"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." (Psalm 32:1 NIV)
Along with my brothers and several other sometimes-rowdy boys, we would walk along the banks, wade in the long creek that runs from behind the abattoir and parallels several of the long holes on the front, and back nine of the High Point Municipal Golf Course.
The creek wasn't pristine according to environmental standards of our present time. Nevertheless, it was more fun than any modern adventure theme park. We would often see strange things floating by us in the water as we collected turtles, rocks, tadpoles and leaches. A lot of horseplay accompanied all this time on the banks and in the water. Whenever the play became too rough and somebody called us a toothless, one-eyed pirate or motherless child, and one of us took a blow that hurt, we would shout to the perpetrator to "take it back." Several boys might pile on until the guilty one finally said "I take it back."
In our microwavable Jetsons and IM age, once it is out there, it's out there. Once we mess up today, there are so many ways that people record our mistakes that it seems highly unlikely if not utterly impossible to remove it from the permanent record of our life. During my early morning devotional time, I choose a Bible verse and say a prayer. Then I type this into an e-mail message called WORD OF THE DAY that goes out to many people in several continents.
About two or three times each year, I will mistype a word from a Bible verse or omit a word. This happens even though this e-mail has gone through the careful scrutiny of several silent readings and at least one oral. The fact that this is composed around 5.30 in the morning may be why mistakes may happen. Anyway, once I think it is good to go and hit the send button, it is out there.
If there is a mistake in one of the messages, usually the first person to notice it is a former missionary to post World War II Germany who now lives in a retirement home in Abilene, Texas. This efficient sister makes the correction before she forwards the message to a long list of folks in her address book. However, some good eyes just send a little message that they noticed my mistake. As much as we would like to call back some letters that we already dropped in the mailbox, or some unkind word that we uttered in a moment of rage, it is usually too late to do anything about it.
One recent day while on one of our many driving trips around the Tri-county area, we heard some radio host make the statement that once a person has a DUI on their record that it remains there for 75 years. I had never heard of such a policy before, and have not had time to investigate the veracity of this claim. Perhaps it was for some state besides Florida. Certainly, it is true that such an offense remains part of our permanent record for many years and may prevent a young person from pursuing some career that they once dreamed about.
It is not unusual to hear some person on one of the law enforcement TV shows tell a small-time criminal that they will make what they did "disappear" from police records. That may be a little like hitting the "delete" button only later to learn that certain software programs make it possible for police and others to recover even files we thought we had deleted.
"But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2 NIV)
Once we commit sin, which is in reality any act of disobedience against the perfect will of God, we are not even welcome in the presence of God. Is there no hope for a second chance in this life? The offended party sets the terms we must meet in order to be acceptable to them when we say or do something offensive. When we sin, God is the offended party, and he has determined long ago how we may come up from the basement of guilt and despair. If we die in such a sinful condition, we can expect to spend eternity separated from the love of God. While we have the time and opportunity, we should act with haste to accept God's offer of pardon for all our sins.
First of all, we must fully believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God in order to clean up our sinful record. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NASB)
You may wonder with clear perception, "What does faith have to do with erasing my bad record?" If I am thrown from the deck of a ship and about to drown, and some kind person throws me a lifeline, I must believe that the line will help save my life if I grab the line and hang on with all my strength.
Sincere faith in Christ who suffered and died on the cross for our sins is the same as believing in the baby Jesus who was born and laid in a manger in Bethlehem. When we have this saving and obedient faith in the One chosen by the Father to bring salvation from sin to all humanity, we will easily understand that we can no longer live in sinful disobedience. "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord." (Acts 3:19 NIV) One brother gave his theological definition of repentance when asked about it at age 10. "It means that I am sorry for sinning and I promise not to do it again." Repentance, along with faith is essential to our eternal salvation.
Paul, a first century Jew from Tarsus, and the self-described worst sinner, was in all probability the most widely traveled and staunchest defender of the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. His enemies arrested him in the city of Jerusalem because of his teaching about Jesus as Messiah. He bravely testified about his own conversion to Christ and explained what he was told to do in order to have his sins hidden. His teacher told him, "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name." (Acts 22:16 NIV) Like faith, repentance and confession, baptism by water into Christ is essential to salvation.
You are invited to all services of the Church of Christ at the corner of 3rd and E Streets. Write me with any questions or comments. David Binkley, Sr., PO Box 186 Cedar Key, FL 32625. E-mail email@example.com. Please visit our web site at www.cng cedarkeychurchofchrist.com