Forgiveness does not create character. Many believe that all they need is to be forgiven and they are ready to go to heaven. Could that belief be wrong? The following may give insight about forgiveness and character.
“In the work of restoring man from sin, there are two distinct phases, which every seeker after this restoration needs to understand very clearly and to distinguish, but which are often too little understood.
“First: Those who come to Christ are given forgiveness for all their past sins upon repentance. After man has repented and been forgiven he is not counted as guilty, but he does not yet have a good character—because forgiveness does not and cannot give character—cannot restore the image of God in man; it can only take away the existing condemnation. Therefore God could not restore the eternal life to those who receive forgiveness only, if they were to develop no character. Such people would only continue disobeying and needing forgiveness. …
“Second: A righteous character is developed through continued obedience—through overcoming. This experience must follow that of forgiveness. This is the proof of the sincerity of the repentance. … It is obedience which develops character. ‘Sanctification is the result of lifelong obedience.’ The Acts of the Apostles, 561. Forgiveness may be the work of a moment, but the development of a character cannot be done that quickly.
‘The precious graces of the Holy Spirit are not developed in a moment. Courage, fortitude, meekness, faith, unwavering trust in God’s power to save, are acquired by the experience of years.’ The Ministry of Healing, 454.
“Therefore in the present probation man is given another opportunity to demonstrate his loyalty to God through obedience.
“The great controversy in heaven between good and evil was transferred to this earth. Satan said that the obedience which God required could not possibly be rendered. And in the first probation given to man (Adam), Satan helped man to depart from obedience; and in the second probation which men now have, he does all he can to make it difficult and impossible for man to return to his obedience.
“And so all down through the ages God has been calling for obedience and helping man to obey, while Satan has been saying it could not be done, and doing all he could to prevent it. The history of the world and the church from that time to this would give the impression that Satan has been more successful than has God.” The Place of Health Reform in Character Development, Julius Gilbert White, 5, 6, Light Bearers “Present Truth” Ministries, 1989.
Ask God to forgive you and then make it a point to demonstrate your loyalty to God through obedience to all of His laws, health laws included. God is waiting for each of us to develop a righteous character. He is waiting for you!
Heavenly Father: What a miracle it is that Jesus died that He might cover our confessed sins and by His continued grace we may perfect a character fit for heaven. The devil is roaring to prevent this miracle so I plead for you to “Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not” (Psalm 17:5). Amen.