"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12)
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more ..." (Isaiah 43:25)
“Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
When I am not baking or gardening, I love to paint. My favourite things to paint are people’s faces. They are so fascinating; each face is different to the next one. I particularly like the challenge of painting elderly people’s faces, they are so much more interesting than younger ones to paint, and they have so much more life written in the lines of their faces. So, it was no surprise when recently I wanted to do a painting that I chose to paint the face of an old man. His chin was resting on his hand and he had a hood over his head. I wanted to get a good likeness so I started by marking up a grid on my paper and also on the printout of the face. Next, I carefully drew an outline in pencil. When I went wrong I simply rubbed out my mistakes with an eraser and did that bit again. When I was finished, I was pleased with my drawing so decided that I would go over my pencil lines in ink before painting it.
Very carefully I went over the lines I had done in pencil, until all of them were covered and then I stood back to survey what I had done. As I looked, I immediately saw a glaring error that I had made. As part of my pencil drawing I had put in some construction lines to help me get the hood in the correct place. I had meant to rub them out before doing the ink drawing but I had forgotten and now there they were in black ink shouting out at me from the paper. By now I had spent far too long on the picture to want to start all over again. I had intended to use pastels to complete the picture but that would not conceal the error, I would still see the ink underneath. I did consider just throwing it away and not doing the picture but, in the end, I made the sensible decision and decided that I would simply change my plan and use acrylic paints to paint over my mistake. The great thing about acrylic paint is that you can paint out mistakes you have made, the paint will completely cover up what is underneath and it can no longer be seen at all.
So that is what I did. I painted over my mistake and it can be seen no longer. When I look at the completed painting, I don’t see the error, just the end result.
This made me think of a chorus I used to sing when I was a child, the first line of it went “No more, no more, he remembers sins no more”. In life we make many mistakes, sometimes we try to cover up our mistakes and sometimes we wish we could simply start all over again. But we cannot turn back time, we have to live in the here and now. However, when we ask God for forgiveness, he completely wipes out the mistake and keeps working with us. Our mistakes may well have consequences, we may have to change direction and the plans that we have made, but God does not hold our sins against us. We are forgiven people, as it says in 2 Corinthians, we are new creations, the old has gone and the new has come.
We are sorry for the many times that we have failed. Thank you that in love you forgive us our sins and do not count them against us.
Song: Only by grace