January 19, 2012
(The Holy Spirit says) "I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more." Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Hebrews 10:17-18
The year was 1933 and Antonio, who had been stationed in Naples as a carabinieri, a paramilitary policeman, fell in love with Rosa.
They were married the following year.
Together they shared five children and 77 years. Understand, not all of those years were good. During the war, in 1944, Rosa had an affair -- an affair which she broke off, an affair which she kept secret. For more than 60 years she kept that affair secret.
Sixty years wasn't long enough. Recently, while Antonio and Rosa were clearing out their apartment in Rome, he came across a dust-covered pile of letters she had written to her lover. Furious, Antonio moved out and has filed for divorce. Rosa is not contesting the suit filed by her 99-year-old husband.
That's the story which is the basis of this devotion. Quite honestly, there are a number of ways we could go from here.
We could speak of how one sin is enough to separate us from the one Person in the universe who loves us the most.
We could talk about how the Lord is justifiably hurt when we sin, when we lie, when we try to cover our transgressions.
Yes, we could speak about all of those things.
Instead, I'd rather have you think about how blessed we are to have a God who, in spite of our liaisons with sin, still loved us and wished to save us. You will note that Antonio held Rosa responsible for her actions. He didn't blame the children, his grandchildren, their great-grandchildren. No, she and she alone was the object of his anger.
But that is not what the Lord did. So that the rift between us -- the rift which we had singlehandedly created -- might be healed, God graciously, mercifully, sent His Son to take our place and endure our punishment.
The Innocent was punished for the guilty. It's not what Antonio did, it's not what we would do, but be thankful God is not us. This is why because of His Son's sacrifice all who believe are forgiven and, as Scripture says, God remembers their sins no more (see Isaiah 43:25).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, today I give thanks that You voluntarily took the punishment my sins had earned. May I, in thanks to You, live my life in a way which shows my thanks. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries