Life in Abundance

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Waiting for Forgiveness

by Gayle Hill

Have you ever waited to ask God for forgiveness because you wanted to sweep up the mess before giving Him the broom? We are sometimes embarrassed, perhaps even afraid, to stand before this perfect God without being able to show Him that we have put forth some effort to clean ourselves up.

Another reason why we hesitate can be very hard to admit. Maybe we aren’t quite ready to let go of a particular sin. We have grown comfortable with it and don’t mind having it around. We don’t want to let it go. Yet, knowing that sin cannot share living quarters with a holy God, we eventually convince ourselves that God has left us alone with our sin.

But is there really any sin that would shock God? Would anything cause Him to reconsider His offer of grace? Many people claim John 3:16 as their favorite verse. It is an eloquent proclamation of God’s intentions for us. He double-states His plan: that we should not perish, but have eternal life. The offer is both broad and precise: God loves the world so much that He has made it possible for any individual who believes in Him to receive forgiveness and eternal life. The perfect, omnipotent Judge offers to pay our debt.

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18, NIV). God already knows our sins, but He wants us to talk to Him about it.

One of the most beautifully complicated things about the partnership of Righteousness and Grace is that they don’t nullify each other. Righteousness doesn’t lower its standards when Grace is present. Neither does Grace accuse Righteousness of being too demanding. Together they reveal one part of the hugeness of God.

Jesus doesn’t hide our sin from us, or excuse it as trivial. Instead, He stands next to us and allows us to see our sin in all its demoralizing brokenness. Then, with His arms around us, He says, “I can fix that.”