By Barbara Latta, Crosswalk.com
Sin is the disease that has plagued mankind since Adam and Eve transmitted it to us eons ago. The only cure is the blood of Jesus.
He wipes out that spiritual virus so that it no longer contaminates our spirits.
But unfortunately, our minds have default settings and can reach back to the past and relate to life through the eyes of sin. When this happens, we can beat ourselves up for giving in to temptation. We tend to think that God rejects and condemns us.
But He is our loving heavenly Father. He welcomed us into His family through His Son’s sacrifice. Our big Brother took the rap for our disobedience. No more punishment is in our future unless we give it to ourselves.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
What should we do after we sin? The Lord doesn’t condemn us, but how is our confidence in hope restored so we can still live an abundant life?
Here are 5 ways God restores hope after we have sinned:
1. Hope Is Restored Because We Are Not Expelled from the Family of God
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. John 10:28-29
There is no sin that will cause our Father to abandon us. Christ bought us with His blood and the Holy Spirit sealed us. We are eternally His. When we understand this, our guilt will not be able to interfere with our minds. We can know that His love endures, and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
The story of the Prodigal Son shows us the kindness of a loving father (Luke 15:11-32). He ran down the road to meet his child, kissed him, and rejoiced that the boy came home. He didn’t beat him up for leaving, rather the parent clothed his son in royal raiment and reminded him that he was and always had been a member of the family.
We are members of the family of God forever.
2. Hope Is Restored through Our Calling
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
God doesn’t throw us out of His fold when we sin. He never gives up on us, so why should we? His purpose for our lives continues. He never had a perfect specimen on the earth except Jesus. He redeemed all the saints who have gone before us and used them to accomplish His will. When they fell into sin, His hand showed forgiveness. He picked them up and set them back on the path He had laid out.
If we feel that restoration to the fellowship of our Father is hopeless, we can look to biblical examples of failure and see the redemptive hand of Jehovah. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph’s brothers, David, the disciples, and Paul all had to look to God and not their sin so they could be revived to the hope salvation provides.
God never stops working in our lives (Romans 11:29).
3. Hope Is Restored through a Heavenly Party
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
God is the great Warrior who saved us. He celebrates our lives and rejoices over us. Our minds may try to reject that truth because we remember our thoughts and behavior. We see that we don’t deserve this great mercy.
But that is what grace is all about. His gift to us was out of His abundant affection. Our part is to receive what He gave us by faith. Heaven rejoices when a repentant sinner turns to Jesus and receives salvation (Luke 15:7). After we are saved, He takes delight in us because we are His children forever.
His forgiveness invites us to a celestial bash.
4. Hope Is Restored through His Faithfulness to Covenant Promises
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15
No matter what we do, the Almighty never changes (Malachi 3:6). His Word never falters or fails to accomplish what He said (Isaiah 55:11). So, who are we to question His forgiveness and restoration after a sin or failure? He said we are forgiven, and nothing can change that truth.
The nation of Israel broke the heart of the great I AM who delivered them from Egypt. Time after time they turned to idols and submitted to profane lifestyles. But Yahweh sent prophets to show them their sin and remind them of the covenant He had made with Abraham. His covenant was everlasting because of His Word (Psalm 105:8).
God sent His Word and made it flesh in the body of Jesus. He fulfilled a new covenant that allows us to approach Him boldly with our requests (Hebrews 4:16).
He is faithful even when we are not.
5. Hope Is Restored through Grace
We don't like wrong behavior in our children because the consequences of disobedience are painful. We love our kids and don’t want them to hurt. When they repent and turn from wrongdoing, doesn’t that thrill our souls? Do we want to turn them away and condemn them or do we pull them into our embrace and rejoice? We can identify with the father of the prodigal son.
Our heavenly Father loves us more than we can imagine. More than we can love our own families. How much more does He want us to run to him with our hurts and repentance. It grieves Him when we go the opposite way and stay away from Him because we fear punishment.
He saved us when we were sinners, why would He stop loving us now? He has cast our sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
We may turn our back on God for a time, but He never turns away from us.
Hope Is Our Spiritual Thermostat
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:19-20
Sin produces guilt because our conscience is the meter inside us that determines our choice of right and wrong actions. But it’s purpose is so we will turn to what is right. The Creator did not put this guidance system inside us as a weapon for beating us up. Once we turn the dial back to Him, the guilt and shame are supposed to be left behind with our transgression that has been forgiven.
Our hearts may condemn us, but the Holy Spirit is greater than our hearts. He restores hope and peace, and His perfect love casts out fear of punishment (1 John 4:18).
Hope is our spiritual thermostat that directs us to return to Him in faith. Faith in His promises and His never ending mercy sets our souls at rest.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
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Barbara Latta is a true southerner and is transplanted from Arkansas to Georgia. She writes a monthly column in her local newspaper and contributes to devotional websites, online magazines, and has stories in several anthologies. She is the author of God’s Maps, Stories of Inspiration, and Direction for Motorcycle Riders. She enjoys traveling with her Harley-riding prince on his motorcycle taking in the creativity of nature. Drinking coffee on the patio while the sun comes up is her favorite time of day. Barbara shares about walking in grace and thriving in hope on her blog, Navigating Life’s Curves, at www.barbaralatta.blogspot.com. She cherishes her role in life as a wife, a mom to two grown sons, and Mimi to one granddaughter.