The truth is that many of us have done some pretty horrific things in life. Many of us have lived lives that were brutally selfish, lives that destroyed relationships, lives that destroyed livelihoods. Many of us have things hidden deep in the recesses of our hearts that nobody knows about and we would never, ever tell anyone about. Many of us have lived years, decades, wasting our time on frivolous hobbies, endless hours of mindlessly watching tv and playing games.
Many of us have regrets, and we can’t take them back. We have done or not done things that we wish we would or wouldn’t have done.
But what is worse is that now, at this moment, we feel as though there is no recovering from a life of regret and shame. We might think to ourselves, “Well I’ve messed things up so bad now, that there is no reason to even try to change.”
I want you to know that there is always time for change. This is the whole reason for Jesus to come and do what he did. Jesus came to give hope to the hopeless. But there is one critical thing that we have to do in order to live from this moment forward without regrets. There is one thing that you need to do in order for you to move forward with your life. That one thing is to answer this question:
“Do you really believe that Christ has forgiven you?”
I know it sounds simple, but it’s not. The more we have rebelled against God, the more we have hurt others, and the more secrets we have, the harder it is for us to believe this. But I’m telling you that believing in the complete forgiveness of Christ is the only way that you will be able to move forward, find hope and experience life transformation.
But believing in the complete and unconditional forgiveness of Christ may not happen in one particular moment. Because our sin is so deep, because our sin is so extensive, we will have to do some radical things to really believe in the forgiveness of Christ. Believing in forgiveness may take time.
Now don’t get confused here. If you believe in the life, death, resurrection and reign of Jesus Christ. If you believe that Christ substituted himself by taking your sin upon him and gave you his righteousness, then you are now forgiven of all your past, present and future sins. If you are a true believer in Christ, then you have been born again, you have been made a new creation, and you are now united to Christ in an inseparable bond which will last for eternity.
But you have to actually believe that Jesus has forgiven you of all of your sins. Too often we think that Jesus is forgiving but only up to a point. We believe that the death of Christ was good enough for some of my sins but not for all of them because some of them were just too bad. I dare say that there are sins hiding in your heart that you don’t even remember. Sins that were so bad that you have blocked them from your memory. And at just the right time, when you seem to be moving along, enjoying your relationship with the Lord, Satan brings up something you did a long time ago and makes you feel unworthy of Christ’s forgiveness. So, what do you do? How can you believe in the complete and unconditional forgiveness of Christ?
The best way is to constantly preach the gospel to yourself. The gospel has given you a new identity. You are now a child of God, fully forgiven, fully free to live a life delighting in the glory and satisfaction of Jesus himself. Do you still sin? Yes. But you are also a saint in God’s eyes. You are a sinning saint. Is that even possible? Of course it is. But the truth is that your sin no longer has the power to destroy you.
Because Jesus bore God’s wrath for your sin, then you are completely set free. Free to live life with no regrets, no shame, no condemnation. Listen to these verses:
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11-12
I, I am he [says the Lord]
who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins. Isaiah 43:25
God will again have compassion on us;
He will tread our iniquities underfoot.
God will cast all your sins into
The depths of the sea. Micah 7:19
In Jesus we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 1:7
And my personal favorite: Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Whatever you have done in the past is in the past. God has “forgotten” about it. He has cast your iniquities into the ocean where they are lost forever. You no longer have to feel “condemned” for your sin because Christ has paid for it, and taken the punishment for it.
To live a life without regret is to live a life believing in the full and complete forgiveness of Jesus. This is the gospel, and we all know, its the gospel that changes everything.