main index              back to "To the Christians"

His Only Gift

The Gift Of His Forgiveness

CHAPTER TEN

To be forgiven is one of the most peaceful experiences of life. Forgiveness also gives us the knowledge of acceptance. Who is it that does not want to be accepted and forgiven of past mistakes and sins? Some have no idea what forgiveness is, since while growing up these individuals always had a string attached by those doing the forgiving. Sometimes that forgiving was not quite forgiveness but, rather, a kind of, "Well, okay, I'll forgive you this time, but you better not do it again." That kind of forgiveness is not forgiveness but a kind of record keeping. It does not resolve the problem and guilt, but only seems to delay the punishment. This is not the forgiveness of God.

Forgiveness Is An Equation

When I first realized the forgiveness of God, it left me with such a feeling of freedom and joy there was no doubting the experience. There was a certain process I went through, however, and it is easily definable. The first thing that makes forgiveness necessary is the knowledge of one's guilt. Who is it that has not felt guilty in their lives? Some who have committed crimes have felt so guilty that they turned themselves in and received punishment so that they could be relieved of the torture of their conscience.

I have witnessed the phenomena of forgiveness in the lives of many individuals through the years. I have noticed forgiveness always comes when certain factors are present. The first factor is recognizing one's own resistance to authority outside of one's self. When one is in resistance, he continues to endeavor to make himself right and to manipulate the power in order to get what he wants. When one yields up this resistance to authority and submits to this power, he experiences forgiveness. Forgiveness is something we do when we yield to God's authority. First of all, we recognize our rebellion and, secondly, we turn from that rebellion yielding to the righteousness of Christ. Forgiveness will be the effect of that.

"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin." (Ps 32:5.) To confess our resistance to God's law while not hiding anything, brings the experience of forgiveness. The only individual who can experience forgiveness will be the one who yields to the righteousness of God. If one seeks to protect himself and defend his rebellion, it is virtually impossible for him to have this experience.

Forgiveness is offered freely to all who yield to it, but to none who do not. It is not that forgiveness is not offered to all; it is that it is only taken by those who yield. The resistance to receiving forgiveness comes not so much from the knowledge that it is offered, but from the pride of one who is unwilling to acknowledge his opposition to God. Many are unwilling to look and see their corrupt heart.

God Does Not Forgive Sins

If one retains his corruptions and is unwilling to receive the spirit of God, then it is experienced that he is unforgiven. "...Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins." (Joshua 24:19.) God does not forgive sins. He forgives people who have turned from sin and yielded to His righteousness. Many are they who pray for forgiveness who get up from their prayers unforgiven. They do not feel the peace of God because these have not yielded up their corruptions. God does not forgive these. This is not to say that forgiveness is not offered. It is that these cannot receive what is offered. They go away as guilty as they came.

Religion, today, has adopted a plan whereby men remain guilty while believing they are forgiven. This plan is often called the "Advocate." As we discovered in an earlier chapter, the Advocate is not our confessor. He is the one who will "cleanse us from all unrighteousness." When you are cleansed from all unrighteousness you do not "use" God as a confessor. Many, today, feel that they are forgiven because they are confessed-up. Whenever they sin they pray and ask forgiveness. Later, after they sin, they pray again and ask forgiveness. Some religions use a priest to be the facilitator of this and some say you can go right to God and use Him to have this accomplished. The word of God is, "He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins." If you are willing to leave your sins and accept God's righteousness yielding to the righteous law of God, then God will forgive YOU. He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (Rom. 6:22.) This is what it means to be forgiven.

