How To Receive Forgiveness

Having taught us how to ask for what usually most concerns us – our material needs – Jesus now shows us how to pray for what most concerns Him – our spiritual needs. After all, the angel said that Jesus came to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:26). Knowing that there is one “who can cast soul and body in hell,” He tells us how to become reconciled with the Judge of all mankind. For we have offended a holy God, and He has declared that “the soul that sins shall die.” We owe Him a debt which we can never repay. Only if He forgives this debt can we escape eternal punishment. But Jesus knew that He would pay that price; He would redeem His people by His own blood; He would satisfy God’s righteous anger by offering Himself as a sacrifice for sin. Thus, He authorized His followers to approach God as Father, simply asking for pardon. It’s that simple! All we have to do is admit, and renounce, our sins (repent), and trust in Christ as the “lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (believe the Gospel), and we shall be saved from God’s wrath. How, then, should we pray for forgiveness? - With humility, not trying to hold on to any shred of righteousness, for we have none (Romans 3:21-24; 7:18; Philippians 3:9). - With childlike trust in God’s promise. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9). - With charity towards those who have hurt us. Remember the clause, “As we forgive our debtors.” God does not forgive us because we forgive others; His pardon comes without cost to us. But His mercy falls only upon those who realize their own sins and receive His grace. The sure sign of whether we have true repentance and faith is whether we can sincerely forgive those who have offended us. “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).