I'm Worried That My Specific Sin Will Not Be Forgiven!?

In the past week alone, I have come across three different people who were or are struggling with a belief that their past sin was so bad that it probably won't  be forgiven by God -- or at least they believe He won't forgive it right away.

Many people feel as that they are "so dirty inside", or that their past sins were "so bad" or
"so rebellious" that they will never receive God's promises. This is either a self-inflicted lie,
or it is a lie from the enemy of God. 
So today, I want to share one teaching that helped me during a time when I also questioned, "Have I possibly committed an unforgiveable sin?"

One of my former pastors, Jeff Schreve, explained it this simply: "If you are actually worried that you have committed the unforgiveable sin, then you can be certain that you haven't committed it." I think that is one of the top ten sermons I've ever had the privilege of hearing and receiving. See, the very fact that you are worried about possibly committing, or having committed, the unforgiveable -- this fact reveals the state of your heart -- and it shows that you are in a place where you reverence and fear God with humility. You are humble because  you are acutely aware that you do not deserve His forgiveness.

I've written more on the teaching of Jesus about the unforgiveable sin in Chapter 12/Day 12 in Discovering God's Will and in He Called: 56 Daily Studies and Reflections With the Words of Christ . However - for now, I wish to provide to you some verses and Biblical thoughts to meditate on. Return to these whenever you have truly confessed and repented, yet you are still concerned that you are not, or will not, be forgiven. First we have some of the prophecies of the Old Testament which proclaim the way God forgives, even though we don't deserve it:

  • God doesn't only forgive little, careless, unintentional sins. He also forgives deep, dark, secret, wicked sins. In Zechariah God speaks and says, "I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more." -Zechariah 31:34  
  • God does not treat us as we deserve, nor repay us according to our iniquities. Instead, His love is so immense for those of us who fear Him. His love for those who fear Him is as high as the heavens are above the earth. (Psalms 103: 10-11)
  • God will cleanse us of all our sin, and will even forgive rebellion against Him. - Isaiah 38:17. We are given this promise at least twice. For again, in Daniel it is written that The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him and have not obeyed His voice or followed His laws.  - Daniel 9:9
  • The prophet Micah tells us that God practically "stomps on our sins" and throws them into the deep sea! God does this (metaphorically of course) each time we confess. Even Micah the prophet seems to think this is an almost unbelievable attribute of God, a gift that can be found no where else and in nothing else. Micah writes: Who is a God like you?....You pardon sin and and delight in showing mercy? Once again you will tread our sins underfoot and throw them into the depths of the ocean!" - Micah 7:18-19

The above verses even come to us from the Old Testament - before God even sent His Son, Jesus, to further provide assurance that we are fully able to be forgiven.  Here are some of the New Testament examples of this:

  • The first New Testament example: Let us not forget that the apostle Paul himself claimed that he believed that he was the worst sinner of all in the world. (1 Timothy 1:15-16) Personally, I agree with Paul's self-evaluation -- he was extremely wicked! Paul was one of the leaders who rounded up Christians and had them persecuted and killed. Paul (who was still called Saul at the time) stood by and watched with an evil smirk as Stephen was stoned to death. (Acts 7:58) However, God not only quickly and fully forgave Paul, He also used Him as one of the greatest examples of evidence that the mercy of God is readily extended even to the most wicked. Paul basically said, in paraphrase, "The reason God pursued me and forgave me, is to show everyone that His forgiveness is available to all who come to believe in Him -- even the worse of sinners, like I was."(1 Timothy 1:16)
  • The apostle Peter, one of the very first Christian preachers in all of history, proclaimed, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." - Acts 2:38. Peter then later declared, "All the prophets testify about him, that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name. - Acts 10:43.  Peter's sermon is one of the earliest sermons ever preached at the beginning of the formation of Jewish-Christian church of people. Even if you are skeptical and think that the message of God's forgiveness has been "watered down" over the centuries, look back and see that the original message in approximately 33 AD was the proclaiming of forgiveness available to all; and Peter further proclaimed that the consequence of confession was not punishment -- but a gift - the gift of the Holy Spirit! This should motivate us to confess to receive the gift; it should not frighten us to believe we will confess and be further punished or unanswered. 

Here are a few more New Testament assurances:

  • So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus Christ. -Romans 8:1
  • If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord; and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. - Romans 10:9
  • Finally, Jesus himself clearly stated His purpose near the beginning of his ministry. He declared, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." - Matthew 9:13. Jesus stated that he did not come to reward people who were behaving and acting like good followers of God. He came specifically for sinners. Why did he come to sinners? To punish them? No -- Jesus himself said, even early in His ministry -- that He came in order to give mercy to sinners.
  • Ultimately,  do not forget the great mercy of our Lord Jesus, that even upon His own death at the hands of the Roman guards, He begged God to forgive the Roman men who had put Him to death. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." -  Luke 23:34

Do you desire to be closer to God, but feel like you will never be able to overcome busyness, distractions, or lack of actual motivation to really spend time with Him? Author Sherry Elaine Evans shares her journey in Closer to God: Simple Methods Starting Today. 

