The Apostle John - “If we freely admit that we have sinned, we find God utterly reliable… He forgives our sin and makes us thoroughly clean from all that is evil.” (1 John 1:9)
It’s true that God will forgive us if we freely admit our sin and guilt, but how should we go about asking for His forgiveness? We don’t have to beg because He already wants to forgive us more than we want to be forgiven. We shouldn’t bargain with God, saying “If You’ll forgive me, I promise I’ll never do this again” because most of us never completely follow through with our side of the bargain. We shouldn’t try to bribe the Lord by saying “If You’ll forgive me, then I’ll go to church or I’ll tithe or something else.” None of these things is what brings forgiveness. Instead, we receive forgiveness through believing that God will forgive us when we sincerely and brokenly ask Him to do so.
The basis of our forgiveness is the reliability of God. We can count on the fact that each and every time we genuinely and sincerely ask for His forgiveness, He will offer it to us. However, sometimes people have difficulty believing that God can forgive them because of certain sins they have committed. They say, “But you don’t know what I’ve done. God can certainly never forgive me because the sins I’ve committed are so incredibly bad.” However, there is nothing we can say to the Lord that will shock or surprise Him. He already knows every thought and every action we have ever had, yet even so He still wants us to come to Him and ask Him for forgiveness and cleansing from our sin. He does this because He wants to have a relationship with each of us.
Someone once said, “It’s not fair that I should be able to ask for forgiveness. Someone has to pay the price for what I’ve done.” The good news is that someone already has. Jesus gave His life on the cross to pay the price for the consequences of that sin that is so vividly in our minds. He died for that sin and for every sin we’ve ever committed or will ever commit in our lives. In the book of Isaiah, the Lord says “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you clean as freshly fallen snow.” (Isaiah 1:19 TLB)
Followup Activity - If possible, look over your list of items for which you need to accept responsibility for from yesterday’s followup activity. If you no longer have your list of items, recreate it as best as possible by making a simple list of sins for which you need to admit and accept responsibility. As you read over or write out each item, genuinely ask the Lord for His forgiveness regarding each item you have listed and any others which come to mind in the process. If you’re leading your family through this devotion, have a brief discussion about what it means to be forgiven by the Lord, then guide each member to complete the followup activity shared above.
Prayer for Today - Lord, I know I have sinned. Right now, humbly and sincerely, I ask You to forgive me for how I’ve failed You. Please cleanse me and make my heart as clean as freshly fallen snow. In Jesus’ name, Amen.