November 20th, 2003


The Forgiveness of God

My lack of tolerance for "many paths to God" approaches to faith no doubt rubs some the wrong way. There are a host of reasons for my belief, but at the very core, it is simply about the natures of God, man, and forgiveness which meet at the crux point of the cross of Christ. The truth of this can hardly be more clearly stated than it is here:
Beware of the pleasant view of the fatherhood of God: God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That thought, based solely on emotion, cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament. The only basis on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ. To base our forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy. The only ground on which God can forgive our sin and reinstate us to His favor is through the Cross of Christ. There is no other way! Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony at Calvary. We should never take the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and our sanctification in simple faith, and then forget the enormous cost to God that made all of this ours.

Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace. The cost to God was the Cross of Christ. To forgive sin, while remaining a holy God, this price had to be paid. Never accept a view of the fatherhood of God if it blots out the atonement. The revealed truth of God is that without the atonement He cannot forgive— He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God through the atonement of the Cross. God’s forgiveness is possible only in the supernatural realm.

Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of sanctification is small. Sanctification is simply the wonderful expression or evidence of the forgiveness of sins in a human life. But the thing that awakens the deepest fountain of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven his sin. Paul never got away from this. Once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vise, constrained by the love of God.

—Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (20 November, "The Forgiveness of God")

Weirdness rising

Lightning in Seattle tonight. And thunder. In mid-November. These are not usual things.

Morning marked by low frustration tolerance on my part, as well as the boneheaded move of leaving my keys at home. Thankfully Dave arrived soon after the discovery, enabling me to retrieve the contingency keys I keep in the office. Explained to Dave that I am not an organized man, just one with a lot of contingency plans.

Productive day despite my short fuse. Thank God for Tonto's virtual company and few interruptions.

Dinner was brought to me by the letters K, F, and C.

Three women sitting next to me broke into prayer. Remarked to them afterward how refreshing it was to hear people comfortable and confident praying. Not to fall into the trap of the Pharisees, mind you, but I suspect none of these women's prayer closets sit neglected, and the world could use a few more pointers to reality.

Once I'd finished dinner, a man approached me saying I looked familiar. Turns out we met in 1989 at the University of Houston; I surprised him by telling him his name and the circumstance. Bit of an idiot savant that way.

My first eggnog latté of the season after dinner. There will be many more.

Meeting ran long tonight, but those kinds of things go down more easily when I know that I get my day off tomorrow.
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