Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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Embracing Forgiveness

            Romans 3:23 says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,". Everyone of us has sinned and because of our sin each of us deserves eternal death. Understanding the way of God's forgiveness is the only way to overcome or imperfections and press on the goal of becoming like Christ. For some, the sins they have committed overwhelm them with guilt. Guilt that prevents them from realizing the availability of forgiveness that God offers all men. As humans, we are imperfect----we make mistakes. The only way to move on and press forward is to realize God wants to forgive us. II Pet. 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." WHAT A GREAT GOD WE SERVE!!!! A God that is so good and merciful and patient that He wishes that no one would perish and face eternal doom.

            Yes, all of us have fallen short, all have sinned, yet God, because of His merciful nature, made a path of forgiveness for all, going so far that He sent His Son to die for us. Acts 5:30-31 says "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. (31) Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins." Eph. 1:7 says, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Forgiveness is available to each one of us because of what God did for us in allowing His Son to be sacrificed for our sins. We must, however, be willing to realize our faults and be willing to render obedience to God and to His commandments.

            In Acts 2:38 Peter said "...Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." We must be willing to repent and humble ourselves enough to realize that without submitting completely to the will of God, our sins will doom us for eternity. The decision to become a Christian doesn't mean one has to be perfect. It only means that we try to be, understanding that we all fall short, but we press on to the goal of becoming like Christ. We must lose the desire to sin willfully, but realize that forgiveness is available when we make mistakes. Ezekiel 18:21 says, "But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die." This must be our attitude and desire to turn from our sin and follow the commandments given in God's word, desiring to follow God and sin no more. We must press on in the pursuit of imitating Christ and when we commit error in our way we must humble ourselves, confess our sins before God and continue to press forward. As we close consider II Sam. 12:13, "So David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the Lord.' And Nathan said to David, 'The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die'." God forgives when we submit and follow in His ways.

- Garrett Alsip