What I am about to share is definitely nothing new. In fact, I'm sure you already know all about it but, be open to seeing it in a new light as I have. What I would like to talk about is grace. In my own words grace is what God gives us because He loves us even though we are undeserving. Grace is nothing we can earn ourselves. I'm sure you can give your own definition that would be better than mine but I am not here today to define grace. I am here to help you see how beautiful it truly is. We hear grace talked about all the time but, have we really stopped to think about how beautiful the concept it is? Have we ever stopped and thought about what our relationship with God would look like without grace?
If there was no grace from God we would be earning our salvation through works alone. In other words, our salvation would be solely based on what we could do for God to earn our salvation. If we sinned (which is going to happen) we would have to do something that would make reparations for what we had done. This is seen in the Old Testament with the Israelites and making a sacrifice or burnt offering to atone for their sins (Leviticus 1). If we lived our relationship with God through a works based relationship, we would never ever be able to do enough to earn our salvation!
If we had to work for our salvation not only would we never obtain it, we would start to think it was something we did to earn our salvation. Then we would think we deserved the glory and not God and would not need God at all. A works based relationship honors man but a grace based relationship honors God. Almost every other religion in the world is based on a works based relationship. Christianity is unique because God so loved the world and He died for us and not the other way around. The beauty of salvation is that we cannot earn it but it is given to us freely because we are so loved by Him. This shows his sovereignty. Ephesians 2:8 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God." Grace is a gift and freely given because He died for our sins.
Now what your responsibility is and what you have to do, is believe that God has forgiven you and you accept His grace. This comes with faith. You have to have faith to believe that you, as a sinner, have been brought into the kingdom of God because He loves you and there is not enough that you can do to earn it. You do have to accept it and believe you have been forgiven and are free from the bondage of sin. So stop asking forgiveness for the same thing over and over. If you find yourself doing that, have you really accepted that God has forgiven you? If you keep putting yourself down because you are not good enough to be forgiven, you have not accepted the grace of God and will continue to be miserable. God did not design this life for you to be miserable. If you believe by faith that God has forgiven you when you have asked, then you are free from that bondage and can live the beautiful and joyous life he has designed for you!
Now because God has freely given you forgiveness you must also return the favor and forgive others. Joyce Meyer wrote a book called, Do Yourself a Favor... Forgive. Here is the link to the first part of her teaching series on this book ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI89o8s3z1Q). I suggest if you have time, listen to this as you drive around or take a bath at night! This concept she covers is obviously forgiveness. But it gives a new insight to forgiveness. When you forgive someone else you are doing yourself a favor! You are letting go of what that person did to you. Whether they will accept your forgiveness or not, you are free! When you hold on to un forgiveness it grows and festers and brings on bitterness and will make your life miserable. Forgiveness may seem impossible or may be the hardest thing you will ever have to do but I assure you that anyone who is willing, can forgive no matter how much hurt or pain they have been through. You must forgive those who have hurt you so you can life a life of freedom. If you seek God, he will give you the power to forgive. When you forgive you are following in the example of what Christ did for you. Freedom and a life of joy lies in accepting God's grace but it also lies in learning to forgive others.
"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:35-36)