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Will Saying “I’m Sorry” Be Enough?

Oh, precious is the flow. That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.—Robert Lowry, “Nothing But the Blood”

Years ago, I attended a conference geared toward creating places where unbelievers feel comfortable and safe learning about Jesus. One pastor said something that struck me: “If you want a seeker-sensitive church, don’t sing the ‘blood songs.’” He asked us, “What do you think goes through seekers’ minds when they hear songs about washing themselves in a fount of blood?”

I’ve talked with lots of folks and none of them are worried about the “blood songs.” Instead, they ask questions like:

Will God accept me after what I’ve done? How can I get rid of this sin? Can I convince God that I’m truly sorry? 

These questions are rooted in what I call an “Apology Economy of Forgiveness.” In an Apology Economy, there is no forgiveness until there’s an apology. This is familiar, as it’s often how we treat each other. And because we treat each other this way, we think God must work this way too.

When you mess up in an Apology Economy of Forgiveness, you might pray one of two prayers:

  • You might say something like, God—if You’re there—I’m sorry I did that. Please forgive me. 
  • Or you might pray something like, God, I know You love me. What I did was wrong. Please forgive me. 

But even then, you aren’t quite sure it’s enough. There’s a nagging fear that you’re not completely forgiven—that maybe God doesn’t operate in the Apology Economy.

So here’s the thing: If God doesn’t work in the Apology Economy of Forgiveness, then in what economy does He operate? The answer to that question is found in Hebrews 9:14, How much more, then, will the blood of Christ … cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death … 

God operates in a Blood Economy, not an Apology Economy. We’re going to discover all that this implies for our forgiveness.

Holy Spirit, the apology economy is a burden. Show me a different way. Amen.

Dive deeper into Hebrews with Pete’s video series Better: A New and Living Way!
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