Vindicate me, ADONAI, for I have lived a blameless life; unwaveringly I trust in ADONAI. Examine me, ADONAI, test me, search my mind and heart. For your grace is there before my eyes, and I live my life by your truth. Ps 26:1-3
Can we join David in this psalm? O Lord, be my judge, for my behaviour has been upright (BBE).
Until some time ago I would not have been able to say so. You have to understand, I am a teacher. Teachers tend to live by rules and regulations. Once they found what they perceive to be a principle of God, they usually carve it into stone and make some rules to protect it and write a book about it. Moreover, they build a box they can put the stones into – there seems to be a great example for this behavior in the Old Testament, isn’t there? You know – the ten commandments in the arc of covenant.
But the more God reveals the finished work to me, the more I understand. I have lived a blameless life. I trust in the Lord. For your grace is right here, and I live that kind of life by your truth.
By his grace and his truth. Not by my works and my understanding of truth. Jesus died for me, even as me, so I can live as him. There is nothing the father holds against me.
Now I maybe have to shatter some religious perception. We view God as an angry God, and he unloaded all his anger of 4000 years unto Jesus on the cross. All his anger? No, because Jesus still needs to intercede for us daily and keep God from unloading his anger on us when we goof up. When we fall. When we trespass the rules. But studying what God did on the cross it dawned on me that he did not punish Jesus, he punished sin.
More over, reading the account of Adam and Eve, after they fell, I discovered that God still communed with them. He still came in the evening to walk with them. And once he “realized” that they had sinned, he did not shrink back. A funny thought that God could realize something. He got caught by surprise. No way. Because the bible tells us that Jesus was crucified before the beginning of creation. It was planed all along. God knew. So if he knew, and he could not come close to sin, why did he reappear when there was sin in the camp?
It is not God that brings separation. It was man. Being disobedient they experienced shame that gave birth to fear. So they hid. They covered up their shame and their sin with man made coverings from fig leaves. But God foreshadowed the death of Jesus to them by killing an animal, shedding blood, and covering them with leather.
Oh, God hates sin. And he did not say that all was good just by wearing leather clothes instead of greens. Nor the other way around, by the way – jute instead of fur is not going to save humanity. But back to our topic.
But God said that when we repent, he will not remember any longer. Repent – metanoia – to turn around and do no more. To change my thinking and my behavior. Just like the woman that they brought to Jesus for stoning – and as a trap for him.
If we do not condemn ourselves any longer, if we turn around and change, if we start to live by his grace and his truth, he forgets. And not just when we succeed or even after we succeeded and have proven so for a certain amount of time. This would be a life time sentence if thought through. If God would forgive only if we had proven ourselves, he would have to wait until we die – there could be an incident just before that that would prove us to be unworthy and incapable. But God has so much faith. He believes in us. He believes us. If we make something fast in our heart he believes it. If we repent, he takes us up by our word – and forgets what we have done. That is his grace. That is his truth. Thus sin has no power, death has no sting.
On the contrary, God’s forgiveness, faith, and forgetting of our sin upon repentance becomes the driving force and the sustaining force, the beginning and the accomplishing of our success to live a blameless life.
Why then should I remember what I have done and let it influence my life? Why should I hide from God? Run from him instead of towards him?
Back to thinking in a box: Jesus is the arc of the covenant. He the head, we the body. Hiding the law in a box in this view becomes something totally different. The Spirit wrote the law of the new covenant in the heart of believers.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jer 31:33
The law is nothing external. It is internal. It is not a set of rules and regulations. It is the work of the Spirit in me that lets me desire to do God’s will, to live a God fearing and pleasing life. Not through external works, adhering to a set of rules. But by an internal desire. Motivated by love. I love him so much, him that loved me first, without any wrath, without any preconditions, without anything that would shatter his love. Nothing that would stand between us – but my shame, my memory of what I have done, my fear of not measuring up as I am weak.
Recognize his truth: I love you, and you have lived a blameless life. There is nothing to judge. Sin has been judged, and you have accepted the sentence. You forgave yourself, you turned away from sin or rather towards me. What is the sentence: you are sentenced to a life with me. A life in freedom and peace and rest. Eternal life in relationship with me on earth and in heaven. Therefore trust me. I am not an angry God waiting for a chance to get back at you. I am your ever loving father. And when I examine you, when I test and search you, I can find no wrong but the way you think about yourself and even me. Let me help you change that. Let me do so piece by piece, step by step, precept upon precept.
And suddenly we can from the bottom of our hearts pray with David.
Are you in for that? Tell him. Maybe in a comment?