“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9
“I know that God has forgiven me, but I just can’t forgive myself.” Have you ever said these words? Maybe you’ve never vocalized them, but that’s the cloud hanging over your tormented heart. A habitual, hidden sin. A relationship you drove into the ground. A poor financial decision that brought hardship on your family. You feel a sense of guilt or shame that threatens to undo you.
The Bible clearly teaches that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1), and that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us. Why then, despite the daily new mercies of the Lord (Lamentations 3:21-23), do we often refuse to receive those mercies? Is it because you can’t forgive yourself? Christian, you don’t need to. Luther beat one beautiful drum longer and louder than anyone: “The Gospel announces that Christ is come to forgive the sins of the world.”
It’s true that you can’t forgive yourself—only God can do that! If you cling to Christ by faith, God has forgiven you.
“The Gospel announces that Christ is come to forgive the sins of the world.”
(Martin Luther, 1535)