Jump Start # 3485
Acts 3:19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
Hitting the news recently was the list of famous people who visited Jeffrey Epstein’s island of immoral lust and sin. Epstein was a wealthy investor who hobnobbed with actors, presidents, and royalty. He was convicted of child sex crimes and died in prison. And, now a list has surfaced of those who mingled with Epstein. Ruined reputations, destroyed careers, and lawsuits are likely soon to follow. There are a lot of sins that our culture will wink at and give a pass on, but a pedophile is not one of them. Names on a naughty list is something that will be hard to overcome. I expect many attorneys have been called to see what can be done to keep names on that list from being made public.
But there is another list. This one wasn’t in Epstein’s possession. But it’s much worse that his list. And, my name was on that list. Your name was on that list also. And, no attorney could get our names off that list. And, where was that list? It was held by God. On that list was the sins that we have committed. Sins that we have forgotten about. The mean things we thought and even mumbled under our breath about others. The anger that led us to scream at the people we love the most. Yes, that’s on the list. The times our eyes wondered and chased pornography. We hoped we’d never get caught and that no one would ever find out. Yep, that’s on the list. The times we closed our hearts and were indifferent to others. On the list. The moments when arrogance and pride made us feel that we were better than others. On the list. The little prejudice that rises up. It’s there on the list. The times we worshipped in vain because we weren’t paying attention or worse, even slept during worship. It’s there, on the list. Those things we did as teenagers. On the list. College years. On the list.
In fact, God’s list is more than a bunch of names, as Epstein’s list is. God’s list is truly a list. It identifies all of our sins. Most of us have pages and pages. There are so many sins. These things are embarrassing to us. We be mortified if anyone ever saw this list. But God has. He has the list. We can say that He’s mistaken us with someone else, but God doesn’t make mistakes. We can cry foul and declare that we were young and didn’t know any better. But God knows better. The list is with God. We can’t break into Heaven and tear it up. We can promise to do better, but there is that list. And, our names are on it.
And, here is where our wonderful verse comes in. The plea of the apostle to repent and return to God so that your sins may be wiped away. The KJV vividly states that you sins would be “blotted out.” That brings the image of crossing out something. It is like Heaven’s divine eraser. It’s God’s “white out.” The list changes. Through the grace of God and our faith in the Lord, those pages of sins no longer exist. Wiped away. Blotted out. Removed. Forgotten. Cleansed. Washed. Redeemed. Sanctified. Justified. Saved.
Here are some thoughts:
First, God didn’t have to do that. He could have kept the lists as they are. He could have said, “We’ll sit down and go through every single sin you ever committed.” How terrible that would be. How painful that would be. How shameful that would be. Some would rather die than have to go through that torturous event. Instead, God has chosen to remove those sins. It was His love and grace that led to that.
As nervous as the high brow society is about Epstein’s list, God’s list includes all of us. The sweet grandma down the street. She’s on God’s list. The awesome friend in your life. His name is there. The busy mom who takes care of all her kids. She’s there, along with her sins. All of us are on God’s list.
Now we understand Paul’s words, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” What a gift salvation is!
Second, when I look at life like this, it makes me less judgmental of others and more humble because of my failures. I’ve been on that list. How can I chew someone out for a mistake when I realize that my name and my sins have been on God’s list. And, had it not been for Jesus, those sins would still be there.
Third, it makes me understand that God has done what no one else ever could. As much as family may love you, they could not get your sins off that list. Only God could. And, this makes me want to tell others that they too can get their list changed. God is willing to wipe away their sins. His divine eraser is ready for any who will commit to Christ and follow Him.
Sure makes one thankful for Jesus. Names on a list.