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McCoy: Once and for all...
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For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God.

1 Peter 3:18a (New Revised Standard Version)

A young man had said something unkind to a friend. He felt sorry for what he had said, and every time he would see the friend, he would remind him of his grievance, and the friend would try to make him feel better about it. Finally, the friend grew weary of hearing about the same grievance, and said, "I have told you over and over. I am telling you once and for all that you are forgiven. I don't ever want to hear about it again."

Sometimes I wonder if God may feel like that. We come to God asking for forgiveness for some sin that we committed and prayed about in the past, yet each time we pray, we bring up the same sin from years back. We dig up the past after God has buried it. It may seem like we didn't believe that God forgave us the first time.

The Apostle Peter wrote these words: Christ suffered for sins once for all ... for all sins and for all sinners. Christ Jesus, the righteous, suffered for our sins once, and looking through time and space from the point of the cross, across all that had ever been or that would ever be, Jesus prayed for us while he was on the cross: "Father, forgive them." Our sins have been paid for - one price for all time for all sins. We need only to confess our sin, believing that Christ paid our debt once and for all.

The Psalmist writes it this way: "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (Psalm 103:12). If the Creator of the universe does not remember our sins, then why should we? Christ died for all sin once and for all in order to bring us to God. Our sin was paid for with the costly price of the blood of Christ. We need only to accept God's forgiveness, and then our sin is remembered no more. It's as if God looks at us and says, "What sin are you talking about? I have forgiven you for that sin, and it is gone forever."

What sin in your life are you continuing to bring up? Will you ask God to help you forgive yourself so that you can live in peace?

 Jan McCoy is associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Covington. She may be reached at