Question: I’ve done some horrible things in my life, and I’ve hurt people deeply. I don’t know if God will forgive me. Can God forgive me for the things I’ve done?
When questioning the depth of God’s forgiveness, you must first consider the depth of God’s love. Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:17-18)
The Bible assures us, “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will separate [you] from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:38). In fact, “God Is Love” (1 John 4:8).
How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for you? It is without limit, and without condition. So, never underestimate the love of Christ, His mercy, and forgiveness.
Is God willing to forgive you? He has already answered that question with an irrefutable, YES.
He is willing to forgive you because of His boundless grace, in accordance with His perfect justice and rich mercy, He can erase your sins because He has already provided THE acceptable substitutionary payment for the entire debt of your sin.
The heavenly Father gave His Son, Jesus, over to death on a cross as an acceptable substitutionary payment for your sin. To do that, God placed your every sin upon Jesus at Calvary. Jesus “appeared so that he might take away [your] sins” (1 John 3:5). “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
The Lord Jesus gave His life so “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Are you a part of “whosoever?” Yes, so you can be assured that He did that for YOU.
For God so loved [you] that He gave his one and only Son, that [if you believe] in him, [you] shall not perish but have eternal life.
To Jesus, you are worth the shedding of His precious and holy blood. Jesus took upon Himself what you rightly deserve. The Bible says, Jesus “took it away, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:14). At Calvary, Jesus paid your sin debt in full. He died so you may be forgiven – and He offers you eternal life.
It’s not about what you deserve. It is about who God is, and what He has done! There is forgiveness and salvation in Christ. He has already paid the ultimate price to remove your guilt, and credit His righteousness unto you.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Ps. 103.8). “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:11). God’s heart is generous in forgiveness, grace, and mercy. “For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath. (Deut. 4:31).
Our human nature wants to believe the lie that we have gone beyond what God would be willing to forgive. But, that is not of God. It’s a deceptive lie.
You are not beyond God’s reach. You are not removed from God’s grace. You are not expelled from His mercy.
The blood of Christ, shed for you, is more than sufficient to cover the worst things you’ve done. Those sins can be removed “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12). By His substitutionary death of the cross, Jesus is able to purify you “from all unrighteousness.”
Moreover, you can have this confidence because the Bible says, “while you were yet God’s enemy, Christ died for you” (Rom. 5:10). That means, even before Jesus gave His life for you, He knew every malicious thought and wicked action that you would do throughout your life. Even so, even knowing every sin you would commit throughout your lifetime, Jesus still went to Calvary in your place to take upon himself those sins.
He did that because He loves you.
Jesus’ heart is for people. He came, “to seek and save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10). He earnestly seeks all who will receive Him in repentance.
During his earthy ministry, not only did Jesus teach in the temple, He went out into the streets to intentionally seek out adulterers, thieves, prostitutes, and outcasts—those who would be loathed and discarded by society. Those people had been accustomed to being confronted with distain. Yet, Jesus met them with love and grace.
While people may be unwilling to forgive others, God delights in forgiving those who seek His mercy.
Even while staked to a wooden cross and in excruciating pain as passersby jeered at Him, Jesus’ first recorded words from the cross were, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Despite the atrocities committed against Him, Jesus’ heart was steadfast in forgiving those who maliciously put Him there.
The Bible gives scores of examples of people who did evil things, but who repented and received God’s forgiveness. David, for example, committed adultery with Bathsheba and then conspired to kill her husband. But David later repented and received forgiveness.
In Paul’s letter to the church of Corinth, he wrote that some from their local church body came out of lifestyles who had been, “sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexual offenders, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Paul wrote, “that is what some of you were”, but goes on to tell them, “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (vs.11). He reminds them of who they were before Christ, and you they became in Christ.
Yes, because of God’s love and mercy, and what Jesus did for you on the cross, you can be forgiven and saved in Christ. Jesus gave His life for you so that, in Him, you might be credited in His righteousness before God.
Still, God also loves you enough that He won’t force himself on you. You have to personally accept what He has done for you. That is a choice He gives to everyone to make individually.
You must accept Jesus, or reject Him. There is no middle ground. To accept Jesus is life. To reject Him is death. You can accept Him by repenting of your sin, receiving Him as your Savior, and submitting you life to Him as Lord.
How? ‘“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame’” (Rom. 10:8-11). And, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13).
You can have abundant, eternal life in Christ today. Will you choose life?
The Lord waits for you to cry out to Him, “Have mercy on me, God, for I have sinned.” If the Holy Spirit is convicting you and drawing you to Jesus, you may be saved even now. If this is the sincere burden of your heart, you may pray a prayer like this:
Jesus. I am a sinner. I have done, and said, horrible things against you and others. I know I am lost without you and there is no hope for me apart from you. I believe you are the Son of God and you alone are able to save me from my sins. I believe when you died on the cross, you took upon yourself what I rightly deserve. I can’t understand it, but I know you did this because you love me.
Jesus, I repent of my sins and I call on you today to save me. I believe, through your death, you willingly lay down your own life to paid my debt of sin, in full. And I believe that because you rose from the grave, God showed your death is sufficient for all who call on you to be saved. You are a merciful and compassionate God who can not lie. And, you said you freely forgive all who receive you through faith, because of your grace. I receive you today as my Lord and Savior. I commit my life to you. Thank you for saving me. I love you, too. Amen.
If you have prayed similar words with sincerity from a repentant heart, on the authority of the Word of God, be assured you have eternal life. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13).
In the song, It is well with my soul, Horatio Spafford penned these lyrics, “My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. O my soul.”
For all who receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, Jesus has taken our sin – “not in part, but in whole” – and nailed it the cross. Oh, what a marvelous Savior!