A Montrose Church Advent Devotional by Pastor Rick
Advent Day 19: The Transforming Power of Forgiveness
Today's reading: Hebrews 10:10-18
God doesn't seem to simply forgive acts of sin, but actually changes the human heart to where it doesn't want to sin. That is not to say that those who believe in Jesus are perfect, but it is to say that their hearts are changed and they sincerely seek to be what God would have them be.
Is it really possible? Can God really change a human heart? Can the deep things in a human life take on a new way of being? Can people really become new creatures (see 2 Corinthians 5:17)? The Bible is filled with the language of new beginnings. Bondage to the past can be broken and God can take the storyline of people and write a future they never saw coming.
What God does is not done at a surface level, but deep down inside our lives where nobody lives but us. That's where change and transformation take place. In the letter of Hebrews, the new way of being in a person takes place when God puts His "laws upon their heart, and on their mind" (v. 16).
In 1 Corinthians 1:30 the apostle Paul speaks of how Jesus "became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption." This is why the incarnation of Jesus is so very important. God didn't send directions on how to know God. God came into our history and showed us what it means to know God, and then became in us the very thing we need.
The season of Advent is a time for us to see again that a right relationship with God is not given from a distance, but is actually lived out before us so that we see with our own eyes and touch with our own hands. Salvation is not a decree made by God. Salvation is God with us, doing in us what we, in and of ourselves, could never do. This might just be the greatest miracle of all. So, we sing in Advent,
Come, Thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
- Charles Wesley, 1744
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