He’s out to getcha!
“Christ died for our sins once and for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18
Jesus’ death is God’s way of saying, “Even though you have failed me many times, even though you’ve sinned, even though you’ve made mistakes, I still love you! I still want you!”
Sometimes we might think, “I have failed so many times, I don’t see how God could work in my life. I keep sinning the same ol’ sin and my sin seems so great, I feel like I’m disqualified even from the dishonor roll.”
You need to understand grace.
Grace is the power of God working in you, through you, with you, and for you. “Faithful is He who has called you, and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24 He did it for Abraham, Moses, David, the disciples—and He died to do it for you.
The wonderful truth is that God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect will.
He uses flawed people to accomplish His flawless will.
If you’re willing to let Jesus have His way in your life, God will use you to be a blessing to others, just like he used all the others on the dishonor roll.
You need to understand that God never tires of forgiving us.
Even if I have to ask God for forgiveness 5 times a day for the rest of my life, if I am sincere about it, He will forgive me.
How do I know that?
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
To fully grasp the meaning of this verse, we must realize the wisdom of God in placing His Son close to Greece, where the language has an extra verb tense we call “aorist”. The aorist tense means “keep on keeping on”.
So the above verse, in aorist tense, really says: If we keep on confessing our sins, He keeps on being faithful and just, and will keep on forgiving us our sins and keep on cleansing us from all unrighteousness.
I need that.
Notice, also, the word “all”.
God is willing to forgive ALL our sin.
He loves us. Even though we sin, God wants to use us if we repent.
Once we realize we have sinned, we need to confess and ask God to forgive our sins. We can’t just say, “God loves failures, so I’ll just keep sinning and let God clean up after me.”
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:1-4
We have to give our failures to God. We have to say “Lord, I sinned! I blew it! And I confess and repent from the bottom of my heart.”
“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
Have you noticed the two words, “confess” and “repent”? They are both vitally important, and most folks think they are the same, but they are not, therefore an explanation is in order.
Repentance: This is turning around, turning your back on your sin, hating it enough to change or to want to change. It is the giant, “OH NO!” that accompanies our realizing the consequences of what we have done.
Confession: God does not forgive excuses; He forgives sin. If you tell Him all about how it was the other guy’s fault or how you couldn’t help it because of your headache, you are not confessing your sin.
Listen to the prayer of David after He committed his great sins:
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:1-17
How does God respond to people who have sinned? How does He respond to our failures?”
Mark gives us a clue, on the morning of the Resurrection:
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'” Mark 16:5-7
In other words, even though the disciples sinned, even though they had lost faith, even though they had abandoned Him, Jesus wanted to be with them!
He wants to be with us and use us, too!
Image via Wikipedia