When we ask God for forgiveness do we mean it? As it’s not a case of doing wrong, feeling guilty and asking God for forgiveness and then carry on as normal; for some that’s what they believe / think forgiveness is.
My understanding of forgiveness is that when I ask for forgiveness (which unfortunately is often), I need to turn away from that sinful part of my life and turn to God. Some may be asking where / how do I come to this particular belief?
In Joel 2:12-13 “12 Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.” [NRSV] In these verses we see how the Lord wants us to return to Him, but if we are to return to Him we cannot carry-on with our sinful lives.
When we truly love someone, our parents, husband, wife, children etc. we don’t intentionally do acts which we know will upset them. So why do we think it’s okay to sin which upsets our Lord and we know it will?
In Ezekiel we see three times the Lord instructing the Israelites to turn away from the their sinful ways, in Ezekiel 14:6 it’s “repent and turn away from your idols” [NRSV]. Ezekiel 18:30 the Lord instructs them to “repent and turn from your transgressions” [NRSV] and then in Ezekiel 33:11 he tells them to “that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die” [NRSV]. For the majority of us we will have an idol in some form, will have acted against the law of land, Scripture etc. Yet think it’s okay to say “sorry Lord, please forgive me” and the next day repeat the previous day’s sinful actions.
I remember in a group discussion someone raised the point that if we omit a part of life for instances late night internet activities, we need to replace it with a Godly action. Otherwise we run the risk of late night television which isn’t always healthy or falling back into our old routine. And from experience can be true.
In 1 John 1:9 we are told when confess our sin the Lord will forgive us and cleanse us from our unrighteousness. And this is true for all our sin, so when the enemy tries to tell you that a particular sin is shameful / unforgiveable and the Lord won’t forgive you or cleanse you. Read this verse and call out His name and ask for his grace and mercy.
Paul in Romans 6 talks about sin and turning away from it and would make this blog post twice in length, so instead this coming week take time out to study Romans 6 and ask yourself when you seek forgiveness are you truly repentant, turning from your sinful nature or just are playing ‘slip service’?
All Bible verse quotes and links have been taken from http://www.biblegateway,com