Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.
We all occasionally sin, don’t we? What is to be our response when we sin? Those who practice bad grace say if you are a Christian, then you do not need to do anything when you sin because you have already been forgiven.
That is true in a sense–Colossians 2:13 says through Jesus’s death on the cross, He has “forgiven us all our transgressions.” But there is a difference between judicial and parental forgiveness. The moment you put your faith in Jesus to save you, God declares you “not guilty.” You never have to suffer the eternal consequences of your sin. That is judicial forgiveness. But there is also a parental forgiveness that Christians need every day from our heavenly Father.
Let me explain it this way: Imagine your teenage son or daughter is out on a date. In the middle of the night, you get a phone call–your child has been arrested for drunk driving. You bail out your child, and once the hangover is gone, you give them a piece of your mind. But instead of confessing they were wrong, your child says, “I am tired of living under your rules. You are not going to tell me what to do!” They storm into their bedroom, lock the door, and turn up the music. What do you do? You are probably not going to throw your child out of the house or disinherit them. But there is going to be a wall of separation between you and your child until they admit what they did was wrong.
It is the same way in our relationship with God. We do not get thrown out of God’s family when we sin, but there is a barrier between God and us if we refuse to acknowledge our sin. Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.” He was not talking to pagans; he was talking to God’s people, the Jews. The same thing applies to us as Christians. In 1 John 1:9, the apostle wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We use that verse to talk about repentance with non-Christians, but John was writing to Christians about their need for confession.
When Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the church door at Wittenberg, do you know what the first thesis said? “The entire life of believers [is to] be a life of repentance.” Repentance is not just for non-Christians; it is for Christians. Good grace leads us to repentance.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Good-Grace Spirituality” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Martin Luther, “The Ninety-Five Theses,” in The Ninety-Five Theses and Other Writings, trans. William R. Russell (New York: Penguin, 2017), 3.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org