Forgiveness For The Responsible

There is another factor involved in one not being able to receive forgiveness. This factor is our basic irresponsibility about life. In short, we blame other people or circumstances for our problems. People who hold others responsible for what happens to themselves cannot receive the forgiveness of God. Ultimately, these hold God responsible for what happens. If God is the God of the universe and He sees all things, then why didn't He stop such and such from happening? Some sweetly say, "It must be God's will," yet in their hearts fester the seeds of dissatisfaction. For one to receive the forgiveness of God, he must be a forgiver. And the way he can forgive others is to know that what comes to him was just and perfect, and, if anything comes, it is better than one deserves. "He who is imbued with the spirit of Christ abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil, for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him except by our Lord's permission and "all things" that are permitted 'work together for good to them that love God'." (MB 71.) It stands to reason that if there is a God who created all things, then that God would be aware of all things. The Christian God does not go off on a journey. His angels are ever watching and the mind of God sees all things. This being so, how could some accident "slip up" on Him? Does He not see? If one sees his young child venturing close to a rattlesnake, would not that parent quickly move the child away from danger? Is God less than we who are evil? The fact is, God has continually sought to save us from danger. This being so, all of our calamities are these things God could not convince us to be saved from. "But the house of Israel still says that the way of the Lord is not fair. O house of Israel, are not My ways fair? Is it not rather that your ways are unfair?" (Eze. 18:29 ML.)

One must now consider how he will receive forgiveness. We discovered earlier that "Whatsoever a man sow, that shall he also reap." If a drunk hits my car, then, in some way, I have sown that. If a meteorite comes through the roof of my house, that must be a reaping. If all things are fair and just, then to receive forgiveness I must forgive those whom I may have considered guilty. "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. ...For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matt 6:12, 14, 15.) The way to receive our own forgiveness is to forgive others. And that is not an especially burdensome chore when we realize we have received from them only that which we have sown.

What Happens To Those I Forgive?

At this point one might say, "Well what about all those robbers and rapists? Do we just forgive them and they go out and do it again? If we reap what we sow, then should all these evils should just be tolerated?" Jesus said, "Woe unto the world because of offences! (disasters, crimes, etc.) for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" (Matt. 18:7.) Yes, these individuals will also reap what they have sown. God once declared that He would send Babylon against Israel to punish them for their sins. Later He said He would punish Babylon for punishing Israel. (Jer. 21:7, Jer 25:12, 1 Chron 9:1.).

The same principle that works with nations also works with families and individuals. "When parents or rulers neglect the duty of punishing iniquity, God Himself will take the case in hand. His restraining power will be in a measure removed from the agencies of evil, so that a train of circumstances will arise which will punish sin with sin." (PP 728.) As we are brought to understand our own creations, it is not difficult to forgive those who trespass against us. Even so, those that trespass against us will also reap the effect of that. Only the foolish will look at the visible things of life to make his judgments. Anyone who will but investigate the way the earth and those things in it works, will find that the truth of one's success or failure is in the heart of man. It is the soul that generates all of our life's experiences. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Pr. 4:23.)

I can remember that day I was forgiven. I can remember that quiet moment when my struggle was over. I can remember when all things became easy. It was the moment I yielded to the law of God. It was not that I tried to do it. It was that I yielded to it. I yielded up my circumstances, I yielded up my curses, I yielded up my righteousness, I yielded up my self-protection, I yielded to God all things, and the peace that passes all understanding filled me to the full. I was forgiven. I did not try to be good. His goodness filled my soul. It was not that I tried not to fall, it was rather that I believed in Him and falling was not part of the equation. I forgave. I was forgiven. I yielded and I was no longer under the law of sin and death. I yielded to His righteousness, therefore the law had nothing against me. What a joy it is to yield and forgive. All old things pass away and all things become new.

The great and wonderful truth of forgiveness is that there is only one unforgivable sin. That is, there is only one sin persons can commit where they will not be forgiven. That sin is the sin of refusing the pleadings of the holy Spirit. The holy Spirit will bring us to repentance if we will not resist Him. If we will not resist Him we will yield and, thereby, we will be forgiven. All the corruptions and sins we may have committed will be removed from us. All our mistakes will be forgotten. All of our errors cleansed. It will be as though we had never sinned. Our soul will be free and our heart clean. Every man, whoever he is, and every woman, whoever she is, can consider themselves included in God's own righteousness if they but yield to the Spirit of God. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Rom. 8:14.)

