The Gift of Forgiveness
1 John 2:12
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake.
Do you believe this child of God? Do you believe that indeed your sins have been forgiven? Do you truly believe that at this present moment no matter what offense you have, or will commit, they have already been eradicated, obliterated, and altogether erased by the blood offering of Christ?
I find in my personal experience that one of the single most profound and most difficult truths found in all of the christian faith is this reality, and as such I find it the most difficult to embrace. I find my heart often offended at the mere thought that my sins and failures are not an issue anymore. My mind can’t lay hold of the reality that no matter the nature of my sin, no matter how disgusting, or grotesque, all my sins have met their match in the crimson blood of Christ my lamb.
John writes here in this passage that we as little children born into the royal family of God and Christ can rest with hearts overflowing with certainty that indeed at this present moment all of our sins have been forgiven, and this forgiveness is for the sake of His name alone.
When we read the Bible, we see this word “forgiveness” in the New Testament and we drum up this image of God bestowing upon us out of sheer pity some temporary absolution from a particular offense until indeed the next time we fall into the clutches of sin and failure. Yet the Greek word used here for “forgiveness” is the word ἀφίημι (Afemi), and it means to let go, send away, remit, cancel, and forgive. This word is used in this passage in the perfect tense meaning a one time completed action that has brought about a continuous result. Thus we see that John is encouraging us dear little children that we can rest fully assured that not only have our sins been completely forgiven, but they have also been completely canceled, remitted, and sent away and as such, we now stand always and forever as forgiven, clean, pure, spotless little children before the eyes of our extravagantly loving Abba.
We must not forget that all of this is for the sake of His name alone and not contingent on the magnitude of our sins, the depth of our sorrow for our sins, or the frail resolve we have set ourselves to accomplish in light of our heinous actions. No. We stand clean in the shed blood of Christ for the sake of His name, and that alone! This point cannot be stressed enough! It is not that we have somehow earned or merited such a gift from our God and savior, nor that God, in His omniscience, foreknew you would really put your heart into reforming your behavior and therefore decided to give you a free pass. No! My friend hear this and receive this today the gift of forgiveness is conferred onto you and me simply for the sake of His pure and perfect name! Let me explain.
In Hebrew thought, the name of something was more than an arbitrary title, it was a declaration of the nature and character of the thing named. It was an expression of the essence of a person or object. A classic example can be found in the name of Jacob, which in Hebrew means supplanter, this was his name because he was holding fast the heel of Esau (Gen 25:26). The Hebrew word יַעֲקֹב (yah-ka-ov) Jacob, comes from the root word עָקֵב (ah-kev), which means heel or to seize at the heel and is a hebraic way of describing a supplanter, or one who catches the heel. Thus the name of Jacob was a declaration of his nature and we see this played out in the life of Jacob.
Therefore to say we are forgiven, cleared, clean, and freed from sin for His name sake is to say that this gift is an expression of the very nature and character of God (Ps 103:10)! In essence we are forgiven because God is a forgiver. We are redeemed because God is a redeemer. We are loved because God is a lover. Beloved hear the word of God today: You are completely forgiven and clear from all sin, for all time, and this powerful action, and this amazing gift, is an expression or a declaration of the nature of God. And it is on the basis of His nature alone that this blessing has been so freely lavished upon you!
God is a merciful and loving God and as it says in 2 Samuel 14:14, “But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast” (ESV). God seeks to devise ways in which to restore men to Himself, He seeks to give mercy, forgiveness, and love for the sake of reconciliation. This is who your Father is. Will you choose to believe this today? Will you choose to receive this truth?
I want to challenge you today to receive this word! Receive his complete forgiveness for all your sins. Choose right now, in this moment, to allow this truth to penetrate deep into your heart! Get alone with Jesus and ask Him what He is saying about your failures and sins, and choose to receive what He tells you!