My goodness – it’s Lent already! It’s the season when God’s people like to think a lot about how sinful they are – they rejoice in being dirt and completely unable to ever be sinless and deserving of God’s love. Woe is me…I am a miserable wretch! At first, it may sound like fake humility (and I’m sure there’s probably a lot of that going on too) but really, the best thing we can do as human beings is to fully realize just how hopeless we are. Even the most righteous human being is nowhere close to being pure enough to be in the presence of our Holy God. Honesty demands that we admit it’s useless, and even pathetic, for us to try to live up to God’s standards of acceptance. And that, my friends, is very good news! Here’s why: We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… Therefore, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:10, 19-23) Or in other words - Because of Jesus, we’re in! We’re good with God for all time. Jesus took all of the world’s sinfulness, your sins, my sins, everyone’s sins, upon himself and all our sins died with him on that cross. All of our hatred and greed, willfulness and pride and everything else separating us from God atoned for and removed from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) in that one amazing act of redemption that only Jesus, in the giving of his own life, could offer. On Easter, he rose victorious over death and we with him.
Yet, even having said all this, I still come to you a sinner. I can’t stop sinning. Oh, I try. I want to live a life pleasing to God, but I don’t always. Does that mean that something didn’t take? Maybe I’m not sincere enough in my devotion to God. Maybe I’m the exception to the rule. I mean, if I’ve been made holy in Jesus’ sacrifice, how can I still be sinning? How can I enter the Most Holy Place with confidence when I know I’m not perfect? Scripture says my heart has been sprinkled to cleanse me and my body has been washed with pure water, but maybe God missed a spot or two. If I’m made perfect in Christ’s sacrifice, why am I not perfect?
That was my question to God this week and here is the answer he gave me: By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14) It’s like when a little girl begins to take dancing lessons. Perhaps she even has a natural grace and ability. From that first lesson, she is a dancer, even if she can keep her legs under her yet. She has to learn and grow into the dancer she is. What God taught me this week is that because of his grace and mercy, he sees me as the woman of God he created me to be, even if I haven’t quite completely figured out how to be that woman yet. It’s a growth process. His love and grace has redeemed me and his love and grace sustain and refine me as I learn to be the child of God he has made me to be in Jesus.
About the photos:
Fichter Fairy Garden (June 2011)