Thursday, March 13

Amazing Grace.....

"Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9 NLT

"Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me." Psalm 32:1-4 NLT

How often do we examine deeply this concept of forgiveness that seems to me as I grow in my pursuit of God more and more central to the salvation transformation? I think we fail, in our personal progression and in our churches, to address this concept that is a stepping stone to joy and peace within the family of God. For, to talk of forgiveness, one needs to address the weightiness of sin. And our churches have shied away from that, saying everyone knows they have sinned, after all that is why they are searching. But, I would offer this; we have devalued sin to the point of an afterthought. And that is why many Christians in the world today feel unforgiven and consequently, unsaved.

We were born broken and sinful; it is in our nature to be self preserving in our actions, thoughts, and deeds. We seek to control our world to eliminate distractions from that primary and unbiblical design; a gift that we have inherited from our father Adam. But the world stands in opposition to us, both in the natural world and in our interpersonal relationships. Pain is everywhere. Discord echoes throughout creation, as Paul puts it, "All of creation groans". We start, from the moment we are created in the womb, to die from the sheer weight of original sin that we add to daily as we grow because of our guilt and continued disobedience. We develop a 'criminal record' of hefty sins.

We ultimately reach a point where we cannot ignore the painful discord our soul feels as the conviction of sin continues to be carried upon our shoulders and added to. We hurt those we love, we are dishonest in our dealings with our neighbors or friends, and some of us go to ultimate extremes in secularly and biblically declared criminal activities. And our concept of truth shifts with our struggle to ignore the one basic thing that haunts the recesses of our souls; that we are living in discord and emptiness to a world that we don't feel connected to. We try to 'fool ourselves' with possessions, good works, or sheer anger at the audacity of a God that would declare us flawed from the beginning and in need of a total restoration. We'd rather convince ourselves by the act of a makeover that we are once again 'made new'.

The more sin becomes a dominant force in our life, we react more strongly in seeking that method, that possession, or that 'new mind' thinking that can restore balance and accord to our soul. And we enter into a vicious cycle of sin begetting sin begetting sin until the destruction is complete with our death; whether real or spiritually.

The "amazing" thing is that we are the most intelligent species (to be PC) on the planet, in the world, and all of creation. Man (or humanity—PC, don't want to offend the offended) has sought throughout history to dominate his world through the application of his mind. Inventions, research, and scientific advancement ignore the reality of a Creator because to do so would prove that we are not in control and everything has been known before we know it. We realize that we have 'fallen' or backslidden in our 'enlightenment' of our world, our souls, and our future. We are working backwards even as we declare we are moving in a forward direction.

But that moment in time when the weight of the Holy Spirit's conviction upon our 'shoulders' is realized to be a physical presence, a realistic burden that we carry and respond from in our relationships, desires, and 'fix-it' mentality, when we reach the point of critical unbalance…failure imminent, we do one of two things; we reach beyond our own flawed expectations to God or we die from the result of our unconfessed sin. There aren't any other options.

And that is where most Christians, I think, fail to be aware. Aware of the sheer undeserved nature of Christ's sacrifice and the powerful impact upon our lives that the Salvation Gift entails. How releasing, how comforting, and how unburdened we become when we realize that an All-powerful, All-knowing, and Loving perfected God, beyond any realistic and humanistic expression, chose to send a Son, the only Begotten, the Alpha, and the First born, to die in the most cruel and viscous way to be the final sacrifice for the price of sin. A price that had to be paid, BECAUSE God is righteous and Holy, not because He had a cruelty streak in this 'game' this 'god' would play upon our psyche. No….we reach beyond our understanding…and run smack into God.

We can't then deny our need, our failures, and our helplessness to restore ourselves to a former glory that we felt but never experienced. We realize we are undeserving, unqualified to redeem ourselves, and ultimately not living as we were meant to, designed to, live.

It is that realization that brings us happily to our knees, tears streaming from our heart-felt ache in our souls, to the full realization of forgiveness' reality…….

And we can cry out joyously and expectantly in a realized love that brings us into a place of forgiving life......

" He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."

Have you experienced, deeply and renewingly, the awesome power of Forgiveness?

It brings me to my knees each time I realize it.......

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