“I, even I, am the one who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” – Isaiah 43:25
I remember clearly the events of that life-changing day nearly 44 years ago. I was sitting alone in my backyard in Berea, Ohio, about to make the greatest decision I would ever make – the decision to turn my life over to Jesus Christ and hopefully become a child of God. But before I could do this, I knew I had to first deal with all those many years that I had turned my back on God by being my own god.
So my next step was to claim that wonderful biblical promise found in I John 1:5: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Based on this clear and wonderful promise, as best I knew how, I asked God to forgive me, and I assumed he did.
And then I prayed and asked the Lord Jesus to come into my life and be my savior, and hopefully my Lord. In an instant, I sensed that I had obeyed the directions of God and had become his child. I couldn’t explain how all of this happened, but I sensed it was real.
Years later, I came across II Corinthians 7:10, which confirmed what occurred: “Godly sorrow brings repenting that leads to salvation.”
However, soon after that memorable day, some negative thoughts and questions began to creep into my mind. Did God really hear my cry for forgiveness? And if so, was I forgiven? And why me, of all people? Why would he bother with the likes of me?
In desperation, I began to look further into God’s word for answers. My search began in the Old Testament. “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22). “As far as the east is from the west, so far he has removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
Then in the New Testament I found: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. The old is gone, the new has come. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, not counting man’s sins against him” (II Corinthians 5:17-19). And finally, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sin and iniquities I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
Yes, we have a loving and forgiving God.
The late A.W. Tozer (in “The Best of A.W. Tozer”) affirms the assurance that God’s forgiveness is real. He writes: “Human forgiveness is not always like God’s. When a person makes a mistake and has to be forgiven, the shadow may hang over him because it’s hard for other people to forgive. But when God forgives, he begins the new page right there, and then the devil runs up and says, ‘What about this person’s past?’ God replies, ‘There is no past. It started out when he came to me, and I forgave him.’ ”
Through the years, over and over, I’ve had to trust God and his word. When I’ve faced situations beyond my control, he has never let me down. So even if I can’t prove that I’ve been forgiven, my struggles with doubt have been put to rest. For this I am very thankful.