“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” – Psalm 103:12
Usually when I eat breakfast, I have a book open in front of me. I eat and read almost every morning. But yesterday I was running late so I didn’t open my book. As I was looking around the breakfast table, I noticed my wife’s address book was open because she’s been addressing Christmas cards. I also noticed that she writes everything in her book in ink. How silly is that? Ink! You know that people are going to move, change phone numbers, get married and or even die, right? This means you have to cross out the name or number and stack another on top of it or even write a completely new entry.
I, on the other hand, am the smart one (yes, she’s rolling her eyes…). I write everything in pencil. That way all I have to do is erase the name or number and start over. It bothers me that she writes in ink. I’ve told her so. More than once. But she still does it. So, while I was eating breakfast and looking at her address book, God broke through. Yes. Even God can speak to a selfish soul whilst they are in the midst of judging another…
It occurred to me that God does a bit of writing Himself, and He does so in a variety of mediums and on different canvases. Jeremiah tells us that God writes His instructions on the hearts of His people (Jer. 31:33), while He told Isaiah, “See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands” (Isa. 49:16). Jesus told the church in Pergamum each victorious believer would receive a white stone with a new name written on it (Rev. 2:17). God wrote with on the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, with His finger (Ex. 31:18), on both sides (Ex. 32:15). Even Jesus did a bit of writing while He waited for the self-righteous teachers of the law and the Pharisees to disperse from their judgments of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:6-8), reminding us of what Jeremiah said: “Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water” (Jer. 17:13).
What does this have to do with my wife’s address book? I believe that God keeps track of our lives, but He does so with some type of instrument that is easily changed, not permanent, not eternal. God became a baby so He may grow to take away the sins of the world. He knows that people will change, repent and seek to start over. In His great love He keeps us from destruction and puts all our sins behind His back (Isa. 38:17); removing them from us as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12).
Our lives are a living palimpsest, a manuscript on which two or more successive texts are written, each one being erased to make room for the next. One day I’m a sinner, the next day a saint, and tomorrow is yet to be determined. But God, in His love for the Word and the invention of words, determines not only to write our names on the palm of His hand, He writes our sins in the blood of the Lamb and our past He records in erasable ink, for the love of God keeps no record of wrongs (1 Cor. 13:5).
And so, for reasons only God knows and only God can justify, because of the gift of Christ we are “holy and blameless” as we stand (Col. 1:22). In the Book of Life God writes our name. There is nothing crossed out, no record of faults and no list of changes. There’s just us, loved and accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6), whose names are on the guest list to join the party that accompanies the wedding feast of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7).