Many Christians, myself included, worry about their sins. We worry we are hopeless; we worry God is mad at us; we worry we will be lost.
I was raised in a strict religion. Sin was treated as something horrifying. We were taught if we became Christians, we wouldn’t sin. If we loved God, we wouldn’t sin. There was no excuse in heaven above or earth beneath for committing a sin. Of course I grew up thinking it was hopeless for me to even try to be a Christian. I longed to be a Christian as a teen, but I didn’t make the step until I was nineteen because I had a baby. I always tell my daughter that she brought me to Jesus.
Well, I still thought I was probably not going to be saved because I wasn’t perfect, which is what I thought I had to be. Eventually, I heard and understood God’s grace. That he doesn’t leave us when we sin; that is is patient and kind and loves us like crazy. That was wonderful.
But I still get those feelings once in awhile. I’m still smoking; I sometimes lose my cool with my husband; I feel hateful towards some politicians etc. I ask God to forgive me and change me and move on. I still want to be perfect, but I know it isn’t possible. Christ was perfect and his righteousness covers me. That is grace, and I only need believe that and accept his sacrifice for me.
My husband always says, “Which way are you heading? Are you heading towards God? Are you trying to get to know him and love him? Or are you running from him?
Well, I am running towards God through prayer and Bible study. “Then you are saved.” my husband says, and he is right.
There are some verses in Zechariah that show the attitude of those who are running away from God. These verses always strike me because of the truly horrible sins these people were doing, and also because of their attitude towards God.
“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry. Zechariah 7:9-12
Do you think the Lord had a right to be angry?
These people perverted justice, did not show mercy or compassion to people. They oppressed the widows, orphans, foreigners and the poor. They plotted evil against one another.
Yes, He had a right to be angry on behalf of those who suffered at the hands of these people. Wouldn’t we be angry at someone who treated an orphan cruelly? Wouldn’t we be angry at someone who stole from a widow?
Even if we have done these things, we can be forgiven. God forgives all sins and nothing is too awful to keep us apart from him. But the people Zechariah was talking to plugged their ears from hearing what was right. They weren’t praying for God to help them do what was right. They turned their backs to God. They cannot be forgiven as long as they do this, for asking for forgiveness means turning our faces to God and talking with him. It means asking for his mighty help in our lives.
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. Acts 16:29-34
Believe. Believe God can save you. Believe he loves you. Believe he can change you. He is the only one who can.
“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.” Ephesians 2:8,9