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"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1John 1:9) Faithfulness is one of God's atributes. "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19) (See also Titus 1:2) God is just, correct, righteous in his actions. "He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he." (Deuteronomy 32:4) "Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me." (Isaiah 45:21) "For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee." (Psalms 86:5) "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18) In pondering the above scripture, do so in light of John 13:10 "Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. The phrase "is washed" is the Greek louo meaning to bathe, take a bath. "To wash" is nipto, wash off, especially the hands and feet. If we have been truly washed (bathed) in the blood of the lamb, thereafter only the dirt and filth accumilated in our daily lives needs to be washed off, cleansed. This is accomplished through repentance.
Although the Bible contains many strong warnings against backsliding (moving away from God after having received salvation), there are also repeated instances of God promising mercy to those who repent. Some instances that come immediately to mind are: 2 Chronicles 7:14 ("If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.") Isaiah 55:7 ("Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.") Matthew 18:21-22 ("Then Peter came and said to Him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.' ") Luke 17:3b-4 (“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”) 1 John 2:1 ("My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.") The key is the repentance of the backslider. As noted in the verses above, if God expects us (imperfect and sinful as we continue to be, even after being saved) to extend unlimited forgiveness to those who sin against us (even repeatedly) but then repent, then He Himself (as He also promises in the verses above) will pardon the penitent who seek His forgiveness in Jesus' name.
This question reminds me of the Prodigal Son. At one time in his life he enjoyed the shelter, food, clothing, and love of His Father's home. However, something changed, he wanted to break free. He wanted to do his "own thing". Luke 15:11-24 This young man went to his Father and demanded his inheritance, "Give me my share!" The Good Father did as he was asked. He divided himself and gave to this young man. So he was off, into the world to find fame, fortune, and a name for himself. Soon he was broke with no food, no hunny and no money. What a sorry state! He convinced some farmers to allow him to feed the pigs. (What a huge fall for a Jewish young man) but, as he sat there, he came to himself. (The beginning of repentance, you must see the need) He began to have a serious conversation with himself! If I repent, I could be a servant in my Father's house, they at least have to eat! Then, he put action to his thoughts, He arose! He got up out of that pigsty. He started for home! (Turning from the sin in your life) Now the Bible doesn't say how far it was to home, it only states that while he was on his way, the Father saw him afar off. Seems the Father was on the lookout for him! Waiting on him even! The Father ran to embrace him! The young man fell at his feet and repented, begging to just be a servant. The Father picked him up, kissed (forgiveness) him, gave him gifts that included a ring, (authority) a robe, (power) shoes (privilege) then ordered a huge feast for him. How often have I fallen into this trap! My Heavenly Father supplies all my needs but I "think I can do better" I would have been much better off staying under God's Divine Plan for my life and doing what He wanted me to do instead of "my own thing." How silly this seems in retrospect! Thanks be to our Heavenly Father for the opportunity to come to ourselves, repent, turn from our wicked ways and run back to the Father's House where He awaits us with open Arms of Mercy, Grace and Unending Love! While it is much better to never leave these Arms, His Grace and Mercy is there. I am forever grateful! Be Blessed Lena
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