By Ernest O'Neill

The Reason God Can Forgive Us

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

The reason God is able to forgive you and me for our sins is because He has a bath in which He can wash us. You are dead right. If you don't change, you'll make heaven hell, and will fill it with your own dirt.  I will fill it with my own dirt. If we can't be changed, it doesn't matter whether God forgives us or not.

That was the problem the Jews were in. The Jews knew that God had forgiven them but they didn't know what he had done. They didn't know about the bathroom. They didn't know about the great act on Calvary, which was that great bath into which God had put all humanity and changed it. They just knew that God had done something magnificent that enabled him to forgive them. But they still cried out, "The good that I would, I cannot do it. The evil I hate is what I do.

I know Father, you have forgiven me but I cannot be like you. How will I ever be at home in your heaven unless I become like you?"

And so, the Jews started a massive journey up that impossible hill of self-improvement; trying to obey the law by their own efforts, trying to clean themselves up, trying to make themselves better. Loved ones, thousands of us in churches throughout the world are in the same situation. We accept that God has forgiven us because of Jesus' death but we don't see that why He forgave us was because in Jesus' death He had bathed us. God changed you in His son Jesus. He restored you not only to the favor of God but He restored you to the image of God. God has put each one of us in His son Jesus and has destroyed us there with all that our old self has produced over the years. He has renewed us and raised us up in Jesus completely new and clean.

Loved ones, it's done, it's done for you. That old self of yours that is filled with greed and filled with irritability and anger and resentment, that was put by God into His son Jesus and God destroyed that there. In eternal reality that is gone and done with. And the moment you believe that, you begin to receive the benefit of that. But loved ones, if you keep on trying to clean yourself up with your own dirty handkerchief you just wipe more self over yourself, every time you try to do it.

So tomorrow, when you feel anger rising in your heart, you don't try to repress it by your own power and effort. Instead you look up to God and you say, "Lord God, I know that you crucified me in Jesus. I know that you destroyed me in him and you remade me so that I am new. I know that you destroyed this old self that is expressing this anger. I know that Lord, and I want to thank you for that. Thank you! Don't do anything else, don't make a move to grab your handkerchief -- don't. Just thank Him. Because the truth is, you believe yourself to death. You believe yourself clean. You believe yourself changed. That's it. It's by faith, and not by effort. It's by faith.