Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Forgiveness vs. Fear

Don't confuse the forgiveness of God with the fear of God. When making mistakes, we sometimes toil over whether God will forgive us.

The good news for you is that forgiveness is already settled. What we are pleading for from God is not as much forgiveness as it is mercy and peace from chastisement.
Like a chlild that says, "I'm sorry, I won't do it again," knowing that their parents are about to punish them. Is that "I'm sorry" a plea for forgiveness or a plea for mercy? We would do anything as a child to get out of punishment, even if it meant lying.

Let's call it what it is. It is a plea for mercy and as Christians we need to understand the difference. When we ask for forgiveness as Christians we aren't asking our sin to be forgiven as it was at salvation otherwise we would be asking to be saved again. So that's not it. No, we ask for forgiveness but we really mean we want restoration and peace. Many times we are not so much upset over being forgiven as we are at the thought of punishment.

When Christ was on the cross and the sky turned dark, and He said, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me," what was He referring to? He was referring to that separation from God that was caused by the sin...our sin...that was laid upon Him; that sin that caused the Father to turn His head. It is sin that separates and when you die in your sins that is exactly what hell is, separation from God. And though as Christians we have been freed from that death, there is still a death in our bodies: an inclination to sin that continually separates us from God.

It's funny, we spend so much time putting off God, being busy with other things but when we realize how separated from Him we really are, we cry out, "Where are you God?" And His answer is always the same: right where I was when you left me. I haven't moved."

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