“I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25)
A popular worship tune today repeats over and over again about Jesus: “You took the fall and thought of me above all.” But is Jesus’ death on the cross mainly a delightful personal favor to me?
Today’s verse contradicts that idea by saying that God forgave my sins for his sake; that I was saved for his pleasure rather than my own pleasure. Some people say this makes God into an egomaniac.
But look at it this way: if God saved me for my sake, then wouldn’t I need to be on my most excellent behavior to stay in God’s good graces? However, if I have been saved for his sake, then God is touching me out of mercy —- not because of anything good that I have done.
Further, if I have been saved for my sake then isn’t God obliged to keep me feeling happy? If anything went wrong, I could exclaim to God: “Excuse me! How dare you allow disaster, calamity, sickness, death, etc. into my life! I thought you were thinking of me above all!”
So, knowing I am saved for God’s sake helps me grapple with when I do not get my best life now. Say we’re being hounded to pay a bogus medical bill for money we do not owe at all. And hey, my wife and I had Covid the last couple of weeks. How does that fit into thinking of me above all? Don’t I need to be catered to?
Let’s now spotlight what God is like: He is consistent and unchanging even when events in my life are hitting the fan. Divine qualities like “God is wise,” “God is faithful” and “God is good” are true even when the day is not going just the way I want it.
I am grateful for all Christ’s provisions. But how easy it is to start enjoying them for their own sake, even so much that it feels like they are owed to me. They are not! They are a gift pointing to how great he is, not to how deserving I am.