Today’s reading is drawn from Acts 10:23-48.
As Peter shared the gospel with Cornelius and Cornelius’ relatives and close friends, he referred to God’s forgiveness of sins (see Acts 10:43). At that moment, all the people who heard Peter’s words believed and received the Holy Spirit (see Acts 10:44–47). What is so significant about the forgiveness of sins? It is significant because we have all gone our own way and fallen short of God’s standards (see Psalm 14:3; Romans 3:23). Our sin alienates and disconnects us from God, his love, and his care. Our sinful nature puts us in an isolated and hopeless state.
Forgiveness through Jesus’ death is God’s solution; it rescues us from our hopelessness and restores our connection with God. As the psalmist put it, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has [God] removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). Or as Hebrews put it, “Their sins and lawless acts [God] will remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17; see also Hebrews 10:22).
If we ask God to forgive us, he will (see 1 John 1:9). He then sees us as completely new people. We are clean, washed with pure water; whatever we might have done is forgotten and put away “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). Paul said that “there is now no condemnation” for those who have been forgiven and are “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
The knowledge that we are forgiven and have a clean slate is powerful. We can stand upon that solid ground. We can live from a place of growth instead of brokenness. We can ask Jesus for that forgiveness now. If we do not know him, we can ask him to be our Lord. If we turn to him in faith, he will cleanse us and we can walk in a guilt-free state. It is a strong state indeed.