I’ve done some stupid things.
I’ve also done some wretched, vile and down-right evil things.
In short, I have sinned.
If there is any justice in this world I should be punished for the things I have done and continue to do on a regular basis. Okay maybe I’m being a bit over dramatic but I certainly don’t deserve to spend eternity with God. I at least deserve to be separated from Him for the things I have done. Right?
And then I was reminded of this;
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. [Romans 3:22-26]
I am justified freely by grace through faith.
Whenever I think about how wretched I am God has a way of bringing be back to this and other similar passages and reminding me that there is nothing I can do, or have done that he will not forgive. God’s forgiveness is not the same as the kind of forgiveness we get from one another.
We all say it, “forgive and forget” but if we’re being honest with each other nobody really forgets. We can forgive easily enough, but we remember things and we make sure everyone else remembers too. Especially the people we have forgiven. Sure we say we forgive them, we might even withhold the punishment they deserve but we don’t forget and we never miss an opportunity to remind them of how graceful we are. That might pass as forgiveness in some people’s minds but it is certainly not grace.
That’s not the way it is with God’s grace. God not only forgets our sins, he erases them. They don’t exist. God’s grace is not the same as forgiving and forgetting. When we look back there is nothing there to remember.
When I was searching for an analogy to describe the way God’s grace works I thought of an old cartoon strip where the giant hand of the cartoonist reaches in and erases part of the drawing.
That’s what I think of when I try to remember the sins of my past. God has reached down with his magic eraser and taken away my sins. They’re gone, removed from the comic strip that is my life as if they never existed.
My pastor says to be justified in this way, is to live “just-as-if-I’d” never sinned. That’s powerful stuff, all because I had faith to receive His grace.
Have you sinned and fallen short in some way? Do you need God’s grace today? Have faith and receive.