May 22, 2024
close up of a cross made of letters forming a word atonement

Forgiveness, and the endless reminding of my sin

“But Christ, having appeared as high priest of the good things having come,a by the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not of this creation, nor by blood of goats and calves, but through the own blood, He entered once for all into the holy places, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those having been defiled sanctify them for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, purify our conscience from dead works, in order to serve the living God! And because of this, He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those having been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:11-15 BLB

I woke up at 3am with a headache. And as I sat down to let a painkiller kick in, I was immediately reminded of some personal moral failing in the past week, which I had confessed to God. But I had clearly not forgiven myself of. The Great Accuser was there at this wee hour, reminding me of my sin. But before I could drag that sin back to God I asked myself, if God had already forgiven me, why would I drag Him back to an issue He had already forgiven after I confessed? Didn’t I believe I was forgiven? Did I feel like I needed to work my way up again to good graces with God to feel truly forgiven?

For the longest in my faith I struggled with understanding God’s forgiveness. My mind understood that at salvation, God forgave my sin. But that truth never quite sank into my heart. Everyday I struggled with feeling worthy before God because I felt the weight of my past and present sin. And I was aware of my propensity to sin so in a way I was also aware of my future sin.So everyday I dragged my sins before God and confessed them over and over. Everyday I felt compelled to wipe the slate clean as I approached God’s throne.

Then God used a song in a great way to minister to my heart that I was already accepted before him, and truly forgiven. It’s the song by Casting Crowns, “East to West” and it goes:

Here I am, Lord, and I’m drowning in your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me, I yearn for peace and rest

I don’t want to end up where You found me And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight

I know You’ve cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
And I stand before You now as though I’ve never sinned
But today I feel like I’m just one mistake away from You leaving me this way,

Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west’
‘Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
‘Cause You know just how far the east is from the west – from one scarred hand to the other

I start the day, the war begins, endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I’m in
Today I feel like I’m just one mistake away from You leaving me this way,

Jesus, please show me just how far the east is from the west
‘Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been come rising up in me again

I earnestly prayed that Jesus would help me understand for sure just how far east was from west. And you know God is so kind and faithful. These truths begun sinking into my heart. By the Holy Spirit’s help I begun to understand that I am truly forgiven. God does not remember my past.

Think of some of the Old Testament saints mentioned in The New Testament. Abraham, Jacob, David, Rahab etc. Humanly We remember them with their triumphs and failures. But in the NT God has cleaned up their CVs so much there is not a mention of their moral failures. There is amnesia for forgiven sinners. The past is just that – past, forgiven and, praise God, forgotten. You could argue that God did remind corporate Israel of their past failings to call them to repentance in the present where they are found repeating patterns of sin. But we never see that with individuals.

Psalm 103:2-4,9-17

Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love… Vs9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field;the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.

For his own sake he forgives our sin. He remembers that we are dust and has mercy on us. I don’t have to work my way to feel worthy before God. I am worthy because of Christ. Once and for all.

Of course I don’t confess the sin and turn to it again, like a dog returning to its vomit. I confess and turn away from my sin. It doesn’t mean I will never sin again, or repeat that particular sin, but my heart is turned toward the Father, hating what he hates.

We know we have a high priest who is familiar with our weaknesses to represent us before his throne, continually, forever. By Christ’s blood we have eternal redemption. We have our guilty consciences sprinkled to cleanse us from our sinful works. Once and for all Christ dealt with the burden of our sin. We stand before God as though we never sinned because we are indeed covered by the righteousness of Christ. What a freeing truth.

For if the blood of goats and of bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those having been defiled sanctify them for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, purify our conscience from dead works, in order to serve the living God!

Kageni Muse

Kageni Muse is a journalist living in Nairobi. She is married to Muse and together they have three children. She is a passionate advocate for children, families and the church and daydreams of a hammock with a view of the hills.

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