"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."1
"Some years ago Alabama was playing against Rice in the Cotton Bowl. Neither team had been able to do anything through the first quarter. Then a player from Rice got the ball with no one from Alabama near him, and was on his way to a touchdown. At that moment one of the players on the Alabama bench, overcome by excitement, jumped up, ran out on the field, made a beautiful tackle, brought the runner down, and then ran back to the bench and sat down as if nobody had seen him. Of course, thousands of people saw him. The touchdown was awarded to Rice and the tackler sat on the bench holding his head. Eventually the Alabama coach went over and put his arm around the player as though to say, 'You made a mistake, but you are still part of the team.'"2
That's the kind of acceptance and encouragement we need to give to our friends, family and comrades when they goof. And it's the kind of acceptance and encouragement we need when we goof.
While the player from Alabama never made an "unpardonable mistake," he sure made a humiliating one especially before thousands of fans.
Fortunately for us when we make big mistakes and sin, no matter how bad, when we confess these to God, he forgives us fully and still loves us unconditionally. In essence he says to us, "You made a mistake (sinned) but you are forgiven and are still part of the team."
Sadly, many people feel that what they have done is unforgivable by God. Others feel they are unworthy of God's love and forgiveness. This is not so. The only unpardonable sin we can commit is to reject God's mercy and His gift of forgiveness and salvation. The fact is that of ourselves none of us is worthy. It's God's grace that pardons and saves us—not anything we have ever done or have ever failed to do.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for Your mercy and for loving me unconditionally no matter what I have ever done or have failed to do. And thank You that You forgive me when I confess my sinfulness to You. Help me to overcome my sins and failures and freely forgive others as You have freely forgiven me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
Note: For help be sure to read “How to Be Sure You’re a Real Christian” at: http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.
1. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV).
2. King Duncan in www.sermons.com.