The Incredible Forgiveness of God

Glenn Addington By Glenn Addington, 1st Jul 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2183ojuj/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

A challenge to those who believe that they are past being forgiven by God.

The claim

Many of us have at one time or another heard someone say something to the effect that they've been guilty of such heinous crimes or sins that they are beyond the possibility of being forgiven by God. Whether or not they have been in prison is neither here nor there; as they evaluate their lives and their deeds, they've become convinced that they are beyond the ability of God to be forgiven.

A Look at God's Forgiveness: An Old Testament Example

Those mentioned above, convinced of being beyond the forgiveness of God, should take time to read about the deeds of King Manasseh in the Old Testament.
Manasseh's story is told in two Old Testament accounts: the second book entitled Chronicles, chapter 33, and the second book entitled Kings, chapter 21. Though Manasseh's father was a good and moral king, Manasseh himself was entirely the opposite. He re-instituted the worship of several of the idols which had been worshiped by the nations which surrounded Israel. His father had stopped all this, but Manasseh chose to revive the worship of these idols, even putting the idols in the temple which had been built for the worship of Almighty God. He also began to worship the stars and the planets. Part of the worship of one of the gods was the sacrifice of his son as a burnt offering to that god, meaning that he burned his son alive in that worship act. He began to practice witchcraft and use fortune-tellers, mediums and those who would attempt to raise the dead to seek advice regarding the future. He lead the entire nation to do far more evil than had ever been done by other nations. He was also guilty of murdering many innocent people. II Kings 21:16 tells us, " Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to the other." Manasseh and the people had been warned by God against such behavior, but they chose to ignore the warning.
God sent the king of Assyria and took Manasseh captive and took him to Babylon . The next two verses tell of Manasseh's distress and of his crying out to God - and God's response. " When he was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God."
Verses 15 and 16 tell of his actions to undo the idol worship he had put in place. You may read these at your leisure.
What is significant is:
GOD DISCERNED THE GENUINENESS OF MANASSEH'S PRAYER AND CHANGE OF HEART AND RESTORED HIM TO HIS NATION AS KING.

A Look at God's Forgiveness: A New Testament Example

The New Testament book of Acts, chapter 7 ends with the story of the stoning of Stephen, whose enemies could not refute his teaching. They had stirred up the people, having prompted false witness to say Stephen was guilty of speaking against the temple and the Old Testament law. Acts 7:58 and 8:1 inform us that Saul was highly in favor of seeing Stephen put to death.
After telling of Stephen's burial, the text highlights Saul's activities. "But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison." The offense for which these men and women were put in prison was having become Christians.
After Saul's conversion to Christianity , he later came to be called Paul. After having been falsely arrested some years later, he twice gave his personal testimony, in which he told of his activities in persecuting Christians. Acts 22:4-5 "I persecuted this Way - Christians - to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished." Acts 26:9-11 "So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme - to curse the name of Jesus; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities."
If you have read the account mentioned above in Acts 9 of Saul's conversion, you see that God had chosen him for a special purpose. Rather than inflict wrath or punishment on Saul, Jesus chose to appear to him and commission him to preach the gospel.

The Incredible Results

To be delivered from the hand of an enemy king and be placed back on his throne was probably much more than Manasseh could ever have hoped for, yet it shows the forgiving nature of God. God recognizes each one's heart, and what God discerned in Manasseh's heart caused Him to restore Manasseh to his throne.
As the apostle Paul writes to his young friend Timothy in I Timothy, he speaks there of his former activity and the grace of God in forgiving him and commissioning him.
1 Tim 1:12-14 ¶ I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.

The Challenge

If you have doubts about God's willingness to forgive you, please read the accounts referred to here, and give serious thought to the incredible forgiveness of God. He is a loving God, 'not willing that any should be punished, but that all would come to repentance." If you know anyone who is persuaded that they are beyond forgiveness, please share this article with them. Rejoice in the loving nature and character of God, and joyfully accept His forgiveness, intent on gratefully seeing His face when that day comes, knowing His love and forgiveness.

Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible.

Tags

Forgiveness, Gods Nature, Our Forgiving God

Meet the author

author avatar Glenn Addington
I am an American, former Viet Nam veteran, and a Christian, living in East Tennessee. I am now retired and am pursuing a writing career. I would welcome writing assignments.

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