Memorable Sins

Daily Reform, Isaiah 43:18-25

From the Reformer

The Prophet added this for the consolation of the godly, who, oppressed by the consciousness of their transgressions, might otherwise have fallen into despair. On this account he encourages them to cherish good hope, and confirms them in that confidence by saying, that although they are unworthy, yet he will pardon their sins, and will thus deliver them. Hence we ought to draw a useful doctrine, that no one can be certain of obtaining pardon, unless he rely on the absolute goodness of God. They who look to their works must continually hesitate, and at length despair, because, if they are not deceived by gross hypocrisy, they will always have before their eyes their own unworthiness, which will constrain them to remain in doubt as to the love of God.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah

Pulling It Together

There they sat for about the twentieth time in the past few years, mad and frustrated with each other. They wanted each other to be different, to be that person they saw in soap operas and sit-coms that seemed so wonderful. Finally all that could be said, after all of their shouting was, You have to forgive each other and stop expecting you can change the other person. The only person you can really change is yourself. Then one of them said, Yes. I will change but he has to change first because I remember when he…and then another example from the past surfaced.

It is difficult for some to forgive and forget. Indeed, they say they forgive, but then harbor the memory of a wrong so they might demolish the other person when they are hurt again. How then would they expect God to forgive their sins and remember them no more? Believing in God’s promise to forgive and forget is difficult because our sin is so great and so present to our conscience. And because it means we must also truly forgive and forget. Indeed, the hardest sins to forgive and forget are our own. Only in Christ do we find true forgiveness and thus, the ability to forgive others and self.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers

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