Forgiveness Belongs To The Saints

By Kenneth E. Hagin

You don’t have to live for one moment in condemnation because of past sins.

Through the precious blood of Jesus, come back into rich fellowship with God!

That which we have seen and hear declare we unto you, that ye also may have FELLOWSHIP is with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ… …IF we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have FELLOWSHIP one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN… If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS, and TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. – 1 John 1:3,7,9

Too often Christians struggle with condemnation, wondering if God has forgiven them for past sins even when they’ve already repented of them.

But the truth is, they can know for sure that God loves them and has made full provision in His Word to forgive and cleanse them from all unrighteousness. God’s provision in First John 1:9 is for every
believer, because forgiveness belongs to the saints!

Often people try to relate First John 1:9 to sinners. But the Apostle John didn’t write this epistle to sinners. First John belongs to Christians! John is not talking about how to have a relationship with
God. His subject is maintaining fellowship with God.

Forgiveness belongs to the saints, but you wouldn’t know it by the way a lot of saints act. For instance, people sometimes misunderstand what John meant in First John 1:10: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” They say, “See, that verse means we’re lying if we say we have no sin, because every one of us has sinned.

But you have to read the entire context. This verse is referring to the person who is out of fellowship and walking in darkness. If a person is walking in darkness, he’s lying if he says he hasn’t sinned.

But if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of God’s Son cleanses us from all sin. If we’re cleansed from all sin, we’re not walking in sin and darkness!

As long as you walk in the light, you’re cleansed from sin. It’s when you sin and walk in darkness that you’re out of fellowship with God and with others. But, thank God, there’s a way back into fellowship with the Heavenly Father!

The way back into fellowship with God is found in First John 1:9. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us. He is faithful! Thank God for His forgiveness!

While I’m at it, let me just say this. We shouldn’t go around criticizing anyone else for their past mistakes. If it weren’t for God’s forgiveness, not one of us would be going to Heaven. And not one
of us would be enjoying the blessings of God either.

If you criticize and find fault with folks, digging up their sins and talking about their past, you’ll have something between your soul and your Savior. Your prayers won’t be heard, and your faith won’t work.
You have to walk in love to stay healthy and walk in the blessings of God.

But if you miss it and sin, go to Jesus, your Righteous Advocate! First John 2:1 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that YE SIN NOT. And IF ANY MAN SIN, WE HAVE AN ADVOCATE with the Father, JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS.”

You see, when you do wrong and sin, you lose your sense of righteousness. You can’t come confidently and boldly into the holy Presence of the Father. You’re embarrassed and ashamed.

But you can come to Jesus and say, “Jesus, forgive me.” Jesus is your Justifier before the Father (Rom. 8:33,34). And, thank God, He’s also your Righteous Advocate.

Jesus will go into the Father’s Presence on your behalf and plead your case: “Father, I shed My blood for him. I took his place. He’s confessed his sin. Please forgive him.” Thank God, Jesus has never lost
a case yet! Every time you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive you!

But if all God did was forgive you, you’d be in an unhappy dilemma. Why? Because you’d be forgiven, but not cleansed from unrighteousness. However, God also cleanses you from all unrighteousness by the blood of Jesus. Once you confess and repent of your disobedience and sin, you’re forgiven, you’re cleansed, and you’re restored to right standing with God once again!

You may say, “Yes, but I feel so guilty because I’ve missed it-” But when you allow feelings of guilt and condemnation to dominate you, you’re taking a step back into darkness. No, keep walking in the light.
Stay in the light. The light of what? The light of God’s Word. The Bible says, “The entrance of THY WORDS giveth LIGHT…” (Ps. 119:130).

When you walk in the light of God’s Word, you can declare with confidence: “I’m clean! My sins are forgiven and my past is all under the blood of Jesus!” Aren’t you glad that God is not only faithful
to forgive us when we repent, but He’s also enabled us to forgive each other? Think about it. What if a husband and wife couldn’t forgive one another! Wouldn’t they be in a mess? Thank God, we can forgive each other.

