Summary: Number 4 in this series based on the Navigators’, "Lessons on Assurance" studies.
Cool Things We Can Count On from God’s Word
#4 – The Guarantee of Forgiveness
Just a warning: you’re not going to beat the Baptists to Steak and Buffet today. But I think you’ll find that our time today will be a blessing to you.
In the movie, “Hook,” Robin Williams plays Peter Pan, who had left Neverland and had grown up to be a corporate attorney.
He is completely focused on his job, and ends up neglecting his son over and over.
There is a line that he quotes from time to time in the beginning of the movie that sets the stage for the attitude of his son.
When he promises to be at his son’s baseball game, he says, “My word is my bond,” meaning that if he makes a promise, it can be counted on.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t keep his word to his son, and it almost leads to disaster.
One thing I’ve noticed over my 40+ years is that a written guarantee is generally more powerful than a spoken one, especially when it comes to things like business dealings.
In court, a written guarantee is a contract that has to be abided by.
But if there is no written proof about the guarantee, then the court may say that the guarantee never really existed, at least in legal terms.
“But Judge! He guaranteed that this leisure suit would attract women to me, and it hasn’t worked!”
The Bible is God’s written guarantee. I’ve said it every week since this series started, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say it again: when God says something, it’s a done deal.
He cannot lie and will never change the terms of the deal. He’s true to His Word every time in every circumstance.
Today we’re going to look at another great guarantee of His – the guarantee of forgiveness.
I think one of the greatest differences between Christianity and other religions is that while others offer the idea that sin can be outweighed by good deeds, Christianity says that our sins can be totally wiped away and not counted against us.
They are taken away and blotted out from the record.
Believers in Jesus have access to that awesome forgiveness.
The whole idea of forgiveness can be a bit tricky, because we’re not always sure who can really be forgiven or if we have been forgiven in our own past.
Some people live in guilt over something they’ve done in the past, and even though they’ve confessed it to God and asked for forgiveness, they don’t feel like they’ve been forgiven and so they live under a burden of guilt and shame.
Some live in guilt over some sin that they’re convinced God could never forgive – it’s just too big, and there’s no way God could bring Himself to forgive it.
Some think that what they’ve done is no big deal, and so it doesn’t need forgiving. Everybody’s doing it, or I didn’t get caught, so there’s nothing to forgive.
The only problem with that is that if God calls it sin, then it’s sin – no matter what you think about it. God’s definition is the only one that counts!
It’s that whole, “God made the world so He makes the rules” thingy.
And then there are those who have sinned and don’t even know it. They’ve broken a law of God and they have no idea that they’ve done it. I’ll be talking about that in a bit.
But I want to assure all you that no matter what your situation, God offers you complete and total forgiveness. He guarantees it.
Our passage for today is 1 John 1:9 –
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
In last week’s message I gave a definition of sin that went sort of like this: the deliberate disobeying of a known law of God. You know what God’s Word says about something and you go against it, either doing something you know you shouldn’t do or not doing something you know you should do, according to God’s Word.
And I said that if a person is living a life that is marked by being full of the Spirit, we can go for long lengths of time without deliberate sin.
Today I want to expand that definition a bit.
Basically I want to include not just the known disobedience, but also the unknown disobediences.
In other words, it is possible to break God’s laws and not know it. And when we become aware of it, we need to deal with it.
In the Old Testament laws God said that if a person unknowingly commits a sin, he is still guilty. And when he found out, he needed to offer the sacrifice or the make the right restitution.