Some people have a hard time accepting Godís forgiveness and it is only after an exhaustive search of the Scriptures that they settle into the reality of acceptance. Depending on the degree of realization, the forgiven takes part in periodic battles to reinforce that truth. The mind has always been the battlefield between truth and fiction. Paul expressed this concept in Romans 7:15-25 by laying out the conflict he was having between accepting and performing the things of the Spirit, versus the opposing actions of the flesh. Paul ends the shared battle by stating Ē...God through Christ Jesus...Ē would deliver him from those struggles . (v. 25) Once acceptance of forgiveness is settled in stone, the road to abundant and full life awaits. Yet many Christians never arrive at the finality of assured forgiveness. What is the problem? Why is it that one day the believer accepts Godís forgiveness and then, within days, struggles to hold on to that reality?
Maybe the real problem for the struggling saint is not with Godís capacity to forgive, but with manís inability to forgive himself. People are their own worst enemies. They are also harsher on themselves than anyone else. When someone comes to God to surrender his life, he feels so ashamed of the things he has done that, even if God says, ďI forgive you through Jesusď, he simply canít forgive himself. One of Satanís tricks is bringing up confessed sins. He tries to manipulate a personís mind to believe that he may be forgiven by God, but how can he forgive himself for all the terrible things he has done? How can he go to church and sit among good people when he has lived such a sinful life? The more the forgiven saint entertains these negative thoughts, the greater the hindrance to a victorious life. If the believer doesnít take decisive action against these mind games, there is a danger of misdirected emotions, namely, against God. The forgiven saint begins to question Godís ability to really forgive, for if God truly forgave him, then he would not have self inflicted unforgiveness. Soon misdirected emotions develop, such as anger, resentment, and confusion against God. It will not be long before there is justification for neglecting Bible reading, prayer, and the assembling with other believers, and in some cases, a return to pre-salvation days.
When God forgives, there is nothing we can do to improve or solidify that fact. God forgives to the point of choosing not to remember our forgiven sins. He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. (Ps. 103:12) Yet in view of this, some believe they must do their part by judging and convicting themselves, with the consequence of self imposed punishment. What happens is they attempt to combine faith and works in the forgiveness process.
Instead of taking a compass and searching for our forgiven sins in the east and west of Godís forgetfulness (all with the purpose of punishing ourselves for past sins,) let us realize that Godís pardon is not contingent on the forgiveness of ourselves, but on the blood of Jesus. It is up to us to either accept the total forgiveness of God, both vertically (God to us,) and horizontally (to ourselves,) or to continue to do battle with Satanís lies and misconceptions. The decision should be a no brainer.