READ : Hebrews 12:1-3
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. (v. 2, NIV)
When confessing my sin to God, I once prayed, “Lord, remember what Christ did for me on the cross.” I didn’t want God to look at me and become angry at my sins. I wanted him to look on me with approval and forgiveness because of Jesus’ death on my behalf. The Lord’s voice responded in my mind, “Oh, I’ll remember what Jesus did for you. But will you remember?” God wants us to remember, too. He wants us to call the death of Jesus to mind when we are faced with tempting desires, daunting problems or intimidating persecution.
As a missionary in South America I heard of people going to the confessional booth to ask forgiveness in advance for the sins they planned to commit that night. But confession is not a free pass to go on sinning. We can’t manipulate God into forgiving us just by saying, “I’m sorry.” In genuine confession, we meet with God at the same place – the cross of Christ – and we both pledge to remember and honor this event and always to live in light of it. God honors the cross by forgiving us. We honor the cross by throwing off the sins Jesus died to save us from, and by enduring whatever shame we encounter for his sake.
Lord, may thoughts of your sacrifice fill my mind and guide my steps.