ON CHRIS­TIAN­ITY

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - BILLY GRA­HAM Write to Billy Gra­ham in care of Billy Gra­ham Evan­ge­lis­tic As­so­ci­a­tion, 1 Billy Gra­ham Park­way, Charlotte, N.C. 28201 or visit the web­site at

DEAR REV. GRA­HAM: How do I know if God will re­ally for­give me? I’ve lived kind of a rough life, but I know I need God, and I need Him to for­give me. But how can I be sure He re­ally will?

— J.W. DEAR J.W.: Sin is a ter­ri­ble re­al­ity — and one rea­son it’s so ter­ri­ble is be­cause it sep­a­rates us from God. But sin is also ter­ri­ble be­cause it af­fects ev­ery one of us, no mat­ter how good or bad we are. In other words, we are all guilty be­fore God, and none of us de­serves His for­give­ness or sal­va­tion. As the Bi­ble says, “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Ro­mans 3:12).

But does this mean our sit­u­a­tion is hope­less? Does this mean God will never for­give us, and Heaven’s door is for­ever closed to us? No, it doesn’t — and the rea­son is be­cause God has done for us what we could never do for our­selves. We can never cleanse our­selves of our sins, no mat­ter how hard we try — but God has pro­vided the way for us to be for­given and cleansed.

That way is Je­sus Christ. He was God in human flesh, and He came down from Heaven for one rea­son: to pro­vide the way for us to be for­given. He did this by be­com­ing the fi­nal and com­plete sac­ri­fice for our sins, through His death on the cross for us. He was with­out sin — but on the cross all our sins were trans­ferred to Him, and He died in our place.

Now God of­fers us sal­va­tion as a free gift — free, be­cause Je­sus Christ has al­ready paid for it. Don’t carry your bur­den of sin any longer, but turn to Christ and give your sins to Him. Be­cause of Christ, the Bi­ble says, “we have re­demp­tion, the for­give­ness of sins” (Colos­sians 1:14).

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