One of the ways we sin against Godís grace is simply by not believing it. But when Christians refuse to believe in Godís grace they do it, (ironically) for very pious sounding reasons. I canít possibly be forgiven because it was the fourth time I did it this week. I canít possibly be forgiven because Iíve let so many people down. I canít possibly be forgiven because itís such a bad sin and I did it so defiantly. But those pious sounding excuses are unbelief, and more than unbelief they are a particularly heinous form of defiance. When sin arises, as it does so frequently, we have the option of allowing God to deal with it or trying to fix it ourselves. But the gospel of Jesus Christ is that you canít fix yourself. You canít get the stain out. And yet, in the grip of sin, you frequently pretend you can. You pretend you can by wallowing around in it, by marinating in it, by trying to work up a holy sweat. But donít you see what youíre doing? You are trying to save yourself. You are trying to fix yourself. But you canít and you wonít feel better later. You might have momentary feelings of self-satisfaction, thinking youíve done a good job feeling bad so you must be making headway. But you arenít. You canít. The only way to deal with sin is to give it to Jesus, to confess it to God who promises to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. But His grace really is offensive. His grace is offensive because His grace is so thorough, so absolute. God simply and wonderfully washes you clean and casts your sins behind His back and completely forgets about them. For the sake of His Son Jesus, He remembers your sins no more. And this is frequently offensive because we want God to make a bigger deal out of our sin. But God already did. He sent His beloved Son and made a big deal about your sin on the cross 2,000 years ago. Itís already paid for, already taken care of. And now when God looks at you, when you come to Him through Jesus, all God sees is Jesus. All God sees is His beloved Son. So as we confess our sins now, do not come wallowing in your sin, trying to work up some good guilty feelings. Thatís not what this is for. Here we confess that we are sinners in need of grace, but here we also give thanks that God has more grace than we thought.
Andy Tillery says
Toby, this is absolutely wonderful! Thank you for this good word. I am reminded of how amazing it is each Lord’s Day when, after confessing our sins, the Lord speaks to us that “In Christ, you are forgiven!” I do not understand how this can be, but it is truly “more grace than we thought.” Thanks again!