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Forgiveness from God

Why is the topic of “Forgiveness from God” so important? Except for one human in all of history, Jesus, every person has sinned.

“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23)

The payoff for sin for all people is the same: death.

“…the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)

There will come a time when every human will stand before Jesus, Who will judge us for our sins and, unless something changes for us, will execute the penalty for that sin.

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2)


“But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess’. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10-12)


They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:5-6)

So, this WILL happen. To everyone.

Now, God is merciful, which means compassionate.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…” (Ephesians 2:4)

He has loved people ever since He created the first one in the Garden of Eden. How it must have broken His heart to see humanity choose death over life with Him. Still, He extended Himself to people all along.

This is what love looks like. Even when rejected by us, He chooses to be with us, rescue us, heal us and on and on.

We can learn so much from God, Who we are here to represent.

According to the Bible, Jesus knew how hopeless we were and came to save us anyway:

“…even when we were dead in trespasses, (God) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” (Ephesians 2:5-6)

Jesus doesn’t require that we clean ourselves up before He will deal with us. Only man-made “false” gods do that.

“If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:12-18)

Why is it important that Jesus do this…so WE could someday go to heaven?

“God so loved the world” says so much.

Back in the Garden He would walk with them in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). Genesis 2:25 says that Adam and the woman were “naked”.

When we hear that word, we think about physical nudeness. And, for sure, that WAS happening. Otherwise, why would they wear fig leaves as coverings after they sinned?

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” (Genesis 3:7)

And, why did God later kill an animal and cover them with its skin? This is the first animal sacrifice because of man’s sin. Why did He feel the need to do that?

“Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21)

While the word “naked” can mean to be physically nude, it can also refer to openness and vulnerability. Prior to sinning, they were open and vulnerable to God and His power; after sinning they were still open and vulnerable…to satan but not as much to God.

When they chose to trust the world instead of God they made themselves vulnerable to a world that portions out death and selfishness instead of life. God wanted to save them from that. So, He clothed them for their (limited) protection.

Sin does this. It insulates us from God. It prevents us from automatically turning to Him for provision and protection. It keeps us from being vulnerable and open to God.

He hates that.

God longs to bring us to a place where we no longer trust in fig leaves or any other worldly thing to protect us; opting, instead, to depend solely upon Him.

I’ll take a little detour to finish this idea and then will get back to the forgiveness of God.

God has always wanted us to be clothed by Him. In fact, His prophets spoke of this:

Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy.”(Psalm 132:9)


“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)


“Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him.’ And to him He said, ‘See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.’” (Zechariah 3:4)

My point for saying all this is that we all sin and that sin insulates us from God. This means we ALL have experienced this.

You know, one of the benefits of discipleship is that we have the option to go VERY deep in these topics. Or, we can do what usually happens in Christendom and just go very shallow. 2000 years of drifting from God’s intentions for HIS Church has resulted in a vast percentage of all believers living and dying having experienced virtually none of the depths of the Lord.

Consequently, if we were to ask Christians why someone should be saved almost all would say, “So he could go to heaven.”

That’s it.

You might wonder what’s wrong with that answer. Nothing is “wrong” about it. Its just not a complete answer.

Our topic today is “Forgiveness from God”. Let’s see what the very first believers understood about this:

“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Acts 5:30-32)

They literally watched God forgive people their sins. Their resulting lifestyles reflected that freedom from sin.

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)

They had a hunger for God’s teachings, prayed a lot, spent a lot of time TOGETHER with other believers, lived with gladness and simplicity of heart, shared with one another and praised God.

True forgiveness from God really does affect people!

The idea of God’s forgiveness shows up in two other places in Acts:

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins…” (Acts 13:38)

Also, Paul spoke to King Agrippa about his conversion on the road to Damascus and said this:

“So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’” (Acts 26:15-18)

I believe first century Christians were VERY aware of their sin and that God had cleansed it away. We know for sure that the Apostle Paul was thinking about it all the time.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself…” (Ephesians 1:3-7)


“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)

The first Christians were Jews who had been born again. As Jews they could never really have their sins forgiven. Animal sacrifices kept the wrath of God toward their sin at bay.

Even Jewish leaders like Paul knew that the best they could do was try to APPEAR to be righteous.

In the words of Jesus Himself:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27-28)

Even hypocrites know they are being fake.

Imagine being one of those people and then learning you could be…or that you WERE now completely free of sin! Can you imagine how amazing that realization must have felt?

