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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

EVERY DAY IS A DAY OF ATONEMENT


This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work —whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you—because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. (Leviticus 16:29-30)
 

Today is Yom Kippur—the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. The day when Jews feel closest to God. The day they seek forgiveness from their sins; turn away in repentance and are cleansed.

Asking for forgiveness is usually the easy part for us—although sometimes it only comes after the pain of owning up to our sins.

Accepting forgiveness and being cleansed are also the easy part—we just open our hearts and receive the flow of God’s grace and mercy.

It’s the repentance that’s the toughie in the equation. I sin. I ask forgiveness. But do I really intend to turn away from that sin? Never do it again? Do I even want to?

Repentance is about change. Changing our thinking. Changing our focus. Changing our habits. Changing our desires. Sometimes—changing our natural instincts.

It’s the hard part. And it’s usually painful.

The temporary pain of understanding our need for repentance is tough, too. It’s about accepting the truth that we are wrong, infallible, faulty. The repentance is usually ongoing—forever. It’s about changing for good. And sometimes that change requires daily or even moment-by-moment awareness and commitment to change.

But God rewards that repentance with his forgiveness; his mercy and grace.

Mercy is not getting what we deserve. When we are forgiven and cleansed, we get to skip the punishment part. You know, that eternal damnation thing? Praise God for His mercy.

Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. When we sin, we realize we don’t deserve God’s forgiveness and cleansing. We don’t deserve His love. We don’t deserve His promise of eternal life in His glorious presence. But He gives us grace anyway. Praise God for His grace.

As Christians, Jesus provided a way for us to approach the throne of mercy and grace every moment of every day. We don’t have to wait for that one day each year when we ask forgiveness, repent and are cleansed. Just as we need God’s mercy and grace each moment, so can we seek it.

And each time we seek God, we see more of His character and—hopefully—can grow more into the likeness of Jesus.

Enjoy today as Yom Kippur and rejoice that—for Christians—every day is the holiest day of the year.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus and the means to come before you every moment of every day to ask forgiveness, repent and be cleansed. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Which part of the equation is harder for you: the process of owning up to your sin or the turning away from it?

19 comments:

heathercking said...

I think it's hard for me to come face to face with my imperfections. I'd like to excuse them or justify them----so I supposed owning up to my sin is the hard part for me. I'm embarrassed by it and ashamed of it; even if it's just between me and God. But there is SUCH freedom when I finally admit, submit, and let Him do a redemptive and cleansing work in me!

From Carols Quill said...

@ Heather - won't it be wonderful when, one day, we stop postponing and just admit and submit first? Ahhh...

Tracy Krauss said...

I like the way that you clarified the difference between mercy and grace - and also how you remind us that a spiritual change is the best and most lasting change of all!

From Carols Quill said...

@ Tracy - yes, the whole mercy/grace thing can boggle the mind. Fortunately, God grants us both!

chris said...

Agreed with Tracy, loved your distinction of mercy and grace here Carol.

Which is harder for me? BOTH, depending on the moment... man, this one really reminded me to be grateful. Thank you Carol, excellent!!

From Carols Quill said...

Much obliged, Chris.

I'm not sure that mercy/grace definition was originally mine; but I've said it for so many years it's become mine. heh-heh.

Bill Jones said...

Thanks Carol - very good thoughts and thought provoking - I liked the question you asked about "do I even want to turn away from a particular sin?" - good question to ask myself to make sure I'm not just going through the motions and saying what I'm supposed to say - avoiding a change.

lynnmosher said...

Absolutely wonderful post, Carol! I guess I'm at a point in my life, maybe age has something to do with it, but I have a hard time tolerating sin in my life. I so want to be that unwrinkled, unblemished, unspotted, holy Bride for my Beloved. Beautiful thoughts, Carol!

Jack Brown said...

good change post. not only Mercy but Grace and forgiveness too, there's always more with God. Love changes things, even me.
biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig hug






Stephanie Boles said...

Wonderful post, Carol! I agree with Lynn's comment. As I age, I've come to the point that I want to be spotless and prepared to meet my master-to be that holy Bride. It's no easy task, as life throws troubles at us from all sides, but with the help of God, we can own up to our sin and turn away from it. Thank you for such helpful words. Blessings.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Bill - yes, that's one thing I struggle with, too. Sometimes I really have to desire Jesus to change my heart so I'll want to change.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Lynn and Stephanie - oh, you're right. As we get older, we want to get all cleaned up RIGHT NOW! Great point.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Jack - "Love changes things--even me." Wow. Well said. It should be a bumper sticker. (smile)

TraciB said...

Excellent post, Carol. For me, the hardest part varies. Sometimes it's admitting that a sin is a sin. Other times, it's consistently turning away from a sin; we do so much out of habit or routine that often it's difficult to break out of that rut, even when it's something we need to renounce and change.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Traci - you're so right. It might take a lifetime for the Holy Spirit to convict us of something that we've always done or that everyone else does, making it that much harder to turn away. Fortunately the Holy Spirit doesn't give up on us! Yay!

Deborah K. Anderson said...

Good questions to ponder, Carol. I don't have a hard time owning up to or turning away from sin. It's receiving the forgiveness after I've done so.

Great post.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Deborah - yes! That should be the easy part; but it's hard to accept sometimes that God loves us that much--when we keep sinning the way we do.

Terrie Thorpe said...

I agree Carol - I praise God for his love and his mercy. He has a way of speaking to our hearts and drawing us to repent of ugly feelings and negative attitudes all because we have accepted His most precious gift- we have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus - Hallelujah! Wonderful post! Peace and Blessings

From Carols Quill said...

@ Terrie - Hallelujah, indeed!