By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Kristin England; ©2000|
|It’s one thing to understand with your head that God has forgiven your sins. It is quite another to figure how to forgive yourself—or even if that is necessary. Kristin England explains her own journey to find the answers. This is part thirteen of a series dealing with the after-effects of abortion.|
We had revival services at church this past October. It was during altar call that Sunday morning that my now 7-year-old niece, Kelly, raised her hand that she had prayed the sinner’s prayer with our guest speaker. She was one of several who had prayed and asked God to forgive them their sins. She was going to go down front but changed her mind. Kelly was saved at four years old. All by herself she prayed the sinner’s prayer then asked Pastor Gary to baptize her. Since that time she has been growing in the Lord and is beyond her years in her Christian walk. You can see why I was surprised that she was praying to be saved again.
After AWANA’s that Sunday night as I was driving Kelly home, I asked her why she had asked Jesus to save her again… was she not sure of her salvation? She said that she wasn’t sure so I asked the reason why. She said, “Because I cuss.” (Kelly has had rough times in her young life. One of the first words she spoke was a curse word. For a long time I tried to imagine what else she might be saying but realized it was the word I had feared it to be.) I asked her, “Don’t you think the Holy Spirit lives in your heart?” She said, “Yes.” I explained to her, “He is a guarantee of your salvation and we are all sinners. Just because we commit a sin doesn’t mean that we aren’t saved. I try not to sin but I do.” She said with great surprise, “You do?!” Well, I had to chuckle to myself on that one! She thinks I don’t sin. Her sweet love is so precious.
I went on to tell her how in the Bible Paul says, “…nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18-19). She prayed and asked God to forgive her and help her to not say bad words anymore. We are all sinners. That’s why we need a Savior. We can’t be good enough to get to Heaven. Only Jesus is sin free. Jesus is the spotless Lamb who sacrificed His life for us.
I told Kelly how Jesus died for ALL our sins: past, present and future. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Once we believe and make Him Lord of our lives that is forever. If we are truly saved we don’t have to ask Him to save us again. He gives us the Holy Spirit as proof of our salvation. “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness…. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:18,22-23).
I gave my testimony at church January 21, 1996. At the end of this service Brother Gary had everyone write on a piece of paper their name at the top and below that: all my sins… past, present and future. He had a six-foot cross in the place of his pulpit. Starting at the front of the church, each row went to the cross, picked up a hammer and nailed their sins to the cross. It was the most emotional service I have ever attended. I believe it was for most everyone there as well. It was such as release to be rid of the heavy sin baggage. We voted to keep a box of tissue on each isle after that service.
I had learned from Psalm 103:8-13 that: “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.”
God tells us in Isaiah 43:25: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” But my BIG problem was I couldn’t forget my sin of abortion. I couldn’t forgive myself for aborting my son. I felt pretty sure of the fact that God had forgiven me but I just couldn’t let go of my guilt. One evening Kay Arthur was in the salon where I work having her hair done. I asked her how she forgave herself and she told me that nowhere in the Bible does God tell us we have to forgive ourselves. We have to accept God’s forgiveness.
I realized that by not accepting God’s forgiveness I was saying that Jesus’ death was not enough. His blood was not enough to cover my sin. I was being my own judge and this was not what God intended.
“The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, will cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant” (Hebrews 9:14:15). Because Jesus chose to do God’s will “and by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… When this priest (Jesus Christ) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the LORD, I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.’ Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin” (Hebrews 10:10-18). We don’t have to do anything for this forgiveness but accept God’s free gift of salvation. I realized I didn’t have to be perfect in my eyes; I needed Jesus to wash me clean. “Therefore, brothers (sisters), since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:19-23).
Until next time, I pray that you walk in the freedom of forgiveness by faith because, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). “Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and form the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 1:4-6).