When I’m asked, “Will God forgive me no matter what I do?” — I always say yes, no matter what you do. That’s forgiveness, to the fullest.
But often the question itself is asking for permission to do something awful, and then yank forgiveness from God like a get-out-of-jail-free card.
And if that’s the motive: then we haven’t understood that forgiveness cost the life of God’s very own son. Our sin had to be paid, and either we do or He does. So God paid. It’s not some abstract ethereal doctrine in the clouds. There was blood, nails, tears, dust, and a dirty Roman cross — and there Jesus whispered forgiveness over his murderers under a sunless sky.
More than that: God aims not only to cover our disobedience, but also give a new direction. Forgiveness is not only for what we’ve done, but it also empowers us into a fruitful, powerful life of abundance and joy.
Of course God will forgive you over and over, no matter what, but it’s an altogether different thing to embrace the fully forgiven life, in which God’s forgiveness isn’t just for our failures, but also for our future. To cut short the work of this forgiveness is to only ask for less of God’s grace, and not more. To see forgiveness as simply an erased record is only half the picture. That’s to settle for less, and I don’t want that.
Grace can certainly be abused: but to the extent we abuse grace, we also hurt ourselves. To the extent we embrace His grace, we exponentially find freedom and life-giving joy.
Jesus died to forgive us and to set us free. Free to love and to serve with the short number of days we have left on earth. Free to walk away from all that destroys us. Free to rest in his endless affirmation and approval apart from the world’s changing opinion. Free to leave the wreckage of our old selves which enslaved us. Free to live a renewed restored resurrected life, which Jesus rose for from that tomb.
To see his cross and his tomb: I cannot walk back to my old self, because sin has died there in his body and so sin has lost its attraction for me. I am forgiven, to the fullest, for all that I could be in Him.
In the end, what does it cost us? It cost Jesus his life, but for us: it costs us our pride, our anger, our hatred, our apathy, and our aimlessness. This is a good deal. For your sin and sorrow and shame, God offers you grace and glory and joy instead. That’s just about the best deal in the universe.