I have been forgiven.
As if it weren’t amazing enough that the magnificent, glorious, eternal, almighty God of the whole universe sees me in all my insignificance, that same God has compassion on me.
He doesn’t just see me; He loves me. He sets His favor on me. He does whatever it takes to draw me in.
I taught it to the children at church last night– Romans 3:23. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I asked them who all meant, if that included me, if it included them. They tried to jump up and touch the ceiling, fell far short. They know what it is to fall short of something. They knew that all included me, the other teachers, the pastor.
A holy God gets to decide what is right and what is wrong. And all of us fall short of His holiness. We are separated from Him by the massive gap caused by our sin.
This isn’t good news, I told the kids. This is a sad verse. But we know a happy one, right? And then we all said those sweet words together– For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
I have been a rebel against God, opposed to Him in every way– in my pride and my idolatry, in the lack of love in my heart. I have disobeyed my parents, failed to love God, coveted what others had. I have spoken cruel and angry words, gossiped, lied, and dishonored God with my words and my actions. I have worshiped comfort and self instead of the true God.
But I am forgiven.
Not by works of righteousness which I have done, because I could never do enough righteous acts to bridge the mighty gap between my small, sinful self and His holy presence. According to His mercy I have been saved.
Praise the Lord for His mercy. His mercy, not mine, because I know my mercy struggles to forgive even the smallest offenses. HIS mercy, that saw my tiny, insignificant, rebellious self and loved me. HIS mercy, that knew I could never come to Him on my own, that knew the high price my salvation would cost. HIS mercy, that sent His beloved Son to pay that cost.
Praise the Lord for His love that cannot fail, does not change, abounds beyond all comprehension. This is a love that came in flesh as a helpless baby, that humbled itself from all the glory of heaven and the worship of the angels to be born tiny and scrunched up and dark-haired to a girl of questionable reputation in a barn. This is a love that submitted all its authority and power, in obedience to two sinful parents that it had created. This is a love that touched the untouchable, that loved even Judas, that healed and taught and walked dusty roads with holy feet. This is a love that had compassion on the shepherdless people, that wept when they died, that turned toward Calvary with unflinching steps.
Praise the Lord for the cross, for the sacrifice of the only One who never deserved death. Praise the Lord that Jesus did not call down the angels, or speak the word that would have destroyed all those who mocked and beat Him, all those who stared at Him without pity in His agony, all those whose sinful rebellion nailed Him there. Praise the Lord for forgiveness offered in the bitterest of pain and and anguish, for the words torn from His lips in His dying torment– It. Is. Finished.
I am forgiven. No cost was too high. It has been paid in full. All Christ’s perfect righteousness credited to my account, so that when my holy God looks at me, He sees His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased.
Praise the Lord for forgiveness.
Words do not exist for this inexpressible grace. Yet I will praise Him.