How To Receive God’s Forgiveness
June 1, 2014
How do we receive from God forgiveness for having sinned? Is it by merely asking Him to forgive us while acknowledging our sin? Regardless of the fact that much of Christendom teaches such a philosophy, God’s Word says differently.
God’s Word informs us that to receive God’s forgiveness, we must believe the Gospel and act accordingly. It says that to receive God’s forgiveness for having sinned against His holy laws we must repent and follow Christ. It teaches that repentance is not just a change of mind, but a change of action, of behavior, of conduct. It tells us that we must renounce all sin, turn from it, be washed of it, and live in line with the ensuing righteousness we’ve been given. God’s Word tells us that we must walk (live moment by moment) like Jesus did. (1 John 2:6)
Receiving forgiveness from God through Christ is the act of stepping out of the dark kingdom into the Kingdom of Light, of Truth, of Purity, of Love. To be accepted in this Kingdom, a person must pledge allegiance to the King. This King is Jesus and He gives His subjects His own Spirit, along with His Spirit’s power, to live strong and victorious over any assaults the evil realm still continues to hurl. The Lord expects us and commands us to live this way, and we are expected to become knowledgable and skilled at walking in the Spirit’s power, doing so by diligently and eagerly eating The Word and putting it into practice.
If someone is not doing what is expected by the King, and yet, while claiming to be in union with the King, walks in the darkness (in sin), then what does this mean? It means such a person is a liar. (1 John 1:6) To not live according to the expectation of the King is to not be living by the Truth. (same verse) The Truth, therefore, is not in him (2:4), and Jesus, who is the Truth (John 14:6), is absent. This means that Christ’s Spirit is not in him (1 John 3:24 // Rom. 8:9) and he is not born again. (same verses // John 3:3-8) To not be born again is to be dwelling in that dark realm which is eternally cursed.
But, the Good News tells people to open their understanding and by faith turn from the darkness to the Light, meaning from deeds of sin to deeds of righteousness. (Acts 26:18,20) It is the turn “from the power of Satan to God.” (v. 18) This, Jesus says, is the way to “receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (same verse)
May we not be deceived, but instead understand correctly how to be recipients of God’s forgiveness.