Q: I know you say God will forgive us, but how do we know it's true? I often ask God to forgive me, but I'm not sure He really does. -- C.W.W.
A: Have you ever asked someone to forgive you for something you did -- an unkind word, a thoughtless act, a deliberate lie, a broken promise, etc.? You probably have, because you wanted to get rid of the barrier that existed between you.
But how did you know they actually forgave you? You knew it in two ways: You knew it by their words, and you knew it by their actions. If they said they forgave you, it gave you confidence that they actually did. But if they said you didn't deserve to be forgiven -- then you knew they hadn't forgiven you. In the same way, if they welcomed you and were friendly toward you, you were confident they had forgiven you.
In a far deeper way, this is how we know God has forgiven us: We know it by His words, and we know it by His actions. God does not lie -- and when He promises in His Word to forgive us when we come to Him in repentance and faith, we can trust that promise. But we also know God has forgiven us because of His actions -- and especially what He did for us in Jesus Christ. On the cross, all our sins were transferred to Christ, and He took upon Himself the judgment we deserve. He became the final sacrifice for our sins.
Put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ -- in His promises, and in His death and resurrection for you. His promise is true: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)(c)2017 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.