We dodge and blame others, and lay it to their account.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,” Scripture says – and only ourselves. God is not deceived! He knows the truth about you and your sin. But in Christ we see that He is a faithful God who wishes to forgive! You confess this with your mouth when you confess your sins to Him.
But, what about those who sin against you? Don’t open your mouth to speak harsh and angry words to get back at them. This only promotes sin. Don’t be silent, either, and not speak up to forgive and help, for then you are like Adam. The mouth that will not speak forgiveness is an instrument of death, and not of life; of unclean spirits, not the Holy Spirit; of Satan, and not Christ.
God’s Word says (1 John 1), “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins.” Do you realize what this is saying? Jesus is your advocate; your lawyer; your “mouth” in heaven. And, what a mouth! He, the eternal Son of God who is one with the Father, is speaking into the Father’s ears for you! He shows Him His wounds and speaks of how He purchased your forgiveness with them. God listens to Him and forgives your sins.
But, Jesus is also speaking into your ears and proclaiming to you the forgiveness of your sins. He made His Apostles, and then also the pastors He places into the Apostolic Ministry after them, His mouths: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.” Pastors are the mouths of Christ, and the forgiveness they pronounce upon you is from Christ Himself. Don’t ever doubt that your sins are forgiven when you hear me say to you, “I forgive you your sins.” You are hearing the voice of Christ!
Listen, and believe your sins are forgiven. Then, go forth to yourself be the voice of Christ by forgiving those who sin against you. God has made you this! Remember that the Jesus who speaks to the Father for the forgiveness of your sins offered His life to forgive the sins of the world. “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world,” John says. How can you hold onto sins which Christ has forgiven? How dare you hold onto sins which Christ has forgiven! This would be to deny His wounds and deny His resurrection!
“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,” Jesus has taught us to pray. He bore the sins of all people and died for them on the cross, filling that prayer with the power of His forgiveness. He rose from the dead and breathed His Spirit into us, putting that forgiveness into our mouths. Jesus Christ – crucified and risen for our forgiveness, speaking to you through His pastors and then through you to those who sin against you – is the peace and joy that renews our lives. With His voice ringing in our ears and filling our hearts, every day is a good day! It is His day, a day in which He is bringing forth His new creation.
We say, then, this day and every day: “This is the day which the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)