I remember one woman who came to me after one of my meetings several years ago who didn’t think she could forgive another sister in the Lord. She said to me, “Brother Hagin, I want you to pray for me.”

I asked, “What do you need prayer for?”

The woman began to cry. She said, “I want you to pray and cast this old unforgiving spirit out of me!” Then she began to tell me what another woman in the church had done to her.

The woman continued, “Brother Hagin, I want to forgive this dear sister. God knows I want to forgive her. But I can’t! So I want you to cast this old unforgiving spirit out of me.” I asked her, “Sister, are
you married?” “Oh, yes,” she answered. “I’ve been married twenty-two years.” I said, “Do you ever have to forgive your husband?” The woman laughed. “I sure do! Why, I had to forgive my husband just this morning at the breakfast table!” “But you just got through telling me you couldn’t forgive,” I answered. “No, if you can forgive one person, you can forgive another person!” And that’s the truth about the matter for every one of us!

Many Christians are like that woman. They say they can’t forgive someone, but what they’re really saying is they don’t want to walk in God’s love and forgiveness toward the other person. They don’t understand what God’s forgiveness is all about.

On the other hand, some Christians have a hard time receiving God’s forgiveness when they’ve repented of their sin, because they can’t forgive themselves. I remember a Full Gospel businessman who couldn’t
receive his healing because he wouldn’t forgive himself. He came to my meetings, and I laid hands on him for healing from high blood pressure.

The man’s high blood pressure had affected his heart and kidneys, and the doctors had told him, “Stay on medication and stay in bed. If you do that, you might live another two years.”

But the man told me, “Brother Hagin, I’ve been in healing meetings all over America. Many healing evangelists have laid hands on me for healing, but I haven’t received my healing.”

I felt impressed to tell the man, “Come to the service early tomorrow evening. I want to talk to you.”

The next evening I was getting ready for the service. Suddenly I heard the Lord’s Voice. It was just like someone was standing behind me. The Lord said, “Do you think I would require you to do something I wouldn’t do?”

I answered, “Why, no, Lord. You wouldn’t do that. Requiring me to do something You wouldn’t do would be unjust, and You’re not unjust!”

The Lord asked me the same question two more times as I was getting ready for church. Both times I answered the same thing.

As I got in my car and started toward the church, I heard the Voice of the Lord again. It sounded just like someone was sitting in the back seat, talking to me. He asked again, “Do you think I would require you
to do something I wouldn’t be willing to do Myself”

“No, Lord,” I said. You wouldn’t do that. You’d be unjust if You did that, and You’re not unjust.”

Then the Lord gave me some scriptures to help explain what He was talking about.

MATTHEW 18:21,22 21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, HOW OFT shall my brother sin against me, and I FORGIVE HIM? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN.

LUKE 17:3,4 3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 4 And if he trespass against thee SEVEN TIMES IN A DAY, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent: THOU SHALT FORGIVE HIM.

The Lord said, “When Peter asked Me, ‘Lord how often shall I forgive my brother? Up to seven times?’ I told him, ‘Not seven times, but seventy times seven.’ That’s 490 times in one day!”

I thought, Why is the Lord saying this to me? I had my answer when I arrived at the church and began talking to the man who had high blood pressure.

I tried to explain to the man how to believe God for his healing. But he stopped me and began talking about himself. As I listened, I realized what the Lord had said to me earlier was for this man.

The man said, “Brother Hagin, I’ll just be hones with you. I know the Bible says that healing is for me as a believer, all right. But I just don’t believe God is going to heal me.” “Why won’t He?” I asked the
man. The man explained, “I’ve been in church thirty years. But I’ve missed it so much in my life! I’ve failed in so many ways. I’ve fallen so far short!” “Let me ask you this,” I said. “How many banks
have you robbed?” “None,” he responded. “How many people have you murdered?” I asked. “None,” he answered. “Well,” I said, “what awful sins have you committed in your life?” The man said, “Brother Hagin, it’s not so much what I’ve done; it’s what I haven’t done. I know the Bible says, ‘…to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin’ (James 4:17).

