Monday, 20 August 2012
By T.G. Blankenship at The Gethsemane Blog
When I fall (or jump) into sin and then enter into heartfelt confession and the desire to repent I often find myself quickly inspired. It's a funny thing, an unexpected, and almost hypocritical seeming (in my own guilty heart) thing when I find myself writing, singing, and speaking beautiful Godly truths like a a babbling brook only minutes or moments after indulging in sin (no matter what variety of evil it may be).
I must always shake the notion that it's empty rhetoric and that I am regurgitating mere knowledge which pours out of me in those moments. I know for a fact that it is God's Spirit moving in me, teaching me (even if he has taught me the lesson before), and building me up, allowing me to enter back into his presence in a way which pushes me forward as his ambassador (after all, who else will tell the good news but those who have just witnessed/experienced it?).
That is the scandalous and unbelievable aspect of God's grace which often slips through my mental grasp; the fact that after I've sinned he still desires me and even uses me for his good purposes in a way that is not shaming. Where I expect, and even sometimes desire, punishment which will bloody and scar me I find nothing but acceptance and encouragement. I find atonement and full confidence covering me like a soaked cloth when all I think I should see is blood stained on my palms and sunk beneath my nails.
I imagine that even if I were not a beggar God would give me the bread of life which I so desperately need. When I beg (confess) I anticipate a long wait so that I may experience a sort of cleansing in my soul, and yet it is almost always immediately that God pulls me out of a pit and onto a flat surface. It is as though my confession, my begging, is itself my cleansing process.
Because Christ has already performed the necessary work for the forgiveness of sins I don't need to undergo a punishment or cleansing ritual. That way of things, that burden, has passed thanks to Christ's death and resurrection. With this reality of Christ as victor over sin present, I have only to confess and be made right. God has made things right and I only have to recognize and embrace this reality. Confession is exactly this; it is agreeing with God on the matter of my sin and his undoing of that sin. Repentance is living in the reality of undone sin, leaving it behind and in the "not" of reality.
It should be no wonder to me when God works within me from the moment of confession and yet it always is. I am still taken by his scandalous love every time I return to it. Every time I turn my eyes once again upon his cross, his throne, and his open arms, I can't help but be dumbfounded at the unrelenting forgiveness he pursues me with. The eagerness with which he employs in making me into his image, doing his work, taking up his name and ministry astounds me for I feel completing undeserving of it since my sin is not far from my mind though it be removed from his.
He has buried that sin beneath the oceans and hidden it behind the distance between east and west, making it nonexistent. He has literally wiped it away and made it no more. Never does he hold my sin above my head, though I may continue to do so. I am only surprised at his grace because I've not grasped the truth that this has happened and I have not grasped the ability to trust it enough to do the same. Though I may never forget all my sins, acknowledging that they exist in the wiped away past, and though my fellow humans may hold onto my sins and we all live out the consequences of those evils, God moves.
When I pray for God to do a new work in me, I too often have forgotten the old work he has done, which becomes ever anew when it needs to be such. He is always moving, always doing new things, but it is always through what he has already done in Christ and so it is to that work and person that we cling, always remembering his death and resurrection for it there where victory of sin is found. Our hope and future rest in that work of Christ. It is our past and our future. It is our redeeming present. It is worth our confession and it spurs on our repentance.
Therefore, let us be quick to confession should we find ourselves in sin. May we be in agreement with God concerning our sin and his work which has undone that sin so that we may, be his Spirit live out the life he has promised and intended toward us. May we abandon our hiding and expect to shine in the open as free and empowered children.
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