Forgiveness-Psalm 32

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night you hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with the songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule who have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart.

Fear of Exposure

Growing up I was always afraid that I was lukewarm in my faith in Jesus (enter spitting sound…now). He gave himself for me and I don’t even want to sing the hymns at church! Well, It was true, I was 574447_10151482366557962_655928704_nlukewarm. But worse than not liking to sing the church hymns, (I’d rather have sung Bon Jovi…hey Bon Jovi even lived on a prayer…am I right?…ok I’ll stop) I didn’t feel like God liked me. I knew that I had sin, but I just couldn’t get it right! Wasn’t that the point of being a Christian? Getting it right so that God would now at least like me?

The affect that this belief had on my heart was that when I did sin I certainly couldn’t tell anyone. Fear of exposure became my worst nightmare. Fearing that we are alone in our sin and struggles leaves us abandoned to isolation, or as the Psalmist puts it “day and night your hand was heavy on me…” And Jesus’ words in John 9:41 remind us that our guilt remains if we claim that we don’t have sin. Truly, confession is still incredibly difficult. I don’t want to, but need to come clean. Confession of sin and exposure to the Lord, and sometimes to friends, what is going on in my heart is essential for growth in Christ.

2 Truths and A Promise

These 2 things are true about sin in scripture, 1. all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and 2. everyone needs forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22). I don’t like to confess sin. I don’t like to go to God over and over again with the same struggles. It’s not fun. But when I read Psalm 32 I’m reminded of the Grace of God found in Christ.

Blessed is the one (man in the Hebrew) whose sins are forgiven! What happens to this man if he keeps his sin to himself? The crusting weight of his isolation is too much for him. He has to tell someone. He has to tell his Lord what he has done. But in confessing his sin, he demonstrates faith in who God says he is. And with each demonstration of weakness, his faith grows.

I remember when Brady (our now 9 year-old) came to me one day with tears in his eyes. He had scratched the “treasured” minivan (not this minivan) and just couldn’t live without telling us about it. I can remember times when the guilt and conviction of sin against another person was so strong that there was no activity that I could engage in until I told them what I had done.

We practice a weekly corporate confession of sin in our worship service. It is a message to those who believe that we must take sin seriously. But this time of confession is always followed up with a wonderful promise of forgiveness. This time of confession is also for the unbeliever in our midst. It is a time for them to consider whether or not they believe that there is sin in their lives and whether they have faith to trust in Christ.

The Apostle John reminds us of this promise of forgiveness. “For if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleans us form all unrighteousness.” John is repeating what the Psalmist is saying here. But from John and from Psalm 32 we are reminded of how essential it is to acknowledge our sin and then to talk to God about it.

No Blood No Forgiveness

The author of Hebrews expounds on the Old Testament laws and comments on their sacrificial practices. Hebrews reminds us that sin brings death and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sins. No matter what we do, or give up, or try to accomplish, we cannot provide for that sacrifice. The Old Testament sacrifices pointed to the One who would be sacrificed for us. We have that sacrifice in Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest.

The blessing that the Psalmist speaks of in Psalm 32 is the freedom that we have when we are bold enough to stop hiding. Every opportunity to confess what sin does to us if a equal reminder to consider what Christ has done for us.

There is no greater freedom than to be in right standing with our Creator. There is no greater freedom to know that someone fully knows us and that God our Father has forgiven our sins. Do not be the horse or the mule who gets pulled here and there acting as if nothing is wrong.

Remember that the…”Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart” Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Advertisements

…God Meant it for Good…

French Artist Gustave Dore’ Joseph and His Brothers

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20 NLT.

When I was a younger man I struggled greatly with losing my hair. It started to thin when I was a senior in high school. By the time I graduated from college I was consoling myself with the fact that I shared this trait with both Officer John McClane and James Bond (well former James Bond anyway)…but then I remembered that saving 200 hostages and keeping international relations secure for all of the Western World gave them a bit of an advantage over a college graduate with 1000 hours running a backhoe and a class B commercial Truck driving license. Neither was I Bruce Willis nor Sean Connery.

Continue reading

Considering Rubbish

Friendship is truly a gift from God. We have some friends who live too far away and we consequently don’t get to see nearly often enough. Our hearts think of them often as they tweet their way into our thoughts and sometimes prayers. Their writing is encouraging and thought-provoking and I’m thankful to know them. Recently Amber has been writing on chains and as go our lives so go the links in the chains.

Continue reading

A Benediction

Jacob Blessing Joseph’s Children Shoshanna Brombacher 2008

Hebrews chapter 11 is sometimes referred to, throughout much of Christendom, as the “hall of faith.” The author of Hebrews is celebrating those who have, in faith, gone before us and who serve as a blessing to those who are still living out their faith in word and deed.

Jacob is mentioned, among others, for a seemingly non-productive act. The writer of Hebrews is recounting Genesis 48 where Jacob offers a benediction upon his grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh. At the protest of Joseph, their father, Jacob begins his providential proclamation; an act of great faith. Faith, to a secular world, will seem non-productive but its foundation lies in the letting go of production while trusting in the faithfulness of God and not ourselves. Where we honor accomplishment and achievement, God honors trust and faith in the One who achieved what we never could. The Gospel is the good news of what Christ has done and not what we can or even could do. What seems foreign to man is right to God and what is right to God seems foreign to man. Don’t expect the gospel to make sense as we are chained down by worldly thoughts, structures, economies and beliefs. Continue reading

Kingdom of Reconciliation

You don’t have to read many news headlines or watch too many news clips to see that the world has its struggles. It seems that more often than not bad news trumps good news. For whatever reason we genuinely are attracted to news that has us gripped or concerned. As a friend of mine (@mikerusch) tweeted the other day, “fear is a tragic and powerful motivator”.

I have a hard time with general negativity, Continue reading