*Adopted from a sermon on 1 John 1:5-10 preached at Riverside Christian Fellowship in Hernando, FL*
Forgiveness of sins is a work accomplished by Christ alone. God has been more than generous to us by sending His Son to shed His blood on the cross, where we find forgiveness and new life (Eph. 1:7). Because of that, Christians ought never to think, "I need to forgive myself." There is no power in that notion; there is no real forgiveness in "forgiving self." Self-forgiveness, as humble as it may look on the surface, is a form of self-idolatry. Let me explain. A Christian sees his forgiveness in Christ as all-saving and all-sufficient, but does he see it as all-satisfying? When you commit a sin, you feel bad about it, you confess it, and repent...but there is something that lingers in your mind. You've believed what God has declared in His Word, you ARE forgiven of your sins, but there remains an empty space in your heart that hasn't been satisfied; there is something else that you perceive NEEDS to take place. So you say, "I just need to forgive myself." In essence, we are saying, "I know God has forgiven me but I am not satisfied with that, so I also need to forgive myself. I need God's forgiveness AND my own forgiveness." We think to ourselves, “With God’s forgiveness, I KNOW I am forgiven, but with self-forgiveness, I FEEL I am forgiven.” This belief is completely foreign to the Word of God and it has no place in the life of a Christian. It is a sin that needs to be confessed and repented of. Self-forgiveness is what the world teaches and desires; we know that God says "the world is passing away along with its desires" (1 John 2:17). Self-forgiveness is what Satan wants you to believe; he knows he can't take away your actual forgiveness in Christ but he is going to do whatever he can to sap the satisfaction of that forgiveness by offering/adding a counterfeit that supposedly can tune in to your feelings. Self-forgiveness is not of God and therefore it is not for you. We need to readily acknowledge and embrace that God's forgiveness found only in the blood of Christ is all-saving, all-sufficient, and all-satisfying. We can both KNOW and FEEL true forgiveness in Christ.