But what is the alternative? It is a dreaded thought to consider an alternative. Look about you and you will see. When men are unforgiven they naturally blame others. When one is unforgiven he fears others. "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." (Heb. 10:26-27.)

Non-Forgiveness Results

The guilt of the nations has increased to such a degree that the whole earth is soon to destroy itself. Great nuclear bombs are not accidents. These are the cure for guilty consciences. The multitudes yearn for the day their anguish is ended and the day is close at hand. "...All they that hate me love death." (Prov. 8:36.) Some of those who love death imagine that they will go to heaven one day and then it will be better. No, heaven is for the forgiven. The unforgiven would be in greatest torment in full view of one who reads the soul. The guilty would always be looking for a place to hide and there would be no place to hide.

Men today are looking for ways to justify their acts. We build bigger and bigger bombs. There is much talk of disarmament but this is only a worldly facade. This is a game guilty men play while they build bigger bombs. Men put burglar alarms all through their homes. They have guard dogs and guard people. Homes are stuffed with guns. There is only a fearful looking for of judgment. Men accuse and blame and strive to be the greatest. Millions starve. This is the alternative. Is that attractive? The guilty soul will do anything to destroy itself and destroy itself it will.

If we will but open our eyes we will see that every nation is playing the same game. All nations have their press that makes themselves the good guys and those others the bad guys. And if the truth were known, it would be seen that all are against the other. The only way forgiveness can come to the nation or the souls is that we take 100% responsibility and yield to the law of God. When I say law, I mean all that for which God stands. We must yield to every standard of righteousness, then healing and peace will be the result. But beware! When the guilty shout peace the end is near. "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." This is the effect of guilt. This is the alternative to forgiveness. There is something today men call positive thinking. It is good for one to think positively, but to think positive about evil will not help. We cannot trick the laws of life.

He Forgave Me

I remember when I understood forgiveness more fully. One morning I was sitting in my office when I suddenly became aware that I had many sorrows buried deep in my soul. Some of these were experiences in my childhood that I dared not even discuss for the pain they held for me. I was a walking mourner on the inside and smiling on the outside. I knew the time had come to look in and gain a knowledge of myself. I went over to an open wall and sat on the floor with my back to the wall. I put my hands in my lap and closed my eyes. After this, I went back in time as far as I could remember.

That time was when I was about two years of age. I remembered every detail I could, and carefully felt each feeling and illuminated every dark corner I could find. While in this position I took 100% responsibility for all that had happened to me. The mistakes I thought my parents had made against me I claimed as my mistakes. All of the sadnesses and pain I knew I had created. Soon I was weeping softly as I transported the years. Year by year I looked and wept. Year after year was uncovered and inspected through my tears. It was true. I discovered the corruption I had wanted to believe did not exist. I looked at the filthy rags of my life and hid nothing.

As the morning wore on and I had finally examined everything I could see, I let it be. There was nothing left to do but forgive. No, I did not forgive others since I had discovered there was nothing to forgive them for. I was the foe. I forgave myself. I pitied this poor man who made so much disaster for himself. I saw myself as I never saw myself before and when I looked, the love of God came into my heart for myself. This soul was broken and non-resistant. This soul was now prepared to receive the forgiveness of God. I gained a knowledge of myself and, by this, gained forgiveness for myself. This began a process that healed all the relationships of my life. This process completed every incomplete thing. This was forgiveness.

Know Yourself

Gaining a knowledge of oneself and yielding to the Spirit will not make one look better. It will not even make one better. What it does is bring forgiveness and prepare a place for the Spirit of God to reside and, he is not merely better, he is God's own righteousness. When you are forgiven you no longer resent those gifts God would like to bring you. You will accept them with open and expectant arms.

There are those who are out there who preach much and teach much. Some talk and talk and talk about what others should do, but unless one can make all his righteousness as filthy rags, and, unless he can see how truly unclean he is, all the talk will only bring more condemnation to the soul. God offers the reader of this book His full pardon. He offers to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Are you willing to be responsible for your life's past? Are you willing to yield to all the righteousness of God? Are you willing to be at peace? Are you willing to be forgiven?


« Last | Next »