Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Repent and Return
Psalm 32
“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”
This Psalm offers thanks for forgiveness of sins, and it is one of the seven penitential Psalms. It also has a number of features reminiscent of ‘the beatitudes’ in the first two verses, each of which begins with blessed or happy (Matt. 5: 3-10).
What are the transgressions? We have references to three types of sins here, which are rebellion against God’s will, missing the correct path and iniquities or unjust way of life. These sins cause silence for it says, ‘When I kept silent’ (V.3). Anything that prevents having a conversation, prayer or thanksgiving  to  God is a sin. Sins make us hide from God, but we cannot just hide from Him; we are in His presence at all times.
How do we repent? We need an honest acknowledgement of all our sins, both of commission and omission, hiding nothing, nor being silent or evasive about anything. God knows us in the depth of our being. It can be easy to say sorry about few minor things, but not so easy to search our hearts for the attitudes, platitudes, and personality traits that lead us to upsetting others. We need to move on and seek forgiveness of those we have hurt in our family and community, and forgiving those who have hurt us, as well.
What does it mean to be fully forgiven? We can become over familiar with the Bible, quoting often to fit our needs, yet sometimes we need to meditate afresh, by ourselves, on the wonder of God’s amazing grace. It can be an immense relief, and a real source of blessing, to confess one’s sins and experience God’s forgiveness. We will be very happy to say ‘Amen’ to the words, ‘Blessed is he whose sins are forgiven.’ Psalmist uses three phrases for forgiveness: lifted, blotted and not counted. These suggest that after confession sins are no longer held against the person who repents. St. Paul quotes the first two verses of this Psalm in the context of discussing justification by faith (Rom.4:7-8).  We have this amazing assurance in Isaiah, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool (Isa. 1.18).
The blessedness of Forgiveness: This ‘repent and return’ state brings us into happiness. Going away from God due to our sins and coming back to God through repentance is an on-going everyday experience of grace.  In this state of grace, we are ready to live the life God has prepared for us. This is the blessedness that Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount, which comes to the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers and the pure in heart.

Dear Father, we give thanks to you for your never ending forgiveness and unconditional love. Forgive us if we have treated your love and redemption as minor things, and if we have never even begun to love you as you have first loved us, we pray. Amen!

Happiness has no limit; it is to be with God and love Him.
Dr. Zac Varghese, London