NO CO-PAY FORGIVENESS
Who deserves forgiveness? None of us are worthy of forgiveness. The good news is that forgiveness is never given on the basis of who deserves it. It's given on the basis of God's faithfulness. We can’t earn God's forgiveness, we can only receive it. Christ-followers who grasp this fundamental biblical truth begin to experience the transforming power of God's presence. Once we get past trying to earn that which he is willing only to give, we experience true freedom.
As a pastor, I’ve have found that many Christ-followers doubt that they're forgiven because they're not sure they did a good enough job of repenting. They question themselves saying, "Did I really convince God that I was sorry? Did I feel guilty or bad enough? Did I confess earnestly enough? Did I earn God's forgiveness?"
I can assure you that you didn't. You didn't feel guilty enough. You didn't confess earnestly enough. You don't deserve God's forgiveness. But you can have it, because he is faithful and just. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (John 1:9). He said, "I will forgive you." That’s the only guarantee you need. “For he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. (Romans 3:26-27)
When Jesus Christ died on the cross, it was enough. It was enough to pay for your salvation, for your full forgiveness. You don't have to earn it. There's no "co-pay" option. You can only receive it. This is where people often stumble. "If forgiveness is freely given, and all I have to do is ask, what's to prevent me from sinning with wild abandon?"
First, the consequences should be enough to prevent you from doing it. If you're still entertaining the idea that sin is fun, then you don't yet know the rest of the story. What seems at first in sin to be an indulgent pleasure becomes, ultimately, an inescapable prison. Ask someone who has sinned with abandon how it worked for them. I'm not just talking about sex and beer and the party lifestyle. Take a look at those who thought they could gossip with abandon, and see the price they paid for it. Take a look at those who thought they could indulge their temper, and see what consequences they faced. That's why the Bible says "the wages of sin is death." Sin indulged only brings about destruction.
This is the second, deeper, reason why we don't indulge sin. It's because fellowship with God is dependent on our walking in the light—on our walking in obedience to him. Walking in the light—in close connection to God—is such a great experience, that the so-called pleasure of sin pales in comparison. Sin just isn't worth the price you have to pay for it. God’s whole purpose in fixing the sin problem was not so that we could beat the system, but so that we could live in relationship with him. God’s ultimate goal is that you become so at home in the light of his love, that sin loses its appeal for you. The truth about forgiveness is that God forgives you totally, completely, without reservation.