A statement of Christian belief, the Apostles' Creed is a brief catalog of the teachings the Apostles put forth. Breaking apart the creed segment by segment, the writers at Ignite Your Faith expound on the beliefs presented.
I believe in the forgiveness of sins (from the Apostles' Creed).
I remember one time when my mom asked if I'd gotten all of my homework done before I went over to a friend's house. "Yes." I lied, thinking: It's not going to affect my grade and it's not a big deal!
But it was a big deal. Why? Because a little lie about having my homework being done is more than it seems. It's rooted in selfishness, pride and lack of respect for my parents. I want what I want … and I don't care what you think!
I look on the surface and think, I'm not so bad. God looks deep down into my true motives and sees that my heart can be dishonest and deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9).
Let's admit it. We all sin. Sometimes we do it on purpose, and sometimes we just mess up. And sometimes we try to play God. We choose to do life our way instead of choosing God's better way. It's human nature. It's who we are. As it says in Romans 3:23: "Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God's glory" (NIRV). Sin happens. And it's destructive.
OK, that's the very bad news. But the great news is this: Our loving heavenly Father sees all of this and yet he still loves us. He cares for us like a compassionate doctor cares for a patient who needs a life-threatening tumor removed. But God did more than simply cut out a cancer. Through his death on the cross, Jesus took the cancer of sin into himself. Here's how the Bible puts it: "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:21, NLT).
God longs to have an everlasting relationship with us. He wants to forgive our sins so this relationship can happen. That's why Christians believe in the forgiveness of sins. That's why it's so important for the Apostles' Creed to say, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins." We are stuck in our sins without forgiveness. We remain far away from God without forgiveness. We remain lost and spiritually dead without forgiveness. But when we accept God's forgiveness, he saves us from condemnation and hell (Romans 8:1-2). We will live with him forever in heaven. We can enjoy a day-to-day friendship with God right now.
Of course, there is a catch—if you want to call it a catch. God won't do anything we don't want him to do. It's our choice whether or not to receive his forgiveness. He won't force it on us. We have to be humble enough to let go of our selfish pride and tell God we're really sorry for our sins. We have to be willing to let go of our bad habits and ugly attitudes. And this is true for Christians, too. While God won't leave those who have a real relationship with him, sin damages that relationship. To keep our relationship healthy and strong, we need to confess our sins and try to live the way God wants us to live (1 John 1:9).
So what happens when we choose forgiveness? God's love begins to sink deep into our hearts and transforms the way we live. We seek to please him with our attitudes and actions. We not only feel sorry for the sins we commit, but we want to stop committing them. We are also more forgiving toward others. After all, if God can forgive us, then shouldn't we want to offer that same forgiving spirit toward others?
When you think about it, forgiveness really is amazing. Just imagine where we'd be without it.
Written by Grady Root with Jerry Root
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