And I forgive
Grace fully accepts the injury, and forgives. Grace is not cheap. It does not shrug off the offense as mere common occurrence or one being too hard on himself.
We cannot fight or have victory over sin (and death), unless God forgives us.
We have injured Christ in word, attitude, and action; our wicked wrath hung him on the cross; God’s righteous wrath, there, killed him for our sake.
All our shame is laid upon Christ and our Father says, “I know. And I forgive you.”
“But I feel like an idiot,” we say. “I’ve injured others so deeply. I drag your name through the mud. I screw up all the time.”
Yet again, he says, “I know.
And I forgive you.”
At a great cost to himself – through the shed blood of his son – our Father forgives.
God loves by mysterious means. Often it is in His discipline, yet sometimes in a conversation, a kiss, or a lyric. And just as often, this love seems to be expressed with equally mysterious timing. Tonight, it was through these familiar lyrics that He reminded me of His costly love – a love that embraces and leaves you speechless, weeping and joyful, defeated and free, disarmed and satisfied. Indeed, how deep the Father’s love for us.
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
For the last month and half, I’ve been working part-time for Verge Network. Verge is a network of networks. That’s right, we network with other networks of leading evangelical leaders, authors, thinkers, practitioners, etc. on a wide range of topics, namely, missional community.
Verge also hosts an annual conference. The purpose of the conference is the same as the online presence – to expose people to the call of the church to live on mission. This year Verge is partnering with another conference called “Exponential”. Find out more about it here.
My role in all of this has been to manage the site content. In other words, I connect with these leaders to collaborate on new material for our website. We (Verge) provide the topic, they (the leaders) provide the material. We then use our national platform – both the website and the conferences – to publish these resources.
So far, it’s been very fast-paced but I’ve really enjoyed my team and the nature of the work. Best of all, I’m being challenged in my love for the Gospel, for God, and for others. This new opportunity has been a huge blessing.
I’ve also been very convicted lately, in the midst of the busyness of juggling three jobs, weekly bible studies and discipleship, attempting a social life, being a husband, and preparing to be a father, that I often default to operating on my own strength. This is a very dangerous default.
In the I-guess-I’ll-try-to-take-this-on-all-by-myself mode, I begin to see people as tasks, looking through them and not listening, worried, if not upset, that these few moments are getting in the way of all that I need to get done. Stressed that I will let myself and others down. Neglecting time in the Word, in order to get my tasks done, hardly stopping to ask God for the strength to do any of this.
My worth and your worth is not found in what we can get done. The number of tasks that I’ve accomplished don’t impress God. Even my “good” days are often offensive to God because my motives are so misplaced (Isa. 64:6; 58). What impresses God the Father is His son, Jesus. God’s after my heart and if my heart has nothing to do with loving Jesus, then God is probably not pleased by it…and I’m foolishly working for the approval of men (Gal. 1:10).
The good news remains that Christ has purchased my soul with His blood and my life is hidden with Him in God (Col. 3:3). This love and costly grace gives incredible significance to my life and should be the inspiration for all that I do.
Now, I can work hard and love much because Christ has loved much and purchased all the approval and comfort and control and whatever else it might be that I would seek on my own. Once again, the bible frees and motivates.
What about you? What are some things that distract you or keep you from time with God or time with family? When do you find comfort or a sense of accomplishment?
Yesterday’s message (here) really messed me up. Matt spoke on Heaven and Hell…everyone’s favorite topic. I’m thankful that he is bold enough and faithful enough to preach on the reality of man’s eternal destination.
Heaven and Hell are real places. Please hear that. They are real places. And talking about them is not for fear-mongering or to paint pretty pictures in your mind of a place that everyone goes to be happy some day.
The part that messed me up the most was when Matt quoted a section from one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons (click here for the full sermon from Spurgeon). He tells the story of a mother who is at judgement with her children. Jesus directs the mother one way and the children to another. The mother loved Jesus with all her heart and she tried to teach her children to do the same. But the children grew to love the things of the world, rather than Jesus. After weeping and seeing that her children were going to spend eternity in Hell, an angel dries her eyes, which reminds her of the treasure she has in Jesus and His perfect justice He executes in punishing sinners, and her response to her children is this:
“My children, I taught you well, I trained you up, and you forsook the ways of God; and now all I have to say is, Amen to your condemnation.”
Please, read and re-read this quote. For those of you in Christ, this is the hard reality of what we will one day face. Imagine those you love here on earth. Some of them don’t know or don’t believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As painful as it will be to know that they will not be with us in heaven, our joy in Christ and His justice will cause us to say “Amen” to their condemnation.
It is not “Amen, I’m such a good person and they’re not.” It’s “Amen, God showed me grace and His perfect name will not be defamed by those who rebel. To Him be glory and honor forever. Amen.”
Please have the spiritual sensitivity to let this bother you. May it cause you to cherish the grace that Christ has shown you, if you are a believer, and may it cause us to open our mouths and proclaim the Gospel.
It reminds us that where our heart is, there our treasure will be. And if our Treasure isn’t Christ, we will live with our hands closed around the things we desire. When this happens, our affections are directed to something/someone other than Christ and will eventually consume and destroy us. It’s hardly ever blatant, but rather enticing and deceptive, slowly but surely stealing us away.