I have been writing Bible studies for a long while now. Whenever something weighs on my mind or in my heart, I immerse myself inside the Word to find the guidance and strength that waits there for us all, waiting to simply be read and believed. The answers I find; become my Bible studies to share with others.
So this time, I had a deep need to know.
Who can be forgiven? Who will not be forgiven? The English word “redemption” means to ‘repurchase’ or ‘buy back’. The dictionary also includes ‘clearing a debt.’
Christ mentions the unforgivable sin in Mark Chapter 3, where it is described as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Mark 3:28-29 ~ Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”
In a letter from the apostle Paul, Ephesians 1:7 ~ In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
The answer to the question so many ask at some point, the answer to my own question as to why I am forgiven is in the surrounding text of Paul’s letter.
Ephesians 1:3-10 ~ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
I was in a place I hadn’t been in a very long time. A lonely place. I felt as though I had lost my way.
For some time, I have been able to pray and share my feelings and confusions with God, I could read and study inside the Word and find answers and comfort, and yet, this time, days later, I still could not feel the Holy Spirit and still, no peace. So I started wondering if I was suddenly, finally, too much trouble, too much of a problem, too sinful… wondering if I was unforgivable.
I was raised in the Roman Catholic church and going to confession and repentance was a part of that. I had no idea how important it was. No idea how utterly important.
Repentance, however, and all of what it means became clear to me on July 26, 1997. The day I heard Gods voice. I understood then exactly what repentance was and it was that day.
I came to understand after that, that God will always forgive, so long as one desires to repent and to be right with Him.
So as I continued to read and search the Bible for the words that would soothe and help heal me, I wondered if God wanted me to confess as He wants us also to speak our belief and faith.
1 John1:9 ~ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Then I wondered, if I needed to confess, much as God says to us through Paul in Romans 10:9-10 ~ If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
And in Matthew 10:32 ~“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
So I am standing here today to share with you. To confess to my church family.
James 5:16 ~ Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
I made a terrible mistake. A horrifying; never to be taken back kind of mistake. It wasn’t made with malice, forethought or any feeling other than pure and grateful thanksgiving. But it was a mistake. A terrible mistake, and on top of that, I broke the law.
How many times have I been asked to go somewhere or do something, by a friend or even my own daughter and said no, because I had drank beer at home? When I got the call I had been waiting for, I had only one thought. And that single thought was not enough.
Romans 3: 22-24 ~ This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
I’ve made mistakes before, I have hurt others before and had to make things right with them and our Lord because of those mistakes. I have been ashamed before and certainly humbled by both God’s love and His amazing forgiveness, even in light of my weaknesses, tempers and shortcomings but never like this.
I was charged with a DUI.
I have never been in trouble with the law before this. In one moment, one completely unthinking moment everything in our lives has become so utterly alien and frightening.
I have prayed and confessed, begging for forgiveness and the strength to face what comes. For the compassion and strength of the Holy Spirit to fill my young daughter in the coming future.
And yet, my feet feel as if I am standing on a crumbling, sandy ridge and I am unable to find the Rock to stand secure.
Psalm 71:3 ~ Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
As fear and shame threatens to drown me, I shove it back, repeating scriptures and the knowing I hold inside of my heart. I can hear the words “I am completely alone” and “I have no one” repeat themselves over and over again in my head. I shove back and cry out to God to drive the enemy away.
John 10:10 ~ The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Ephesians 6:11 ~Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
The shame that fills me tells me I haven’t accepted God’s forgiveness. My mind is a horrible mess. (Much like my life is now.)
This is pride and feelings. Not God’s faithful love. I am ashamed, and the feelings of shame and failure are allowing Satan to have his evil ways with my heart and mind. My pride is hurt, not my soul.
I know of and am a true witness to God’s unfailing love, forgiveness and power and yet I have felt unable to accept the disgusting fact that I have put my little girl (and those I love and respect) in such a position to experience and witness such hardships to come. I want to move forward. I want to be an example of strength and faith. And yet the fear has held me tightly held in a dark corner, shaking and terrified.
So I will continue to repeat out loud Joshua1:9 ~ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
The Lord’s great power in us is this. Even as I struggled to accept my own failing and God’s forgiveness; as I stood in front of those who would judge me by their own hearts and experiences; I realized I could feel Jesus with me.
John 8:7 ~ When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to thrown a stone at her.”
I could feel the Holy Spirit one my own pride and feelings were out of the way.
Romans 8:26 ~ In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself interceded for us through wordless groans.