#34 for October 30, 2018
Forgiveness (justification) is instantaneous as soon as we repent. But the purification (sanctification) process will take a while.
After I’d received forgiveness, I still needed to learn to trust in God’s love more completely. I needed purification. We are like precious gold in God’s sight. Think how much is done to gold before it becomes pure: first the ore is ground to free the gold particles. These are amalgamated, heated in a furnace, soaked in cyanide, melted and cast into gold bars. To change the gold bars into gold leaf for decorating precious jewelry, the steps include flattening, cutting, beating with a hammer and repeating this process for four hours until light shines through the transparent sheets of gold.
It’s not much fun to go through the purification process but, “he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold,”(Job 23:10, NIV)
For years it felt like there was a gaping hole in my chest. Realizing I’d failed God, who truly loved me, added to the past heartache and present pain. In contrast to these feelings, Isaiah 40:1-2 seemed like a wonderful oasis I longed to reach. “Comfort…warfare is ended…double forgiveness….” It was like a glimpse inside the loving heart of God. I wanted to be there, but felt I didn’t deserve it.
Alone in my mobile home, I spent hours studying the Bible. Also, at work, I read the Psalms to my private-duty patient. Gradually, the Lord convinced me his forgiveness is really for me. As I cast myself on Jesus Christ, knowing I am totally dependent on him for life and health and every good, I began to feel I would reach this oasis. Comfort washed over my heart as I read and reread this chapter of Isaiah and those following. Then, like Isaiah after he had been cleansed, I wanted to tell everyone about this awesome God.
It must pain God to have to discipline his children, but when the discipline is over, all he wants to do is comfort them, reassure them of forgiveness, love them, let them know forgiveness is complete. This emphasizes the undeserved grace of God. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast,” (Eph. 2:8-9, NIV).
God’s comfort leads us to trust him more, once we’ve repented. (Isa.12:1-2.) Then, in turn, we can comfort others, (see II Cor. 1:3-5). This helps to illustrate the Biblical concept that we are blessed to be a blessing. The reason I’m writing these blogs is that I want you to be blessed (helped, comforted) by what I’ve learned.
Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for the grace of forgiveness—and of purification.