“I’ve always paid my tithes and given offerings,” the man continued. “But I could have done so much more than I’ve done. I could have prayed so much more. I could have witnessed to people so much more. I’ve just missed it so much in life that I don’t believe God is going to heal me.”

I knew what to tell him. I showed him the passage in Matthew 18 that the Lord had brought to my attention. I said, “Now I want to ask you a question. Do you think God would require you to do something He wasn’t willing to do?” The man said, “Of course not.” “Then let me ask you this,” I said. “How many times have you failed since you’ve been a Christian? Can you think of a time when you sinned or failed 490 times in one day?” The man answered, “No, I don’t think I’ve failed even a
hundred times in a day.” “Well,” I said, “then according to Matthew 18:22, if you’ve repented of your mistakes, the Lord has forgiven you. God doesn’t ask you to do something He isn’t willing to forgive you.
But now you need to forgive yourself and accept the fact that God is willing to heal you right now.”

The man saw what I was trying to tell him. He realized God had already forgiven him, and he forgave himself for all the times he had failed in the past. Then I laid hands on him, and he was instantly healed! Many years later, he was still healed.

The devil had tried to cheat that man out of finishing his course in life because he didn’t understand what it meant to receive the Lord’s forgiveness or that he also had to forgive himself for past sins and
failures.

Many Christians are just like this man. They don’t understand what that word “forgiveness” really means. They say they believe the Bible, but when another believer stumbles and sins, sometimes they don’t act like they believe God when He said, “I, even I, am he that BLOTTETH OUT THY  TRANGRESSIONS for mine own sake, and WILL NOT REMEMBER THY SINS” (Isa. 43:25). Instead, they side in with the devil by judging a person for his past sins.

For example, I remember one woman who didn’t understand God’s forgiveness and wrongly judged a fellow brother in Christ for his past sins. She was a member of a Full Gospel church where I held some
meetings.

At one of the evening services, a fellow came to the altar for prayer. This man was a backslidden Christian who hadn’t set foot in church for three years. Meanwhile, he had contracted an incurable disease. As I ministered to this man, he got back into fellowship with God, received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and was instantly healed! The next day he went back to the doctor, and the doctor couldn’t find a trace of the incurable disease.

Later at one of the morning services, the man stood up and joyfully testified about his healing. After the service, this woman I mentioned came up to talk to me. I could tell just by looking at her that she was
angry.

“I’d like you to explain something to me!” she snapped. “I’d like to know why God would heal a man like him!” and she called this fellow by name. “He got saved years ago and used to attend church here. But he hasn’t been to church for three years. He’s been out in the world, drinking and cursing and living like the devil!

“On the other hand,” this woman continued, “I’ve faithfully attended this church for sixteen years. You can ask anyone. They’ll tell you there isn’t a better Christian in this church than I am! So why would
God heal that old backslider, but He won’t heal me?”

I told her, “In the first place, you need to repent for lying! Here you are, boasting on yourself when Jesus Himself said, ‘…Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God…'(Matt. 19: 17).

“Not only that,” I said, “but you need to repent because you aren’t willing to forgive this man for his backsliding even though God already forgave and cleansed him when he sincerely repented of his sin. If
you’ll repent, God will heal you too!”

You see, this woman failed to realize what this word “forgiveness” means. It was just a word to her. She had no idea how powerful God’s forgiveness really is, and she wasn’t willing to walk in love and
forgiveness toward others.

You know, we ought not to be like this woman, putting down another brother or sister in Christ and telling others about their past. We ought to help others when they miss it and lift them up, not put them
down! We need to help restore them to fellowship with God.

You see, God is in the restoration business! Forgiveness and restoration go hand in hand.

Is there any hope for a believer who fails and misses it? Thank God, there is! There’s a way back to fellowship with God through the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ!

The message of forgiveness should be our message of love and restoration to our brothers and sisters in Christ who stumble along the way. And if we miss it, once we’ve confessed our sins to the Lord, we
must also learn to forgive ourselves. We should refuse to live one moment of our lives in guilt and condemnation because forgiveness belongs to the saints!

(The above material was published by THE WORD OF FAITH, April 1993)

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