In Christ, We Are More Than Our Mistakes
by Mark Nickles

One of my favorite people in the Bible is David. This probably isn't unusual, as many people love the stories of God using David to slay the giant Goliath, and of David being anointed king over his older, and seemingly more-qualified brothers. However, my reasons for enjoying the accounts of David's life have little to do with what God accomplished through him, and much more to do with a great truth illustrated by his experiences with God. David's story represents what may seem a contradiction, but is actually a great truth about God's basis for accepting us. In 1 Samuel 13:14, while announcing to Samuel that he is about to be replaced, God refers to David as "a man after his own heart". However, when reading of David's sins of adultery, deceit, betrayal and murder in 2 Samuel 11, one might wonder how such a person could be referred to as being after God's own heart. The truth of this illustration is that God does not judge us by the mistakes we make, but by what is in our hearts. (1 Samuel 16:7) One glaring fact which cannot be avoided in this case is God's foreknowledge of our lives. Simply put, God knows what we are going to do before we do it. (Isaiah 42:9, Daniel 2:28, John 2:25) Also, we know of other people in the Bible who were believers, but sinned grievously against God. Jonah ran from God, not wishing the people of Nineveh to be rescued from their sin. (Jonah 4:1-3) Peter denied Christ, even as Jesus said he would. (John 13:38) And, of course, any follower of Christ who reads this can bring to mind a time when they said, did, or thought something which was completely alien to their Christianity. God knew it was going to happen, and still loved/loves you. Am I making excuses for, or rationalizing, sin? Absolutely not. I find myself in agreement with what Paul wrote in Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? This follows Paul's explanation of the benefits of God's grace in the previous chapter. So, while we are not to abuse God's grace (his unmerited favor) by sinning willfully and purposely, we are to appreciate it for what it does in our lives. It makes us acceptable to him, able to be considered his heirs, and co-heirs with Jesus, DESPITE our sin. (Romans 8:17) The Christian is meant to live a life which models Jesus to those around them. (1 Peter 1:14-16) However, we are going to make mistakes, as Paul illustrates in Romans 7:21-25. We can and should be thankful that God has provided a way for us to appear righteous before him, so that we don't have to live in guilt for the inevitable sin in our lives. Thank God that, despite our struggles, we can be men, women, boys and girls after God's own heart!

Mark Nickles is a husband, father of three, and a pastor in Northeastern Oklahoma. Copyright, Mark A. Nickles.

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