I was having dinner with a friend who is a pastor a few days ago. During our meal together, we started talking about mistakes that we had made in life, which is always a fun conversation. One of the things that we both have in common is that we tend to beat ourselves up over those mistakes. However, we are always willing to offer encouragement to anyone who would come to us after making the same error. We arrived at the statement; “We tend to extend God’s grace to everyone except ourselves.”
Do you struggle with that same sentiment? I have always felt that way. No matter what the situation, if someone comes to me beaten down from some mistake or struggle, I’m always willing to inform them just how much God loves them. I don’t do that for myself though. It usually takes someone else to pound that into my head before I finally accept it.
One of the most beautiful aspects of God is that He is forgiving. I can’t imagine where my life would be without His forgiveness. I certainly don’t deserve Him forgiving me, but He offers it to me freely. That’s the truth for everyone. God is so loving that He’s willing to look past all of our failings. God tells us in Jeremiah 31: 34 that, “I will forgive their iniquity and never again remember their sin.” If that’s God’s promise to us, why don’t we always accept it?
Too often we fall into the same trap Adam and Eve did. Do you remember what they did after they realized that they sinned? They hid from God. If you’re anything like me, you go into hiding once you’ve realized that you’ve “fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Somehow the thought creeps into my mind, “If I just avoid Him, I’ll be ok.” I think this while fully knowing that God is everywhere, including my heart and mind. I avoid praying, and if I do pray, it’s just a bunch of meaningless platitudes that allows me to check prayer off my list. I think that if I don’t initiate the conversation, then He can’t talk to me. Like Adam and Eve, I’m trying to hide behind any tree I can find.
Did Adam and Eve’s decision to hide deter God? Not at all, in fact, we see God seeking them out. I believe that this was the first game of hide and seek to ever be played. Let me tell you this, you’re not going to beat God at hide and seek. Eventually, Adam came out from behind the tree confessed that he was “afraid’ of God. That’s where we find ourselves when we’re caught up in our sin, hiding and “afraid” of God.
What happened once Adam and Eve came and confessed to God? Firstly, they had to deal with the consequences. That’s the same for us. There are consequences for our sin, and we will have to deal with the repercussions of our decisions. That’s just part of the deal. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” Wherever sin is, death is sure to follow. That could be the death of friendships, marriages, financial security, jobs, our current life situation, etc. Look back at a time in your life when you were deep in sin, I bet you will find some “death” in there somewhere.
One of the best parts of Genesis 3 is what God did after He proclaimed the consequences, He showed Adam and Eve love. “The Lord God made clothing from skins for the man and his wife, and He clothed them.” (Gen 3:21) They were naked and embarrassed, but God, being loving, clothed them. That’s how we feel when we finally come to God and confess our sins. We feel naked, vulnerable, and embarrassed. We have that moment of thinking “Why did I do that?” or “How could I be so dumb?” It’s always a humbling experience to have to come face to face with our creator when we are broken by our sin. The good news is that God is going to do the exact same thing for us that He did with Adam and Eve, He’s going to cover our shame. The difference is that He’s not going to cover us with skins, but rather, He’s going to clothe us with forgiveness and love.
1 John 1:9 speaks to this, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Not only is he going to clothe us but He’s going to wash us clean as if we never committed the sin. Psalm 103:12 reads, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Your sin will be completely removed, and all God will see is his faithful follower whom He loves dearly.
This is all possible because of what Christ did for us on the cross. Because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, He has set into motion a life of forgiveness and love for us. We can’t take this lightly because “You were bought with a price.” (1 Cor. 6:20) That price was Jesus s suffering and dying on our behalf. This life of forgiveness is not a license to sin. Paul talks about this in Romans 6: 1-2, “What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace can multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who have died to sin still live in it?” We are no longer servants of sin but servants of the Almighty God; we need to put that on display in every aspect of our lives and avoid sin at all cost.
God’s grace knows no limitations. He is ready to forgive us and cover us with His love is we just go to Him. We need to stop hiding because it only causes us more pain. When we hide from God, we are hiding from His forgiveness. All we need to do is approach the throne and accept His timeless offer. Yes, there will be consequences to our sin, but those consequences pale in comparison to the richness of God’s mercy. We shouldn’t be afraid to go to God like Adam and Eve were because Christ died so that we could go to our king and accept the grace that He’s delighted to give to us.