In today’s reading from Psalm 65 and 66, the psalmists write:
“When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.” (Ps. 65:3)
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Ps. 66:18-20)
You’ll notice that just as much as sin is mentioned in the Bible, redemption through God’s grace is the more important thing for us to focus on as believers in Christ! Yes, as the writer mentions, there are times when we may feel “overwhelmed” by sin, and we must recognize that one of the attacks of the enemy is to heap coals of shame and guilt upon us, that we may dwell in our sin rather than dwelling in His grace.
But know that while we may feel that some sins are too great, or too many, or unforgivable, God says quite the contrary: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn. 1:9)
God is quick to forgive the transgressions of a sincerely repentant heart! No one is beyond redemption; if that weren’t so, it would cheapen the sacrifice that Jesus gave on the cross, as “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
The key here is that we must truly repent of our sin, and not cherish it in our hearts. The definition of “repent” is to “feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin.” If we are repentant, the sin will actually cause remorse within us (i.e. conviction by the Holy Spirit). Then our response in action and faith should be to do all we can to turn away from continuing in that sin, or as many people call it, do a “180 degree” turn from it and move in the other direction.
When we are truly repentant in our hearts, Psa. 66 reminds us that God will hear our prayers, and His love will not be withheld from us! That is something to praise and thank Him for every day of our lives!!
You may be struggling with a certain sin in your life, or maybe you’re caught up in something you’ve done in the past. It happens to the best of us- look at David who penned the majority of these Psalms. But take heart, God forgives! The question is, can we forgive ourselves?
The repercussions of sin can be many, and there’s no doubt that we may have to live with the consequences of our sin; but God can and will use even the aftermath to conform us more to the image of Christ, as we make the determination to move forward. Remember, He works ALL THINGS together for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28) What a promise!!
Let’s not dwell on the past, but look forward to the future that He has destined for His children. He knows the plans and purposes He has for us… are we ready to claim them?
[From October 19, 2018]