Advent Reflection: Waiting for Forgiveness

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the LORD. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

Jeremiah 31:34

This is the first week in Advent, a season in the Christian year when we prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas. In Advent, we remember the longing of Israel for the Messiah, and we renew our own longing for the second coming of Christ.

The Jewish people knew that their sin had gotten them into deep trouble. The Lord had promised to bless them richly if only they were faithful to his covenant and kept his law. But they consistently rejected God and his ways. As a result, God judged his people, in part by subjecting them to foreign rulers. The people longed to be forgiven, not only for their personal sins but also for the sins of their nation. Forgiveness was an essential part of restoration. It was a door into living under God’s kingdom once again.

We also long to be forgiven and to have our lives made right by God. Yet our longing is unlike that of Israel because we can enjoy God’s forgiveness right now through faith in Christ. What God promised through Jeremiah can be ours today.

Yet at the same time, we recognize that the full impact of God’s forgiveness is yet to come. The restoration of all things has begun but is not yet completed. Even in our own lives, the impact of our sin often remains even though God forgives us. Thus, like Israel, we yearn to know the full forgiveness and restoration that comes with God’s kingdom.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How has God’s forgiveness changed your life? Are there ways in which you are still longing to experience the fullness of God’s forgiveness and restoration?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, how I thank you for the wonder of your forgiveness. The fact that you have forgiven my sin is one of the most precious realities in my life. How glad I am that I can approach you with confidence, knowing that, through Christ, I am forgiven. All praise be to you, Gracious God!

Yet, like the people of Israel, I long to know the full implications of your forgiveness. I look forward to the day when I will be fully renewed, when my relationships will be restored, when heaven and earth will be made new. What I experience of your forgiveness now is a foretaste of the future, and it increases my hunger.

In this season of Advent, Lord, I remember just how much I need your forgiveness. How amazing it is that this will come through a baby born in a manger! Amen.

Advent in Us

“But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace” (1 Cor. 15:10).

The grace of God through Christ Jesus is not a passive presence in our lives. The grace of God is at work in us, building us up and moving us to action and growth, to good work and worship. Everything we accomplish and all we become is because of the grace of Christ. In this, the first week of Advent, let’s remember Advent in Us, the gift of grace through our Lord Jesus. Let’s consider ways to discover anew the work of grace in our work, our lives, and our relationship with God.