While I was doing the morning office, one of the prayers was for the assurance of forgiveness following a prayer of confession. It goes like this:
Grant to your faithful people, merciful Lord, pardon and peace; that we may be cleansed from all our sins, and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.The Book of Common Prayer (2019)
What struck me were the words “pardon and peace.” Because both are important. Pardon refers to God’s forgiveness of our sins. Peace refers to the assurance of forgiveness.
God doesn’t only want to forgive us; he wants us to know we have been forgiven. He invites us to live in this forgiveness. We needn’t hang on to our sins–through shame and guilt–after we have made confession and received God’s pardon. Receiving his pardon and peace means we can rest in his presence, knowing nothing stands between us.
Psalm 103:12 says that As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
1 John 1:9 says If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Have you ever continued to feel guilty or ashamed after you’ve confessed sin?
Have you ever tried to work a little harder at serving God to pay him back for what he has freely given?
Here’s the truth: We owe God everything; we can give God nothing. At least nothing he needs.
More to the point, we give him our need, our thanks, our praise, and our love. Yes, we serve him. Not to earn his gift, but to express our gratitude for it.
So let’s not hold on to what God has removed. Instead, let us move ahead joyfully because our Redeemer Jesus has indeed given us pardon and peace. Take to heart Jesus’ own words when he says Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.