The Treasure of Forgiveness
Barbaranne Kelly, Guest Writer
Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him” (Lamentations 3:19-24).
Have you felt the discouragement described by Jeremiah? I sure have, and so did my Lisa. The remembrance of my own sins bows my soul down when I consider the countless ways I have failed to love God with my whole heart and my neighbor as myself. If I focus on my sins, John’s declaration that “God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5) would crush me entirely. Yet, through the gospel, God has provided a divine remedy by which we may deal with our sins.
“if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7-9).
Beloved, our forgiveness rests not on our wandering hearts, but on God’s unwavering faithfulness! Walking in the light of God is possible for you and for me because he has provided the treasure of forgiveness in the cleansing blood of Jesus his Son.
“Cleansing” is mentioned twice in 1 John 1:7-9, in similar, but not identical, contexts. The two cleansings which we need and are provided by grace are the one-time cleansing of justification (Rom. 3:23, 26): which deals with our bondage to sin, freeing us from the darkness to walk in the light with Christ; and the continual cleansing of sanctification (1 Thessalonians 5:23): which we need repeatedly to be cleansed from the sins which we continue to commit—every day—until the moment we enter into glory.
I saw the fear and anguish of my dear Lisa when her awareness of her own sin overshadowed the forgiveness which was hers in Christ, and it was heartbreaking. As often as we could, those who loved her reminded her that Scripture is clear that for the believer, there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). A redeemed child of God cannot lose her salvation, even though she still sins. We may experience discipline from our loving Father or the sanctification of difficult circumstances, but Jesus promised that we will never lose the treasure of our salvation in Christ (John 10:28-29).
God has made us his own, that we may walk and live in the light of his presence. We often stumble and fall, but our covenant-keeping Father promised that the work he began he would carry through to the end (Phil. 1:6), and he has promised us the power of Christ’s resurrection to keep us safe in his grip until we reach our eternal inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5). We may arrive battered, bruised, and weary, but he has promised that we will get there, and so we shall. There, in the sin-free splendor of holiness, we will worship him together with our covenant family gathered from every tribe and nation and tongue (Revelation 7:9).
My dear Lisa was battered, bruised, and weary from her sins, and at times, so am I. Are you discouraged by your own inability to perfectly obey? As I encouraged Lisa, so I plead with you—flee to the throne of grace! Raise your eyes from your iniquities and look to the cross! Christ has opened wide the gates of mercy for you, for me, and all of God’s blood-bought children to freely confess their sins and be cleansed. Our Father’s faithfulness gives us reason to rejoice!
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit (Psalm 51: 1-2, 10-11).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbaranne Kelly and her husband Jim are the parents of five of the neatest people they know, and now Barbaranne is the Grandmommy to THREE grandboys! In October, that will change to FOUR! Barbaranne and Jim are members of Christ Presbyterian Church in New Braunfels, Texas, where she leads a Bible study for women in the hope that she and they may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge Enjoy and be inspired by more of Barbaranne’s writing at her blog.
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