved. At revival time back then, people would go to the meeting to get saved. But today, sadly, we live in a totally different world.
Seldom we hear anyone say they desire to be saved. Old time revivals are few and far between. People feeling the guilt of their sin is unheard of today and rarely, you hear of a minister who will warn people of their sin. They just do not want to “offend” anyone. But the scriptures have this to say,
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:17-18
As ministers we must preach the gospel. It is the only message that will convict people of their sin. People need to avoid churches at all costs who do not preach about sin and preach this newly founded “social gospel.” This is not biblical instruction my friend, and it won’t teach you how to keep hell from being your final destination!
He said, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:1
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
Ministers should never be ashamed to preach God’s word! Here, is what the Apostle Paul said if he did not preach the gospel,
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 1Corinthians 9:16
My dear friend, have you been forgiven? Have you received the salvation of the Lord? Only, you can choose Christ for yourself. God loves you and he wants to show you his glory for eternity, but you must first repent of your sin and trust Jesus as your Savior.
If you know right now you are not saved, or if you are unsure, won’t you call upon Him today.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gospel of Jesus Christ. We praise you for loving us sinners so much you gave your only son to pay our sin debt. I pray for all my readers and for their salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. “Loving the Savior” Preacher