As I blog through R.C. Sproul Jr.'s forthcoming Believing God: Twelve Biblical Promises Christians Struggle to Accept I've come to chapter 3: Confession, Forgiveness, and Cleansing. Sproul is concerned that many Christians today struggle to believe they are actually forgiven by God. To help us he points to 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
What I found most helpful in this chapter was his commentary on the justice of God in our fogiveness. Here's an excerpt:
God not only is faithful to forgive us, however, but just to do so. Sometimes I’m afraid we are so eager to praise God for His mercy to us that we misunderstand it, and in a backward sort of way, denigrate it. That is, too often we make the mistake of thinking that we are forgiven for our sins just because God decided to be nice and to look the other way, that He winked at our sins. God is indeed merciful. And He does not remember our sins. They are as far from us as the east is from the west. But it is just that such should be so. Our debt is no more not because He whom we owe forgave it, but because it was paid. He is just to forgive us because He poured out the just punishment for our sins on His Son. And He is just to vindicate us. He raised His Son from the dead to demonstrate that He did not die for His sins, but for ours. In union with Him, raised with Him, we too are vindicated. The Judge of all the earth does judge rightly when He says that sinners like us are not guilty. Jesus paid our debt, and we owe no more. In fact, it would be unjust for God to demand retribution for sins covered on