We talk a great deal about God’s forgiveness. But I wonder what image many of us have about it. It is quite true that we can only be forgiven because God gave his son to die for our sins. Unfortunately, we can often find ourselves thinking in a surprisingly negative way. It is too easy, and I have seen it too often, that we imagine going to God with our sins and him saying, “Well, a deal is a deal. I agreed to forgive you because of Jesus’ death and will have to abide by that agreement.” Fortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. This morning I was reading Micah 7:18 which, in the ESV, reads:
“Who is steadfast like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.”
God doesn’t forgive because of a bargain struck and sealed in the blood of Christ (though it is only through this blood that forgiveness is available). This sacrifice makes it possible for us to be forgiven, but as Romans 5:8 tells us this sacrifice was done because of God’s love. You see, God does not forgive because he is bound to by a bargain or contract. God forgives us because he loves us and (hear me on this next part) because he delights in forgiving your sins. Imagine that for a moment! God of heaven, maker of heaven and earth, omnipotent, omniscient, holy, and just judge of the universe takes pleasure in forgiving your sins.
Don’t go to him sheepishly racked with guilt. Go to him quickly, boldly, happily saying, “Father I have sinned. Please forgive me.” He takes pleasure in forgiving your sins, so be quick to please your Lord. You do this by taking your sins to him, turning from them and seeking his face.