Read Zephaniah 3:17 and Isaiah 57: 14-19.

Good Friday tends to remind us that our sin isn’t just forgotten or pushed aside: it was paid for. It was paid for at a very great price. This often causes us to see sin as “utterly sinful,” as we should. (Romans 3:17) This can also cause us to push away in guilt from God since it was our sin that put His Son on the cross. But we forget one of the biggest points God wants us to remember about the cross: it was an act of love.

God is compassionate and merciful because He is loving, not the other way around. He purposefully sent Jesus to this world over two thousand years ago so we can be free to have a relationship with Him. He loves us. Zephaniah 3:17 reminds us this isn’t just an austere, far off love; this is fresh, real, powerful, joyful, consuming, and enthusiastic! God loves us with a passion we will never be able to fully wrap our minds around!

We shouldn’t let our shame and regret over past mistakes we’ve already been forgiven of get in the way of growing closer to God now. Some people just struggle to accept that God truly chooses to love them. They believe it, but they think it’s simply an obligation to God or an immovable part of His character. But God rejoices over us.  He also reminds us that He chose to love us in this passage from Isaiah. Even though the sin of God’s children was great and He has “seen their ways,” He still forgives us (v.18). Even more so, He heals us, comforts us, and changes us so we can be like Him, holy. God is holy, holy, holy. As a holy God, He can’t be in the presence of sin. He could have just given us up; we certainly deserved it. But He didn’t. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us; He loves us. He made a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to Him because He loves us even when we don’t deserve it. Why should we continue in our self-pity, as if our sin hasn’t been forgiven and forgotten? If God only loved us when we do deserve it, He wouldn’t love us at all.

Pray to our good, good Father, thanking Him for His great love and asking Him to help you accept it even more.

I wrote this because I don’t understand God’s love, but I know it’s there. I will never be able to fully understand how high or deep or wide or long the love of Jesus is; I can only experience it and be amazed by it. All any of us can do is live in response to it. We are forgiven!

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