February 7, 2017

Already a Winner

Proud people tend to beat themselves up for every mistake, every sin, every shortcoming in their life. I know, because I am a proud person and I have done that. I need to hear the Gospel every day. It reminds me of two major truths: I am a sinner and I am saved.

Today’s Scripture is for proud people. The first one was written to the Jews who had trusted themselves instead of God. He told the prophet to speak to them about it. The second one does not have an author citation, but it also is about a sinner who realized his folly, asked for mercy, and then rehearsed  the Gospel message. As I read these verses, they were easily personalized . . .

“Speak tenderly to Elsie, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:2)

This one touched my proud heart. I’d been fighting a battle with a particular issue and asking God to empower me to do the right thing. I’ve felt as if this battle was the result of years of wrong thinking. Now He says the battle is over. I needed to hear that from Him.

The second passage is also easily personalized . . .

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Elsie, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he has redeemed me from all my iniquities.” (Psalm 130:1–8)

This also echoes the cry of my heart. If God marked my sins to my credit instead of putting them on Jesus Christ, I could not stand. But He has forgiven me. Now I wait on Him like a watchman waits, looking for whatever He wants for me, and knowing His love is steadfast and His redemption is certain. He has forgiven me and redeemed me from all those years of folly.

God is the only source of comfort for sinners, including those who are saved and in His family; we still struggle with sin. Even though He gives us all we need to fight it, this battle is like being enlisted; it takes time and practice to learn how to be a soldier, to live according to who I am, not who I was.

At the same time, God guarantees that the war will be won. Christ has already defeated the enemy by His shed blood. Sometimes it seems as if I am the one who has been defeated, but that is a lie from the pit, a device of my spiritual enemy to take my focus off the One who is the winner and put it on my performance.

God’s forgiveness is not only established in Christ, it is eternal, forever . . .

“He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:12)

God held his Son accountable for me and punished my sins to the full satisfaction of His justice. I am set free by Jesus, not by my performance. Now I fight sin, not to become saved, but to reveal the life-changing power of God. I am no longer on the opposing side, but united with Christ through grace and made an heir of God who looks forward to eternal riches.

Jesus, because of You there is no condemnation, only grace. The Gospel shows me that I have nothing to be proud about concerning me, yet everything to rejoice about because of You. My sin is forgiven and I am on my way to heaven because of Your amazing mercy and grace. Fill my heart with the good news and enable me to freely share it with others.

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