Friday, April 6, 2012
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
I heard this story on the radio recently: A woman was mourning and grieving over sins she committed after becoming a Believer and follower of Jesus. She had confessed them to God but was struggling with the fact that even after knowing Jesus and receiving the mercy of God - she still sins...and even WANTS TO sometimes. She was talking with her pastor about this and he asked her:
"During your entire lifetime, before and after your salvation, how many sins did you commit after Jesus died and rose again?"
She answered, "All of them."
He assured her, "Jesus died for all of our sins. You confess, He forgives. Then you must receive His forgiveness by faith, just like you received your salvation by faith. Ask Him daily for the strength to live according to His way and He will give it. Remember that the book of 1 John was written to Believers. And 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness." So, keep confessing and receiving His mercy and every day, walk humbly with your God."
And a few days after that radio broadcast I read this in Spurgeon's Morning and Evening:
"Look to thy perfect Lord and remember thou art complete in Him; thou art in God's sight as perfect as thou hadst never sinned; nay more than that, the Lord our Righteousness hath put a divine garment on thee, so that thou hast more than the righteousness of man - thou hast the righteousness of God.
Remember - none of thy sins condemn thee
Thy standing is not in thyself, it is in Christ, thine acceptance is not in thyself, but in thy Lord; thou art as much accepted of God today, with all thy sinfulness, as thou wilt be when thou standest before His throne, free from all corruption.
With thy Saviour's garment on, thou art holy as the Holy One.
Christian, let thy heart rejoice, for thou art "accepted in the Beloved" - what hast thou to fear?
Let thy face ever wear a smile; live near thy Maker; live in the suburbs of the Celestial City; for soon, when thy time has come, thou shalt rise up where thy Jesus sits, and reign at His right hand; and all this because the divine Lord "was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." (M&E, April 4)
Only God knows those whose hearts are truly sorry for their sins; so sorry that the poor in spirit mourns and grieves not over getting caught, perhaps, but that a total transgression of their Holy God has taken place. Only God knows the ones who are contrite, that is, by definition, "ground to powder" in a spirit of grief over their missing of the mark. This is the kind of sorrow that brings true repentance. True repentance is the desire to run in the opposite direction from that sin that stained them so. I have been there and it is a begging of God to help me to never do it again.
And God is near to them that have a broken heart. "The LORD is close to those whose hearts are breaking; He rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins." Psalm 34:18 The Living Bible
or as it is written in the King James
"The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."
God hears the prayers and forgives and cleanses those whose hearts mourn over their sin. And then their morning is turned to joy and their sighing into singing. ONLY BELIEVERS AND TRUSTERS OF JESUS CHRIST KNOW THE JOY OF BEING FORGIVEN BY GOD.
Many are His promises of joy for the repentant:
"Oh what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!" Psalm 32:1
"The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the LORD." Isaiah 29:19
"Let all who seek God's help live in joy." Psalm 69:32
"Shout for joy all you whose hearts are pure." Psalm 32:11b
"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness..." Isaiah 61:10
"To all who mourn in Israel, He will give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Isaiah 61:3
"You will be filled with joy as you stand firm in your faith." 2 Corinthians 1:24b
"Joy fills hearts that are planning peace." Proverbs 12:20
"The life of the godly is full of life and joy." Proverbs 13:9
This is Rosie. She is my best-dog-girlfriend, ever. She is my "mostly companion" in the flesh. If I leave the room, even though she is completely sacked out on the couch, she awakens and follows me. She has been my "Rose-BUD" for 12 years now. We have grown closer and closer over those dozen years. And God has shown me so many things through her little life...especially about sin in mine.
As you can see, she is mostly white. When she is clean she is perfectly pink and white. After a week of roaming our yard (she is in and out all day) she turns a creamy color and then finally she looks yellow. I no longer want her on the couch and need to wash my hands immediately when I pet her now. She is dirty and needs a bath. But, this week-of-living-dirt is nothing compared to the REAL dirt I've seen her get into.
I have watched her out in the grassy backyard. She sniffs something on the ground and begins to paw at it. She sniffs again and paws again. And I know it's coming. Before I can run to the door and call her in, she is rolling delightedly in this funk. Her white neck is stained brown with grime and filth and she flat out stinks. It was no doubt something dead. Why my beloved dog wants to roll in the nasty is beyond me. God whispers to my heart, "Why do you?"
Rosie sleeps on a pallet of old quilts beside my bed on the floor. She must have a bath after these rolling episodes because she definitely cannot be near me, under my nose, where I can smell her. Mostly she is reluctant to get a bath, but sometimes, actually more often than not these days...she is ready to get one and even JUMPS into the tub. This makes the job of bathing her much easier.
Once she's been bathed, its on...the joy run! She shakes with joy all over and streaks through the entire house like a bolt of white lightning! God whispers to my heart again, "Like you, when you've come clean."
I keep praising Him again and again for all the filth He's washed away from me. When a Christian sins, we have One who sticks closer than a brother. He cleanses us from all unrighteousness and clothes us with the robe of righteousness.
Praise Jesus again!