Where We Go When We Sin

The man blundered big-time, just like the rest of us. So I always wondered why God declared David—this shepherd, musician, and king—to be “a man after my own heart.”1 How did David—this adulterer, deceiver, and murderer—emerge so favorably in God’s sight from among all the other wrongdoers in the world? Inherently, this king of Israel was no better than anyone else; his self-assessment mirrors our own: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”2 Knowing the blemished state of the human soul, David staked his life entirely on the abounding love and mercy of God. When his predecessor Saul faltered in faith, he distanced himself from God and consoled himself with a ready repertoire of excuses. But not so, David! Quite to the contrary, when David erred, he turned to the only place he could find help, God’s own heart—not running from Him in fear, but to Him in faith; not spurning God’s character with doubt, but embracing His goodness through trust; not hiding from God because of his shame, but presenting himself before the only One who could remove it.

We, too, can enjoy this confidence before God, for His character never changes—He is faithful, and His faithfulness overflows to us. Paul writes, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.”3

This is the reality in which we who are in Christ now gladly live. Though we blunder, we are loved. We are a new creation, 4 and our sin defines us no more. We need not run from God, for it is He who has brought us near to Himself through the sacrificial death and victorious resurrection of His Son.5 Then like David, we, too, live confidently before God, forgiven and reconciled to Him—people after God’s own heart. We are free to follow the Spirit of God, that we may “be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”6 Where do we go when we sin? Straight to the Father through Jesus the Son.

Father, we praise You for Your great character—Your kindness, goodness, faithfulness and patience. Help us to accept in faith Your great love for us, and free us to live before You and others in great confidence, hope, and joy. Be glorified in Your people, Your church. In Christ, we pray. Amen.

1 Acts 13:2
2 Psalm 51:5
3 Colossians 1:21-23
4 1 Corinthians 5:17
5 Ephesians 2:13
6 2 Peter 3:4


The Front Door to Fullness

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. —Revelation 3:20

We are going through a phase. Whenever our grandchildren come over, they ring the doorbell and then hide around the corner. We answer the door and (gasp!) no one is there! After about five seconds—for they can bear the suspense no longer—they jump out and yell, “Surprise!” This brief moment sets the tone for several hours to follow, a time of stories and questions and laughter and play. For when we open the door and these two little ones come in, they fill the place.

When Jesus knocks on our soul’s door, we receive Him through faith, by believing in His name.1 He comes in and makes His home in our hearts as we trust in Him,2 and when He does, He fills the place. Then who is this One who comes to live within, and how does He fill us? In Colossians 1:15-20, Paul magnificently describes Jesus: “The Son is the image of the invisible God,”3 the One in whom “all things were created.”4 “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”5 Paul summarizes, saying, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.”6 The entire fullness of God lives in Jesus the Son, and it is He who comes into us and fills the place.

This is breathtaking, yet Paul was not finished. “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,” he continued, “and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.”7 Stop for a moment and soak this in. It is true in itself; and when we entrust ourselves to Jesus the Son, it becomes true of us, both as a body and as individuals. This Son of God in whom abides the fullness of God lives in us as “our hope of glory,”8 and He brings us to this same fullness. Then we go forward not by our strength, but in His power; not by our understanding, but in His wisdom; not according to our ways, but in His will. For He has come in and filled the place.

In faith, open the door to fullness. He is there, and He will come in.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. —Ephesians 3:16-19.

1 John 1:12
2 Ephesians 3:17
3 Colossians 1:15
4 Colossians 1:16
5 Colossians 1:17
6 Colossians 1:19
7 Colossians 2:9-10
8 Colossians 1:27


More than Everything

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18

He had a lot going for him—smarts, good looks, a commanding stature, and a relational ease with people. Wonderful leadership qualities, each one of them, and this man had them all. But here he was—in prison. I don’t know what decisions he made to land him there: Kairos Prison Ministry volunteers never ask, for delving into the past is not why we’re there. But on the final day of our Kairos weekend, he spoke openly before all of the people gathered in the room, prisoners and volunteers alike, “When I was locked up, I lost everything—my family, everything.” He’d had so much, yet he lost it all.

“Losing everything” doesn’t have to be our endpoint. It can be, and it often is, because it is difficult for us to look up and see hope when our heads hang low in bewilderment and shame. How did I get here? But God can build anew where our towers of success lie razed. Reflected Paul, one of the greatest minds of his time and advanced in Judaism beyond his peers, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”1 The persecutor-turned-apostle had lost everything he’d strived for in order to gain Him in whom everything exists. Jesus is worth more than everything.

Wiping away tears he’d prefer not to show, the inmate continued to address the group, “Thank you for loving me, for making me smile, for being family—the church.” God’s restoration in the man had begun—a joyful soul now teeming with hope, a hope pouring out in a testimony of faith, this faith “of greater worth than gold.”2 Though his possessions are gone and his income has ceased, though his family has left him and his friends have moved on, yet he rejoices in the Lord, he is joyful in God his Savior. Only God can do this. Only God is that good. Trust Him in everything, and rejoice.

Father, You never give up on us. When life looks dark and bleak, we see all the more clearly the brilliance of Your light. Draw us to Yourself; cleanse us from our impurities, and send us forward in great hope, faith, joy and love. We pray in Christ, in whom everything exists. Amen.

1 Philippians 3:8
2 1 Peter 1:7