Romans 3:21-26 (NRSV)

21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ  for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement  by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.

Psalm 51:1 (NRSV)

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.   

DEVOTION – Thomas Buice (Tennessee)

Our state recently passed a law that will expunge certain criminal records.  Applicants who are approved may leave the courthouse with a clean slate.

As a probation officer, I once went through my files to see which offenders qualified to have some of their rights restored.  I was given a checklist of requirements on which to base my judgment.  Once I came to a disqualifying factor, I put the file back in the drawer.  The process was cut and dried.

I am glad that God doesn’t have a list of disqualifying factors to check before expunging our records.  God doesn’t say, “Sorry, your sin is too awful,” or “Look, you did this more than once.  Your whole life marks a pattern of corruption.”

There is no record that God cannot expunge.  There is no life so messed up that God cannot restore it.  And once our record is expunged, we can maintain a clean record with confession and forgiveness.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:God can erase my sin.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, we are eternally grateful for your forgiveness.  We were without hope.  Thank you, Jesus.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: PRISONERS AND PROBATIONERS

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