June 5, 2010 in Features

Sins – the messes in our lives – can be cleaned up with God’s forgiveness

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Some messes just seem too big to be cleaned up. But they’re not.

The dark, toxic goop contaminating the Gulf Coast courtesy of British Petroleum comes to mind. This vast oil slick covers an area larger than Massachusetts, Connecticut and Long Island combined. It’s hard to fathom.

Even harder to fathom is how an environment so grievously polluted ever will be made pure again.

But the oil spill isn’t really what’s on my heart right now.

All the TV images of oil-covered birds, dead fish and spitting-mad mariners have got me thinking a lot about sin and the power of God’s grace.

Like the dark oil tarnishing beaches and fisheries along the Gulf Coast, our sin tarnishes our relationship with our Creator. No person on this planet is innocent or pure. We all have sinned, are sinning and will keep on sinning.

Humanity is hopelessly covered in sin: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 – NKJV).

That’s an easily digested truth for a murderer, adulterer or thief. But even the person who figures she’s lived a good, moral life is nonetheless a sinner.

No, we’re not as bad as we could be. But none of us is pure, perfect, holy – and that just happens to be God’s standard.

Did you notice what the Bible declares? All have sinned. All fall short. No exceptions.

We’re as guilty and responsible for our sin as BP is guilty and responsible for its catastrophic spill.

It’s just that our mess has eternal consequences.

Paul’s letter to the Romans says this: “For the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23 – NKJV).

This death Paul speaks of is not merely physical death; that’s only part of it. No, the consequence of sin is eternal separation from God in hell.

Some messes just seem too big to be cleaned up. But they’re not.

As the rest of that verse reveals, God has graciously made provision for us to be completely forgiven, our sins erased, never to be held against us, let alone condemn us to hell: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 – NKJV).

Jesus Christ – eternal God in human form – died on the cross to incur the full wrath of God for our sin.

God’s cleansing forgiveness is not attained through anything we have done, or promised to do. It’s a gift. It’s secured simply by receiving in faith what God himself has done for us.

Have you accepted this gift?

This sin problem really is a hopeless mess when we think in terms of how we can clean it up ourselves.

We’re like a solitary man standing on an oil-coated beach, armed with a paper towel, trying to clean every grain of sand, save every animal. It cannot be done.

The wonder of forgiveness – being cleansed of sin – is that a loving, merciful God has made provision to accomplish what you and I could never accomplish.

No sin is too great to be outside the reach of God’s forgiving grace.

The Old Testament book of Isaiah offers this hope: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18 – NKJV).

Do you ever wonder whether you’ve made too big of a mess of your life, or you’ve missed your opportunity to be restored and live a life that is pleasing to God?

Be encouraged.

Yes, some messes do seem too big to be cleaned up. But they’re not.

Steve Massey is the pastor of Hayden Bible Church in Hayden, Idaho ( www.haydenbible.org). He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or steve@haydenbible.org.


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