“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” – Colossians 2:13-15 (NIV)
Many of us have been taught since we were kids that in order to receive something, you need to earn it. You get good grades, you have to earn them. To gain credibility at work, you have to earn it. However, the opposite is true when it comes to receiving forgiveness from our Heavenly Father. We are offered forgiveness as a gift, not as a reward based on our ability to earn it. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget this truth and convince ourselves that we have to work to be forgiven.
In the final moments of Jesus’ life, as He was hanging on the cross, the last word He said before He breathed His last was “Tetelestai” which translates to “it is finished.” When Jesus died, our need to prove ourselves died with Him. Think about how much freedom that comes from that reality!
We need to understand that we have already been bought and paid for. We no longer have to make amends with God. We don’t have to do more right than wrong in order to earn His love and mercy. We don’t have to “pay to play.” Instead, the punishment we deserve for our sins has already been paid in full. That’s what Jesus said when He proclaimed, “it is finished.”
I know it can be tempting to think you have to earn God’s love and forgiveness, especially when you’re so accustomed to having to earn everything else. But I would encourage you to begin to live in the freedom that your Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally, and that He offers you forgiveness free of charge. Nothing you do can make God love you anymore, and nothing you do can make God love you any less. He sent His only, beloved Son to die for you so that He could have a personal relationship with you. With that in mind, I hope you decide today to walk in the freedom, comfort, and peace of that reality.