Daily Devotion 25 August 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Colossians 2:11-15 ‘God Forgives All Sin’

11 In union with Christ you were circumcised, not with the circumcision that is made by human beings, but with the circumcision made by Christ, which consists of being freed from the power of this sinful self. 12 For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death. 13 You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; 14 he cancelled the unfavourable record of our debts with its binding rules and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross. 15 And on that cross Christ freed himself from the power of the spiritual rulers and authorities; he made a public spectacle of them by leading them as captives in his victory procession.

Have you ever used so much hand sanitiser, wet-wipes, bleach, and disinfectant in all your life? No, me neither! I hope you are following all the manufacturer’s advice on the labels too – these days every Tom, Dick, and Trump think they know more than the scientists behind the bleach. What troubles me, is not the 99.9% of bacteria and bugs which are killed by the hygiene product…it’s the 0.1% that’s left. How unlucky would that be – to be finished off by the 0.1% the bleach/hand-wipe/spray couldn’t cover!! I’ve tried to research what the 0.1% is and it’s almost impossible to find a clear answer. Some websites suggest that scientifically you couldn’t prove the 100% beyond all reasonable doubt. One scientific website suggested it’s easy to make a product which kills 100% of everything…but would you want to wash your hands with it? No, me neither. Frankly, 99.9% is a good insurance option legally too – no-one can come back and sue you at a later date.

So, from cleanliness to Colossians. The earliest Christians knew something had happened on the cross – beyond a good man being hung up and killed. They knew Jesus had told them this was going to happen, was bound to happen, and that God was going to do something with this moment that was more significant than anything else since the beginning of all creation. The earliest disciples and followers and Gospel writers believed that Jesus’ death on the cross in some mysterious way took on a cosmic significance. Jesus – innocent, good, yet one of us – bore all the pain, sin, and suffering of the world on his shoulders and created the possibility that you and I would no longer be dominated by our sin, guilt, shame. Ever since this moment, Christians have tried to understand and explain this mystery – probably with varied success, for how does one explain such a miracle?

The passage above needs to be read fairly slowly, full of imagery and metaphor. But the simplest sentence for me is the best: “God forgave us all our sins”. I may not understand the full mystery of the cross, I may wrestle with it until my dying day, but I know that if the cross somehow means sins are forgiven, then it is ALL of them. 100% – not 0.1% still remaining. Jesus completely forgives you; completely forgives me, and so I can live every day of my life trusting this – 100%.

Prayer:

Thank you Lord, for seeing me for whom I am – with all my mistakes and mishaps.
Though I deserve condemnation and criticism and punishment, by your grace
I receive freedom and forgiveness for all my wrong. Thank you, in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Paul Tabraham.
Images freely available online.

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