What If I Don’t Feel Forgiven?

i_think_alone_by_gordorcaWe know the gospel is offered to those in need of forgiveness, but what do you do when you don’t feel forgiven even when you believe the gospel? What are Christians supposed to do when they no longer feel in their hearts the good news they confess with their lips?

Over at Ligonier, Ian Hamilton gives three great counsels for those who don’t feel forgiven for their sins. And they all start with “R.” Cool, right?

Root Out Sin. First, we must ask ourselves if we are harboring sin in our hearts. Sin natively dulls our hearts and minds to God’s grace in His Son. There may be a good and godly reason why we do not feel our Father’s forgiving love…

Remember the War. Second, we must remind ourselves that we are engaged in a relentless warfare with the world, the flesh, and the devil..The godly life is a natively embattled life, albeit an embattled life punctuated with “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

His third counsel is worth recording in full.

Recall Our Standing. We must recall that our standing in Christ does not rest in anything in us (our feelings) or done by us (our works), but on the finished work of our Savior on the cross and His continuing work at God’s right hand as our Great High Priest. The Christian’s whole comfort lies outside of herself. Perhaps this has nowhere been more memorably expressed than in the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism:

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

God’s truth and the grace of Christ are not qualified, far less nullified, by our feelings. However we might feel, however desperately wretched we might be, if we have believed in God’s Son and are resting the whole weight of who we are on Him alone, we are the most blessed and privileged of beings in the cosmos, whether we feel it to be so or not. We are loved in Christ with an everlasting love (Rom. 8:37–39). So, “Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God” (Isa. 50:10).

There will be times when the feelings within us don’t align with the truth, but praise be to God that the truth of the gospel is not nullified by our feelings or our works, but stands unchanged because of the once-for-all work of Jesus on the cross. May our hearts live in the warmth of His work.Read the whole post here.

About Dana Dill

I'm a Christian, husband, daddy, pastor, professor, and hope to be a friend to pilgrims on their way home.
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