Trading Coats with Jesus

Bible Reading:
Psalms Expressing a Variety of Sentiments Psalm 4; 12; 20; 25; 32; 38

David tried to conceal his acts of adultery and murder, but his unconfessed sin weighed heavily upon him; he was literally sick with guilt (32:3-4). When he confessed his sin to God, he experienced the joy and freedom of God's forgiveness (32:1-2, 5). Yet, he still agonized over what he had done. "My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear…. I groan in anguish of heart…. My pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin... My sin is always before me" (38:4,8,17-18; 51:3).

Though God had removed his burden of sin, David still felt overwhelmed by a burden of guilt. He struggled to apply and feel in his heart what he knew in his mind – that he was clean and forgiven. Because he still saw himself in light of his sin, he wondered if God also saw his ugly mistakes whenever He looked at him. He asked God not to remember the sins of his youth, but to look at him through eyes of mercy, forgiveness, love and kindness (25:6-7).

We are the ones who can't forget. God says that our sins are forgiven and forgotten (Is. 43:25). The moment we repented and turned from our sin, he forgave us and cleansed us, removing our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12; 1 Jn. 1:9; Acts 3:19). East can never meet west; our sins can never be brought to our account again. Our slate was wiped clean the moment we confessed. God wants us, too, to erase the guilt from our minds and hearts. He longs for us to truly know in our hearts that we are clean, forgiven, completely accepted and unconditionally loved. Satan, however, wants us to be paralyzed by our past and think that no one, especially a holy God, could ever really love us because of our failures. He wants us to feel hopelessly stained and unforgivable. He wants us to try and try to get the stain out on our own, instead of giving it to Jesus.

Jesus wants to trade coats with us! He wants us to give him our heavy coat of shame and take his weightless coat of forgiveness. Instead of just holding his coat in our hands, he wants us to put it on and wear it, making it our own, and let his healing work of grace and forgiveness set us free. He wants us to look at our heart again, and see that the stain is gone! When viewed through Jesus' blood, our scarlet sins turn to pure white. We see forgiveness, not disgrace; compassion, not disgust; God's mercy, not our shame. We see ourselves the way God sees us!

God delights in teaching us his ways and guiding us in his paths (25:8-9; 32:8). "When we obey him, every path he guides us on is fragrant with his loving-kindness and truth" (25:10 LB)! Though the path may be rocky or muddy or steep, he surrounds us with white roses of forgiveness and plentiful buds of grace. Let us smell the fragrance of his love. Let us breathe in the fresh air of his grace. Let us see the beauty of his heart and the kindness in his eyes. Let us hear the sweet songs of deliverance he surrounds us with (32:7), and sing along with him! Let us leave the past behind, feel the strength of his hand in ours, and follow him down the path of truth.