If you have done someone wrong, and you have done what you can to “make it right,” there is no guarantee that the person you harmed will actually forgive you. They may hold it against you for the rest of their lives. They may even seek revenge. For them, forgiveness is optional, because it must come from their heart.
The heart of God is to forgive us of all our sins and declare us NOT GUILTY. We did not do anything to deserve this. God took the initiative when He gave His only son, Jesus, to take your punishment. Your NOT GUILTY verdict has been purchased and is waiting for you to claim. “…in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them…” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
You may have been told that, “Jesus is coming back, and boy is He mad!” But the fact is that the madness is ours if we do not accept the peace and safety we are offered. God has us surrounded with superior forces, and we are running out of time, but He offers us terms of reconciliation. And those terms include adoption into His family. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12).
SO, if after you die you stand guilty before God, it will because you refused to take the deal He not only offered, but paid for with the death of His son, Jesus. Your guilt is optional. You do not have to be condemned.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28).
All of our earthly identities are overcome by our faith in Christ. Not only that, but all our identities we cling to BEFORE we believe in Christ are of no heavenly consequence.
All of us were separated from God by our sin, regardless of what we called ourselves. “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27).
Today we separate ourselves into all our groups to gain some advantage. We reach back to the past to dig up dirt on our fellow man, even it it is found in his distant ancestor. But we are not looking far enough. About 2,000 years ago, after reaching out to mankind through laws and prophets and symbolic sacrifices, God sent His son, Jesus, who came to be the final sacrifice for all sin for all time.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7).
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5.
Although many have interpreted Jesus’s command to not judge others as, “You cannot criticize me or what I am doing,” it pays to put it in the context that He did. And when you do that, it is more like, “Before you correct someone else, be sure to correct yourself first.” It is best to help people with the help you yourself have received.
When I tell people they need Christ, I am not judging them. I am just relaying the message I have received. We all need Him, and He is available to all of us. It is an act of mercy to announce the Good News that He took our punishment, and that God raised Him from the dead to prove that it worked. The Gospel is an invitation, not an accusation. But it is an invitation to which we must respond. Jesus came to save us, but He will not save you if you don’t want to be saved. As He said:
“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” John 12:47-48.
“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.” Matthew 21:28-32.
Here Jesus is interacting with the chief priests and elders in the temple. They are the old men of great learning who have turned their religion into an exclusive club. They are not happy with this popular young preacher who heals and forgives. They have owned the franchise to God for a long time, and now the Son of God has shown up to do a little quality control.
It’s not too late to change your mind and do the will of God. Whether you have been a prostitute, a thief, or an insufferable religious know it all, God will be happy to see you coming to faith in Him, or even returning to faithfulness after a long absence. He loves you, and wants what is best for you, which is to know Him.
These religious rulers will eventually conspire to have Jesus executed. Jesus knows this, and will even forgive them of this foul deed if they will change their minds and return to Him. It is these men Jesus will be talking about when He is nailed to a cross and gasps, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
If you are even the least familiar with how life insurance works, you know that you purchase a policy that insures your life for a set amount of money. That money is the death benefit that is paid, not to you (because you would be dead) but to the person you chose to receive it upon your death. They receive this because you wanted to protect them from the loss brought on by your sudden, irreversible absence from the earth.
An ETERNAL LIFE INSURANCE POLICY pays the death benefit to YOU! The premium was paid by Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for your sin by dying on a cross 2000 years ago. The PROOF of His ability to redeem you is that He was raised from the dead after 3 days. Therefore, the payment for sin was received and validated by the God of the Universe.
Your benefit is paid in two installments. The largest portion, the second installment, is paid after you die. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” This death that you shall never experience refers to the second death, as referenced in Revelation 2:10-11. “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.”
The first installment you receive immediately upon your acceptance of the policy. As it is written in John 1:12-13, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” And as a child of God, you have many benefits through your new relationship with your Heavenly Father. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Roman’s 8:32).
More details of the benefits that are available now, in this time, can be found throughout the Holy Bible. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3-4). That’s right! Divine power, precious promises, and partaking in the divine nature is yours TODAY!
For further details, there is no toll free number or infallible website, but you have been given the Holy Spirit, a counselor that is always with you. Because you are still living in this fleshly body, there may be some interference, the same way it’s hard to make a cell phone call in a metal building, but keep calling! As it is written in Hebrews 6:11-12, “And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”