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“…where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” (Romans 5:20)
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love…he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:8, 10-12)
I had a dream:
I burst out in rageful anger towards someone in the presence of many people. My outburst was completely irrational, and I fully knew I was in the wrong. Instead of confessing and asking forgiveness, however, I hardened my heart and ran away in rebellion. I began to oppose and rebel against everything loving and good, running away from both God and people.
I lived a lonely, isolated life in which I continually beat myself up for the wrong I had done. I was miserable, but I never considered reconciliation and restoration an option because I was so red-handedly guilty of my crime without excuse. I felt this was the kind of life I deserved–one of alienation and pain. I felt I was paying the rightful penalty for what I’d done.
As I kept running from God, Jesus began to come after me and sing to me. The first song he sang was about repentance, confession and turning away from my sin. The latter songs were about the forgiveness and mercy he longed to extend to me if only I would stop running away from him and come to him for forgiveness. The final song was about his great, unfailing love for me.
I woke up and understood in my heart God’s free offer of forgiveness towards me.
The reason we run from God is because we fear he will mete out our just punishment. However, for those who receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (See “Message“), our FULL punishment was already poured out on Christ in the cross. As a result, there is no more wrath left for us; Jesus took it all. Condemnation no longer awaits us but only mercy, forgiveness and love as we turn back to God.
I felt like I was in the middle of an endless ocean of God’s love, grace and mercy. From horizon to horizon, even if I was to run for the whole rest of my life, I would never reach the limits of his love, grace and mercy for me, for they are boundless.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified [put into eternal right standing with God] freely by his grace [unmerited favor] through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement (as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away sin), through faith in his blood.” (Romans 3:23-25)
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1)
“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:18-19)