The Extent of the Lord’s Forgiveness
…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Our world is big on record keeping. And many decisions on how we will be treated are based on those records.
How is your record with the DMV? In Alabama, we’re on a point system. Too many points and you lose your license. Then there are traffic violations and mishaps that also go on your record. Such information affects your auto insurance premiums.
When you apply for a loan, your credit worthiness is determined by your credit report.
Apply for a job and your prospective employer will run a background check. Flags on the report can cause you to fail to get the job.
As children, when we first started school, the education system began compiling a file of grades and behavior stats that would accumulate all the way to graduation. Those credentials are used to scrutinize our suitability for higher learning or employment.
When you visit a doctor, your medical records are checked. Insurance companies are particularly interested in that report. My wife and I recently signed up with one of the major carriers. Yesterday they sent us a letter, said they wanted to send a doctor to our house to give us a checkup since we have had no record of medical care in the last ten years. I’m sure it’s not the case, but it sounded like they thought we were hiding something. Old people that don’t take pills or go to the doctor? What’s up with that?
Oh, yeah. Don’t want to forget about the military. The Navy kept copious notes on my service. That’s a good thing for getting veteran’s benefits, as long as you received an honorable discharge.
What does all this have to do with our focus text? Quite simply, God keeps no record of wrongs. When He forgives, that transgression is removed as far as the east is from the west. That’s just a way of saying, our sins are forgiven and forgotten.
Remember that wonderful passage about love in 1 Corinthians 13? You know, “love is patient, love is kind, etc.” Part of Paul’s description of Christian love reveals that “love keeps no record of wrongs.” (v5) That’s the way God lovingly forgives us.
God stands ready to wipe the slate clean. Unlike the Alabama DMV, our sins are not subject to a point system. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Notice that the Lord FORGIVES and PURIFIES us from ALL unrighteousness.”
In the August 16 devotion, I called attention to the occasion when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. Our Lord referenced an important aspect of God’s forgiveness in verse 10 of John 13: “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.” That is to say there are two types of cleansing as part of God’s forgiveness.
The initial granting of forgiveness comes when we pray to receive Christ as Lord. At that instant we are given salvation and our past sins are wiped away as if we never sinned. But as we continue in the Christian life we require ongoing cleansing (the foot bath) as we battle the sins of the flesh.
For those of us who have received the first cleansing unto salvation, it is imperative we seek to keep sin out of our lives. But we are all sinners, which means that transgressions will happen. In those times, we should not hesitate to confess our sins, and He remains ever faithful to forgive.
When you confess your sins, God doesn’t pull your record and reprimand you for your past infractions, nor does He say you have surpassed your limit. Forgiveness is immediate and complete. But our attitude should never be, “Well, I’m forgiven so I can go back and do it again.” But rather we should heed the words of Christ when He encountered a woman caught in adultery. Upon her departure, He said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11)
For more on this topic, check out this article: The Sin God Won’t Forgive
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.