Autumn Volunteer Mailout 2016
Do you ever wonder how it works, that even though we still sin, God still accepts us? Well, one of the joys of my job is being able to share my heroes with you. Today we’re going to read a devotion that answers this question. It was written over a 100 years ago by one of the best preachers ever – in fact he’s actually still called the “Prince of Preachers”. Let me introduce you to the one and only: Charles Spurgeon.
“Father, I have sinned.”
– Luke 15:18
It is quite certain that those whom Christ has washed in his precious blood need not make a confession of sin, as culprits or criminals, before God the Judge, for Christ has forever taken away all their sins in a legal sense, so that they no longer stand where they can be condemned, but are once for all accepted in the Beloved; but having become children, and offending as children, ought they not every day to go before their heavenly Father and confess their sin, and acknowledge their iniquity in that character? Nature teaches that it is the duty of erring children to make a confession to their earthly father, and the grace of God in the heart teaches us that we, as Christians, owe the same duty to our heavenly Father. We daily offend, and ought not to rest without daily pardon. For, supposing that my trespasses against my Father are not at once taken to him to be washed away by the cleansing power of the Lord Jesus, what will be the consequence? If I have not sought forgiveness and been washed from these offences against my Father, I shall feel at a distance from him; I shall doubt his love to me; I shall tremble at him; I shall be afraid to pray to him:I shall grow like the prodigal, who, although still a child, was yet far off from his father. But if, with a child’s sorrow at offending so gracious and loving a Parent, I go to him and tell him all, and rest not till I realize that I am forgiven, then I shall feel a holy love to my Father, and shall go through my Christian career, not only as saved, but as one enjoying present peace in God through Jesus Christ my Lord.There is a wide distinction between confessing sin as a culprit, and confessing sin as a child. The Father’s bosom is the place for penitent confessions. We have been cleansed once for all, but our feet still need to be washed from the defilement of our daily walk as children of God.
What a great reminder it is that we, truly born again Christians, will never stand in a place of condemnation before almighty God! This is because when we are truly born again we are justified, which means we are declared righteous before God. That means we are made right with him, it’s like a friendship being restored – we are happy with each other once again.
This is known as “positional justification” and it is an eternal truth that will never change.
But, as Spurgeon so vividly paints for us, we are still sinners and need to daily come into God’s presence to ask for forgiveness. This is because even though we are legally righteous in God’s eyes (positional justification) – we are not always “practically righteous”. Let’s face it, we still mess up – and God knows this. That is why God’s Word so often calls us to a “progressive justification” (often called sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says “For this is the will of God, your sanctification”. Once we are born again, we are not to merely stay the same, but we are called to become more and more like Jesus Christ – we are to become “Christlike” – this is God’s will for us and it should also be our aim in life.
Let us thank God for these truths: that once we are saved we are always right with God; and further that we are not called to stay the same but rather that we are called to become more and more holy – more and more like Christ.