Thou answeredst them, O Lord our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions. - Psalm 99:8
The Hebrew phrase used in Psalm 99:8 is El Nasa, and the very basis of our salvation hangs in the balance of this sweet name which, in its most basic definition, is interpreted "God who forgives" or "forgiving God." Interestingly enough, there are different forms of the word "nasa," each carrying with it its own meaning. Some of the most common interpretations of the word are to lift up, to carry, to bear, to forgive, honored, and traveled. I don't know about you, but I can see where each of those definitions fits into the theme of forgiveness.
The Bible tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are all guilty of sin. We are sinners by nature and sinners by choice. Because of that sin, we are not fit for Heaven, a place of perfection and complete holiness. But God didn't want us to miss out on the joys of Heaven, so He made a way for us to be cleansed of our sins and made righteous in His sight. He sent His only begotten Son to be born, to live a sinless life and then to die in our stead. On that dreadful day of crucifixion, Jesus lifted up and carried, not only the weight of the cross, but also the weight of our sins as He traveled up the hill to Calvary. He bore our sin and our shame. He pleaded with the Father to forgive the very ones who were persecuting Him, and that includes us, for it was our sin that put Him on the cross. With the cry of "It is finished," He honored us with a gift that no one else could ever offer: everlasting life.
Because of that great sacrifice, Christ now acts as a mediator between us and God the Father. When Satan stands before the throne and accuses us of sins (of which we are guilty), Christ reminds the Father that our sins have been covered and paid for. On our end, to maintain sweet fellowship with the Lord, we need to ask forgiveness for the wrongs we've done. First John 1:9 tells us,
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Other passages in the Bible comfort us with the knowledge that, not only does God forgive our sins, but He also forgets them. He casts them into the sea of forgetfulness, never to be brought up again.
No matter what we've done or how bad we've been, God is a God who forgives. He loves us and wants us to be right with Him. He welcomes us to His throne and listens with a loving heart as we pour out our faults before Him. As soon as they're confessed, He tosses them away and welcomes us back into loving fellowship with Him, just as if we had never sinned. He doesn't love us any less or treat us any differently. It's truly as if we never messed up to begin with. No guilt trips. No grudges. Just open, loving, genuine forgiveness.
I have heard with my own ears someone say, "Well, God can forgive a lot, but He can't forgive this." Yes, He can. No sin is too great (except the rejection of Christ's gift of salvation). He is a big God, an awesome God and a forgiving God. If we'll do our part (confess the sin), He will do His part (forgive). That's just the way He is. He's the God who forgives.