Can God really forgive my past?
If you've made some big mistakes in your life, Jesus has good news for you.
It really is "all in the past"
Every so often you may find yourself cringing at the sudden recall of things done or said in the past. It is hard particularly when those things have involved hurting or disappointing other people.
But no matter how bad the situation may have been, no matter how much pain or anguish you may have caused, no matter how much sin may have been involved, God’s love and Jesus death covers it all. If you have turned from your sins to follow Jesus, then you have been forgiven even for what happened days, months, or years ago and are safe in the love of God.
Paul expresses this so beautifully in Romans 8
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ...
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
An amazing promise and Paul is certain of it because God has done it all for us. If Jesus has died for you and you have put your faith in him then nothing you have done in the past can come between you and God. So rest assured of your salvation!
Sin has consequences, even when you're forgiven
Sometimes the sins of the past have consequences that affect our future and we have to deal with them - they do not affect our salvation but they do affect our lives. For example, someone may get drunk and then drive, causing an accident that leaves them disabled - an action resulting in a consequence that affects them even though they have repented of the action many times over.
How you deal with your own past sins will depend upon their seriousness and what’s involved. If an incident involved hurting or disappointing someone then you may need to confess that to them, ask for forgiveness and seek to make amends. How they respond to that is up to them. They may not want to forgive you. You have no control over that. All you can do is confess and ask their forgiveness. If the incident involves breaking the law then it may be more serious - it depends on what you did. You may need to confess this to the police and face the consequences.
So if you are in a position where you need to work through the consequences of sin, pray about it, asking God for wisdom and strength. It may be a really scary prospect but you need to remember that the God who loves you passionately can and will bring good out of all things for those who love him.
So do what you think is right and trust that God will do as he promises, and remember "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Thanks to Christianity.net.au for material in this article.