Summary: As we mature in our walk with the Lord, we cherish our Father's mercy that rescued us from trespasses and sins, restored our relationship to Him, renewed a right spirit within us and redeemed our lives for His glory.
BLESSED BE THE LORD GOD OUR MERCIFUL FORGIVING FATHER
Trying to make the point that everyone without exception needs forgiveness, a pastor asked one of his parishioners if he had ever sinned. “Yes, I have sinned,” replied the parishioner, “but not in the last seven years.” Oh yeah?
Reminded me of an exchange that occurred years ago between me and an elderly man I was visiting in a nursing home. He proudly proclaimed, “Me and my wife were married for 68 years and never once had an argument.” And I thought to myself, “Any man who would lie about that, would also lie about other things.”
To tell the truth, “there is none righteous, no, not one” for “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Right? Has there ever existed a perfect relationship between two or more human beings? Not to my knowledge.
Fact of the matter is: Our greatest need is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Our greatest drawback in preventing or preserving that relationship is sin. Allurement toward sinning has kept (keeps) many a sinner from becoming a born-again child of God. Yet, once saved, that same allurement has presented (presents) itself as a barrier standing in the way of spiritual growth toward Christlikeness.
Thus, in the model prayer, our Lord taught us to ask for God’s forgiveness: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Sin is a failure against God. Technically, it means “to miss the mark” set for us by our Father in Heaven. Doesn’t matter whether the sin is against our Creator or others made in His image. Our sin constitutes nothing less than a debt we owe . . . an offense . . . a transgression . . . a trespass.
God’s forgiveness has: (1) a curative effect – cures what ails us spiritually . . .To have been forgiven, for Jesus’ sake, for the sake of our Intervener who sits at the right hand of God interceding for us . . . (2) a preventative effect - shields from yielding to temptation in our future inasmuch as we know not what tomorrow may bring in the way of allurement . . . (3) a praise effect.
Nothing elicits praise from me like the contentment - peace of mind, heart and soul – that God’s forgiveness administers to me as an antidote (vaccine) for absolving the debt I owe – absolved by the blood of Jesus - shed for the sins of the world and, therefore, for my sins.
No wonder Jesus our Lord taught us to say, as He prayed that grand finale, “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”
Blessed be the Lord God our Merciful, Forgiving Father in Heaven!
King David – a man after God’s own heart – sinned against God . . . Who better than the greatest of kings and the most preeminent ancestor of Jesus to model a sinner’s honest confession – that is absolutely essential for (1) the purging of guilt and (2) the restoring of one’s relationship to Father God – Psalm 51:1-7 . . .
David asked for God’s favor although he knew he did not deserve it! Mercy was asked for in lieu of justice. The law would dictate the death penalty. “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner” - the penitent plea of one who wants to be pardoned . . . do an about face . . . make things right in God’s sight.
David asked God to do three things that only God can do: Blot out . . . Wash . . . Cleanse . . . David used three terms in confessing his sins: Transgressions . . . Iniquities . . . Sin . . . David “owned” what he had done. “My” - “Mine”. As a shepherd lad he had cultivated the discipline of responsibility.
Learning to take responsibility for wrongdoing early in life helps to keep us from sinning as a lifestyle, but tackling the guilt of having succumbed to our sinful tendencies presents a much greater challenge because turning one’s life around (repentance) requires two decisive, difficult steps: confession and consecration.
Regardless of the degree of one’s rebellion against the authority of God . . . defiance of God’s rules . . . denial of God’s ownership of, and supremacy over, His creation . . . there can be no restoration to a right standing with God until there is an erasing from the chalkboard of one’s mind of that narcissistic attitude . . . a cleaning up of one’s act . . . turning of our old nature that is “bent toward sinning” into a new nature that is “bent toward doing right” in God’s sight. Thus . . .