"your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake" I John 2:12
Forgiven - In Greek, apheontai. This word comes from two Greek words. The first is apo (from) and the second hiemi (send). So, we have "to send from" or "to send away". God tells us that he has removed our sins from us as far as the East is from the West. He has sent them away. And there isn't any return address, either. By the way, this verb is in the perfect tense. That means it is a completed action in the past that has consequences that continue to the present. That's important.
For years I struggled with this. I wanted to believe that God had forgiven my sins. But I was constantly reminded of them. Then I would struggle with the guilt and pretty soon I just didn't feel forgiven. Two things kept me from making this word my own. The first was one of the laws of sin: Sin has consequences in this world. That's basically what Paul meant when he said that what we sow we will also reap. Even though God sent away the eternal consequences of my sins, the consequences in this world were still in effect. Even though I repented and changed direction, there was still a pride to pay not to God, but to other people. Since my sins affected others, I ran into the consequences often and it hurt.
The second thing that kept me from making this word my personal word is that I let my feeling dictate my theology. Since the consequences of my sins kept staring me in the face, I felt bad. And when I felt bad, I thought, "Gee. I don't feel forgiven". I assumed that if God sent away my sins the emotional repercussions would be erased. Not so. We don't live in that kind of world. Someday god promises to wipe away all the tears but not yet. But how I feel has nothing to do with the eternal accounting. God has sent away my sins. He leaves the reminders for a reason. They teach me the pain and sorrow of disobedience and they are my alarms when I start down those paths again.
Apheontai is my word today. I am forgiven. The reminders that God leaves behind help me to remain eternally grateful. I am not that man anymore.
Visit At God's Table for more
inspirational devotions by Skip Moen.
"Today's Word" devotional, from Skip Moen . © 2003 is used by permission. All rights reserved.
"Today's Word" may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions: 1) A proper credit must be given to the author, along with a link to http://www.studylight.org/col/tw/ 2) "Today's Word" may not be arranged or "mirrored" as a competitive online service.