At church today I was struck by how profound Christian forgiveness is. It is full and complete, a fresh start where one shouldn’t even be possible. Why God, who hates sin, would choose to offer such a gift to sinful mankind is a wonderful mystery we’ll never be able to understand. Yet as completely forgiven as the repentant sinner is, God’s grace is never a license to continue sinning. Such is the struggle of the Christian life, to have that old self of sin trying to throw one back in the gutter while the new self strives to lift one up to unimagined heights. Struggle must be important to God. He offers no easy answers. He could have taken away all of the bad and made us holy robots, unable to waver. He could have destroyed the world completely long ago and forever rid himself of sinful beings, but he didn’t.
Repentance, forgiveness, struggle. This is a story God likes and although he is the hero in it, he didn’t set his Son an easy task. It was a task that required sacrifice and death. Why does God find our struggle so worth leaving in existence? The concept of love barely scratches the surface in my mind. I really can’t wrap my head around it. I can’t wrap my head around how many fresh starts God has given me and how many times I’ve caved to the wrong side of the struggle and how many times I’ve had to come back to him in repentance, each time being offered that blessed, complete forgiveness.
It sounds like something that would be a boring, repetitive cycle, but it’s been the opposite. If my ordinary life has any of the epic about it, that is entirely due to God’s grace and forgiveness. It is the knife edge between life and death, being saved or damned. Every day I have the power, the choice to reject him and what he wants for my life. Just that thought leaves me breathless, leaves me wanting to run back to his gracious forgiveness and love.