Listen to this devotional:
1 John 1:8 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (ASV)
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ASV)
This past winter, I went to a long-term care facility to feed an elderly lady five or six times a week. The family that usually goes to feed her twice a day went on vacation for two months. This long-term care facility is connected to the hospital, so parking is at a premium. The family gave me one of their parking passes when they left. There are specific places to park, so while they were away, I would find a place to park in one of those designated areas.
When the family got back from their vacation, they arranged for me to continue feeding their mom twice a week at noon. The problem now is that I don't have a parking pass. My options are to park in one of the designated parking zones and risk getting a ticket, or to park in public parking, which is very expensive, or to park on the street over a block away. Walking that distance is not an issue unless I am pressed for time.
One day, I did park in the specified parking area without a parking pass. When I came back to my vehicle, I had a ticket for forty dollars under my windshield wiper. It's a pretty steep ticket for parking for half an hour.
I thought about this ticket, and to make a point of the lack of parking places, I e-mailed the authorities and appealed this ticket, explaining the situation. I admitted that I had done wrong, and then asked to be pardoned from paying this ticket. They e-mailed back, saying that I was pardoned, but to consider that ticket as a warning. In other words, if I did it again, I would have to pay the price. I had done wrong. I had parked in the wrong spot. I deserved the ticket. But the debt was cancelled.
It made me think of my sinfulness. I have done wrong. I deserve to be punished. I deserve hell. But I came to Jesus Christ and told Him that I had done wrong and asked Him to pardon me. And yes, He did pardon me — instantly. My sin is gone, and He has given me eternal life.
Wouldn't it be great if once we are pardoned, we never did wrong again? That is not the case. Over and over, we do wrong. We sin either unwittingly or on purpose, by commission or omission. Time and time again, we can come to our Father, our authority, admit we have done wrong once again, and ask for pardon. He doesn't warn us, saying that if we do it again, He won't pardon us again, like the authority figure in my case with the ticket.
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (ASV)
Jeremiah 33:8 – And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. (KJV)
Prayer: Thank You, Father — for forgiving us, for pardoning us all our iniquities. Thank You that You welcome us back time and time again. It is a sobering thought that we err, we sin, we do wrong over and over, and yet You so willingly pardon us. Amen.