I have had a corrupt view of sin (no pun intended) for most of my life. Honestly, it has made me unwilling at times to come to the throne of grace, boldly or otherwise, Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. I have been unwilling to confess my sins before Jesus, my Savior…it sounds a little silly when you say it out loud. I say “unwilling” because it has been all about me; there is no blaming anyone else for something that literally takes moments to do.
The catch is that it has taken all the minions of heaven to help me scale the wall of my pride and rebellion in order to arrive at the bottom step of that beautiful throne of grace. A secret about the minions of heaven is that they do all of the work...they are excellent scalers.
Furthering my sin problem, I used to be one of those people who had the “goodness continuum” in my head. I was better than average so that meant that I still qualified for church on Sunday morning. Interestingly enough, the whole world thinks that they are better than average. There was a study done showing that most people think that they are better than average drivers, and we know that is not true. I would have bragged on my driving skills, too, before I ran a red light with five high school girls in my car (there, I confessed it; sorry moms). The subjective nature of scales makes them…worthless. I only mention all of this because I have, and still can, struggle with confession.
My sinful heart responded when I read this, Isaiah 43:25, “I, I am He, who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” I love this verse; it speaks to me in a wonderfully mystical way. For a long time I have looked at this from afar, and today I tackle it.
These words are sort of a majestic way of saying, “I won’t remember your sins”, but let’s crack it open a little further. “I, I am He”, which makes me want to put my face on the ground in front of the proverbial burning bush. I just think of Moses standing there, on holy ground, hearing “I am”, that is His name. God is giving a peek at Himself. He is present and active in the midst of his people (see The Problem of God, John Courtney Murray for a “riveting” discussion of this). God is reiterating that He is here, Creator, Holy, Endless, Savior, Rescuer, Present; He is here for the sinful.
As I have said before, I hate messy. I cannot imagine why God would get messy over me, until I look at the cross. He blots out transgressions for His own sake. This has been what I cannot shake. For His own sake he is erasing all of my mistakes. Everything that is contrary to His holy nature, He removes from my life when I ask. For His own sake NOT for my sake, He restores the broken fellowship with Him created by my sin. Why? He wants me to come to meet Him at the throne of grace.
And why should this matter to me? Stay with me; read this slowly…He tells me who I am when he tells me who He is. Isaiah 43:21, “the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise”. I was not created for myself, but for Him. I was created to experience God in the infinite ways that He chooses to show me His face…so I can celebrate Him. I was created to watch God show off and just remain in awe over Him. This might hurt the pride of some; it used to put me off a bit. I have very little to do with this scenario, and I have thought very highly of me. So, here is the shocker, God acts independently of me. God is who He is independently of us, “I, I am He”, not “I, I am who you want me to be”.
This is why the continuum fails. God will not conform to my scale (thank you Jesus). He just will not let me call myself ok, when I am emotionally drowning or when I am doing “the brain-roll” at home. That is not ok. It is not about me…and I am not praising Him by doing what I want and emotionally stealing what I want from everyone around me, just to make me feel better about myself.
So how do we get there? We go boldly to the throne of grace where we lay down all of us and let Him make us into something new, even if we have to use the minions of heaven to get there. We let him make us into something new that reflects His purpose for us. He can break the shackles of worry and shame, so that we can raise our hands to praise Him, the One who is present. AND, as if reiterating this amazing act, he says in a whisper to my heart. And I will not remember your sins.
Thank you, Jesus, for making us new and desiring only that we praise you, enjoy you, delight in all of who you are. Thank you for making us for you. Whisper your freedom from sin to my heart today.