I’m reading this book at the moment.
I recommend it.
However, I’m writing this because while reading this morning I had a revelation that I had to share with you.
When we sin (and yes, I’m still prone to slip up on occasion) at that precise moment, particularly the worst moments, we are so angry at ourselves, and not only angry, but often also surprised.
I’ve been known to say to myself:
Steve! How could you do that? What are you doing?!
To us, it’s the worst feeling ever. To us, we’ve not only let ourselves down, but we’ve let God down.
We can’t believe we’ve let ourselves do it.
We hate ourselves. We are wracked with guilt. Burning with shame.
We cry out to God.
God, please forgive me, please help me! I’ve let you down again! How can you ever forgive me?! You forgive me once, and the next time I sin, it’s even worse!
We are so surprised at ourselves. We can’t believe what we let ourselves do.
But, here’s the news: God isn’t surprised.
He knows exactly who we are.
He knows exactly what we are capable of.
He knows us inside out.
Not only that, He already knows what sins we are going to commit in our lives.
He knows what sins we have committed in the past, and what sins we will commit in the future.
He knows us better than we know ourselves!
Nothing is a surprise to God.
Even though I suprise myself with my sin sometimes, God isn’t surprised. He already knew what I was going to do!
I find this comforting.
In his book How to Overcome Sin author D.R Silva writes about how Adam, in the garden, after he had eaten the fruit and realized he was naked, hid from God:
“Adam, where are you?” said God.
“I saw you in the garden,” said Adam. “But I was naked and ashamed, so I hid.”
Adam had been naked since God created him and didn’t know. Then, suddenly, when he ate from the tree of knowledge – he knew he was naked.
God, however, had seen him naked since the day he had created him!
Silva compares this to us as children:
Our parents see us naked for the first ten years of our lives, then, when we reach puberty and become aware of our bodies we suddenly cover ourselves up from the eyes of our parents – even though they’ve seen us naked a million times!
So it is with God and our sin.
God already knows what sins we will commit.
He knows the depth of our hearts.
He knows our sinful cravings, our lust, our unhealed desires.
He knows exactly what we will do wrong in our lives.
He tries to warn us, but ultimately, He gives us free will.
He allows us to make our own mistakes to learn the very hard lessons we have to learn to become the amazing people he created us to be – to grow into our identity in Christ.
This is what the writer of Hebrews means when he says:
Do not despise the discipline of the LORD, for he disciplines those He loves and punishes everyone He accepts us a a child.
It isn’t ‘cracking the whip’ punishment. The punishment is the consequences we experience. The emotional turmoil that comes as a consequence of our sin. The guilt. The shame.
As Proverbs 20:30 says:
Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.
Yet, the amazing thing about grace is, because of Jesus, God doesn’t judge us according to our brokeness, according to our sin.
He doesn’t treat us as we deserve.
Because of the cross, God treats us as Jesus deserves.
God doesn’t see us as unworthy sinners, but as His beautiful children.
Children of the King of Kings.
God sees us as He sees Jesus, righteous, perfect and holy.
And not because of anything we have done, but because of what Jesus did for us.
And this not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.
– Ephesians 2:8
How amazing is that?!
So, remember, you may be surprised when you sin, but be comforted that God knows you inside out.
Nothing you do can suprise God.
God loves you in spite of your failings.
He loves us with an unfailing love.
Listen to these words from Isaiah:
Instead of your shame
you will receive honor,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
Everlasting joy will be yours.
– Isaiah 61:7