Monday, July 6

Apostles' Creed Focus

“The third day he rose again from the dead”


Reflection Verse

 “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” - Psalm 103:12


Reflection

Have you ever felt paralyzed by your past? Maybe there’s a huge mistake you’ve made that you’ve never been able to fully forgive yourself for. Maybe there’s a hidden piece of your past that makes you feel a lot of shame. Maybe you’re currently experiencing fear because you don’t want past problems to creep up again. I’m sure all of us could share a moment when something from our past came back to haunt us later. No one can claim that their past is without mistakes, pitfalls, and regrets.

Here’s the great news. God doesn’t hold our past transgressions against us when our sins have already been covered by Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. Pause and read that sentence again. How incredible! If God isn’t beating us up about that embarrassing moment, that reckless night, or that habitual problem that continually nagged us, why are we? Just as Psalm 103:12 tells us, God has removed our sins as far apart from us as two opposite directions that have no eventual ending. When Christ died for us, ALL of our sins were forgiven! Every evil thought and every wicked act was pinned upon the shoulders of a loving savior. In his death and resurrection we have become a new creation. We have the freedom to shake off the chains of sin that held us down in our past.

Because of Jesus, God is no longer holding your sin against you, so neither should you. In Christ there is redemption, healing, and freedom. Where does this leave you today? Is there something on your mind, even now, that you’re trying to ignore when in reality, it’s still really affecting how you live your life or view God and others? What do you need to forgive yourself for today that Christ paid for long ago? How can you view God differently in realizing that he’s not mad at you, but he’s actually mad about you? Spend time today with God in thanksgiving for his great forgiveness.


Prayer

God please teach me to see the real reality of sin, but also to see myself exactly how you see me. Let me be less flippant about my own sin and not underestimate how important a sacrifice it was for Christ to die for me. Thank you that you are not a God who shames me for my wrongs, but rather loves me with grand displays of grace and mercy. Amen.


Verses for Further Reflection

1 John 1:9; Philippians 3:13-14; Isaiah 43:18-19; Galatians 2:20-22


Family Focus

As you tackle this tough topic in your own heart, this object lesson that clearly shows the nature of God’s forgiveness may help you explain it to your kids. 

 “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12 NIV)

When God forgives us, he casts our sins far, far away. He forgives us completely, meaning he doesn’t hold any of our sins against us once we repent. He throws them out so far away so that they can’t affect us any longer. God’s love and forgiveness is also complete - He doesn’t hold a grudge, or bring up our past sins later on, saying, “Remember when you did that bad thing?”

Materials Needed:

  • Ground black pepper
  • A plate
  • Water
  • Dish soap

Directions:
Pour some water into the plate. Sprinkle a bit of pepper all over the water. Dip your finger into some dish soap, and then into the pepper water. The pepper will “magically” spread out, away from the soap. Note: the less pepper you use, the more easily it will spread to the sides.

“That’s what God’s forgiveness is like - when He forgives us, our sin is cast away! We don’t have to hold on to the guilt of it any more!”