Ladies, in this series exploring our true identity, let’s remind ourselves that there is NOTHING we can do that will change God’s view of our incredible worth and value.
Cindy, a 17-year-old wrote a letter to Josh McDowell, saying:
“I’m writing to you because I’m alone and confused. I had sex with my boyfriend, thinking I owed it to him. About four months later I learned I was pregnant. He left me. I have been feeling so guilty. How can God love me after what I’ve done? Can God really love me and forgive me? Please write back.”
What Cindy has yet to let sink deep into her soul is that when Jesus died on the cross, so did ALL of her sins. Cindy is questioning her ability to be forgiven because she’s viewing herself through the lens of humanity. We humans have a hard time with forgiveness, but for God it’s a breeze. We ask, He forgives.
And He FORGETS. Cindy was FULLY forgiven the moment she asked. Not a little forgiven, not three-quarters forgiven. FULLY forgiven, just like God promises in His Word.
As 1 John 1:9 says, “If we freely admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own natures and promises) and will forgive our sins and continuously cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Our sin does not affect our worthiness in God’s eyes. Is that amazing grace, or what??
Several centuries ago, a Protestant scholar named Morena was forced into exile in Italy. Falling into poverty, Morena became gravely ill. He was taken to a paupers’ hospital where physicians, assuming the wretched-looking patient was uneducated, began conversing in Latin among themselves at his bedside.
“This worthless creature is going to die anyway,” they said. “So let’s try an experiment on him.”
Morena, of course, knew Latin almost as well as his native language. Summoning his strength, he raised himself up and said to the surprised physicians, “How can you call ‘worthless’ someone for whom Jesus died?”
Now *that* is the right question!
God’s Ceaseless Love Determines Our Worth
Our society loves to define who is and is not “worthy” and “special” and “important.” Often, the criteria it uses is the status or financial standing a person has. Celebrities and athletes, for example, are typically viewed as having tremendous value in our society. But is Madonna really more worthy of kindness and respect than a homeless person?
As Morena clearly understood, our value is not determined by what we have or do. We are valuable simply because God says we are. God couldn’t care less how much cash we’re banking, or the label on our car or clothing, because our efforts and accolades aren’t what get us into right relationship with Him or heaven.
As the apostle Peter remarked, “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom He paid was not MERE gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Jesus died for everyone; no argument there. But if we fail to grasp that He would have still willingly died for JUST one of us, His sacrifice will fail to deeply impact our heart, soul, and mind. God doesn’t see a sea of humanity when He looks at the world. He sees US. You. Me. Every freckle on our face, every sorrow in our heart. Every thought we’ll ever have.
Think of it this way. When you sign up for insurance at your job, you enroll in a group plan, right? But the plan isn’t written JUST for you. Rather, it covers a wide range of benefits and services designed to cover the needs of all the people on the plan. The price you pay for the monthly premium reflects what the insurer thinks it has to charge to cover everyone for the time specified. And the insurer may deny you some benefits and services you really need, if it deems the costs to be too high. (Profit is an insurer’s bottom line.)
In a sense, we could consider Jesus’s sacrifice for our sins to be group coverage as well. But His plan is completely focused on each of us as individuals. He knows exactly what you need…and what I need…and has already fully covered the expense. No ailment (sin) is too expensive for Him. He’ll never decline our claim!
We ARE Fully Forgiven!
Are you still rejecting Jesus’s sacrifice of atonement for your sins? Do you find it hard to believe that God continues to forgive you daily for your slips?
Some Christians are fully convinced that they have sinned too much, too long, or too greatly to be forgiven. Sadly, some even believe they have used up their last “Forgiveness” card.
But this belief isn’t biblical. God NEVER sets limits on restoring us to Himself. Any condemnation we feel after asking for forgiveness is condemnation we place on ourselves. Granted, some churches struggle with the concept of grace. “I can never been fully sure that I’ll go to heaven,” one guy told me once. When I asked why not, he said, “Because who knows if there’s something God is mad at me about.” That poor guy! He is experiencing none of the peace Jesus died for him to have.
Some Bible verses that would help him to trust in God’s mercy and goodness:
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18
“…as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
I love how Joyce Meyer put it during one of her seminars: “I would love to be perfect every day. That’s my plan when I get up … it don’t last long, but that’s my plan.” She adds, “I suffered from guilt and condemnation for so many years. I didn’t feel right if I didn’t feel bad. I was petrified to believe that I didn’t have to persecute myself for two or three days when I sinned.”
Ladies, we don’t have to be insecure about God’s acceptance of us. It’s a given that we’ll sin, despite our best efforts to live lives that please God. But when we do, let us be prompt in seeking God’s forgiveness, and then let us let ourselves off the hook like God does. Transforming our sense of identity means forgiving ourselves for screw ups by accepting God’s limitless capacity to forgive us.
You are fully forgiven the moment you ask. Believe it!
Our True Personal Identity
Part of rightly understanding our true personal identity requires that we know how God sees us. As our loving creator, God says two things to us: “You are my child,” and “You are chosen.” Do you sense God’s heart toward you? Can you wrap you mind around the truth that God was thinking about you before He even created the world?
Let that truth sink into the depth of your heart and mind. It may take a lot of determination on your part, but as you begin to realize just how valuable you are in God’s eyes, you will be able to break the chains that keep you from accepting and loving yourself. Ladies, we CAN drop the burden of what other people think—and the judgments we hold for ourselves!
This blog series is based on Josh’s book See Yourself as God Sees You. It is our prayer that during this series you come to recognize and accept your true personal identity! God couldn’t love you more!