Return, Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” – Hosea 14:1-2.
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” – Acts 8:36.
Forgiveness – Available For Asking
Ted Tinling spent twenty years as master of ceremonies of the prestigious Wimbledon tennis championships. Then, in 1949, he committed an unpardonable breach of etiquette by outfitting Gussie Moran in lace-trimmed panties. Fired for his mistake, he lingered as an outcast for the next thirty-three years. Only in 1982 was he forgiven and once again received into their ranks.
When people repent of their sins, they find God eager to forgive and have them back. The acknowledgment of their sin, their sorrow for having so grievously offended him, and their request for cleansing will bring a complete pardon. God won’t put them on probation, but automatically grants his love and acceptance. We cannot overvalue the hope, optimism, and joy that God’s readiness to forgive offers us. He never says, “I’ll have to think about it,” or “maybe next year I’ll forgive,” or “prove your penitence first.”
Wimbledon officials felt they had to protect the sanctity of their name and tournament when they fired Tingling in 1949. They also felt that a thirty-three year exile from the club would be a good dose of punishment. But then, it’s a proud club, with the fear of being tainted. God has no such fears. He is anxious that we receive his Son’s instant, full, refreshing forgiveness. His grace is greater than all our shame.