Has God really forgiven me?
Are you sure God forgave you of that sin? It’s a pretty bad one. It’s not the first time you’ve done it either. Maybe you should confess it again? Just a few more times?
This is a typical conversation I have in my head – doubting God’s forgiveness and feeling guilty.
But some sins just seem too ugly for God to forgive straight away: adultery, shoplifting…surely they need extra big repentance?
But when I think along those lines, I’m not understanding the power of the cross.
Let me explain.
The wrong belief
I often make the mistake of categorising some sins as ‘worse’ than others. And I think that a sin like adultery needs extra hard prayer in order for God to forgive it.
But this suggests that for God to forgive an affair he needs something more than Jesus’ death – he needs to top it up with the help of our long prayers. He needs us.
This would mean that the cross isn’t enough.
The right belief
But the cross is enough – Jesus’ death took all sin to the grave and left it there.
All sin has deadly eternal consequences (Romans 6:23). Lying and hatred, sex-trafficking and murder – Jesus’ death beat it all. Our prayers add nothing.
When I struggle to believe God’s forgiveness, I allow my circumstances to speak louder than what God promises in his word. I believe them. And they take away my joy in the Lord.
So the next time we’re tempted to doubt, let’s not undervalue what Jesus did. Instead of experiencing ‘worldly sorrow’, let’s find the ‘godly sorrow [that] leaves no regret’ (2 Corinthians 7:20) by trusting that Jesus’ sacrifice is enough.
Let’s remember the words of this old hymn:
‘When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilty within, upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin.’