My mind has been very much on the subject of forgiveness and how it can have a profound effect on our lives if we recognise the magnitude of it and the wonder of it.
On Sunday night Andrew was speaking about the woman who loved much because she had been forgiven much (Luke Chapter 7).
I had also been thinking of Paul who, near the end of his life, describes himself as 'the chief of sinners' (1 Timothy 1:15). This was based at least partly on the life he led before he found Christ - when he persecuted the early church relentlessly. But I don't think that Paul spent his life under the burden of the sins he had been guilty of at that time or the burden of his shortcomings at any time that followed. He had found forgiveness. He speaks of ' being a new creature', of 'old things having passed away and all things becoming new'. Paul lived in glorious freedom, the freedom of one who had been forgiven and brought into the abundance of life that Jesus spoke of.
But he never forgot the miracle of it! He never forgot that it was because of the forgiveness of a loving God. And the nearer he came to God through Jesus Christ the more he became aware of the forgiveness that had made this possible. And the more he loved Christ and thrilled in what the saviour had done for him, 'the chief of sinners'.
On Sunday, I was speaking about David, a man after God's own heart. And about the fact that David seemed to have a love for God that was very similar to the love that we feel for Jesus Christ. I have been thinking a bit more about this and have become aware that it was very much connected with the forgiveness for his own personal sins. David knew he was a sinner but he knew that, time and again, he had been forgiven. We know more about his sins and about his seeking - and finding - forgiveness than we do about any other of the great men in the Old Testament. And we sense the depth of his love for God - born out of that forgiveness.
Don't let your sin drive you away from God. Let it drive you TO God. And though Satan meant it for evil, God can turn it to good and make it something that creates in you a well of gratitude and love for the Saviour who brings that forgiveness.
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