“Every sin is the same in God’s eyes.” Or, is it? That is the question that baffles so many, and even keeps others from seeing how God can be fair. “I am not as bad as that.” One spouts. Yet, he fails to realize that deep within is the same human nature as the ones he despises. Yes, all sins are the same in God’s eyes, but they do have differing levels of punishment (http://t.co/SviYgtsa). However, the topic of this post is “Will God Forgive Every Sin?” That touches on God’s willingness and our own guilt. Whereas judgement is by degree (proportionate to one’s sinfulness and wrong actions), God’s mercy is without degree (no limit).
Guilt is the one hated thing with which everyone deals but which no one can seem to be shed. In Medieval times especially, but even nowadays, individuals beat themselves to do “penance,” or self-mutilating punishment. That is just one of many pagan, ritualistic rites people perform to feel better about themselves, to separate themselves from themselves (as it were) and to be “good” again. Guilt can cause others to go into depression, addictions, or further guilt-producing cover-ups. So, it is no wonder the world is filled with people who are wondering, “Can I really be forgiven?” The answer is yes.
Have you ever heard someone say something like, “If you only knew what I’ve done”? You see, guilt singles you out; it makes you think you’re alone. It haunts your present and future, so that you can’t ever quite feel clean again. Guilt is a reminder of who we really are deep down. But, worst of all, guilt can drive us away from God instead of toward Him. Nothing could be further from what He wants. Judgment is a strange work to God, and showing mercy makes him happy (Micah 7:18). For example, God writes,
“Turn to me and be saved, all [of you from] the ends of the earth! Because I am God, and there is no one else” (Isaiah 45:22).
That is, no matter who you are or where you are on planet earth, God wants you to run to Him, because only He can truly rescue you. He is God, not a fellow human like your lawyer, your parent, or your friend. Only God can save you like only God can—-on the inside. Thankfully, there is a remedy, not just to remove guilt but to change who we are deep down, no matter what we’ve done… NO MATTER WHAT!
“But wait!” the Bible scholar will say, “doesn’t the Scripture say that God will not clear the guilty by any means?” Yes, that reference comes out of Exodus 34:7. Contrary to popular understanding, though, that passage details the fact that God’s glory is in His ability to provide mercy and satisfy justice too. In other words, “clearing” the guilty is a reference to “overlooking” someone’s wrong without justice being served. God never does that.
By Jesus’ death, we observe God doesn’t just overlook sins (offenses against His eternal Law and Character). In fairness, He must deal with it punitively. What kind of universal judge would He be, if He just swept dirt under the proverbial rug? No, no. God thoroughly punished all sins by allowing Jesus to be killed. Jesus is able to take away sin, because He earned that right by dying for mankind’s sin and rising victoriously again from the grave (Romans 11:27; Hebrews 10:11-23; 1 John 3:5). As a result, He can cleanse the conscience completely (Hebrews 9:14). He has that right. He has that innate and earned authority. So, God’s glory is that He forgives in a fair and lawful way. He is to be praised for that!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
Notice that “all” is mentioned three times in these two verses of the Bible. Interestingly, this Psalm was written by King David, who is also recorded to have murdered in order to cover up an adulterous affair. God forgave David along with people like Saul/Paul, who murdered Christians just to get rid of them. God forgave Adam and Eve (the ones who plunged the human race into sin) when they accepted God’s covering for their sin. If He can forgive those who started all this mess, He can forgive your being a part of it. What’s more, Jesus repeatedly uttered words of forgiveness on the cross for those who nailed Him there. Since He died for the sins of mankind, then your sins nailed Him there. That means He has forgiveness ready for you. No, God is not interested in saving perfect people, but rather He died and lives to make the biggest difference possible by buying back the worst sort from their own sin.
Notice also in that Psalm 103, “iniquity” (the root of sinful actions) is paired up with “diseases.” God declares our sins are not just ill-advised actions, but they are the symptoms of a spiritual disease; and, God heals that disease. That means God is like a Doctor. If you are sick of being sick, where do you go except to the one who can remedy your illness? So it is with God. No need to run from Him, if He is the one who wants to heal. You need only change your mind and come to the realization God is right about you. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn those in it. He came into the world so that through Him, we all could have the provision for being saved from ourselves and judgment (John 3:17).
In short, God will only forgive those who 1. Humbly see themselves as needing His pardon and spiritual healing; 2. Obtain it by God’s prescribed method – faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind. If we’re dealing with eternity and personal guilt, going through present consequences or even self-punishment is no chance of gaining a clean conscience. However, God can make that guarantee! Be comforted; be saved!