God Will Forgive and Restore You
‘...the servants and officials stood around a fire… Peter also was standing with them… he was asked, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.”’ (John 18:18, 25 NIV) Earlier that day Peter had drawn his sword in order to defend Jesus; now he’s denying Him. Has that ever happened to you? Under pressure you falter. Now what do you do? Dismiss it: ‘Everybody slips; it’s no big deal.’ Deny it: ‘Fall? Are you joking? Not me!’ Distort it: ‘Don’t blame me; it was their fault!’ But there’s another option—to deal with it honestly.
Frederick the Great is said to have visited Potsdam Prison, where almost every prisoner claimed to be innocent. Only one said, ‘I’m guilty; I deserve my punishment.’ When the emperor heard this he told the warden, ‘Quickly, release him before he corrupts all these other innocent men!’ The Bible says, ‘Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.’ (Hebrews 4:13 NLT) Confession isn’t just telling God what you’ve done, He already knows. It’s agreeing that it’s wrong and asking forgiveness. God can’t heal what you won’t reveal, He can’t cleanse what you won’t confess.
That night Peter faced his first of two fires: a fire made by men before the crucifixion; the second fire he faced was made by Jesus after His resurrection. At the first fire Peter denied Jesus; at the second fire He acknowledged Him as Lord. But in between, Peter had two life-changing experiences: his tears and Christ’s cross. When your tears of repentance meet Christ’s forgiveness, you lose your guilt and find new joy!