“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.”
“Pastor, I know I’m saved, but I don’t feel like my sins are forgiven? I’m confused!”
Dear Fellow Believer, welcome to the Christian Faith! Every born-again believer has been there, and sadly, many of them are still there. They are saved by the grace of God but defeated by the memory of their sins.
Here are the facts:
- According to Psalm 1-3:12, when we confessed our sins, God removed our transgressions from us “as far as the east is from the west.”
- According to Revelation 1:5, Jesus Christ “washed us from our sins in His own blood.”
- According to Hebrews 8:12, God will remember “our sins and our iniquities no more.”
- According to 1 John 5:4, “whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.”
Two people will remember your sins – you and Satan. Because of your expressed faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, Satan can no longer affect your future, and he knows that. All he can do is remind you of your past, and if he can cause you to dwell on it, he has, in effect, robbed you of the joy of your salvation, and therefore, of the strength of your faith.
When Satan reminds us of our past, perhaps the best thing we can do is to remind him of his future, and if we do that often enough, he may leave us alone. However, 1st John 1:9 is a verse I would encourage you to memorize and use to fend off the evil one when he plants those memories of sin into your mind.
- “If we confess our sins” – have you confessed your sins unto the Lord? Have you also confessed them to those who were affected by them? Have you tried to make restitution and reconciliation? In Luke 19, the Bible says, when Zacchaeus expressed his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord, he stood and said, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore to him fourfold.”
- “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” – God sent Jesus into the world to PAY for our sins, and in John 19:30, Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, past, present, and future. When you received Jesus as your Savior and submitted unto Him as your Lord, you were forgiven of ALL your sins, and you were ACCEPTED as a child of God.
- “And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” – the fact that you still remember your sins is the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. You can’t erase your sinful actions or attitudes of the past, but you can replace them with godly actions and attitudes today. Smokers and drinkers have a difficult time stopping their habits because they are still susceptible to the “triggers” for their addiction. We are still sinners – we still have that old sin nature that desires to be in control. But the fact that you reached out for help PROVES the Holy Spirit is at work in your life and that you want to achieve victory over sin.
So, let me give you a few reasons why you still may not “feel” forgiven!
- When you confessed your sins and received Jesus Christ as your Savior, you were JUSTIFIED before God – i.e., you were SAVED. Your standing before God is just as if you had never sinned. Wow! Can you fathom that?
- However, once we are justified, the process of being sanctified takes over, and that life-long process will not end until we are conformed to the image of Christ. (Romans 8:29) That’s the goal, and the more you read the Bible, and the more you pray, and the more you search for answers, the more you will be reminded of your sin, but also the more you will be reminded of your salvation!
- The FACT is you are saved, by your FAITH in Jesus Christ, plus nothing. Your FEELINGS have little to do with it.
- Feelings are fickle – they can’t be trusted. Therefore, FEELINGS can’t be the engine of your faith, and neither can FAITH be the engine of your FEELINGS. The FACT is you are saved by your FAITH regardless of your FEELINGS.
“Though my heart should feel condemned for want of some sweet token, there is
One greater than my heart whose Word cannot be broken.
I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word till soul and body sever,
for, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”
Here are some helpful passages:
- John 3:17-21, 10:9, Acts 2:21, 4:12, 16:3, 20:23, 26:18, Romans 4:15, 5:6, 5:8, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 15:3, Hebrews 10:10, 10:14
Finally, we all have “besetting sins.” (Hebrews 12:1 KJV) A besetting sin is one with which we habitually struggle and by which we are often defeated. As Jesus told the disciples about casting out certain demons, “this kind comes by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 1:21)
However, there are some practical steps we can take as well.
- Romans 6:11 – “Consider yourselves dead do sin.” Once we were slaves to sin – we could not help but participate in them. Now that the power of the resurrected Christ dwells within us, the power of sin is broken, and we are free from its appeal.
- Romans 7:18 – “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh, for I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” Even Paul had to admit, the things he wanted to do, he could not, and the things he did not want to do were the things he found himself doing. That’s why we need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, for just as He raised Jesus from the dead, so can He raise us from our sin.
- James 4:7-8 – “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
We must make every effort to remove those things from our sight that draw us into that habitual sin, including books, music, memorabilia, places, and even people. True repentance is to turn away from sin and to turn toward God.