I’m sure, like me, you know this verse well and are comforted by its powerful truth. It is so reassuring that all we have to do is confess, own up and come clean about our sin and God will wipe the sin away and restore us to righteousness. It all sounds so easy, but I wonder if sometimes we take this profound truth rather too casually.
Recently, when I was reading an article entitled ‘God is the Judge’ one sentence jumped out at me; ‘God never forgives an unpunished sin’. Somehow it struck a deep distressing note in me, and an unexpected thought shot into my consciousness. There is always punishment, I must be punished because God is the judge and I am a sinner. I can’t be forgiven so easily I must pay for my sin somehow.
It really surprised me that this deep subconscious thought should still be buried in my inner being because I have known the wonderful truth of Jesus’ sin-paying sacrifice for me since He miraculously broke into my life thirty-eight years ago. In my conscious mind I know full well that the price has been paid, and all the punishment due to me has been taken by Jesus. However, it seems that deep down in my unconscious there was a doubt. A deep fear of punishment seemed to lurk inside me, perhaps God would suddenly catch me out, turn against me and demand that I was punished for some known or even unknown sin.
It was just a split second and then the moment passed, and conscious thinking came back to the fore. What a relief, but how very interesting that my deep anxiety, had been revealed. I immediately thought of the verse ‘bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ’, as Paul tells the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 10:5), so I confessed my unconscious anxiety and thanked Jesus again for all He has done for me at Calvary.
Looking back at my life, I can see how the unexpected angry outburst and threat of punishment meted out by my earthly father, as a result of some misdemeanour of which I was often unaware, had sown a seed of anxiety into me. So, just to finish the rest of the story, I forgave my dad again for his rather irrational way of trying to discipline me whilst I was growing up and ask Father God to wipe out that deep anxiety that was impinging on my understanding of His nature and character and my ability to appropriate the fullness of the work of the Cross.
The price is paid, alleluia!
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You paid the price for all my sin, those things I know about and have repented of, but also what is unrecognised. Thank You, Father God, that You are the judge and, although You demand punishment for every sin, You are never irrational, and never angry without cause. Instead You want to reason with me, even when my sins are as scarlet. You are a just and merciful Father. You never seek to catch me out, but Your desire is to wash me white as snow and restore me to righteousness, because Jesus has already taken all the necessary punishment at Calvary. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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