“Brothers & sisters, I do not yet consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind, straining toward what is ahead. I press on to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
Romans 3:23 reads, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory.” While this is not an excuse to live in sin, Paul states this and continues saying that we are justified through God‘s grace because of the redemption in Jesus Christ. If you’re anything like me, you’ve lived a little and sinned a lot. When talking to the people of Israel, Peter gave direct instructions on what to do when you have sinned and how to move forward. Acts 2:38 reads “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
1) Repent - feeling of sincere regret or remorse for wrongdoing, act of confessing that wrongdoing & asking for forgiveness
1 John 1:9 reads “If we confess our sins to God, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
2) Turn to God - acknowledging that you need God to walk straight.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:15 “I don’t really understand it myself, for I want to do what is right, instead, I do what I hate.” He acknowledged, that without God, I cannot do this, but with God, all things are possible.
3) Be baptized in the name of Christ Jesus - Romans 6:3-7 is a great representation of the power of baptism. It reads, "Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.
Once you have done this sincerely, your sins are forgiven. Now that God has forgiven you, make sure you forgive yourself. Don’t allow guilt, shame, or fear of what others may say stop you from pressing on toward the prize for which God has called you heavenward. Isaiah 43:25 reads, "I-yes, I alone-will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again." The Lord has promised to forgive and forget, and he is not a God that he shall lie.
Friend, I call you to ask for forgiveness, turn your thoughts back to God, baptize yourself with His spirit and move forward. We will fall short, however, we serve a loving God that takes us back with arms wide open. I am reminded of the parable of the prodigal son, a story Jesus tells about a son who leaves home, wastes his inheritance, and suffers in a famine. Upon deciding to return home, he told his father, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son." But his father was filled with love and compassion, and ran to him and embraced him.
Whether you've been gone for ten years or ten days, come home. Your Father in heaven is waiting, eager to embrace you with love, compassion and forgiveness. And when you receive that love, compassion and forgiveness, make sure to forgive yourself so that you may continue to move forward, heavenward, into the things God would have you to do.
Song: Nothing Else x Cody Carnes