“How happy is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How happy is the man who the LORD does not charge with sin, and in whose spirit is no deceit! “ Psalm 32:1-2 HCSB
Salvation changes everything. When you connect with Jesus Christ by faith, you are forgiven and your sins are completely covered. Your debt has not been deferred until another time; it has been fully paid! As far as God is concerned, the slate is clean and you have been given a fresh start. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ took care of it all.
When you get this, I mean really get this, it produces a freedom unlike any other you’ve ever experienced. You are free forever. You don’t have to pay God back. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. You don’t have to make any more excuses for your past. You are free to live! No wonder the Scripture says this kind of person is “happy.”
But, all to often, this freedom is short lived. It is not uncommon for one to receive the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation from God but then attempt to pay God back for it. Since you feel like you didn’t deserve to be forgiven, you somehow think that you must pay God for it with your activities, commitments, sacrifices, and promises. The problem with this thinking is that it transforms what God intended to be a gift into a wage that you earn. It no longer produces “happiness” but rather a “heaviness“ – a burden of false guilt.
We dare not allow ourselves to ignore or forget the truth about God’s redemptive gift. Just because we realize we are unworthy of such a gift doesn’t mean it’s not ours to be had. And, seeking to pay God back for it won’t make it more real. It has already been paid. Listen to what God says,
“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift-not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Gratitude for God’s gift is often expressed tangibly through our lifestyle. And it should be. But don’t allow your gratitude to become a payback. Gratitude is an important element of intimacy in a relationship. God wants you and your heart, not what you think you can do for Him. He is honored with our gratitude. He is insulted when we try to pay Him back.
Try enjoying His gift today. Release the false guilt and stop trying to pay God back. Draw near to Him and you can expect Him to draw near to you. Seek Him with all your heart. He has given you life…so live! And don’t forget…living involves passing the word on about God’s forgiveness to others…that’s what “fishers of men” do.