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Can I Be Forgiven?

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In a rather out-of-the-way cemetery is an unmarked tombstone bearing the single word, forgiven. Nothing more--simply forgiven. A person can't help wondering, who was forgiven and by whom; what happened that caused someone to leave that message forever engraved upon his tombstone?

The secret of that tombstone has long been buried. But one thing is certain, the need for forgiveness still exists. We often need to be forgiven to keep the communication lines open between each other. An old-timer quipped, "Everyone should have a cemetery lot in which to bury the faults of his friends and loved ones."

What is more serious is that we have failed to live up to what God expects of us. No one is able to perfectly keep God's commandments. The Bible states it simply, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Our disobedience separates us from our Creator. We need His divine forgiveness.

How can we be sure that God will forgive us? How can a perfectly just and righteous God overlook our sin? Two of the world's greatest philosophers, Plato and Socrates, spent much time considering the problem hundreds of years before Christ's birth. After searching and seeking, they came to this conclusion: God may be able to forgive sin, but we don't see how.

The situation would have been impossible if God had not settled the issue Himself. He sent His Son to this earth to become a man and to ultimately give His life for you and me.

On the cross where Jesus died, He took the punishment for sin that we deserved. The Bible says God made Him, "to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Because of what Jesus has accomplished, it is possible to know that God will forgive you and one day receive you into Heaven. You can have the assurance of God's forgiveness by taking the following steps:

  1. Recognize that your sinning separates you from God. In honest repentance admit your need for forgiveness: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
  2. Realize that God loves you, and believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
  3. Receive Him into your life by faith and trust Him as your Savior: "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12).

When you have followed these steps in faith, you can know that God has forgiven you. Right where you are you can pray something like this:

"Lord, I know that I have sinned and need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died for me and arose from the dead. I invite Him into my life to be my Savior."

2002 Good News Publishers. Used by permission.
Translated by permission of Good News Publishers
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