Here’s another great one from Lee! Just what I needed this morning. Keep ’em coming my friend! -anita
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NIV)
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
I’ve been a Christian now for many years. I’ve taught Sunday school to children & adults. I’ve led a Bible study in my home many times. I’ve played in church praise bands for 20+ years. I read multiple devotionals and try to read the Bible every day, typically before I say a morning prayer. I sound like a pretty good Christian with my act pretty well together, don’t you think?
Well, let me let you in on a secret. I fall into traps laid by Satan quite regularly. I was reminded of a big one recently by something I read by Gary Wilkerson of World Challenge. He reminded me of an important fact, pertinent to every practicing Christian. So, what did Rev. Wilkerson have to say that was so important? “…we’re not only saved by faith…we maintain our position in Christ by faith alone.” Wait a minute; that doesn’t sound so earth shaking…or does it?
I was ready to dismiss this sound teaching as something I had heard many times before, when some of Wilkerson’s observations began to resonate with me. Quite strongly, I might add. Maybe they will with you, too. Among other things he said, was this: “Sadly, the longer we walk with God, the more tempted we are to rely on our flesh to please Him. Because of our maturity…we’re tempted to think we can overcome sin in our own strength.” Whoa, that one hit home! I find myself often trying to get God to feel better about me after I’ve done something wrong and sinful. I ask for His forgiveness over and over. I pray, and then pray some more. “Lord, please don’t give up on me, I plead.” Of course, none of these things are “wrong” on my part. It’s the intent that’s so wrong.
Instead of trying to live by faith, I often live by feelings. As Wilkerson puts it: “God hasn’t removed His love from you. When you’re…struggling, He doesn’t ask for more good works from you. He wants you to trust that He’s done everything needed to make you acceptable in His eyes.” In sum, “Jesus made you fully acceptable to God at the Cross.”
As I struggle with my ever-present sin, I forget Who it is I’m dealing with. I ascribe human attributes to a divine God. I think that God is in heaven, keeping a tally sheet of my good deeds vs. my sin deeds. How foolish is that? How sinful is that? In fact, I’m really saying that Jesus’ death wasn’t good enough. Some of my sins somehow weren’t atoned for, I guess. Instead of thinking that God is judging me sin after sin, I really need to be trusting that Jesus really did die, once and for all, for every single one of my sins.
I like the way Rev. Wilkerson puts it: “…[sin] convinces you God wants to judge you…causes you to run from His presence and wallow in your sense of unworthiness, uncleanness….” But instead, Wilkerson reminded me of this important, life-changing truth: “…the Lord never walked away from you. He never changed His mind about His plans for you…He doesn’t flit in and out of your life because of your struggles.” As II Corinthians 5:18-19 puts it, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ…not counting [our] sins against [us], and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” We’ve been reconciled. In other words, we’re forgiven. Now and forever!
We can’t sell Jesus and His work short. He has promised that we will be able to stand blameless before the Father on Judgment Day. In the meantime, we need to trust in Him—and His promises—every single day. Do we need to ask God to forgive us when we sin? Of course, maybe more out of respect and because He is our friend. But we’re already forgiven before the words come out of our mouth. We need to love our Lord, trust Him, and live up to the standard of man or woman He wants us to be! That He enables us to be! Don’t let Satan tell you otherwise!