This week we are looking at the idea that Vacation Bible School isn’t just for kids.
While the program is catered to them, specifically, I believe that God has just as much to teach us. Here is how I put it yesterday: “While I don’t usually stumble upon brand new information while preparing to teach VBS, I am always humbled by the fact that though my head may know all of this stuff, my heart needs to ponder it yet again.” If you missed that post, you can read it here – How Great Is My Faith?
While yesterday’s subject was faith, today’s subject is LOVE.
My Bible titles Luke Chapter 7 as “A Sinful Woman Forgiven”. The lesson of this story is simple, yet profound: the result of great forgiveness is great love.
Jesus accepts an invitation to dine in the home of a Pharisee named Simon. While seated at the table, Jesus is approached by a woman of great sin who knows exactly who He is. She begins to weep in His presence, washing His feet with her tears and wiping them with the hair of her head. She kisses His feet and anoints them with a very expensive, fragrant oil.
Watching this, Simon thinks to himself that if Jesus was truly a Prophet, He would certainly know the sins of this woman and would never allow her to touch Him. Jesus responds to Simon’s thoughts by telling Him that He has something to say to the Pharisee.
Jesus proceeds to tell a story about a creditor who forgives two debtors who are unable to repay their debts. Jesus asks Simon which one will love the forgiving creditor more; the one with a great debt or the one with a smaller debt.
Jesus tells Simon that he has “rightly judged” when Simon answers, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
Jesus proceeds to remind the Pharisee that though he welcomed Jesus to his home, he did not offer Him water for his feet, greet Him with a kiss, or anoint His head with oil; yet the sinful woman “has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.”
He continues, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” He then turns to the woman and says, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
I am certain that there are many lessons to be learned from this story. Today, I would like to focus on forgiveness. You see, the enemy would love nothing more than for us to wallow in our guilt because he knows that keeps us from drawing near to God. God, however, loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die in our place that we might be forgiven of each and every sin, not only before we committed each sin, but before you and I were even born! That is such an astounding thought, and yet we have trouble contemplating the idea that no sin is greater than His forgiveness.
We all have regrets about our past. (You can read more about that here – How To Not Let The Past Dictate The Future). It is only the enemy, however, that wants us to cling to the memory of that past. Jesus has forgiven our sins “as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12)
Romans 8:1 reminds us that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Scripture reminds us that, because of the blood shed for our sins on the cross, we are free from the bondage that enslaves us to sin.
I believe some of the lessons from the story of the sinful woman are for us to have faith in our forgiveness, to live in the freedom of that faith knowing that we are not condemned if we are in Christ, and to remember that the greater the forgiven sin, the greater the love for the Savior. If the weight of your forgiven sin threatens to pin you down, ponder the power of the resulting love.
The next time the enemy tries to make you feel guilty about your past, remember that Jesus said,
When you hear the voices of your past, drown out those that come from the “father of lies” (John 8:44) with those from the voice of Truth. (John 14:6)
“We love Him because He first loved us.” ~1 John 4:19 (NKJV)
Father God, thank You for your Son and His precious sacrifice. Thank You that a debt that we could never possibly pay was paid in our place by God Himself. That thought is simply too great to fully comprehend, but we pray that You would help us to live in the fullness of the freedom that that gift gives. Help us to remember that you have removed our sins as far as the east is from the west and that You desire us to go forward in peace. We praise You and thank You for the hope and the promise we have in You. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
One of my favorite songs is Covered by Telecast. You can listen and/or purchase by clicking here. It is a beautiful reminder that we are covered by His love, His blood, and His righteousness.
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You might also enjoy – Musings On Music.
What do you think? Do you have a grasp on the depth of God’s forgiveness towards you?