Chances are that if you’re a human, you have sinned against God at some point in your life. But do you know how to be forgiven for your sins? I’ve got good news for you! God offers true and genuine forgiveness to you – if you seek it. In this blog, we will discuss sin, conviction, condemnation, repentance, and God’s forgiveness.
To understand forgiveness, we must first understand sin.
The bible defines sin as any action that dishonors God, or is apart from God. Some sins are clearly written in the bible – such as adultery, drunkenness, and murder. Some are not so clear – pride, folly, sloth. The clearly defined sins are black and white, and it is easy to tell if you’ve committed one. The latter set of sins are conditions of mankind. Our awareness of them is usually only brought about as we grow nearer to God, and his holiness makes us more aware of our impurity.
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Now that we know what sin is, anything that dishonors God, let’s talk about those bad feelings that we have all experienced that come with sin. There are two types of bad feelings – conviction and condemnation. I need to distinguish that conviction is from God, and condemnation is from the devil. Conviction is when the Holy Spirit makes you aware of your sin, and you feel bad because you have upset the One you love. Conviction is like a parent disciplining a child – it is for the best of the child, but the child still feels bad. Condemnation is a bad feeling used by the enemy – usually he tells people that they cannot be forgiven for their sins, and that they are condemned to hell.
This is not true.
Now, I want to address a third possibility – say you have sinned, and you are sure that you have, but you feel no guilt or conviction. This is probably the worst place to be. It means you need a serious spiritual tune up, because your flesh is reigning and you are not in tune with the spirit. The good news is this – it is not hard to fix this! The remedy is this – spend time with God! Worship him in your home, read His word, and invite the Holy spirit into your heart. Then, proceed to do what is in the next chapter on forgiveness, even if you still don’t feel bad about your sin.
Forgiveness, sweet salvation!
The bad news for all of us is that every time we sin, God is angry because of it. An atonement is required. There is good news though! Jesus came that we might have a direct line with God, and in the case of forgiveness, that we could be forgiven by God directly – if we repent and ask for forgiveness. When I am convicted of my sin, this is how I ask for and receive forgiveness. I start by worshiping God and coming into His presence – with worship music and praise. Next, I am honest with God about my sin (as if he doesn’t already know!).
As I would if I were apologizing to a friend, I tell God that I am sorry for my sin, and ask Him to forgive me. I take a few minutes and receive that forgiveness. I make sure that I know in my soul that I am truly and genuinely forgiven.
Finally, the next step towards forgiveness is to take steps to correct your action. God has empowered you to defeat any and all sin in your life! If the root cause of the sin is not apparent, pray to God. Ask him to reveal to you why you acted the way you did. Ask for God’s healing to come into your heart. Once you have finished your prayer, take any necessary action steps needed; for example, if you need to apologize to a person, do so. If you are attacked with condemnation, cast those thoughts straight back into the pits of hell – where they belong!