Monday, July 11, 2016

A Prayer

Father,

Jesus taught us to pray for You to forgive us our sins. He didn't teach us to do that because we need to beg and plead with You to be forgiven. He taught us that because You are eager to forgive. Eager. The prayer for forgiveness is a prayer You love to grant.

Father, when we stop to think about our sin, how ugly it is and how we fail so miserably and repeatedly to keep Your instructions on how to live well - it is disgusting. We are so foul. And You are the holy God who hates sin with a passion. There is no reason why You should forgive.

And yet, there is forgiveness with You. How amazing.

We know that You forgive only because of Jesus. But it isn't that Jesus somehow forced You to agree to His plan to forgive us. You are the one who gave Your only begotten Son so that we might be forgiven. Forgiveness is Your idea. Why You bothered at all is a mystery. You should have sent another flood to destroy us. But You didn't. Instead, You sent Jesus.

Because of Jesus our sins are forgiven. That means that the slate is clean as far as You are concerned. We are as innocent before You as Adam once was, as righteous in Your sight as Jesus is. That is simply incredible.

Help us, Father, to believe this part of the Gospel, to believe it deeply. Some of us struggle because, down deep, we don’t think that we are really forgiven, seen by You as completely innocent and righteous. Help us to believe in the forgiveness that the Gospel actually provides.

On the other hand, it is too easy to let forgiveness become ho-hum, no big deal, a part of the Gospel that is so elementary that we need to get past it to the more profound ideas. Father, we pray that that would never be the case for us. We pray that we would be perpetually amazed that You forgive our sin.

We pray for this so that there would be a growing sense of wonder at who You are. You are the God of mercy, of holy rage, of justice, of goodness, the God of heaven and of hell, the God who forgives sin.

Grant these things, Father, so that we would grow in our understanding of You, our great God. Grant these things so that we might live well and thus make You look as good as You really are, through Christ our Lord Amen.
Psalm 130.3,4

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