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Do you have doubts about your forgiveness? Do you ever wonder, "Man, if God knew what I am really thinking, feeling, and desiring, He would never forgive me?" Do you ever think, "If Jesus knew how bad I was going to be, He would have never died on the cross for me?" Well, most of us don't have these thoughts because we are apathetic. We don't think our sin is that terrible and that we aren't such an abomination. However, when the law does its work and shows us how ugly we really are, it is impossible to believe that Jesus would ever forgive us for what we think, feel, desire, and do. When the law speaks, it brings us to despair, meaning we hate ourselves and believe that God hates us as well.
In these times, remember the account of Jesus speaking to Peter which says, "Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same." (Matthew 26:33-35). Jesus knew that Peter was going to deny Him. Jesus knew that all the apostles, except St. John, were going to abandon Him in His final hours. Jesus knew that Peter was going to deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. Even though Jesus knew Peter was going to sin against Him, He went to the cross anyway and, in Peter's stead, died on the cross as Peter the Denier. Jesus went to the cross in the full knowledge of His apostle's sins, and the sins of the whole world.
What does this mean? Does this mean that because Jesus knows we are going to sin that we have a license to do whatever we want because Jesus will forgive us anyway? No, what it means is that, when we are in despair, we have assurance that God does know how bad we are and died for us anyway. Jesus knows how wicked we are and can become and died on the cross for us in spite of this. This means that, in Jesus, our despair is overcome in the forgiveness of our sins. There is not one sin that Jesus did not die for on the cross for us. Jesus died for us, all our wickedness, down to the very dregs. Jesus knew Peter was going to deny Him, He knew we were going to be conceived in sin and live a sinful life, and He knows today that as we continue going on in this life that we will fail again and grow in wickedness. Jesus knows this and forgives us freely. Why? Because He is not a god of wrath, but our Lord or mercy and grace, who's forgiveness is new every morning for us.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.