Did you know that God has made a special three-part plan for pardon available to every Christian believer? Notice I said “available.” God has placed it within your reach, but not dropped it into your mouth. When taken in combination, you have the greatest power known to man available to you: the power of the Gospel. Here is how to obtain forgiveness.
1. CONVICTION: First, there must be a conviction of the heart that we have fallen short of God’s perfect mark. Christian believers should know that they are great sinners in need of an even greater Savior. “When the Holy Spirit comes, he will convict the world, and show where right and wrong and judgment lie” (John 16:8). For Christian believers who are indwelt by the Spirit of God, His presence convicts us of our wrongdoing.
Oswald Chambers writes:
Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God.
The Holy Spirit is God’s gracious gift to convict us of sin—not because He hates us, but because He loves us and wants us to be what He has called us to be. Remember, God hates the sin and sent His Son to pay the price for it. He loves the sinner . . . and that includes you!
2. CONFESSION: Next, the Holy Spirit draws us to the cross of Christ, where we confess our sins. We openly confess that the practice of our lives contradicts the profession of our lips. I am not suggesting that this is the time to confess every known sin in your life; there aren’t enough hours in the day! You are far worse than you think you are! But with a broken and contrite heart (see Psalm 51:16-17), you come boldly before the throne of grace and confess that you are a sinner—both by nature and by habit—and repent of those sins. We confess that all of our attempts at self-salvation have fallen miserably short and will never accomplish for us what only Jesus can do.
3. CELEBRATION: The final installation of God’s special three-part plan for pardon is the one most often missed by down and defeated Christians. For many in the body of Christ, confession is a time of deep depression, devastating despair, and dark defeat. They simply cannot get back up and get back into the life God is calling them to, because they don’t fully understand what Jesus has done for them on the cross. They believe they must confess with bitter feelings of utter defeat and failure and stay in that mindset for as long as they can . . . or at least until the next time they sin. This is simply unbiblical NONSENSE! It is nothing more than an outright denial of the Gospel that Jesus secured on the cross with His precious blood.