Whenever I used to hear sermons preached for those struggling to believe they’ve been fully forgiven, I zoned out. I’d think, “That used to be me, but not anymore!”
Here’s the thing: I was reading 2 Peter with a couple of gals and… I think I’ve been been a little nearsighted and blind.
“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” (2 Peter 1:5-9, ESV)
One of them asked if I was possessing these qualities from 2 Peter in increasing measure. I really had to think about it… I felt like I was growing, but it seemed impossible to truly attain these characteristics because of pride. As I verbalized that, I realized for the first time I’ve been living my whole Christian life like my pride isn’t fully forgiven. Like it’s never wholly cleansed. Like it’s the ultimate sin God can’t defeat. It wasn’t just that I thought “I’ll always have pride this side of heaven,” it was also as 2 Peter says – I was forgetting I had been cleansed from my past sin.
The life-altering truth is Jesus nailed ALL of my sin – even my pride – to the cross.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)
Do you hear the victory? Read Colossians 2:13-15 again. Slowly. Soak it in: all our sins… nailed to the cross. We are declared forgiven, cleansed and holy in His blood. Even the very core wickedness of our heart; forgiven. We are cleansed of sin in Jesus’s name. It is possible for us to add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love… not perfectly but certainly without blatant sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen?
If you’re able to finish this sentence: “I’ll always have (fill in the blank sin) this side of heaven” or you feel unforgiven to your core know these are lies from the enemy. The truth of God’s Word says you’re forgiven, guiltless and blameless if you’ve put your faith in Christ’s sacrifice, looking forward to the coming Day. Yes, we will struggle (Lookin’ at you, Romans 7) – but because of Jesus, it no longer defines or defiles us. God promises to give us both the desire AND the power to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13). I urge you to agree with what’s true and preach to your soul: God is faithful and just; He has forgiven me of all my sins and purified me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). God will complete the good work He began in me (Philippians 1:6). God will keep sanctifying me of my core sin for my good and His glory until the coming Day (1 Peter 1:3-5).
May we realize how completely we are forgiven so as to “keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Or, as the NLT version so beautifully puts it: “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4).