It’s been a challenging week in the news. The Supreme Court may strike down the Defense of Marriage Act; North Korea is threatening to attack South Korea and America; financial collapse in Cyprus is endangering the global economy.
But there’s good news in the news as well. According to the Barna Group, 80 percent of Americans still consider the Bible to be “sacred literature.” Surprisingly, six out of ten Americans who have no faith or identify as atheists own a Bible. More than three-fourths of us believe that “the values and morals of America are in decline”; more blame a lack of Bible reading than any other factor.
Here’s the best news on this Good Friday: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners . . .” (1 Timothy 1:15). Paul continues: “. . . of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example of those who would believe on him and receive eternal life” (vs. 15-16).
Here’s an example of Jesus’ “unlimited patience”: he died not only for every sin you remember from your past, but for every sin you don’t remember and every sin you don’t know you’ll commit in the future. God is not bound by time. As we noted yesterday, Jesus is “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). On the cross, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus knows the sins you’ve forgotten and the sins you’ve not yet committed, and died for each one.
We live in a culture that defines us by the “three P’s”: performance, possessions, and popularity. As a result, we are never satisfied. There’s always something else to do or own, someone else to impress. The good news of Good Friday is that your Savior is waiting to forgive every sin you’ll confess to him (1 John 1:9). His word promises that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). When he does, he will “hurl our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19), for he “remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25).
To experience the grace of Good Friday, I encourage you to take a few minutes today for a spiritual inventory. Get a sheet of paper and pen, and get alone with God. Ask his Spirit to bring to your mind anything in your life that displeases God and write down what comes to your thoughts. Be specific and honest. Then confess these sins individually with a repentant heart, claim God’s forgiving grace, and throw away the paper. I do such a spiritual inventory every Friday, and invite you to join me today.
Jesus died today to offer you the gift of forgiving grace. Please don’t return it unopened.