It is said that children test the boundaries set for them by parents, teachers and elders, and that when parents fail to establish and enforce boundaries children crave them; they want to know when they do wrong. And they also want to and need to know when they do the right thing. I identify with this. I grew up in a home where the boundaries were nebulous and what boundaries there were I easily circumvented when I entered into my teens. I got in a LOT of trouble. This has had an effect on my life since I was born again in 1976.
When I belonged to a church which honored prophetic gifts and prophets from 1988 onward several prophets spoke the word and the heart of the Lord to me. I cannot remember one word which did not encourage me to a greater or lesser extent. Yet often I would ask God to give me a word to tell me what I was doing wrong! I wanted correction, I wanted boundaries. Even in this past week I thought to go to a pastor prophet I have known to ask for a word from the Lord: a word that would “really tell me like it is”, that would correct me or even rebuke me, even harshly.
Two days ago I was praying and thinking when the Lord spoke to me in the still small voice. I don’t share this lightly because it is not something that some people believe can happen today. But Jesus is not impotent today. He can still speak. The question is: “Will we believe He can speak to us and will we listen for His voice?”
What God said was this: “You have brought your sins before me, they are forgiven.” I doubt I will soon if ever forget hearing those words! To me their meaning is at once concise and comprehensive. It acknowledged my being a sinner, thus rebuking me albeit ever so gently. At the same time it gave me great courage and joy. I saw that God my Father truly sees only the blood of His Son covering all my sins. It is almost that after believing the Gospel of Christ God ignores the sins I have done and will yet do! I don’t want any to think that I take this as an excuse for sinning even one more time! It is not; there is never an excuse for sin.
Today I called that pastor prophet and shared this testimony with him. As we talked I was able also to see that when a believer sins after his/her salvation, that and every sin carries a new weight of shame previously unknown. For now he/she/I understand what sin is (evil), who it offends (God), and what (my/your) sin required (the bloody death of the Son of God!)! It is understandable that we might desperately want God to rebuke us and correct us severely. And I’m not so sure that He won’t do that in some cases. He did “upbraid” the disciples for “their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” Mark 16:14 But God is LOVE!
He truly showed me that LOVE in those few words: “You have brought your sins before me, they are forgiven.” I know my own heart as you know yours, yet we can’t know each other’s. We don’t need to. The shame of my sin is enough to humble me, as your sins are enough to humble you. That God forgives such an evil man as me is truly beyond my human comprehension. But by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, by His filling up of my understanding I am able to agree and receive the gift of Christ’s sacrifice and righteousness in exchange for ALL my shameful sins!
It is 35 years since I was born again FROM ABOVE. Many days in that time were lost to sinning. I have had two extended periods of backsliding, and many years of confused faith and living. But God IS FAITHFUL! He that began a good work in me is bringing it to completion! One scripture which seemed so foreign to me in 1976 is absolutely true of me today: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). ! An another I learned somewhat later is burning its way (in a good way!) into my soul: “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). ! Hallelu Yah!
Thank You Jesus. To God be the glory, great things and with me seemingly impossible things He has done.