Some people have the belief that they must have a trial period before they can prove to God that they have changed their lives. They don’t believe that someone can simply claim His blessing. However, this is not true, because they can claim God’s blessing immediately. The truth is that they must have God’s grace, really the Spirit of Jesus Christ, to help them resist temptation, or they never will be able to escape sin. Jesus would rather us come to Him just as we are, even if it means that we are sinful, helpless, and/or dependent. The invitation is open for us to come to Him with all our weakness, foolishness, and sinfulness, and fall at His feet with repentance in our heart. We should look for His glory to surround us in the arms of His love and bring healing into our lives, because He desires to cleanse us from everything that pollutes our lives.
The big stumbling block for many is that they do not believe that Jesus forgives them personally. They choose not to take God at His word. For everyone who understands and obeys the terms that Jesus has presented, the He freely extends the gift of forgiveness for every sin. Silence any suspicion in your mind that God’s promises are not meant for you because they are meant for everyone who is a sinner who chooses to repent—to ask for forgiveness and turn away from the sin. God provides strength and grace through Christ for every one of us. No one is too sinful that they cannot find strength, purity, and a right standing with God in Jesus, who gave His life on a cross to die for them. God longs to take off the sin stained clothes that represent our sin-tainted character, and replace it with new pure clothes—really a Christ-like character. With this new life and character, we may truly live and not die.
God doesn’t deal with us as we might deal with each other. His thoughts are filled with mercy, love, and compassion. “Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.” (Isaiah 55:7). “I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.” (Isaiah 44:22).
“I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live!” (Ezekiel 18:32). Satan is ready to steal away the promises of God. He wants to take away any idea in our mind that we are savable; he wants to steal away our hope—but we must not let him do this. Don’t listen to the temptation that we are to lost in our sins to be saved and instead say something like, ‘Jesus has died so that I can live. He loves me and I have abused His love and wasted His blessings. Instead of believing that I am too far-gone, I will choose to come to You Father and say: “I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ (Luke 15:18-19). Reading further in the illustration, we see how the Father receives this repentant heart: “Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him . . . his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’” (Luke 15:20, 22-24).
Even though we see how amazing and compassionate the Father is in this parable, the illustration still falls short of expressing how our Heavenly Father feels about us. God says, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” (Jeremiah 31:3). While we as sinners are in a different country that is far away from our Father, He is still thinking about us, and longing to be close to us again. Every time we feel a tug on our hearts to return to God, realize this is His Spirit, pursuing us and drawing our hearts to the heart of our Father.
With promises all throughout the Bible, where is there any room for doubt? With all we have seen and looked at, is it even still possible in your mind that God could reject someone who has sinned and who longs to return to Him and turn away from the sin that separated them? If you still feel this, then choose to silence those thoughts and ignore them when you are tempted to think them again. Nothing can hurt our hearts and minds more than to think of God as being someone who would reject someone who wishes to return to Him. God hates sin, but He loves the sinner, and He gave us Jesus, who was part of Himself, so that everyone who wants to can accept the invitation of salvation—being saved from our sins and being given a new life, new heart, and a new home awaiting us in Heaven.
What would be a better comparison or a stronger illustration that God could have used to describe His love for us? He says, “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15).
Jesus died to make it possible for us to be saved from our sin. Pray today and thank God for the gift of His Son and pray that He did not die for you for nothing. The Holy Spirit invites you today: Come with your whole heart to Jesus, and you may claim His blessing.
As you read the promises and continue growing with Jesus, remember that they are God’s expression of perfect love and compassion. God’s heart, filled with infinite love, is drawn towards sinners with an unlimited, unending love, grace, and mercy. “He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” (Ephesians 1:7). Believe that God is our partner, and He wants to restore His moral image into us. As we draw near to Him, confessing and repenting from our sins, He will draw near to you, closing the gap, and wrap you in His arms filled with mercy and forgiveness, and He will walk with you into a new life together.
Next week, we will continue the series and begin discussing discipleship and what it means to be believers and followers of Jesus.
P.S. As always, if I missed something, or if you would like to respond on this topic, join the conversation below!