This sermon is part of the sermon series "Thorns in the Flesh". See series.
Here is today's question in the complete words of the person who submitted it: "I struggle with a certain sin often. Will God forgive me? Will I still be saved? I find it difficult to fathom such mercy …."
It's hard to reflect on this person's words and not be filled with compassion. For one thing, many of us can identify with the underlying sense of can I ever overcome this sin or bad habit in my life? We've been there. And, if we're ruthlessly honest, many of us are still there.
Another reason we are filled with compassion in response to this question is that we have experienced the mercy of God; we know that God's forgiveness is real, no matter what we've done. It's a spiritual principle that those of us most aware of our own sin can most deeply appreciate the mercy of God. As Jesus himself said about the sinful woman who washed his feet with her tears while the stiff Pharisees looked on, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
God promises forgiveness to all who ask.
I cannot think of a better story about forgiveness than one I've told before from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, one of the books in C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. It's about a boy named Eustace who has no idea what a pain he is because he's so wrapped up in himself. He and his friends are shipwrecked on an island, and while everyone else scurries to repair the damaged ship, Eustace slips off to avoid the work and take a nap. He approaches a cave, which seems a likely spot, only to discover upon closer examination that there is a dragon in the cave—one that has recently died and collapsed on a heap of treasure. There are golden coins, rings, bracelets, diamonds, ...
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