Pristine Grace

Precious Reminders!
by John Pedersen

     A believer may look over his life, particularly the years he has believed the gospel, and find occasion for great sorrow and heartache over his sins and their consequences. He may bewail the fact he has “blown it” and find himself wishing he could do it over again.

     He may even give place to those who, comparing themselves to him, dismiss him altogether as one who has “made shipwreck of the faith” and awaits only damnation for having “gone too far” and “continued to sin” after having known and proclaimed the truth.

     It is a good thing to mourn over one’s sins, be they sins of the past or sins of the present, for sin itself is never a “good thing”. Moreover, the consequences of sin are sober reminders of its destructive nature. Some have been all but crushed under reminders of their past sins. Some who read this may be among them.
But those who believe the true gospel of God’s grace in Christ must be reminded and instructed in the following, and rest in it as the bedrock of their assurance of mercy, and eternal life:

1. God loves you, and has loved you always (Ephesians 1:4; John 3:16).

2. Your life has turned out exactly as God has intended. All the days ordained for you were written down before one of them came to be, and He ordained them and He wrote them down (Psalm 139:1-16).

3. It is impossible to “blow”, to “ruin”, the Christian life. The Christian life is God’s, and the Christian is God’s workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10a). God works in the Christian to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). God has prepared in advance every single good work you will ever do, and you, to this very day, have walked in every single one He prepared for you to do (Ephesians 2:10b).

None are lacking.

He shows His glory in various degrees and measures, and He has demonstrated His glory in you exactly as He has determined (Romans 12:3).

4. Nevertheless, do your past (and present) sins distress your heart and trouble your conscience? It cannot be otherwise for one who believes the gospel. Through the heartache and pain, know this: God has cast your sins into the depths of the sea and separated you from them as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), and this is and was true of you even during the time they were going on. Because Jesus Christ bore your sins (all of them: past, present, and future) on the cross and suffered the full weight of God’s justice toward you as your Substitute, He has nothing but affection, compassion, and good intentions toward you. This, and this only, is your motive for turning from and stopping sinful attitudes and practices: Thankfulness your sin debt has been paid and He loves you freely, and love, on account of this, for what pleases Him.
What is more, though He is opposite all sin, He has included even your sinful failures in His sovereign plan for your life and has ordained them to this end: He will ultimately bring good out of them and will preserve, protect, and bless you in spite of them (Romans 8:28-39).

5. Though some may look at the temporal consequences of your sins and say, “That is God’s punishment toward him, God manifesting His wrath toward him.” They only by this show ignorance of both the sinfulness of sin and the wrath of God. The temporal consequences of your sins are tokens of kindness and love from God, not wrath, for they have a purpose: They wean you from earthly affections and sharpen your focus on what matters, what is eternal and what is real. They also bring the tears, not of despair, but of mourning, tears He Himself will wipe away from your eyes when you are found in His presence.

God brings the tears to the end He should take them all away.