If your version of God portrays a begrudging being forced to be kind to us rather than eagerly willing to be gracious to us, you are not envisioning the God of the Bible. God actually wants to forgive us!
3 When iniquities prevail against me,Psalm 65:3-4
you atone for our transgressions.
4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!
Just as in David’s day, we witness so many resisting God. Unwilling to submit to His authority, we all rebel against God and choose our way. In our personal sin and the iniquities all around us, the state of unrighteousness can feel truly overwhelming. It doesn’t require a deep investigation to see how broken this world is due to the unthinkable rebellion against God. Can anything cover such sin? Is there hope for our defiance? Can anything close the significant gap from where our sins separated us from God (Isa. 59:2)?
David provides the answer for us. Only God can atone for our rebellions. The word “atone” means to “cover.” This atonement is more than brushing it under the rug. The stain is addressed. The record is now cleaned. Such mercy from God should cause our hearts to burst with gratitude to the God who forgives us so thoroughly.
God’s forgiveness is so great that He does more than just remove the bad. He actually ushers us into something glorious. Through His gracious initiation, He welcomes us into His home. We can live in His courts. We experience it partially now by walking in His presence, but we will know it fully one day when we dwell with Him for eternity.
In God’s presence, we are satisfied by the goodness of who He is and what He has done.
He expels all bad things in His house, and all good things are enjoyed. Finally, God will quench the deep cravings of our souls. The fact this His presence is described as holy means that it is set apart from every other experience. There is no one like Him. There will be nothing like dwelling unhindered in His presence forevermore.
How can rebels like ourselves enjoy such a gift? Because God is willing to forgive us. Such a gift cannot be repaid. There’s nothing that you can do to even out the balance. It’s by His grace.
While we cannot reimburse Him, we can and should express our gratitude.
Have you thanked Him today for his forgiveness? He actually was eager to give it to you.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.