There are many people who want to go to God to be forgiven and to be saved. Some will. Some won’t because they don’t know they can or don’t believe they can get forgiveness because of things they’ve done. They do their best to do the right thing, but never enter a season of prayer and professing their sins because they don’t know or don’t believe that God will forgive them and help them carry the baggage they have been carrying around. Those in doubt would if they only knew God’s love is far greater than the weight of any baggage people accumulate. That may be exactly why God left witnesses in the world – a way to remind us to just call on him.
The fact is that if the worst of God’s children turn from what they’re doing and call to Him sincerely, from the heart, he will answer. If they turn from doing wickedness and begin to obey by living good lives, heaven will celebrate for that one life. Jesus says so plainly in the book of Luke chapter 15 verse 7 “I tell you that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance”. It does not matter what our sins are, what matters is that we are never too far gone, never too far fallen, and never have too much shame to call on God and turn our life around, through Jesus. When you read the Bible to understand it, you begin to see the instances God has waited patiently to deliver punishment he spoke about through the prophets, in order to give those who received the warning ample time to alter course so he could change punishment to forgiveness and healing, even if it is just one that turns. Like the passage from 1 Kings 19:13, when God was trying to refresh Elijah so he would go back out in the field and speak to his brothers, give them more time. When he saw that Elijah was a broken man, God relented, still, he says, “I have reserved 7,000 Israelites for myself who have not bowed the knee to Baal”.
We have all been down some roads we weren’t supposed to take; just a little stroll to see what’s there and then get back on the correct path. Months or years later, you think back to where you were and realize that you stayed on the block too long. You start wondering if you can go home. Will the door be open? Will God actually let you back in the door if you knock? Will he even answer with all that you did during that time? I believe most, or all of us have been there, except 144,000 people out of the history of the entire world who remain pure, according to scripture. Unless you are one of the 144000, you likely had those thoughts when you think about asking for forgiveness. The answer is, Yes, he will answer and he will open the door before you even begin to knock.
Jesus gave the perfect answer to God answering us if we call on him, in the book of John chapter 6 verse 37, by saying, “I won’t turn away anyone that comes to me”. But, even in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and even as far back as Exodus God pleads with the Israelites to turn back to him rather than face the punishment he said he was going to send on them. So, my presumption in saying yes, is that God does not want to punish anyone, he just wants us to acknowledge him and turn back from the wrongs we are doing and he will welcome our repentance with a happy heart.
There isn’t enough shame in the whole world that will keep God from meeting you with open arms either. The same people God wanted to turn back to him, the same ones that had broken Elijah’s spirits, the same ones that cursed Jesus, even us today; our lives are lived before God night and day. Our basest and best moments are seen while we’re doing them. Our shame is laid bare before his eyes at all times. You hear it in the way he speaks plainly and without filter when you read Biblical text. But none of our shame is enough to disqualify us from being forgiven.
So if you are one of those who say “if only God knows what I did he would never let me near the door”; he already knows what you did but he will open the door if you knock. In 1 Kings, during the time Elijah was a prophet in Israel Ahab was king. Ahab did all sorts of evil and had even murdered a man to get his property. God pronounced judgment on king Ahab and sent Elijah to tell him that he would die for what he’d done. But Ahab repented in the dramatic way they did back then. Tore his clothes, sackcloth and ashes. Seeing what Ahab did, in 1 Kings 21 verse 29 God goes back to Elijah and says; “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me. Because of this I will not bring the evil in his days.” This is how happy God is when we turn from doing wicked and evil things and will happily reward us with forgiveness.
God even makes a promise in the book of Jeremiah 31 verses 31 to 34. This promise was for a new covenant with the people born during the time of Christ and after. “I will put my laws in their minds and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God and they will be my people.” This is a special promise for the generations to come after Jesus’ time, which says that we would all be able to call on God for ourselves. Christ says he will not turn anyone away. He also said we should forgive one another 70 times 7 in one day, which means he would forgive us that many times if that’s what it took.
That means until he says that everything is finished; until the very last second of the time we have left on Earth, as long as we are still breathing if we call out to God and ask for forgiveness, he will. Call God and he will answer you. Ask for forgiveness and he will forgive you. No mystery and no priests or ministers required to speak to God anymore because God wanted each person to come to him by themselves. Therefore he made Christ the High priest, and everyone is able to go to God in Christ’s name.
Does that mean we have forever to do as we please? No! You don’t know if you’re going to be alive tomorrow. You don’t know if tomorrow is the last day on Earth. None of us do. If you’re not alive you won’t be able to seek God or call on him. That is why it is critical to call on God the minute you feel like you should. His redemption, with the new covenant is simple. Believe his message that Jesus Christ, our Messiah is His son and that his death washed our sins clean. The rest will fall into place over your lifetime as you continue to pray and allow God to work on your heart and mind.
God loves us that much that he sent Jesus to die so that anyone in the world could be saved through his death, simply by believing God’s message about Jesus. When we repent of our sin and disobedience – in accordance with love, justice, compassion, mercy, and faithfulness – he has already said he forgives us, through Christ’s death and resurrection. He is just waiting for us to acknowledge Him and call out to Him so he can begin the work of renewing and preparing us to bear our cross. About bearing our cross, Jesus says “follow me, I am meek and my burden is light.” In our weakness, God’s power becomes powerful in us.
The overwhelming mercies and grace of God is our benefit in that we can go to Him at any time while we’re alive. We can seek forgiveness and confess what we’ve done and all of it is forgiven. All of it is an open book in front of Him so the only shame about seeking forgiveness, is not asking for it. Whether we choose to be convinced otherwise is a decision we make, either through willful ignorance or not knowing how. The how is simple; find a little corner by yourself and just say, Lord forgive me… whatever you say from that point is between you and God. No one who says they believe God’s message can judge you because everyone who has, has already been here because of their own sins and said those words. We also know that if we judge you, we are calling down judgment on ourselves and we do not want that. Just go ahead and seek God.
As I close, I can confidently tell you that the forgiveness and love you find with God is awesome. The things He will teach you to renew your spirit is awe-inspiring. And if you choose to witness about God’s mercies and love after you find forgiveness, there is an astounding joy that comes from what the Holy Spirit will open to you. The more you accept and the more you learn is the more he will open to you. The word “complete joy”, will take on a whole new meaning for you.
As for me, I choose to believe the message of salvation spoken of through the prophets and Jesus Messiah (Christ). And I choose to make it the one desire that will replace all other desires as I learn to let go of who I thought I was, to become a temple in the Kingdom of God. No matter what you have done or believe you have done. Just ask. God never gives up on us, neither should you give up on you, nor let anyone persuade you not to turn to God. Because even if the worst of God’s children repent in their hearts, he is celebrating and forgiving.
If you have an inspiring story to share, share it in a comment.