Forgiveness

by Dan Woodcock13 March 2021

Why would God want to forgive me?

This piece will deal with our third question about forgiveness: Why would God want to forgive me? The short answer is that he doesn’t want anyone to die, the human race are his creations and he loves us. We know that we all die, don’t we, as morbid as it may sound to talk about it, it’s a fact of life. Ever since Adam and Eve in Genesis Chapter 3 gave into temptation and sinned, all the human race has died. God made it clear to Adam what the punishment would be if he should disobey the only rule that was laid down for him:

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”

Genesis 2:16-17

From that day on Adam was slowly growing older and dying as we all do. We all know, don’t we, how easy it is to break the rules, even if we don’t mean to. The only man never to sin was the Lord Jesus Christ, who although he did die could not stay dead because he had done nothing to deserve it, so God raised him. What can be difficult for us to grasp is that all sin causes us to die, not just the sins that we consider to be really bad ones. To God all sin is rebellion against the laws that he has laid down and a corruption of what he designed and labelled as “very good” in Genesis. We’re told in Romans 6 verse 23 that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So far we’ve covered why we sin and what the outcome of that is. Now I want to look at why God wants to save us from that. The first place that we’ll go is Peter’s second epistle:

“The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

2 Peter 3:9

So, you can see that God wants to save us because he does not want anyone to die, what he wants is for us to recognise what we have done wrong and to be sorry for it, once we recognise that we are in the wrong then he can begin to help us. It is the same principle as working with an addict, whatever the addiction; the first step is always admitting that there is a problem. We’ve seen then that He doesn’t want anyone to die, but why? Why would an all-powerful God care whether men and women live or die? Jesus said:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

John 3:16-17

We can see then that God gives us this opportunity of being saved through forgiveness of our sins because of his love for us. Incidentally, we also have two more factors in our being saved here other than God’s love: there is his son the Lord Jesus Christ and our belief in him. The final element is baptism as found in Mark 16 verse 16. A wonderful illustration of God’s love towards us in relation to the forgiveness of our sins can be found in Psalm 103 which we have looked at in a previous article, this time however we will look some other verses:

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”

Psalm 103:13-14

If you have children then think about how you feel when they do something wrong; you don’t hate them, you don’t want to punish them, but they need to learn right from wrong. When they apologise, and you can see that they are sorry and really regret what they have done then you forgive them. It is exactly the same with God, when we show him that we are sorry then he is pleased to forgive us, elsewhere in that same psalm we are told that God does not hold on to his anger as we humans sometimes do, when he forgives us our sins are gone as far as he is concerned. As we have said previously however, we as human beings sometimes find it much harder to be so forgiving.

How do I obtain forgiveness from God?