Done for me lately?


Sure, we acknowledge that Jesus did a lot of wonderful things for people way back then and there, but we’re being bold enough today to ask the question, “Yes, but what’s Jesus done for me lately?” Emphasis on both me and lately. I’ll come back to this.

I start with the subject of “habits.” When we think of habits we usually jump to the thought of bad habits. And there are sure lots of them, aren’t there? And we each have our set of them. But habits can certainly be good, as well. And good habits make for a good life.

Here’s the point of bringing up habits. God has habits, too. Of course, all of God’s habits are good habits. He is incapable of bad habits, being Holy and all. One of God’s good habits is forgiving people who have confessed their sin. In fact, God is simply and completely a habitual forgiver.

One situation in which God proved His habitual forgiving habit was with King David. In 2 Samuel in the Old Testament is the story of King David, who sees Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. David is so physically attracted to this man’s wife that he devises the wicked plan to send Uriah into the front of a fierce battle where he will surely be killed. He does and he is. David quickly sends for Bathsheba and makes her his wife. Not good. Not godly at all. Of course, God knows all this, so He sends Nathan the prophet to confront David.

After Nathan’s pronouncement of God’s displeasure, sure enough, David repents, honestly and profoundly asking God to forgive him. Well, guess what? God’s habitual forgiveness shows up again, and God forgives David. There are other human repercussions, but the sin is gone and forgotten and David’s slate is wiped clean. David is so thankful and glad about God’s habitual forgiveness, that he dances and praises God and writes in the Psalms all about how wonderful and blessed it is to repent to God and have Him forgive you.

God’s habitual forgiveness side showed up most emphatically in the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus was a habitual forgiver. That was proved one day as recorded in St. Luke.

In the house of the Pharisee, a woman “… of the city, who was a sinner” (yes, think the worst) comes to Jesus and begins to cry and then washes His feet with her tears and dries them with her hair, and kisses His feet and anoints them with ointment. Of course, when the Pharisee sees this, he says that Jesus should know what kind of woman she is, and make her stop and get away.

Jesus calmly tells a little parable to the Pharisee, who actually gets the point and backs off. Jesus knows her actions are her full repentance and recognition of Him as her Savior, so He says to the Pharisee, “Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven.” Then He says to her, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

There it is. Jesus showing His good habit. Jesus was a habitual forgiver.

Now we’re back to our original question. Sure, Jesus did a lot of wonderful things for people way back then and there, but we’re being bold enough to ask the question, “Yes, but what’s Jesus done for me lately?” Emphasis on me and lately.

Here’s one answer. Every Sunday in one of our worship services and still quite often in the other, we include what is called “The Confession and Forgiveness.” This is an ancient rite of The church that can be done privately between a penitent person and the pastor, but it is most often done with the whole congregation and pastor. That’s how we do it.

The Confession in real and present time gives each of us the opportunity to confess our bondage to sin and our inability to free ourselves from this bondage. Each of us sinners confesses our sins committed in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and left undone. Each of us confesses that we have not loved God with our whole heart, and have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. And each of us asks God, for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ, to have mercy on us and forgive us.

Then in that same real and present time, we hear those sweet words that Almighty God, in His love for us which we do not deserve, has given His Son Jesus to die for us and, that for His sake, God forgives us all our sins — right here and right now.

“What’s Jesus done for me lately?” you ask. Like He did back then and there? Well, for one thing, this same thing: He’s shown you the same sweet loving and habitual forgiveness right here and right now. So, you can say with confidence “That’s what Jesus has done for me lately.” Emphasis on me and lately. And you, too, can dance and praise God. I hope you will.

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