“When we receive forgiveness, we no longer have to hide our flawed selves.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 19, 2022
If Christ is not raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 1 Corinthians 15:17
Years ago, I spent several hours with my 7-year-old niece at a park in my hometown. For a time, my adult self took a back seat to a younger version of me, a girl-like Shana who likes to giggle at silly things and look wide-eyed at the world. Madalyn and I held hands while we walked along a tree-lined trail, laid under a big pine and compared our “tummies‚” to see whose is whiter, made a verbal list of all the beautiful things in the park that God made, took a picture of ourselves in front of a large waterfall, and sang silly songs, starting our tune slow, then going faster and faster until we were almost out of breath.
As I drove her back home, it dawned on me that I love her just because. Not because she’s funny or because she looks a lot like me, but just because she is part of my family. This innate love makes me take note of how smart she is and her witty sense of humor; it also makes me delight in her and want to do the best for her—it even means forgiving her if I need to.
This is how it is with God. He loves us just because He made us and if you belong to Him, He loves you just because you are a part of His family. Out of this love for you comes a delight in you even better than I have in my niece and the desire to do what is best for you—even forgive you, which He needs to, because after all, no one is perfect.
God forgives you just because He loves you. But He didn’t have to forgive; He chose to forgive, compelled by an innate, deep and abiding love. And, without the power of the resurrection, without Christ’s demonstration of His forgiveness, He would have only given lip service to love. His death and resurrection guaranteed His love and forgiveness.
He is risen! You’re forgiven!
It’s sometimes hard to receive forgiveness, isn’t it? Why is this so? Because at our core many of us know we are unworthy of it, hopelessly filled with a multitude of issues. We struggle with pride and shame, hatred, bitterness, jealousy, fear, insecurities, selfishness and other betrayals of the human heart. Therefore, our biggest surprise doesn’t come when someone is unkind, ungracious or unforgiving, because after all, this is familiar; and sadly, if we’ve lived long enough, many of us have come to expect that we won’t be forgiven. Rather, our biggest surprise is when we are forgiven in spite of all that we are and all that we aren’t.
When we receive forgiveness, we no longer have to hide our flawed selves. We can live out of our imperfections because we know that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). When we know forgiveness, we also know that inadequacies don’t mean the end of love; instead they give God’s love and forgiveness a chance to shine against our imperfections.
God’s forgiveness demonstrated on the cross is powerful. It’s freeing. It liberates the human heart to just be. And once we come to know and believe God’s forgiveness, we can rest in the certainty of being loved just how we are.
What good news this is! He is risen! You’re forgiven!
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).
Lord, thank you for the cross. Because of it, and because you were raised from the grave, I am fully forgiven and fully loved. Amen.
Confess your sins to the Lord and thank Him that you are fully forgiven because of His death and resurrection. Amen.
Phil Wickham: Christ Is Risen
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