By Brooke Holt
“Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!” – Psalm 25:6-7
We all have our stories to tell—stories of our wilderness days, our rebellion, and our resistance to God’s call on our lives. Recently, I was blessed to see the movie about C.S. Lewis called The Most Reluctant Convert. Despite C.S. Lewis and all his objections, the Lord got ahold of that man and then used him mightily to build the kingdom of God. C.S. Lewis had quite the story to tell about his life! Like our stories, his was one of trauma, loss, repressed pain and anger, questions about God, unanswered petitions to God, and his own personal agendas and life goals.
Our psalmist today has his own stories. Raised in the Jewish faith, he had been taught about the goodness of the Lord since youth. He probably attended synagogue on a weekly basis and had much of his life shaped around the Jewish community and calendar. And yet, despite all that, he still has wandered from the Lord and lived in sin and rebellion. Clearly, the memory of these offenses pains him, for he cries out to the Lord to forget the psalmist’s deeds and to remember his steadfast love. Sounds like a pretty good deal! Lord, forget all the bad and just remember how you promised to love me with a steadfast, unchanging love.
Can this truly happen? Can the Lord stay so focused on his mercy and steadfast love that he forgets the sins of our past? We have this question answered on the cross. Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, took our sins upon himself so that we could be completely forgiven, healed, and free, so that his righteousness could become our righteousness. There is no greater gift! We hand him all our own sin, rebellion, and failures, and he imputes on us the righteousness of Christ. When the Lord looks down upon you, he does not see your sin or anything that would cause you shame. What the Lord sees is the perfect righteousness of his Son all over you. There is not one part of you that is not covered by that righteousness, not one part that is subject to his judgment.
If that is how the Lord sees you, why can’t you see yourself in that way? Even before the cross of Jesus Christ, this psalmist knew that he could find forgiveness from a holy God. His appeal was to the mercy and steadfast love of the Lord. He had experienced it before and so trusted in it for that day and then the next day. May we do the same. We, too, have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord (Ps. 34:8).
This Advent season, may we come humbly before him, confessing our sins, asking for the forgiveness that comes through his sacrifice, and then may we trust in that mercy and steadfast love. May we rejoice in the gift of his righteousness that becomes our own, and may we live into that freedom so that the world sees how good he is, how abundant his mercy is, and how his steadfast love never ends.
How is the Lord calling you to confess your sins before him today then to trust in his mercy, grace, and love? Through the cross of Jesus Christ, you are a new creation; the old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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