December 17 Esight, 2007

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT—Romans 4:7-8Before I share this week’s devotional, I would like to thank so many of you for your continued patience these past few weeks. We have recently transitioned into a more efficient system for sending out our weekly and daily emails. In the process of this move, many of your email subscription settings were temporarily suspended. For many of you, today’s email is the first you have received in the last few weeks. We humbly apologize. Today, I am happy to announce that the transition is complete and your settings have been restored. Please feel free to respond to this email if you would like to have the weekly devotionals you missed emailed to you directly. Once again, we apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused you. Our hope is that with our new system, situations such as these will now be minimized. Blessings to you all and happy reading.

In chapter 4 of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, verses 7 and 8, we find four words I would like you to consider and meditate on this week. (He is actually quoting the words of David from Psalm 32) The first is the word “forgiven.” Here, we have the Greek word “apheimi,” which literally means “to send away.” The scriptures are quite clear in this regard. We are sinners, each one tormented by our past mistakes and shortcomings. But God does not abandon us in our guilt and shame. He comes to each of us and “sends away” the sin that torments us so relentlessly. “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). “Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).

Next, we find that God covers our sin. Yet please be careful. Follow the imagery carefully. First, He takes our sin, which continually torments our conscience, and sends it away. Then, He covers it. But what does this mean? The Greek word here is “epikalupto,” which literally means “to cover with a shroud so as to hide from view.” God places His righteousness, His love, His grace, and His forgiveness as a shroud between us and the torment of our past, to cover our sin so as to hide it from our view. He places a barrier between the constant memory of our past and says, “That was then, this is now. In Me, you are a new creation. Do not dwell on your sin, rather, dwell in my love and grace.”

Not only does He want us live in the present blessed peace of His forgiveness, but He also assures us that He will not take our past into account, either. The word “account” here is “logizomai,” which means to “keep in mind, keep a count of, to keep a record of.” His promise is, “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). For David himself cried out, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3).

This is why both Paul and David stated that the person who can experience this wonder is blessed or “makarios,” which means “happy!” Rejoice in God’s great forgiveness this week. No matter what you have done or what you have become, this experience can be yours. Do you desire to have God send your sin away and then interpose Himself between your past and your present? Why don’t you tell Him about it right now? Remember, “Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound” (Romans 5:20). It was to give you this blessed experience that He came as that helpless babe in Bethlehem. This holiday season, will you allow Him to draw you further up and further in to His wondrous grace? I know you will.