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Forgiven AND Loved

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So here’s something that’s very close to my heart. It literally has shaped the way I live my life. It’s freedom. Not just freedom in America, but freedom in God. Now hold on before you get all “amen-y” on me because a lot of people who say and think they have freedom in Christ really don’t embrace it. It’s not their fault. It’s really nobody’s fault, but it is a force unseen that is working on them. Many people that claim to be free in Christ actually live self-condemned lives. Guilty.

Confused? It’s ok. I’ll try to explain everything racing through my head to you. I was raised in church, got saved at age 12 and never experienced the freedom of Christ until I was 19. I actually went around telling people I had truly been saved at 19 because I had never felt or experienced what I was feeling and experiencing before. That feeling, was freedom. (Just so were on the same page still; I was saved at 12 and experienced the freedom on Christ at 19).

So what about those 7 years in between? They were full of rebellion, confusion, emotional roller coasters and me doing the best I knew how to do. I had grown up hearing, “You sin every day and you have to repent every day.” I bit into the apple of that lie. The more I believed I couldn’t go a day without sinning, the more sinning I did every day. I would pray every night for God to forgive me of my sins, even on the good days when I couldn’t remember ever sinning, I just assumed I had because I was taught I would. It got to a point where I was scared to go to sleep at night because I was afraid Jesus would come back and I would have forgotten to ask forgiveness for a sin and be condemned. Yep, you read right. Even though I was saved I was convinced one unconfessed sin would send me straight to hell when I died.

There was a lot of problems I can look back now on and see. 1) I took someone else’s word for it and didn’t look it up on my own. If the preacher in the pulpit said it, he must be in tune with God more than me and there’s no way he’d lie to a whole church. Wrong. 2) I read my Bible and prayed out of an obligation I felt because I was told that’s what you do when you’re saved. So off my mark. 3) I allowed others to influence my thoughts instead of letting God control them. Because of these three things, I was robbing myself of this abundant life that I always heard Christians talking about, but had never experienced myself.

When I started college, my outlook started changing. No longer was I in an environment where I was told how to think, what to believe and to accept what I was told. Now, I was being told to question everything I was taught, to not accept an easy answer. I went to chapel every Thursday and listened to a truly anointed man of God pour his heart out to thousands of college students. That year, God really got my attention. I remember a situation arising between me and a close friend that really challenged my beliefs. That was it though, my beliefs. I was so mad, so upset, so betrayed by them. I was going to make a rash decision because they were so twisted in doctrine and God spoke to my heart to look it up for myself in his word before I said anything more to them. So I did. And I quickly learned that the past 18 years of my life I had been TAUGHT incorrectly. From the pulpit, I heard multiple preachers speak out against this particular subject and when I read in the Bible what God had to say, I realized that they had taught me wrong my whole life and I just accepted it.

Where am I going with this? My point is that we’re often taught to believe things, live a certain way by people we trust, Godly people, but somewhere they’ve added their own opinion or interpretation to the matter and are far from what God’s word actually says. They have enough truth in their statements to make it sound convincing, convicting, but it’s not God’s truth.

I was taught for 19 years of my life that I was going to sin every day. That I would have to ask for forgiveness for my sins every day. I was so misled. If that were the case, Christ died in vain. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” he didn’t mean just his life, he meant the law was fulfilled, no longer would people have to work for their salvation, no longer would sins need to constantly be atoned for because He was taking every sin with him when he died. Covered in His blood. Forgiven. Forever. Remembered no more.

[Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:10-11]

Would Jesus have commanded her to go and sin no more if it was impossible? Not a chance. He wouldn’t tell her to do something if it was unattainable. God’s grace allows us to live without sin. For years, I thought I had to do better, be better, read my Bible more, pray more in order for God to be pleased with me. I had a list of “works” for myself that if I didn’t do I thought God would be unsatisfied with me. But Ephesians 2:8 is clear that, “I’m saved by grace, through faith, NOT by works!” When I was 19, this all clicked for me. There was nothing I could do to earn God’s favor or love. I already had it. I could live a day without sinning. I was already bought by the blood of Jesus, but was missing out on the freedom promised in John 8:32 because I was trying to earn what I already had.

My life has never been the same since that day. I don’t know what clicked or why it took 7 years for me to get it, but I got it now. I just wished someone would have explained it to me sooner. I would have had fewer sleepless nights.

Take some time to read Galations chapter 3. The message version is probably my favorite. Go to blueletterbible.org if you don’t have a message version laying around and read it. It will change your life. Literally. Also, here’s a song by Jimmy Needham that perfectly sums up everything I’ve written. It’s called Forgiven and Loved.

Tell me I’m forgiven and loved. Cause I hear it from the street corner priests on how God is love and how man can be clean, but my joy has been on holiday and my peace has almost passed away. Tell me I’m forgiven and free.

Oh I tried and tried to rectify my hopeless situation, but I bought the lie I still have work to do. Now I’m working nine to five like I can earn my own salvation, but there is no condemnation in You.

Whisper to me now that it’s for real cause in the silence of these walls righteousness lost its appeal. Dirty deeds have done me in, but that can’t stop the faithful friend, giving mercy once again as You heal.

Oh I tried and tried to rectify my hopeless situation, but I bought the lie I still have work to do. Now I’m working nine to five like I can earn my own salvation, but there is no condemnation in You.

He died, He died to rectify my hopeless situation and His blood commands my guilt to leave. Now on Calvary I stand, empty pockets, open hands. Oh there is no condemnation for me.

Child, you’re forgiven and loved. Child, you’re forgiven and child, you are loved. Child, you’re forgiven and loved

mercy – act of compassion

grace – love or favor

Challenge everything your taught, even if it’s from a Godly person your trust. Look it is in the Bible. Seek God about it. Ultimately, HIS truth will be known.