On This Brief Life, Happiness, and the "Bucket List"

I used to have what might be called a preliminary "bucket list" - a list of things I wanted to do while still on this earth. The list was mostly travel related - places I wanted to visit around the world - some on mission trips; some just for an amazing vacation.  I truly longed and hoped and yearned to have these travel experiences some day. Sometimes I would spend hours researching and planning and budgeting for the next unique vacation destination.

Then one day, in my time of prayer and quiet time, I felt the Lord reveal to me this truth in my heart and in my soul - "When you come into the Kingdom of God, you will be able to have all those experiences, if you even still wish for them, plus so much more. The experiences you desire are nothing compared to what I have planned for you."

Needless to say,  I don't have a bucket list of vacation and travel plans anymore. I have no "must see," nor "must do"  nor "must experience" list.  The desires for those experiences literally evaporated on that day; and I no longer yearn for earthly travel experiences any longer...not even a drop of yearning remains.

I do want to be clear that this is just my personal testimony, and I'm sharing one way by which God worked in me for His purposes. It is not a judgment on anyone who still has a bucket list of experiences they want to have in this life. See this list of travel and vacation plans was not merely a wish list for me; it was a focus of pursuit that God knew wouldn't ultimately provide the joy of experience or satisfaction I was thinking it would provide.

However - too often, even as Christians, we still treat this life as if it is all there is; even though we know the truth and the promise that there is more, much more - beyond our comprehension. We then spend much of our time toiling for things that have no real eternal meaning or significance.

There is a field of study in research psychology on how to find happiness. One of the conclusions these psychologists have come to is this: we are most happy when we are seeking a goal; but very shortly after we gain that goal, we tend to experience a renewed sense of dissatisfaction. This is a cycle of desire and dissatisfaction that seems to be embedded within us. We need a new goal then to continue the pursuit of happiness; which will be followed by a loss of that satisfaction. Rinse and Repeat.

 It is the cycle of pursuing satisfaction, reaching whatever it was and feeling satisfied for a time; but then realizing that the joy does not last.

I wish I could explain how I was able to escape this cycle. I wish I could share a step by step plan for you. I wish I could write a book titled: 6 Steps to Being Fully and Deeply Satisfied in Life and Finding a Deep Peace and Unshakeable Joy.  But I can't give you a road map. Because I didn't do anything within my own abilities to escape this pursuit-satisfaction-disappointment cycle. I did not overcome it on my own.

One day, the Holy Spirit pricked my heart during a Wednesday evening church service. (You can read about what happened to me in my  book, Closer to God.) I decided to truly seek the Lord with all my heart and with everything I had. I had already been identifying myself as a Christian for many years.  On this day,  I decided to fully seek the Lord and His Ways, and He rescued me from any desire to participate in this ongoing cycle. He rescued me from it by deeply embedding in my heart and in my soul a different perspective. And He gave me this gift - this new way of seeing - in a single day. The amazing thing is this: I did not even know that I needed to be rescued from this cycle. But God knew; and He rescued.

I write this to encourage any one who believes in Christ to stay close to God, and to never wander far from Him. As much as possible, practice His presence. If you do not yet believe, seek Him. If you feel a pinch of wonder about what I have written here; then consider that the Spirit is prompting you...and seek out what it is God wants you to know. We think we know what our problems in life are; but we have problems and mindsets and ways of thinking that we don't even realize we need to be rescued from. And these mindsets and ways of thinking are actually what we most need to be rescued from. We cannot change what we do not see nor perceive. We need God for this type of rescue.

When we just seek Him - he leads the way to a deep and permanent joy and peace that cannot be taken away. Over time, he gives us everything we need and desire; and surprisingly, we come to learn that what we truly need and desire are not the things that we once thought.

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, 
and He will give you everything you need." - Matthew 6:33

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined 
what God has prepared for those who love Him." - 1 Corinthians 2:9

If you would like to learn simple, practical ways to walk with God every single day, then you would really enjoy Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today

If you want to learn more deeply and fully about what Jesus taught, then you would enjoy He Called: 56 Daily Studies and Reflections with the Words of Christ. There are also 14 videos that go along with this book on this blog here: Teachings of Jesus videos

The author also interacts with her readers on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GospelLifeBooks

Author's other books can  be found at: https://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Elaine-Evans