The thing is, in Christ we have that exact same thing. Why is it, then, that we seem to not really care

much about that?

Its because satan has infiltrated the Church with worldly ideas…all of which he controls. The devil never wants us to fully harvest everything Jesus provides through salvation. So, he minimizes important things.

That’s why there are far more sermons about one’s congregation or denomination or worship style than there ever will be about Jesus, righteousness, integrity or forgiveness of sins from God.

Satan particularly hates forgiveness because it was he who tempts people to sin. When we forgive or are forgiven, he loses an investment he has made in our souls. He loses some of his control over us.

Most of us are familiar with what we call The Lord’s Prayer:

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

Satan HATES forgiveness. Hence, the last two verses of what we know as the Lord’s Prayer are often omitted when they are recited:

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

God, however, LOVES to forgive the sins of those who trust Jesus for salvation. He voiced His intention to do so early on:

“‘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.’” (Isaiah 1:18)

He wanted it to be known that HE wanted to be what takes our sin away – not our own performance. He wanted to remove the insulation sin puts between man and God. So, He said He would.

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)

Let’s not miss that last part: God saying, “I will not remember your sins.”.

Now, this goes completely against what most people think about God. Satan has so besmirched God’s reputation that most believe He loves to hold a grudge against us for our sins.

The truth is that in several places in the Bible God says He will not “remember” our sins – the one I just posted as well as these:

“But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’” (Hebrews 10:15-17)


“…I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’” (Hebrews 8:12)

There is a LOT more that happens to us when we are born again than just being eligible to go to heaven when we die. Most believers, though, never hear that. Sadly, too many leaders in the modern Church are more interested in building their businesses than in teaching us what Jesus does for us.

God treasures being able to remove the dividing wall between people and Himself. That’s what “reconciliation” is all about:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

When God reconciled us to Himself He did something with our sin:

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:11-12)

This is where that idea of God remembering our sin no more comes into play.

Its important, and here’s why: God never forgets anything.

“…God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” (1 John 3:20b)


“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” (Psalm 139:1-6)

God knows everything; have you ever considered, then, how it is He forgets our sins? The truth is that the LORD NEVER says He forgets our sin. He says He remembers our sin (or transgressions) no more.

What’s the difference? Maybe an illustration will help.

Sometimes we encounter someone we know and we recall exactly what they did to offend or hurt us, yet, we choose to not dwell on that knowledge. Instead we CHOOSE to see other aspects of their lives…good things. We know darn well what they have done but we choose to see them for other things.

That is how it is with God and His children (born again people).

God sees people in terms of their eternal situation. For His children, He sees them in terms of HIS work inside them.

This is important because satan will tempt us to sin and then torment us for doing it. One of my mentors said, “The fastest change known to man was when satan went from tempter to accuser.”

“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.’” (Revelation 12:10)

There was a time when he stomped back and forth before God accusing us; God cast him down. Now, he just does it to us in our heads. It’s important that we see ourselves through God’s eyes – holy and blameless and not in terms of our sin.

The doctrine of “Forgiveness from God” is a very important one.

As we have seen EVERY person who received Jesus as Lord IS forgiven by God. There are no exceptions to that.

“Blessed (happy) are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” (Romans 4:7-8)

And, now that we are forgiven, God has put in place a way we can stay cleaned from sin on a continual basis:

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7,9)

Verse 9 tells us that the blood of Jesus “cleanses” us of all our sin. The Greek word translated into “cleanses” is in a tense which means His blood always and continually cleanses us. This means that WHILE we are sinning, that sin is being washed away.

God’s forgiveness is all-encompassing.

The question, then, is: “Have you received God’s forgiveness?”

The principle of “receiving” is one I might do an entire Discipleship for Life session about because its rarely taught.

“And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” (Acts 2:40-41)

The word “received” means to seize something and take ownership of it. These heard the word and made it theirs. This caused them to be born again and they were baptized in response to that.

God’s forgiveness is a reality for ALL Christians. We ARE forgiven. However, many believers never experience the joy of feeling as forgiven as they are because they have not received that forgiveness. They HAVE it; its just not theirs in their heart.

This is why we discuss receiving God’s forgiveness. We want to cheat the devil out of stealing our joy and want our brothers and sisters to live free of guilt that is no longer necessary.

This concludes our discussion of God’s forgiveness.

© July 17, 2023

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

Decatur, Texas

(For use with permission)


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