Psalm 65:2-4 - O You who hear prayer, to You shall all flesh come. When iniquities prevail against me, You atone for our transgressions. Blessed is the one You choose and bring near, to dwell in Your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, the holiness of Your temple!
"When iniquities prevail." We know what that is like. We might be tempted first to look at the world around us, seeing iniquity in every direction, in all of those other people. But then, with more honesty, we look at the iniquity in our own lives. We may feel overwhelmed by sin and shame. We think our guilt is too great and we cannot be forgiven. We may try to relieve the burden of sin for ourselves and remove that great weight of iniquity, or at least forget about it, maybe even through drugs or alcohol. We may even embrace the burden and continue in willful sin. We may seek help from those who ultimately prove to be false teachers, the ones who promise, "'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14b).
True peace is found only through the forgiveness of sins, and the only true help when sin prevails is the only One who hears our prayers. Christ our Lord atoned for our transgressions. Those two words, transgress and atone, describe the trap of sin in which we find ourselves and what was done to set us free. Transgress, similar to another word for sin, trespass, means to step across a line. With His holy commands, God has drawn a line in the sand, a line we must not cross. Yet in rebellion against His will, from Adam and Eve, who ate the fruit forbidden to them, to our own daily choices, we step across that line. We do what we should not do and fail to do the good that God commands. As Adam and Eve once fled from God's presence, our transgressions multiply and separate us from God. "Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God" (Isaiah 59:2a).
Only the One to whom we pray could save us. Jesus came to atone for our transgressions. The word atone expresses its own meaning; it is one word created out of two: at one. Jesus came to atone for our sins, to reconcile us to God, to make us at one with Him. Our Savior never once transgressed, never once crossed that line of God's holy commands. Then the innocent Son of God took the burden of our iniquities onto Himself and carried them to the cross. There He took the penalty of death in our place. Through Jesus, God reconciled us to Himself, "making peace by the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:20b).
"Blessed is the one You choose and bring near." We have been called by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel, the Good News of all that Christ Jesus has done for us. God has crossed the line that separated us from Himself and brought us near. The burden of sin is lifted as we repent and leave our sins at the foot of the cross. Our iniquities have been swallowed up forever in the empty tomb of that first Easter morning, and we are satisfied.
THE PRAYER: Lord God, You have heard our prayers and forgiven our transgressions. In Jesus' Name, accept our grateful praise. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. How does knowing your sins are forgiven by God bring you peace?
2. Is going to God's house, your church, an important activity for you?
3. Do you have particular sins you need to be "on guard" against?
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