Exodus 33:14, “And He said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest’.” This is God speaking to Moses. I read this verse yesterday and it floored me because it is so in line with what God has been teaching me.
See, the African worldview focuses a lot on manipulating and appeasing God (or the gods), but so often my own life is that way. I do things to try and please God in order to atone for my sins.I try to balance my sins with a quick prayer or some good action to balance the scale. It's an attitude of appeasement that has sunk into our understanding of Christianity, and it’s completely ridiculous.
See, I KNOW that Jesus has washed away my sins. But I have had to ask myself do I BELIEVE it? Again, the answer is yes, but not fully sometimes. See, if I truly believe something I am going to LIVE it. So based on how I have lived and thought, I believed that Jesus MOSTLY paid for my sins, or paid for them up until my point of salvation. See, I always viewed repentance as a way of getting forgiveness for my sins after I screw up. I have been taught 1 John 1:9 in these kinds of terms ‘see, so when we mess up if we repent He will then forgive us and we can move forward’. But WHAT IF, that isn’t what repentance is about at all? Hebrews 10:12-14 says, “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” So going based on this, I am (as a believer in Jesus) PERFECTED FOREVER. Jesus’ sacrifice was enough to make me righteous for past, present, and future sins. So if repentance isn’t about getting re-forgivened (as I always sort of subconsciously thought) then what on earth is it for?
I believe it is for sanctification. If we understand the depth of our depravity, and the indescribable gift of the gospel, we are going to DESIRE to turn from our sin out of love and gratitude; not out of fear of being a bad boy or girl. And how that frees me up. Instead of trying to beat my sin on my own, I can run to my Abba Daddy and say ‘I know I am righteous in Christ, help me flee my wickedness in this (insert sin here)’. His presence becomes infinite comfort instead of infinite condemnation. But so often we misunderstand His goodness and flee from His presence until we can “sort ourselves out”.
Look at David’s example. Psalm 25:11, “For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.” (Clearly David knows he is a filthy sinner here). Then look at Psalm 26:1, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity; and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.” Those two statements seem so contradictory to me at first glance, but what if they aren’t? Perhaps, David (like Paul in Romans 7:20-8:1) knows he is a wicked sinner, AND is washed completely clean by the blood of Christ…
Doesn’t that give us great freedom! We are free to chase after God, and run to Him when we mess up and say ‘help me be as I ought, sanctify me’ without having to always worry about messing up our forgiveness. THAT gives me freedom to rest in Jesus. And it causes me to celebrate even more fully the grace and love of God! And when I walk in that, the presence of God in my life gives me such rest as I have never known.