Sunday, July 26, 2015

From Guilt to Grace

You may wonder what this picture of a cat has anything to do with the title, so let me say this cat's name is Grace. And Grace, too, has... "the earnest expectation of the creature" that "waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." (Romans 8:19) For all creatures were made to praise the Lord. When I go to see my grandson, Grace longs for attention, and in a small way, she is like me when I go to my Abba Father. She loves for me to pay her some attention and soon starts rumbling with purrs of joy. In the same way I am happy when I realize that my own guilt has been put away thanks to Another, who bore it for me. Knowing that I am loved perfectly brings me all the peace my heart longs for. And it was all from a free gift from the One foretold to come from the beginning of human history.

David, who only had the Torah, somehow understood this gift of free grace when he wrote in Psalm 32:1:

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."

David was guilty of murder in the first degree when he had Uriah the Hittite killed in the line of battle after he himself impregnated Uriah's wife Bathsheba. David walked around for a good while knowing he had committed this grievous sin but not acknowledging it before God. The man who was said to "be after God's own heart" had blood on his hands. It was only after the son borne from their adultery was taken that he came clean after a visit from the prophet Nathan.

Nathan told him the story of a rich man who had been given nearly everything he wanted and a poor man who had only ewe lamb. The rich man decided all he owned was still not enough and stole the poor man's ewe lamb away. When David heard this story, at first he did not recognize that it was about him. He said to Nathan:

"...As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die..." (II Samuel 12:5)

Then Nathan revealed the truth to David saying, "Thou art the man." (II Samuel 12:7)

It was this experience that David wrote about in Psalm 32. Somehow, he knew that God would provide a sacrifice to forgive his sin and cover his guilt. He knew this, even though Christ had not yet come into the world. He knew and relied upon the promise that his forefathers in the faith also relied upon. In the first book of the Bible, the sacrifice to come was revealed to Abraham and Isaac upon Mount Moriah.

"And Abraham said, My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering..." (Genesis 22:8)

This same concept is revealed in the New Testament in the little word "aphiemi." This word is used in Mark 2:10, which speaks of the Son of man having the power to forgive sins. What Adam forfeited when he chose his way over God's in the garden of Eden, the Son of man came to fully restore. There are 88 references in the New Testament to the Son of man, Jesus Christ.

We can have peace in a world gone beserk from knowing that Christ has come and taken away our sins, which is one of the definitions of this word, "aphiemi." In my Zodhiates Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible, it says of this word (#863 in the Greek Lexicon to the New Testament): "from apo from and hiemi to send. To send away, dismiss...The expression "to forgive sins" means to remove the sins from oneself. Only God is said to be able to do this.(Mark 2:10)"

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,“I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

Zodhiates continues: "To forgive sins is not to disregard them and do nothing about them, but to liberate a person from them, their guilt, and their power."
(Emphasis mine) Definition from page 1672 in Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible, compiled and edited by Spiros Zodhiates, ThD, AMG Publishers, 1986.

I only touched the tip of the iceberg on the concept of our sins being taken away by Christ's atoning sacrifice. You might also be blessed, as I am, in finding all the references of Jesus as the "Son of man" in the New Testament. One thing I know, I do not have to live with yesterday's failures, or to try to do something good to make up for something bad. I only need to look away from myself, to Another.

Psalm 89:15 "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance."

Reader, do you know the joyful sound today? Put your faith that what Christ did was enough, and walk in the light of His countenance.

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