“How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!
How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit!
When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to You
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’;
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.
You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him.
Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.”(
Psalm 32:1-7, 10-11 NASB)
There are moments when the reality of God’s forgiveness pierces my heart with an extra sweetness. When the realization that I am no longer under His wrath and condemnation seems fresh, like a gift I had forgotten that I had. I see the treasure of it, the priceless value of having been translated from the kingdom of darkness into His kingdom of marvelous light, and of being accepted in His Beloved Son Jesus. These verses, from one of my favourite Psalms, seem to capture some of the joy of that realization.
When I was first saved, I went through a “Honeymoon” phase. I suppose nearly every Christian goes through that experience. The reality of God’s love and forgiveness was so real and wonderful to me. I was in a cloud of contentment and wonder. Kind of like when you fall in love. Nothing else that was going on in my life at that time could come close to topping the joy of being forgiven, and knowing that the God I had offended loved me.
As time went on, that wonder faded. I went through many periods where I doubted my salvation. Again, I’m sure many can relate. I began to learn a lot about God, and also a lot about religion. I didn’t see those as two separate subjects then. It is only in hindsight that I discern the difference between them.
In previous posts I have described my journey through denominations, so I won’t go into detail. I will just say that in my last church, where God’s word was highly revered and where I did learn a lot about Him, I also learned a lot about my sinfulness. Which is a good thing, to a point. But in my opinion, there was truly a lack of balance between hearing about my sin, and learning about God’s grace, which is always greater. My perception of my position before God became one of always striving to make some kind of requirement. I knew that I could never be righteous before Him without Christ. But instead of resting in the truth that I was now IN Christ, and totally accepted and loved by the Father, I was told, and often, that I needed to be more sorrowful over my sin, and that my heart was cold, and that I didn’t love God as I ought to. My joy and exitement over learning about the character and nature of God quickly became overshadowed by a sense of guilt and condemnation. I couldn’t enjoy my salvation, because I could never love, trust, or obey God enough. It became more about me and my lack than about His bounty of never ending mercy and grace.
In these last months, I am, thank God, beginning to regain some of the joy and rest that I have lost along the road of religion. I am beginning to come back to the basic truth that there is nothing I can do to deserve God’s love and attention. It is all mine, through Christ. I am beginning to once more respond to Him as my loving Father in Heaven, and not approach Him with a continually shame based attitude. I am beginning to rest in the wonder that He holds me, and will always keep me. Not because of who I am, but because of Who HE is.
I hope that if you are struggling with living in the reality of His love and forgiveness that you will simply take Him at His word. Jesus said “it is finished.” And so it is.
When Things Are Right
Can anything be more precious in life,
Than a heart that is right with the LORD?
Could money obtain, secure, or regain,
The rest only grace can afford?
An apple, so shiny, and bright red, with candy,
Can sparkle and catch the eye
But hidden within, are bruises, like sin,
That fester unseen, and defile.
O joy of knowing His forgiving embrace,
Of meeting His gaze without shame.
Much dearer and priceless, more lovely by far,
Than all idols your heart longed to claim.
O LORD grant us grace, these lessons to learn,
Us who are dull, fickle, and vain.
We long to be like you, our heart next to yours,
With nary a blemish or stain.
Teach us our weakness, our proneness to fail,
So daily we might look to You,
For strength and discernment, and grace, to prevail,
In striving to be, like You, true.
Reward here and now, in knowing You near,
So rich, undeserved, and so sweet;
To think that there waits, in heaven, for us,
Delights that we have yet to meet.
But may we look forward, in all of our hope,
Most often, most deeply, with love,
To the moment, and moments, forever to come,
Seeing You, face to face, at last Home.