I Believe in the Forgiveness of Sins…
This week was the seventh week in our sermon series Believe, in which we have been exploring the Apostle’s Creed, one of the earliest statements of faith in the church. We looked at the belief statement: I believe in the forgiveness of sins.
When it comes to beliefs about forgiveness of sins, sometimes we struggle with thinking we need forgiveness. Sometimes we think that we are pretty decent people, and we don’t really need to ask God for forgiveness. Other times we are overwhelmed by our sin, and we question whether anyone could forgive us for what we have done. However, we are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness and mercy. Sin is doing, saying, or thinking anything that is not in line with how Jesus has called us to live. Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” The church struggles with grace and forgiveness sometimes- in part because we confuse forgiving with condoning bad behavior.
However, the truth is that God would rather die than keep score of our sins. In John 8, when a crowd is about to stone a woman for adultery, Jesus says “those who have not sinned can be the first to cast the stone.” Slowly people begin to walk away, until only Jesus and the woman are left. Jesus, the only one who had not sinned, did not condemn the woman and offered her mercy instead. In 1 John 1:9, “But if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong.” The good news we find in scripture is that our God is a just and merciful God who forgives us of our sins. In his book The Name of God is Mercy, Pope Francis writes, “Mercy will always be greater than any sin, no one can put a limit on the love of the all-forgiving God.”
In forgiveness, God wipes our slate clean and washes us and makes us new. We don’t have to be defined by the list of sins we have done in the past. God tells us that whatever we have done in the past, whatever sin has held us down does not define us anymore. We are forgiven in Jesus Christ. When we say we believe in forgiveness of sins, we first recognize that we need forgiveness. We also believe that it is possible for us to be forgiven for the wrong that we done, and we believe that we are forgiven people in Jesus Christ. Then, we go forth forgiving ourselves and others, as Christ has forgiven us.
Monday- 1 John 1:5-10
Tuesday- John 8:1-11
Wednesday- Psalm 51
Thursday- Romans 3:21-31
Friday- Psalm 103
Questions to Consider and Discuss:
[if !supportLists]1. [endif]Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins?
[if !supportLists]2. [endif]What does forgiveness mean to you?
[if !supportLists]3. [endif]What do you need to ask God forgiveness for?