Even if I've accepted that God really does forgive me for every single thing - and a lot/all of us haven't quite even worked that out properly - I still notice in myself a tendency to think of forgiveness as reactionary and based on time.
Consider this thought that in some form or another I feel has probably gone through our minds: "Thank you forgiving me God. You're so good. And I'm so grateful that next time I mess up, because I know I will, you'll forgive me then too!"
So that sounds positive. It's hopeful. We're being grateful. We're acknowledging our sinfulness but knowing that God will forgive again, so we aren't letting it get us down.
But, hang on - what's with that word 'again' - forgive again?
While I get our sentiment, I just realised that little word is masking quite a big theological error in me.
Thinking of forgiveness as time based. Like we sin, we admit it and then God forgives.
But wait - when Jesus died on the cross before I was born and said 'it is finished', if God is only forgiving me now, again, what was all that for?
If forgiveness is based on time, when we actually do the wrong thing, then God should have waited til the absolute last day before the world ends, and then Jesus can take it all.
You'd think this would have been more clear to me before this - considering my blog is even named on the fact that Jesus died for us while we're still sinners.
But somewhere lurking in all those subtle wrong thoughts that get twisted with the right ones, I realised I sometimes I was acting like Jesus' death and resurrection was just the pardon written out but without the signature. That I still have to get God to sign it now, every time, again.
But when Jesus said it was finished, that really was it. Totally. Completely.
It was all signed, sealed and final before we were even in existence.
Because God is outside of time. We have been in Him always, not just when He thought one day, "This looks like a good time to create a Jessie. Lets see how she turns out."
And each day, He isn't surprised that I do something wrong. He isn't disappointed. (Because that implies He expected something different and I failed to deliver.) He's not hoping for something different today, then sighing when He has to clean up another mess...
So when I ask forgiveness today, I'm just recognising that I stepped away, and stepping back into what is already mine.
God's already seen my tomorrows. He's already in them. He doesn't have to wipe the slate clean again tomorrow after a bad day today. When I'm in Jesus, the slate is always clean, permanently.
Because Jesus is in me. Because I am in Jesus. God looks at us and sees the same slate that Jesus has. He sees us as perfectly clean and righteous because we are in his perfect and righteous son.
We will step out of that time and time again - over and over we seem to forget and look back to our owned messed up slate and start thinking that defines us - and then have to turn back and remember the truth, time and time again. But God is not in time.
When I read 'His mercies are new every morning' I was thinking He had to restock after I depleted them the day before. But actually His mercies are boundless and infinite. They just seem new to me every morning because I reminded afresh of how amazing it is that I am forgiven.
He forgave us, once and for all, at the cross. That encompasses everything. Always.
God is never surprised. He's never disappointed.
When you find yourself tripped up by sin and rebellion and blindness again, He only reaches for you and longs for you to put your eyes back in Him.
And as constant as His forgiveness is His delight in you!!
Great is His faithfulness!