Forgiveness and Restoration
Launch of a new life.
On 13th March, 1909, work began on a magnificent new ship. She was the dream and creation of the White Star Line, in the United Kingdom. Decadently furnished and decked out, she left for her maiden voyage on 10thApril, 1912…flags flying, bands playing, people cheering and waving. Beautiful and confident she gracefully steamed out to sea. Her destination – New York. Her name was ‘Titanic’.
It reminds me of that moment when we launch into the life-transforming power of Jesus Christ.
We’ve just connected to the power source of Life himself. A switch has been flipped and we are alive, filled with the love and light of God. New heart, new spirit, new life, new purpose, new future. And we launch out on our maiden voyage as children of God; our flags flying, joy and laughter within, feeling alive and on fire. We feel beautiful, accepted, and loved by God. Nothing can stop us! We feel like we can conquer the world. Like the people on the Titanic, we think we are unsinkable!
The Titanic was a magnificent, proud ship. The prize of the shipping line. The pride and joy of her designers. It was her maiden voyage. Everything was working well. The headlines proclaimed the wonder and marvel of her and reiterated the fact that she was definitely ‘unsinkable’.
They didn’t count on an iceberg.
Where is that great, magnificent vessel now?
That ‘unsinkable’ ship is lying on the bottom of the ocean depths; rotting, rusting, disintegrating. No longer sailing confidently through the sea, she is now buried in silt, broken, and shattered.
How often do we find ourselves feeling a little bit pleased with ourself? In our Christian walk, we are steaming along, feeling comfortable and confident. Life may not be perfect but hey, we’re okay! We aren’t sinning like the rest of the world out there. We’re unsinkable because we’ve got God on our side.
The Titanic didn’t see the iceberg looming up. If they had, and sounded an initial warning, nobody anticipated the size of it under the surface of the water. All they saw was the top of it.
Sin is like icebergs. We see only what is on the ‘surface’. We don’t see the dangers lurking below.
The classic case is Adam and Eve.
Genesis 2 v 8
Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made.’
There they were. Launched into God’s new creation and launched into life. They’d been handcrafted by the Creator personally, with God’s own spirit of life breathed into them. They were one with their Creator. They began their maiden voyage into life, covered and surrounded by God’s love and light.
Genesis 2 v 15-17
The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, ‘You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden – except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.
All they had to do was obey one, singular rule. You’d think it would be easy!
Genesis 3 v 6, 7.
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful, and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it too.”
Fooled by the lies of the serpent, Eve looked at the forbidden fruit. She gazed at it, dwelling on how attractive it was. ‘Mmm, wonder what it tastes like? And if I eat it, I’ll be like God. I’ll have knowledge and wisdom. Adam, the serpent says we won’t die. He says God has tricked us. Why shouldn’t we enjoy this fruit? I can’t see anything wrong with it. Why would he want to deprive us of something so good? Come on, have some with me. The serpent says it won’t hurt us.’
They both ate…and tragedy struck! That connection to God, that oneness they’d had with God – was instantly broken. Severed. They lost it. God knew it and he knew the reason why.
God showed His will to Jonah and Jonah ran off in the opposite direction. He was terrified. “Preach to the giant city of Nineveh? No way!”
Jonah jumped on a boat and figured that if he kept going in the opposite direction, he could get away from God and from what God was asking him to do.
Storms hit the boat and were so violent all the pagan sailors knew that something out of the ordinary was up. They grabbed Jonah. He told them he was running away from his God. The solution was simple. Jonah himself knew it and gave the order. They tossed Jonah overboard and he was promptly swallowed by a great fish. We assume it was a whale but could have been something else of considerable size.
The biggest iceberg of sin is disobedience.
Adam and Eve sank humanity’s boat when they disobeyed God.
Jonah disobeyed God and got swallowed up.
Jonah 2 v 5-10
I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head. I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death. As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows, for my salvation comes from the Lord alone.’
Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.
Sin can drag you down into the depths and if continued in, can leave you a broken, disintegrating wreck – stuck in murky silt, enclosed in darkness.
When we sin, something is broken. The harmony we live in with the Spirit of God, is affected.
I liken it to the striking of piano keys. Or guitar strings. If something is out of tune, it sounds ‘off’. Like a cracked bell; or an off-key singer.
What did Adam and Eve do when they heard God approaching?
Genesis 3 v 8…
When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees…
Guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, scared of being exposed…they hid among the trees…in the darkness of the shadows. They didn’t want to be seen.
Sin will make us do the same. We hide what we are doing; hide our conversations on the phone; hide things in dark corners; hide from people we have slandered or put down on social media. Sin comes in all forms, shapes and sizes.
Sometimes we try to hide by covering ourselves, as Adam and Eve did. We volunteer for everything and take on more and more ‘good works’, hoping that they will hide us. Hoping that others, including God, will see all our good works and be fooled. The only person being fooled is ourselves.
The Word of God says: ‘Be sure your sins will find you out.”
All hidden sins come to light eventually. If you are a child of God, with hidden sin in your life, God will expose it at some point and in some way. It’s better if you deal with it before that happens.
If you want to live your life in the ongoing light and peace of God – you have no other choice. We can either let sin be the master over us, or we can overcome it and win the victory by confessing, repenting and turning whole-heartedly back to our loving God and Father. Why continue to suffer when you could be walking in freedom and peace, with a clear conscience? A guilty conscience will drag you down and cripple you in many ways.
What does God do when we are in the dark depths?
Look at the rest of verse 9 in Genesis 3.
Then the Lord God called to the man, ‘where are you?’
The Lord God entered that tragic situation in the Garden of Eden and called to them.
God is always reaching out, always calling. He loves His children, and He knows we are dust. We all make mistakes. We all take missteps. Some of us, like toddlers, fall down-get up-fall down-get up. At some point, we must determine to grow up in Christ. One can only be a toddler for so long.
We have been born again, in Christ Jesus. We have received the Spirit of God. He dwells within us. Jesus said, ‘I and my Father are one.’ We also, become one with Jesus. This is why the New Testament teaches so strongly that we must walk in the Spirit and not yield to the flesh, the human nature that constantly fights for its own way.
If you have let sin overtake you in some area, and you are feeling like the wreck of the Titanic, don’t despair or let yourself sink deeper into the silt. God doesn’t want you down there. He is not prepared to abandon you. Whatever you might think.
God is calling you. He is calling you to come out of that darkness; get out of those depths.
The Titanic will never sail the seas again. There is no restoration for her. However, there is forgiveness and restoration for you and I.
God…with his heart full of love, is right there with you. If you cry out to Him, just as Jonah did from the dark depths within the sea beast, God will reach down into your darkness. Gently and slowly, he will lift you up out of the depths.
God is calling.
Let him bring you up out of the darkness and into the sunlight of His Presence.
There are many sin-wrecked lives lying in the depths of life’s ocean. Some will hear God’s loving call and will respond. They will know true life again in God’s Presence. Sadly, some never will.
Today, if you hear God calling, return to Him. Repent of whatever is holding you back, separating you from him.
Come into the amazing light of His presence and learn what life is all about, with God himself at the helm of your heart. He will guide you through life’s ocean. He will keep you steady and on course. He will watch over you and warn you of any ‘icebergs’. Listen to God’s Word. Pay attention to His Word.
Be blessed in your relationship with Christ Jesus and with your Heavenly Father.
Live your life in the Light, for He is in the Light. There is no better place to live.