The other day I did something, knowing beforehand that it was wrong in God’s eyes. Yet I was in emotional pain and I chose to be loyal to my own heart instead of being loyal to God. Rather than handing my emotions and problem to God, and asking the Great Comforter, our Heavenly Father, to help me through my trial, I took the reigns with haste and sinned. I can’t explain exactly what was going on in my head, but I can tell you that my choice left me with more pain, knowing that I had grieved the Holy Spirit and done wrong in God’s eyes, the Father who has cared so much for me over the years.
I woke up today with sadness. I prayed Psalm 51, asking God for forgiveness and mercy. But it didn’t calm my heart. I was still filled with sorrow over my actions and didn’t feel worthy of God’s forgiveness. I began asking myself questions, such as “why does God forgive us when we don’t deserve it?” “Why should He forgive me, when I sinned knowing beforehand that I was doing wrong?” “How can I be assured that He will come to forgive me when I don’t deserve the sacrifice of the cross of Christ?”
Then I remembered 1 John 1:19 (KJV): “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
That’s when I stopped focusing on my wrongs and my sinful nature, and started meditating on God’s Holy nature and who He is. I took my eyes off of myself and my life (self-centeredness) and raised them to the sky to seek God’s face.
I can be assured of forgiveness through my belief in Jesus, but not because I deserve it. I don’t. I will always fall short of the glory of God. Even when I am filled with remorse, I still am not worthy of the blood that Jesus shed for the forgiveness of our sins.
But God doesn’t forgive me because I deserve it. He forgives me because He is faithful to forgive. He gives me undeserved kindness, unmerited favor, unwarranted forgiveness, not because I’m good, but because He is good. Because God is love. What a powerful truth: God is love.
So here are my main takeaways that I feel we should all be thankful for today and every day we wake to God’s fresh mercies in the morning:
- We don’t forgive to be forgiven. We didn’t earn the sacrifice Jesus did for us. There is nothing in the world that makes us right before God when we constantly sin against him. He sacrificed himself for us out of love–love for us and love for God, who sent his Son to die for us, so that we would be forgiven based on the perfect and holy sacrifice of our savior.
- God gives us unmerited kindness–this is known as mercy. Grace. We don’t deserve it, yet he gives us his grace freely, because of who He is. Why would he do that? Because God is good.
- God IS love. “In him there is no darkness.” He is only light and love. It is impossible for God to fail us because He is perfect. He is perfect love, supernatural grace, unending mercy. His nature is so divine and glorious that all we have to do is mediate on his perfection and goodness and we know in our hearts we are forgiven simply becuase that is who God is.
- This understanding of how good God is to forgive us even though we don’t deserve to have the blood of Jesus shed for us should create in us such thankful hearts that we want to spend our lives loving God and Jesus back, honoring the sacrifice. “We love because he loved us first.” The understanding of the atonement should create such awe and reverence in our hearts towards the perfect, Holy God and our Savior that there is never a doubt in our hearts that we are his children, or that we can be separated from his love. He gave his son for us. To reconcile us to himself because he is love. It sounds so simple to say that “God is love.” But this is a truth we will spend our whole lives coming to understand. The depth of God’s love and the perfection of his perfect nature is incomprehensible to us.
- The sacrifice Jesus did for us should create in our hearts an indestructible peace. When we are feeling unsettled and unsure of the world, we must bring our thoughts back to Jesus. Stop focusing on the waves around you and look to Jesus. Meditate on his perfect nature and the peace of God will return to your heart. The lies will crash down and be overthrown by the glorious truth of God’s nature and his unfailing love for you. He is your perfect Father. He is the only good one. And we do not have to worry about being perfect or good because Jesus did that for us.
- Jesus is the power in our lives and the peace in our hearts that we need. He did for us what we could not do ourselves. We do not have to rely on our own smarts, goodness or efforts…human efforts will always fall short. We rely on Jesus as the source of our healing, comfort, peace, grace, perfection and power. It is the power of God that moves mountains in our lives.
Thank you Father, for the perfect sacrifice of your Son, Jesus Christ, who saves us and reconciles us to you. Thank you that you always are faithful to show us mercy. You are truly awesome. I pray for a heart that works to share this love and grace with others, as knowing your unfailing love is the best truth in the world. Praise, glory and power belong to you.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.