Saturday, February 09, 2008

Forgive me

Before I was a believer, I had always heard that we are to frequently ask for forgiveness for our sins. After becoming a Christian, I struggled with this because the Bible says that Jesus’ death on the cross, God’s grace and our acknowledgment of our need for these gifts is enough. Psalm 103:12 says that God removed our sins as far as the east is from the west when we accepted the gift of His Son as our Redeemer. Our failings can no longer affect our salvation status.

Early on in my Christian walk, I didn’t understand why I would need to ask for forgiveness after that initial, desperate prayer to God when I first admitted that I was a sinner and that I needed forgiveness. God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrifice made me right with Him, so I didn’t think I should ask God for forgiveness over and over again, as if Jesus’ death didn’t actually finish God’s plan for redemption. I wrestled with this for a while and then finally became halfheartedly appeased when I figured that the concept of frequently seeking forgiveness must just be referring to our making amends with our fellow people, not God.

But that just didn’t seem right. I don’t know when my perspective shifted, but I later on realized that asking for forgiveness from God is essential. It humbles us to admit our failings. It is the act of agreeing with God that we stumble and fall. It is an act in which we can align our opinion of ourselves with God’s intimate knowledge of ourselves. I think it is absolutely necessary to do this on a fairly regular basis. I aspire to do it daily, but I often don’t. Honestly, I don’t typically find it as pressing as some of my other needs because I let my trust that I’m completely forgiven push my need for humility to the back burner. This is not an ideal state for growth. Nor is it a state of reality.

I don’t believe we need to ask forgiveness for each and every sin, because all of our sins (past, present and future) are covered under Jesus’ Life-Assurance policy. Acknowledging our sins to God won’t affect our salvation status, but it will cultivate a humble and contrite heart before our creator and Savior. This is where Jesus lives.

Isaiah 57:15 says

“For this is what the high and lofty One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”

By admitting my sins, I am inviting Jesus to revive my heart. My prayer for myself and for you today is this:

Create in me a clean heart, O Lord.
And renew a right spirit within me.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Hi! Just found your blog from Jennifer's.
Amen! to your post!
Have to agree that asking forgiveness is essential. Afterall, didn't Jesus teach to do this when He told his disciples to pray 'forgive us of our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us'?
I've begun to pray the Lord's prayer everday with each of my kids, and it has really been a blessing to me...and to them!
May His Kingdom Come!