How can God forgive your sins?

When I first became a Christian, I wanted nothing more than to please God. When I felt like I was doing good at that, I was happy, at times even a little self-righteous. When I felt like I wasn't doing good at that, I was down on myself, beating myself up with guilt. 

While I knew that Jesus died so my sins could be forgiven, I struggled to really grasp that truth and make it my own. After all, sin was serious - deadly serious. God had to take it seriously, didn't He? He couldn't just overlook it could He? 

And since I continued to sin, He had to take my sin seriously, right? And I had to show Him how sorry I was. 

So I swung between feeling good about myself and my walk with God and feeling down on myself for failing Him! 

Until I understood Romans 3:21-26:

21 But now apart from the Law therighteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,22 even therighteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This wasto demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

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