Peace With God and Self-Forgiveness (Packer)

Many of us have heard talk about forgiving ourselves. There are wrong ways to explain this concept of self-forgiveness. It can certainly be misunderstood, therefore we’ve got to be careful when using this phrase. And because it is easily misunderstood, perhaps we should use the phrase sparingly. However, explained rightly from a Christian perspective the concept of forgiving ourselves is one worth pondering. J. I. Packer got me thinking about self-forgiveness in his book Keep in Step with the Spirit. Near the end of the book Packer was applying some of the implications of Romans 5:1: …since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… (NET). Here’s one Packer’s his applications:

…We who are at peace with God should live at peace with ourselves. There are some people who are constantly caning themselves, in misery and distress, because of the guilts of yesterday, things they did for which they feel they can’t ever forgive themselves. The truth is that we’ve got to forgive ourselves for those things, because the Lord has forgiven us for them. That’s part of the glory of the gospel. We are forgiven. And it’s not for us to be ‘holier than God’ (!) and refuse to forgive ourselves when God himself has already forgiven us. So we may, and should, live at peace with ourselves in a way that we never could before.

That’s a great way to describe self-forgiveness in the Christian life: based on the gospel!

The above quote is found on pages 320-321 of Keep in Step with the Spirit by J. I. Packer.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

1 thought on “Peace With God and Self-Forgiveness (Packer)”

  1. Dear Shane,

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    Blessings,
    Erma  :)

    merryheartink.com

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