Have you ever gotten to the point where you feel like you keep coming to God asking for forgiveness for the same sins? You pray that He would forgive you for doing something, and few days, weeks, or months later you come back and pray again for the same problem. I have. And many times I hesitated before praying. I feel like I shouldn’t ask Him for forgiveness because I am afraid that I would come to Him again for the same exact problem. What should I do? I hated myself because I sinned against Him again. I had asked Him for forgiveness already for the same problem, and I did it again. I feel like I am asking Him for too much. I think I shouldn’t ask Him to forgive me again. What should I do? I felt helpless, ashamed, and miserable. Have you ever felt the same?
Let me share with you the message He gave me today.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? Who can bring accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘Because of you we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.’ For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
This is the kind of love that He did and still does. He gave up His own son when you and I were still sinners, His enemies. We were at a war against Him, the Creator and the Lord. And after redeeming us from that status, adopting us as His children, Jesus Himself intercedes for us. I was afraid of going before Him because of what I had done, but He encouraged me to come before Him with every burden I had. He reminded me that He is God who forgives. He reminded me of His mercy and grace that He has poured upon my life and many others’. Honestly, I do not understand why He loves us that much. Why is He so gracious and merciful towards us? My heart breaks but, at the same time, rejoices. I am deeply grieved that I am so weak that I fall over and over again. I am sorrowful that I am no way close to be where God desires me to be. I am so blessed that He chose me to be His. I am so thankful for who my Father is. I am so overwhelmed by His grace and mercy and love that He has shown me.
So many things are happening in my life now, and, as I am walking in the midst of all of them, I often feel overwhelmed and discouraged. So I began to ask the “why” questions, but last Sunday God taught me something that I should never ever forget. I am recalling the message to remind myself as I am going through this moment that saddens me.
Preaching on Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, my pastor asked, “What is the basis of your faith?” When things are not going well, many people lose their focus and start looking at the circumstances. They began to wonder “Does God really love me?” I was there with them. Although I knew in my head that God loves me, my heart was saying another thing. I was getting tired of the problems I have. I was getting exhausted, but it was not the situation that was wearing me out. It was the lack of faith.
I did not become a Christian because I wanted everything in my life to go well perfectly in the way I wanted. I did not become a Christian because God gave me all the things that I wanted to have. I did not become a Christian because He told me that I would be happily ever after without no suffering, no hardship, and no difficult decisions to make. I put my faith in Jesus because He is the Son of God, Christ, the Lord of all. He died on the cross for sinners, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day. The basis of my faith is not what He does for me but who He is. I put my trust in Him. This fact gives me the greatest comfort and peace. Even if not everything goes well, I know I can trust my God because He is righteous and just but also merciful and gracious.
Are you having a hard time? Keep trusting Jesus whom you have always trusted until today. He knows what is the best for us. What He does might not seem to be good for us in our eyes, but we do not know the ultimate answers to our problems. Many times we do not even know what the real problems are, but Jesus never fails because He is God, the Only One who gives life.
24 And you said, “The LORD our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire. Today we have seen that a man can live even if God speaks with him. 25 But now, why should we die? This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any longer. 26 For what mortal man has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived?” (Deuteronomy 5:24-26 / NIV)
These words of the people of Israel pleased God. The people had the fear of the LORD that God always deserves from his creation. In this passage, Moses was talking about the encounter that he and the people of Israel had at the Mount Sinai (Exodus 19). There the people encountered God so vividly, so closely. The majesty and the glory of God were manifested before them. They heard the voice of the living God. They realized who God is, how great, powerful, majestic, glorious, pure and holy He is. They realized who they were before Him. They were humbled. They were ready to obey. They feared Him. The fear of the LORD came from their recognition of who God is and resulted in reverence, awe, and worship.God was teaching me through this passage that my encounter with Him should bear the same results. My growth in the knowledge of God should humble myself and make myself “quick” in obedience. When I am arrogant and prideful because of what I know about God and his creation, I know that whatever I am learning has become my head-knowledge. I would want to challenge whoever is reading this blog and myself to examine ourselves. Whether our knowledge of God has truly humbled us and caused us to live the righteous life that God calls us to live. Does your life reflect the righteousness of God? He has blessed us so much that He Himself dwells in us. It is not only the voice that we hear, He is living in us. How much should we humble ourselves and worship Him with everything we have? How much should we be willing to obey Him?
“6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:6-9 / NIV)
Knowing the true gospel of Christ is so important. Being able to discern false teachings is so important. It is because there is only one way, Jesus Christ, who redeems and saves. He is the Word who was, in the beginning, with God and who was God (John1:1).
And he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). And it is not by good works or any works we do, but “by grace” one receives salvation. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are redeemed. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom.3:22-24). Because of salvation that we have received freely by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we do the good works. Because we are redeemed, we want to live the life that is worthy of the gospel. Let’s not forget that what count is not our deeds but Christ’s. Our deeds are the fruits of the gift we received from God in Christ.