“The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty.” (Numbers 14:18a)
This verse (Numbers 14:18) shows in one place how God can be so forgiving and yet still so holy. He will not let sin go by without dealing with it (“will by no means clear the guilty”), but He will deal forgiveness out to those guilty people who come to Him asking (“longsuffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression”).
Have you ever met an “unforgiving” person? When someone refuses to forgive something, we say that person is “holding a grudge.” God does not hold grudges. If you confess your sins, 1 John 1:9 promises that God is faithful and just to forgive them and to cleanse you from all your unrighteousness. If you are repenting of the things you have done against Him, God will not hold them against you. Instead, those things are covered by the righteousness of Christ.
How about you? Are you longsuffering and patient with other people? Do you “put up with” them, or do you choose to “hold a grudge” over them? Do you show mercy to your sister or brother? Do you forgive your friends when they do something wrong against you? Are you the kind of person who loves holiness but also loves to be merciful? It is hard for human beings to be like that!
Only God can be perfectly longsuffering. Only God can show mercy that great. Only God is powerful enough to forgive people who sin against Him. We can pray that God will help us have the strength and patience we need to forgive others. We can pray that God will help us be humble enough to ask Him to forgive our iniquity and clear us of our guilt.
God is merciful and powerful enough to make repentant sinners “not guilty.”
» Am I humble enough to confess my sins to God and ask for His forgiveness?
» Can God forgive me and still be holy? How?