The Meaning of Forgiveness

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
—Psalm 103:12

If you are like most of us, somewhere in your past is a giant failure. Your failure may involve a squandered opportunity, a broken relationship, a bad financial decision, or a terrible moral choice. And you wonder, “Will my failure be the defining moment of my life–a moment that I’ll spend the rest of my life paying for? Or is it possible that I can move beyond my failure?”

Only two people can determine the answer to that question: you and God. There are some things we can do to experience a second act in life after our failure, but it also depends upon God. Our Divine Director has created, written, produced, and is directing every moment of our life, and He has the final say about whether we can move beyond our failure. If He wants to, after our failure, He could bring down the curtain and say, “It’s over for you.” Or He could choose to raise the curtain again and give us a wonderful second act. Your second act depends on God.

In Romans 8:31 Paul asks, “If God is for us, who is against us?” Having God on your side is like having the biggest kid on the playground as your best friend. If that’s true, then it doesn’t matter what anybody else on the playground does to you, right? It’s the same way with God. If the all-powerful God is on your side, then it doesn’t matter what other people think about your failure.

But the opposite is also true. If God is against us, what else really matters? If God is so offended by your mistake that He says, “You’re finished!” then there is no second act in life. So the real question is: Is God willing to forgive you for your failure?

I want you to picture the biggest failure of your life. I’m not talking about a minor slip-up; I’m talking about the past event in your life that if it were projected on a large screen for everybody to see, you would crawl under your chair in embarrassment. Isn’t it funny how quickly our biggest mistake comes to our mind? Now ask the question: “Is God willing to forgive me for making that mistake?” Let’s look at what the Bible says about God’s forgiveness.

  • “‘With everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,’ says the Lord your Redeemer.” (Isaiah 54:8)
  •  “‘I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)
  • “Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, and relenting of evil.” (Joel 2:13)

The Bible says that, no matter what we have done, God is willing to forgive you and me.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Our Second Act Depends on God” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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