JOY JOY JOY

This is not a Christmas devotional, per se; even though we are still officially in the twelve days known as Christmastide, the Christmas season in the Church. Today is merely an expression of absolute joy!

A few nights ago my wife and I went out to dinner. I had three gift cards in hand, and so the entire cost of meal and tip was well covered; we’d have not a penny out of pocket. (That’s MY kind of meal !) I was glad about the free dinner, but there is a difference between gladness and joy.

While we were there we noticed one of the people on staff. Actually, it would have been hard NOT to notice him. He was really enjoying himself as he worked. He’d quietly sing along to the songs being played in the restaurant; not in a way that disrupted anyone, of course, but just having a wonderful time as he worked. I noticed him dancing a bit as he waited by the kitchen door for an order to come up. He delivered meals to his customers with a smile that was well beyond the typical “Hi, I’m Mark, and I’ll be taking care of you tonight” smile. He REALLY was enjoying himself and his customers. But there’s even a difference between enjoying something and joy.

Today’s verse tells us:
OH, WHAT JOY FOR THOSE WHOSE DISOBEDIENCE IS FORGIVEN, WHOSE SINS ARE PUT OUT OF SIGHT

If you’re walking with the Lord, there’s a certain pit-of-the-stomach feeling when you’ve blown it and fallen into sin.

It may have been a spur of the moment terrible choice, or it may have been a choice made after an extended battle with temptation. It doesn’t matter, really; because either way the net result is the same. You’ve totally messed up, and you know it. It may be something utterly new to you, something you’ve never fallen into before. Or it could be a sin that has beset you for quite some time, one that you battle with regularly – and lose the battle regularly.

You’ve lacerated your relationship with Christ. There’s a cut. It is painful. It may be deep or not, depending upon precisely how you’ve sinned. But the relationship has been slashed. You feel it, Christ feels it.

I’ve chosen the illustration of a laceration deliberately, because with every laceration there is blood. But if you’re in a faith relationship with Christ, the blood is HIS.

HIS BLOOD covers our sin. Christians are not people who’ve become perfect. We are still human, often disgustingly so. Christians are people who have invited Christ to be their Lord, even though we fail to follow perfectly. Christians are people whose hearts are set upon walking with Him in all things, even though we stumble and fall. Most importantly, Christians are people whose sins are put our of sight by the blood of Jesus Christ.

OH, WHAT JOY FOR THOSE WHOSE DISOBEDIENCE IS FORGIVEN, WHOSE SINS ARE PUT OUT OF SIGHT

If you’re walking with the Lord, there’s a certain pit-of-the-stomach feeling when you’ve blown it and fallen into sin — and you’ve been caught in it !!! Let’s be real with one another, shall we? Much of our sin likely escapes public notice, especially those who have been walking with Christ for some time. It is still sin, of course; it still lacerates our relationship with Christ and still requires healing. But its damage is internal, our reputation remains intact.

But some sin gets found out. Some sin gets dragged into the public square for all to see. And even people with stellar reputations get tarred with that brush. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can likely think of several ministers whose sinful failures have made the front page. Those lacerations run deeper. The healing process involves many more people. It takes longer, much longer.

And still Christ’s blood covers even our public sin. The public may have been surprised by the revelation of your sinful failure, but Jesus wasn’t. As He hung upon the cross paying the price by shedding His blood, He saw all of your sin. He knew how you’d fail yesterday, and He knows how you’ll fail in all of your tomorrows. He knows. And He loves you anyway. And He will heal the relationship, over and over again. THAT is grace.

OH, WHAT JOY FOR THOSE WHOSE DISOBEDIENCE IS FORGIVEN, WHOSE SINS ARE PUT OUT OF SIGHT

In the midst of the pain of your sin, you may think your sin is too great to be forgiven. Your guilt may convince you that you are beyond the reach of grace. But you are not! As horrible as they are, your sins are all forgivable as you come to Christ and receive His grace.

The only unforgivable sin we see in scripture is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Rejecting Christ entirely by attributing His holy work to satan is unforgivable, because it closes off the only path to the forgiveness of sin. Salvation is found in Christ alone, there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. So when you reject Him, you’ve sealed yourself off from His forgiveness. Your sin is then unforgivable, you’ve refused the only source of forgiveness.

NO OTHER SIN does this !! None.

OH, WHAT JOY FOR THOSE WHOSE DISOBEDIENCE IS FORGIVEN, WHOSE SINS ARE PUT OUT OF SIGHT

OH, WHAT JOY FOR THOSE WHOSE DISOBEDIENCE IS FORGIVEN !! We have access to grace upon grace at the hand of Christ. His blood covers our sin and puts it out of sight – HIS sight, our sight and others sight. Total forgiveness.

He always forgives. It is not CHEAP grace, it was purchased at the most costly of prices. But for us, He gives it freely.

And THAT, my friends, brings true JOY !

OH, WHAT JOY FOR THOSE WHOSE DISOBEDIENCE IS FORGIVEN, WHOSE SINS ARE PUT OUT OF SIGHT

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