In the romantic drama, Love Story, there is a song “Love Means”, in which the words are sung, “Love means you never have to say you’re sorry.” Well, I think I know what they were trying to say, but that is all wrong. Actually, saying, “I’m sorry”, doesn’t quite cut it either. The Bible speaks considerably about our need for forgiveness, and that is a way of thinking that is totally foreign to the world.
If the world could understand the need for forgiveness, then they, the “carnally minded”, would comprehend the need for a Savior, One who died on the cross for our sins. But the “carnal mind” cannot understand the things of God and is at enmity with God (see Romans 8:5-8). God says, through the author of Hebrews, in chapter 9, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins].” The New American Standard Bible (NASB) seems a little clearer to me “… there is no forgiveness [of sins].” We need the precious blood of Jesus to cleanse us from all our sins … so that we are totally forgiven by God.
The Apostle John, in the book of 1 John, says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” King Solomon, in Proverbs 28, says, “He who covers his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Note the need for not only confessing sin, but forsaking it as well. Also, note that there is no need for an intermediary in coming to God, such as a priest. 1 Timothy 2 makes this clear … “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus …” Jesus is our intermediary and He is all we need to come to God.
On the subject of forgiveness, we not only need God’s forgiveness, but the forgiveness of other human beings that we have offended. We also need to grant forgiveness to those who have offended us. Jesus makes this clear in the prayer that He taught His disciples … in Matthew chapter 6 … “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Notice that Jesus says here that we will be forgiven in the same way that we forgive those who hurt us. That is rather sobering. Peter asked his Lord, how many times shall I forgive? He thought he was being generous with “seven times”. “Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22 We need God’s grace.