Above Our Pay Grade

Years ago, a pastor gave me some well-intentioned advice. It came during the meeting when God used this pastor to bring me to Christ. I had done things for which I had to be forgiven by others, and was. Yet I was paralyzed with the shame and guilt of what I had done. The pastor, speaking truth in love, told me not to think so highly of myself that I couldn’t do something so dumb that I needed to forgive myself. And I was sure my problem was that I was unable to forgive myself. And I was right. I couldn’t and still can’t. And neither can you. If you’re confused by that, God makes it simple:

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.  Ephesians 1:4-8 (NIV)

Verse 7 is highlighted because it’s so big. The Apostle Paul is telling believers in Ephesus that two things have happened by the power of the precious blood of Jesus Christ. First, they are redeemed. Second, all their sins are forgiven, past present and future. William McDonald, writing in the Believer’s Bible Commentary, explains this beautifully.

“One of the results of redemption is the forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness is not the same as redemption; it is one of its fruits. Christ had to make full satisfaction for our sins before they could be forgiven. This was done at the cross. And now—

Stern justice can demand no more

And mercy can dispense her store.

The measure of our forgiveness is given in the words according to the riches of His grace. If we can measure the riches of God’s grace, then we can measure how fully He has forgiven us. His grace is infinite! So is His forgiveness!

Infinite Grace = Redemption = Infinite Forgiveness of Sin. So, my problem wasn’t that I couldn’t forgive myself. That’s way above my pay grade. Remember, it was Jesus saying He could forgive sin that got Him in trouble with the Jewish leaders of his day. Forgiving ourselves simply is not a biblical concept. No, my problem was I wasn’t accepting God’s forgiveness, because I had not accepted Christ into my life. That would change on the drive home from the meeting I mentioned above. Ramona and I were discussing how helpful the meeting had been to me when we stopped in traffic behind a car with this personalized plate:


I didn’t understand what it meant, but Ramona did and explained it to me: “forgive and forget.” I call it my text from God. Jesus let me know that He was real, He was with me and he had forgiven me. It was approximately 1 PM, September 4, 2016, the day my life changed forever. Don’t try to fully understand the magnitude of Christ’s gift on the cross. Instead, accept the infinite freedom that comes with His infinite grace, redemption and forgiveness. Stop trying to do what only God can do and has done for you. If you have received Christ into your life and are dealing with shame and guilt of past actions, please, please don’t leave His grace on the cross.

If you haven’t accepted Christ into your life, I pray it will happen for you today. I promise, your life will never be the same!

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