For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26
When I was growing up I was sure God had a great big hammer and was just waiting for me to mess up so he could bop me on my head and "let me have it". Even after asking Jesus in my heart at the age of 8yrs old, and understanding that my name was "written in the book of life" - I had this idea that every time I sinned He took out his big pink eraser and erased my name. My greatest fear was what if He erased so many times that it just made a big hole - and He couldn't write it back. I can't tell you how many years I cried myself to sleep, hoping that God heard my "I'm sorrys" and I didn't forget anything on my list of sins for the day. I lived in such fear of this GREAT BIG GOD that I couldn't get close enough to Him to really experience His love and forgiveness.
I have to tell you that living like that is exhausting, you are always looking over your shoulder - worried you've finally did the "unpardonable sin" (which you had no idea what that was - but was SURE you would), and always thinking the reason your day went bad was because God was punishing you again. There was never any rest in Christ, no soft place - no peace - just guilt, condemnation, and unhealthy fear. It becomes so overwhelming that you either give up, or live a lie - pretending it's all good on the outside - when inside you are dying.
It wouldn't be until much later as an adult that I began to understand the mercy and grace of God. That I could comprehend His forgiveness - that covered ALL my sin, past - present - and future. And that God had forgiven me BEFORE I had even asked - He made a way - before I even knew I needed a way. That he was not holding any hammer waiting for me fail, He was not sending lighting to strike me, and there was no big pink eraser in His hand.
How could a God who sees all that I have done, and knows all I will do - love ME? Forgive me? Want me? These were questions I really struggled with, and at times I still do. I don't deserve His love, I don't deserve His forgiveness, and I truly don't deserve His presence. But that's not WHY He does it all - it's HIS LOVE that covers over a multitude of sins - it's HIS LOVE that holds me close - it's HIS LOVE. Each of us is a well thought out creation - He didn't make you or me because He needed to add one more person on this earth - He made us because HE WANTS US - He DESIRES a relationship with You - and with me. And When sin came between us - He took his beloved son to pay the cost - HIS ONLY SON - to be the payment for our sin. That's not a God who is mad at you - that is a God who LOVES YOU.
The only hammer that God is holding in His hand - is the judges gavel that He strikes down - as He declares you NOT GUILTY! LOVE PAID THE PRICE FOR MERCY!
- I love these lyrics and this song - I pray that it ministers to you - like it does to me!
NOT GUILTY - MANDISA
I stand accused
There's a list a mile long
Of all my sins
Of everything that I've done wrong
I'm so ashamed
There's nowhere left for me to hide
This is the day
I must answer for my life
My fate is in the Judge's hands
But then he turns to me and says
I know you
I love you
I gave My life to save you
Love paid the price for mercy
My verdict not guilty
How can it be?
I can't begin to comprehend
What kind of grace
Would take the place for all my sin?
I stand in awe
Now that I have been set free
And the tears well up
As I look at that cross
'Cause it should've been me
My fate was in the nail scarred hands
He stretched them out for me and said
I'm falling on my knees to thank You
With everything I am I'll praise You
So grateful for the words I heard You say