If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. –1 John 1:9
At a conference of governors several years ago, an interesting question was raised: “What is the greatest thing in the world?” It was absolutely quiet. None of the governors had an answer. Finally a young aide took the microphone and said, “The greatest thing in the world is that we can walk away from yesterday.”
I’m not even sure if that young aide knew that she had just summarized the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The good news of the Christian faith is we can walk away from yesterday. The Apostle Paul could walk away from his persecution of the Christians and answer the call to Christ (see Acts 9). The adulterous woman could walk away from her destructive lifestyle into a new journey with Jesus Christ (see John 8). Matthew could walk away from his job as a crooked tax collector and follow Christ into a new life (see Mark 2). The prodigal son could walk away from his life of moral failures in the far country and walk into the loving, forgiving arms of his father (see Luke 15).
To walk away from the failures and guilt of yesterday lies at the very heart of forgiveness. This is no call to cop out, drop out, or otherwise escape responsibility or the consequences of our choices. But it is a liberating message that no one, absolutely no one, is tied to a past from which there is no release. The gospel gladly sings of the possibility of new beginnings. Aren’t you glad you have been released from your past?
1. Read David’s psalm of forgiveness: Psalm 51. What are the results of his confession of sin?
2. In what areas of your life do you need a new beginning? List these areas and pray for forgiveness according to 1 John 1:9.