Let's land the plane on this idea by looking at, at least a two of the reasons we sometimes don’t feel forgiven.
Now I realize there are bunches of reasons, but here's what jumps out to me. More often than not I think we confuse condemnation with consequences. Condemnation is from God, separation from God, you’re not a part of the family of God, etc. I hope over the last several days, that we’ve made a case that if we come to God with a heart-felt confession and a desire to change, that God grants us forgiveness. Where I think we get confused though is that we still deal with the consequences of our poor choices and we assume that consequences and condemnation are the same thing - and they are not.
Understanding this difference is crucial because I often hear people get these ideas confused. We treat God like some sort of genie in bottle and as soon as we confess our sin and choose repentance we want him to magically take away all of our troubles. Even in light of God’s forgiveness there are still consequences that we have to deal with because of our poor decisions. You can be forgiven and free from condemnation, but consequences may still remain.
The second reason I think we sometimes don’t feel forgiven is because we’ve forgotten that the devil’s main objective in this battle of life is to destroy us. 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT) says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
Paul says that we’re to pick up the “Shield of Faith”. If you’ve been a Christ follower for any length of time then you realize that the devil has become skilled at targeting you exactly where it hurts. The devil fires flaming arrow after flaming into your life in an effort to destroy you. Maybe for you it’s the flaming arrow of hatred, anger, lust, jealousy, pride, doubt, fear, despair or distrust.
The goal of the arrows, the purpose of the arrows being shot into our lives is to create distrust and to create doubt in regards to the faithfulness of God. “You know, maybe God doesn’t know what He’s talking about.” “Maybe I am justified in my anger and resentment.” “Maybe I should live in fear.” “Maybe I’m supposed to feel hopeless.” “Maybe I’m too big of a screw up to be forgiven.” “Maybe God doesn’t have a master plan for my life.” “Maybe God doesn’t really care about me after all.” Don’t miss this, that’s the goal, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” The devil’s goal is to slowly but surely erode your trust and belief that God is for you and has forgiven you.
So Paul encourages us and tells us to pick up the Shield of Faith. Believe that God is for you. Romans 8:31 (NLT) says, “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” What are the “wonderful things as these” that Paul mentions in that verse. For the first 30 verses of Romans 8 Paul loses his mind talking about the goodness and faithfulness of God to us even in the midst of our screwed up lives. That’s the “wonderful things”. And what shall we say about such “wonderful things”? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Let me end with this last reminder and verse. If you have committed your life to Jesus Christ, then claim this verse for your life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
You can be forgiven.