“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9
As I am writing this, my mind is still trying to wrap itself around the awesomeness of it. I committed a willful sin. By willful, I mean I knew before I did it, I knew while I was doing it and I knew when I had done it. Through it all, I had the consciousness of the spirit and the awareness of what I was doing and yet, I still went ahead.
I did not want to ask for forgiveness later. Not because I wasn’t sorry but because I felt I could not justify myself and I could not defend the apology to God. So even though, my heart was repeatedly crying out my sin and asking for forgiveness, I decided to wait till I could ‘feel’ sorry enough and cry before apologizing.
Whilst waiting for my emotions to be penitent enough, I imagined all sorts of calamities that would happen because of my willful disobedience to the Holy Spirit.
I waited for God to strike me.
When nothing physical happened, I decided that something spiritual must have happened; I had been punished spiritually, I thought to myself. Or at the least, I had lost something spiritually! Oh, the foolishness of man!
The Holy Spirit broke into my ruminations and quietly asked “Are you sorry?” I answered “YES” immediately and made to add. “But . . . . . . .” He never gave me a chance, “Then you are forgiven” was the quiet declaration.
I immediately revolted against that. Forgiven??!! How could I be forgiven? No, I could not be forgiven so easily for a willful sin, I thought.
Jesus saw my mind and spoke, reminding me of Simon Peter who denied Him three times (Matt 26:33-35, 69-75). He reminded me that Peter had been warned that he would deny Jesus three times and each time he denied Jesus, while he did not remember the warning, he still knew he was doing something grievously wrong by denying Jesus. That was willful sin!
Jesus went on to tell me that by the time Peter was denying Him, forgiveness was no more an issue because Peter had already been forgiven long before the sin was committed. He had been forgiven from the time Jesus told him he would deny Him.
I still could not accept that I was getting off so lightly, I felt I should be judged for the sin I committed; not for God to have mercy on me. I asked “what of JUSTICE?” and Jesus responded and told me that in 1 Jn 1:9, His words were not that God is MERCIFUL to forgive us but that He is JUST to forgive us. JUSTICE IS SERVED IN FORGIVENESS!
OH MY GOD! A light switch just went on in my heart. I finally understood. God has forgiven me my willful sin simply because I confessed and asked Him to forgive me and because He is FAITHFUL to forgive! He had even forgiven me before I asked and before I sinned! And in forgiving me, the demands of justice had been met. The legal grounds for punishment had been met and fulfilled by the justice of forgiveness!!!
Any lingering trace of guilt was erased with the word that says “If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart” 1 John 3:20.
YES! He is greater than my heart. If He doesn’t condemn me, no one else can, not even me!
I cannot begin to tell you what this revelation is doing to me. My heart is aglow with it. My spirit sings at this. Now I know I will never commit that sin again because now I KNOW. What punishment could never have done, forgiveness has done. I cannot take that forgiveness for granted; I can never abuse the sacrifice that satisfied the demands of justice on my behalf. That is what will keep me from falling again.
I AM FREE! I AM FORGIVEN!