Cape Pillar is the crowning beauty of Tasmania’s popular “Three Capes Track”, which is located in Tasman National Park in Tasmania’s southeast. The Three Capes Track takes visitors out to Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy, while the third cape, Cape Raoul, can be seen at a distance (and visited on a separate day walk). These stunning dolerite sea cliffs rise out of the Southern Ocean to an astounding height of 300m (984’) and are among the tallest sea cliffs in the world. Tasman Island is situated off the southernmost point of Cape Pillar and is best viewed from “The Blade” or by sea. Tasman Island’s lighthouse was built in 1906 and remains operational although it is now unmanned.
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“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 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 103:8-12)
It had been a harrowing couple of weeks for me.
Circumstances had robbed me of the sufficient time I needed with the Lord in order to be spiritually strong enough to handle life’s challenges in a godly manner. In fact, my thoughts, actions and words had been downright unloving and sinful toward people, particularly my family.
It was in this stressed and spiritually agitated state that I left for a backpacking trip to Cape Pillar.
When I got in the car I had my tail between my legs and could hardly look up to God in prayer (Luke 18:9-14). As I confessed my guilt and wrongdoing to God, I felt like I deserved an angry silence. In fact, I knew that’s what I deserved for my wrongdoing against God and others. I deserved at least a few spankings…but probably more like several.
Despite my guilt, I put my trust in God’s promise that:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
And I put my hope in God’s redemptive and forgiving character:
“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.” (Isaiah 30:18)
As soon I confessed my sins, God’s loving presence came swiftly and strongly upon me. I was completely overcome and silenced by his grace and forgiveness, which I did not deserve. I could feel the warmth, kindness and goodness of God enveloping me and lifting me up into worship and greater closeness to him.
Why was God treating me like this??? Where were my spankings?
“…God’s kindness leads you toward repentance…” (Romans 2:4)
As I continued to repent and confess my sins, the Lord completely removed my burden of guilt, and I began take flight on the wings of worship.
I requested many, many things of God on this 26 km (16 mile) trip to Cape Pillar, such as beautiful skies to photograph and enough sleep to sustain me, from protection from snakebites to God’s loving companionship with me. God answered every single one of my many prayers, and he even went beyond it by showering me with many undeserved blessings such as seeing endangered Tasmanian wedge tailed eagles and whales off of the Blade. (I am also thankful to my husband and friends who also helped me along by their prayers (2 Corinthians 1:11)).
Truly, the Lord’s character is:
“…compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger forever; 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 103:8-12)
God treats us far better than we deserve (Matthew 5:45). This is the definition of GRACE, which means “unmerited favour”.
The reason why God can show me grace and forgive my sins is because God executed judgement and justice against my sins against Jesus Christ through his death on the cross.
God cannot turn a blind eye to our sins or simply overlook them. To do so would compromise his perfectly holy, good and just character. To not punish sin is unjust; injustice is evil. Therefore, God in his perfectly holy character must exercise justice and execute punishment against our sins.
Tragically, every single one of us has sinned against God; therefore, we all justly deserve to be punished (Romans 3:23). God declares that the just punishment for our sins is death and eternal separation from him in hell (Romans 6:23).
However, God dearly loves us and wants to save us from our sins and their consequences and bring us into a loving, personal relationship with himself, for this is the purpose for which he created us.
Therefore, he sent his Son, Jesus, to take the justice and punishment for our sins. Jesus lived the perfectly sinless, moral life none of us could live. Because he never sinned, he never deserved to be punished. Yet, out of his great love for us, he took all of our sins upon himself and bore the just punishment for them through his death on the cross. Jesus rose from the dead three days later making reconciliation with God possible.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
In order to receive God’s grace and to be forgiven and reconciled to God you must first repent (confess and turn away) from your sins.
Secondly, you must trust in Jesus as your personal Saviour, receiving his free gift of forgiveness by believing that he died on the cross for your sins. When you trust in Jesus to save you from your sins, then all of your sins are punished in Jesus, and his perfect righteous standing with God is eternally granted to you. It is a ransom and a trade, and you individually appropriate it through repentance and faith. God freely offers it to you.
This is how amazing God’s grace is.
“But God, being [so very] rich in mercy, because of His great and wonderful love with which He loved us, even when we were [spiritually] dead and separated from Him because of our sins, He made us [spiritually] alive together with Christ (for by His grace–His undeserved favor and mercy–you have been saved from God’s judgment). And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus, [and He did this] so that in the ages to come He might [clearly] show the immeasurable and unsurpassed riches of His grace in [His] kindness toward us in Christ Jesus [by providing for our redemption].
For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation].”
(Ephesians 2:3-9 AMP)
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.” (Titus 3:2-8)
For more information on how to be reconciled to God, please see Message.