Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17b)
This was the first message of Jesus Christ when He started His ministry, and it was the first preaching of John the Baptist also. Both Jesus and John the Baptist emphasized the paramount importance of repenting sins. Why? Without repenting our sins, nothing can God do for us. Our sin becomes the impenetrable barrier between God and us, which blocks all of God’s blessings, grace and mercy that God really wants to give us. Even so, God’s love toward us has not changed and will not change at all forever. This is the greatness of God’s love. Then how can we be sure about this unchanging God’s love? Jesus told:
In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. (Matthew 5:45)
Yes, God loves His children under all circumstances. Apostle Paul experienced this unchanging God’s love through his life, and described as follows:
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. (Romans 8:38)
God’s love never changes. God patiently waits for us, as a father who is eagerly wanting for his prodigal son’s return, who took the half of his wealth, left his house, and squandered it. When he saw his prodigal son from distance, he ran to his son and hugged. He saw his son being suffered a lot since exhausting all the money taken from the father in hungry because nobody gave him food to eat. A severe drought came to the land where the son went. There was no place but returning to the father’s house. As soon as the father saw his son returning, the father rejoiced because he found again his lost son years ago. The father’s long wait finally ended, and the prodigal son returned to his father’s bosom. The parable of the prodigal son and his loving father reflects the true secret of the love of our God, our Ever-Loving Father.
In extreme joy, the father held a feast while inviting his friends and relatives because he had found his son again. The fact that the prodigal son squandered the half of his wealth did not matter at all. The son who left the father by his own desire finally realized the reality, and humbly returned to the father. The father was truly in joy because of the unconditional love of his son. The father himself was also greatly suffered every night because his beloved son left him. The father’s suffering also ended by the returning of his son. Like the father who waited for his prodigal son day and night. Even at this very moment, our God is waiting for us with His unfailing love. What’s the reason? Because God is love. God truly wants share His unfailing love with us, but the barrier of our sins blocks His blessings and grace. Every day, God patiently waits for us to tear down the barrier. How to tearing down the barrier? Confessing our sins with all our hearts and minds to God and acknowledge with our own mouth to God. Then God, who is faithful and full of mercy and love, is more than willing to forgive our sins. As soon as the barrier disappears, God blessings starts flowing from Him to us through His love and mercy. This is what God exactly wants. That is, He wants to restore our loving relationship with God, which was once lost.
Surely we might feel like the prodigal son, who was in shame of squandering all good things of his father. Please remember that it did not matter to the father because he found his lost son. Yes, to God, once we were lost, but we are found now after the long waiting for us. God always desires for us to have His blessings in Him, by Him and for Him. In fact, He is one and only one source of our blessings: His grace, mercy and love.
If any of us are still holding of our sins in our heart, then we are blocking all good things from Him. It is time to carefully and humbly search for our sins, which are often hidden from our plain sight because we are easily of the world. Then put out all our sins including hidden sins before God one by one while asking for His mercy and forgiveness. God hears our prayer of His mercy and forgiveness, and surely answers by lovingly touching the deep pain scared by our sins in our hearts, and healing one by one by mending the tears and the pains in our hearts. The frozen blockages in our hearts caused by the terrible sins start melting when warm spring comes. His love starts flowing again in our heart, and changing the barren land to a fruitful land flowing the love of God.
God starts rejoicing in us, and again His true desire shares the richness of His mercy, grace and love. Our loving God finally comes deep into our lives again. We continue to bring Him into the center of our hearts as our true King so that He reign us again. God starts demolishing the stubbornness in our heart, which used to be hardened by our ego, pride, greed and sins. All self-centered shames and ugliness are clearly exposed before the purity of Our God’s light, and His light gives a new teaching in us. As we truly receives, our hearts are being transformed. The barren land is transformed to a land of fertility with good soils for the seeds of God’s Word. Even the ugliest part of our heart turns into a shiny piece of the precious of reflecting His glory and goodness. The sins used to reign over us no more because they become powerless before the pure light of God because our hearts are washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. It is our sure that the One who started good works in our lives will complete.
until at last the Spirit is poured out
on us from heaven.
Then the wilderness will become a fertile field,
and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops. (Isaiah 32:15)
The wilderness of our hearts will becomes a fertile land, and the barren land will be fruitful. Suddenly, our heart are filled with goodness of God. Even we start to produce good things in God. Although the seeds planted by God is so small and tiny like a mustard seed barely visible, the seeds grow big like the mustard plants where birds in the air perches on the branches. As growing, we continuously enjoy the presence of God, Our Ever-Loving Father, who resides in our hearts.
Our hearts are blessed by God without ceasing, as trees planted by streams of water, which yield fruit bountifully throughout its season. As the good things from the above constantly fills our hearts, and our hearts produces fruit without ceasing.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23)
What a blessing! Our hearts are filled with the good things from above: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The fruit of our hearts is so bountiful that it cannot be contained only in our hearts. It surely overflows from our hearts. Plainly visible are the fruit oozed out of our hearts. By the way, the source of bearing the fruit is not of our own might and strength in our heart, but the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
Let’s not forget: the power of this world is formidable. There was no one, even one single person who could overcome the world by his/her own might. The greatest king of all kings ever lived on earth was King David. Although he pleased God with his faith, he was at the same time the greatest sinner among those whom we ever know. He took his own officer’s wife, and he killed her husband to cover up. His cunning plan and precise execution successfully made her husband killed at the battle field. Then David joyfully took in Bathsheba to his palace, but God saw this terrible evil acts from the beginning. God sent His prophet, and exposed the David’s terrible sin. Without any hesitation, David fully confessed his sins to God. God saw David’s humility and his repenting heart. God restored David as His king. In fact, during the course of David’s sinning, God never stopped loving David. To God, David was the precious of His love.
Therefore, two things are absolutely true for all of us:
1. Nobody is stronger than the power of sin.
We will all surely fail, if we rely on our might and strength to fight against sins. Our defeat is sure before the power of sins.
2. God is love, and is patiently waiting for us to come back to Him.
We feel shame and guilt dwelling in our hearts due to our sins, but God never gives up on us. His patience is limitless, and His love is bigger than anything else that we can ever imagine. The robber on the cross asked Jesus His mercy, and received the mercy of forgiveness. It is not too late for anyone to receive His mercy. God is always waiting with His open arms to embrace us and to put us in His ever-loving bosom.
Yes, our God is waiting and telling us even at this very moment:
"Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)