Leading up to this point, we have seen our conscience strengthened by the Holy Spirit. We have seen how disturbing sin is and how it causes feelings of guilt and shame, and with our strengthened conscience, we are able to see sin for how repulsive it really is. We can see that sin has separated us from God, and that without Jesus, we would be trapped with no way out—the more we struggle to overcome the sin in our lives, the more we realize our helplessness. We see that our motives are contaminated, our hearts are tainted, and our lives are full of selfishness and sin. We have a burning desire to be forgiven and to be set free. To be at peace with God and to become perfectly aligned with His will—what can we do to achieve this?
What we need is a Heavenly peace, which comes from Heaven’s forgiveness that leads to peace and love in our hearts. This is something that money cannot buy, something that cannot be gained through our intellect or wisdom, and something that our own efforts cannot guarantee. However, in His wisdom and love, God offers it to us as a ‘no-strings-attached’ gift. It can be ours if we just take a hold of it. God says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18). “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” (Ezekiel 36:26).
Once you have confessed and turned your hearts away from sin, and once you have resolved to give your life over to God, then go to Him and ask Him to wash away the sins and give you a new heart. Believe that He does this—because He promises this in both Isaiah and Ezekiel that we just read. This is also the lesson that Jesus taught while He was here walking the earth—the gift that God promised us is ours when we believe that we have received it.
Jesus healed thousands of people when those who wanted healing had faith in His power. He helped them see things that they were otherwise blind to, and He inspired them with confidence in Him concerning things in the spiritual realm. With His miracles, He lead people to believe that He could forgive their sins. “‘So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.’ Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’” (Matthew 9:6). John, the disciple of Jesus, also tells us this about the miracles of Jesus: “But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.” (John 20:31).
From the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, and reading how He healed the sick, we can learn something about how to believe in Him for the forgiveness of our sins. The story of the paralyzed man in Matthew that we just referred to is an excellent example. This man had been paralyzed for 38 years. Jesus told him to pick up his bed and walk. What could have happened is that the man replied ‘Jesus, first heal me and then I will do what You ask’, but instead He believed Jesus’ words, and he believed that he had already been healed, and he decided to act—to make an effort and follow through—on the claim of Jesus. He wanted to walk, He pushed Himself to try at Christ’s offer, and God gave him the healing and the power. He was healed.
In a similar way, we are all sinners too. We cannot fix or resolve our past sins and we cannot change our hearts enough to make ourselves holy before God. However, God promises to do all this for us through Christ. Do you believe that promise? Do you confess your sins and dedicate yourself to God? Do you choose to serve Him? Stepping out with these things in place, God will follow through on His side of the promises. When we believe the promise, specifically when we believe we are forgiven and made clean before God, God then supplies the fact. God makes us whole, just as Jesus gave the paralyzed man the power to walk when the man believed he was healed. When we believe as the paralyzed man did, God will follow through on His promise.
We shouldn’t wait to feel forgiven or healed. Instead we should tell ourselves, ‘I believe this and it is true, not because I actually feel it, but because this is what God has promised me.’
“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24). There is a small condition to this promise—simply that what we pray for is in line with the will of God. However, we know that God wants to purify us from sin, to adopt us into His family, and to enable and empower us to live a holy life. With this knowledge in mind, we should ask for these blessings, believe that He has already given them to us, and thank Him for blessing us in this way. We have the benefit of going to Jesus to be purified, and when we are cleansed by Jesus, we can stand before the standard of the law without any guilt, shame, or fear. “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1).
Jesus paid a steep price for us, and we shouldn’t take this offer lightly. “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” (1 Peter 1:18-19). Through the act of believing in God and claiming Jesus’ cleansing power in your life, and knowing that the Holy Spirit has purified your heart, you are now reborn as a child in the family of God, and He loves you as much as He loves His own Son.
Now that you have dedicated yourself to Jesus, do not change your mind. Do not decide to leave Him behind, but instead, each day say, ‘I am part of God’s Family, I have given myself to Him, and I choose to remain His through His power. Please continue to give me Your Spirit and keep me safe.’ We read the promise and challenge, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.” (Colossians 2:6).
Next week, we continue and conclude our discussion about faith and acceptance.
P.S. As always, if I missed something, or if you would like to respond on this topic, join the conversation below!