Have you ever felt that, despite all of your prayers, God remains silent? You desperately need answers, but the answers don’t come? Perhaps you feel as though you are locked in a vault—your prayers hit the ceiling and bounce back—nothing in and nothing out. There can be any number of reasons why we don’t always receive answers to our prayers, especially immediate answers, and not all of them are related to the condition of our hearts. But given that sin creates separation, it should be the first place we look when God’s silence is deafening.
“If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalms 66:18, ESV).
God’s grace is amazing; but I believe that we have often misunderstood it. Or perhaps we have even maligned it. Could it be that we trust too much in the grace of God, and not enough on being made new? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV). I think we treat this verse as though it is a “one and done” certainty. And, assuredly, Jesus accomplished our salvation once and for all on the cross. But have we misunderstood here as well?
Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross set us free from the curse of sin; it set us free from bondage to sin. We no longer are enslaved by it, meaning that we are now free to not sin!
“For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” Romans 14:23b (ESV).
But what we often fail to see is that sin is now a choice. When we didn’t know Jesus, even the “good” things we did were sinful. But now we must choose whether or not we will sin. And when we make the choice to sin we create distance between ourselves and God. We are essentially choosing sin over God, choosing ourselves over God. And in so doing we are “crucifying once again the Son of God to (our) own harm and holding him up to contempt” Hebrews 6:6 (ESV). We are “double minded” (James 1:8). And “…that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” James 1:7 (ESV).
When a close friend betrays our trust, even though we forgive, we still erect a barrier. We find it difficult to trust again, certainly at the previous level. And so it is with God. He will forgive, but, as the fault was not with Him, we must do the work to restore our relationship. We must repent. That is, we must turn away from sin!
Sin separates. Repentance restores.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
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