We mentioned yesterday that Peter had some massive failures, especially when he denied Jesus three times . . . Peter learned that he wasn't so all-fired strong as he thought he was. He learned that the strength he needed was NOT in him, but in God.
He also learned something else: God uses our failures to show His faithful love for us. Here's what Asaph said:
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand. (Psalm 73:23, NIV)
In the preceding verse, Asaph had kinda been kicking himself in the butt, telling himself, "Wow, I can't believe what a dummy I was!" And that is part of what repentance for our sins is -- seeing how stupid it was for us to do or say the sinful thing! But Asaph wants us to know that God gave him a deeper understanding of His love. You see, as he is kicking himself for being (verse 22) "senseless," we read that wonderful word: yet. In other translations it says "nevertheless."
Asaph realized that God had not walked away. He'd not abandoned Asaph, in spite of his senseless, ignorant behavior. Even though Asaph had almost slipped, God was still holding firmly to his hand!
What a precious realization!!
To become a Christian, we must come to the place where we see how terrible our sin is before our holy Father. We must see ourselves as senseless and ignorant before Him, just as Asaph did. But the very instant that God opens our eyes to see the good news:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst (I Timothy 1:15)
.....that is the instant that we understand that wonderful word, nevertheless. Even though. In spite of. However we want to phrase it, it is glorious!
Paul describes the same thing in Ephesians; instead of "nevertheless" he writes "but":
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
So here is the treasure of God's faithful love for us . . . He gives us grace and mercy and love in spite of our sins.
And yes, as we try to live the Christian life, we will fail sometimes, just like the psalmist. Just like Peter. And when we do, and when we come to our senses again, we will realized in an even deeper way that His loves us in spite of our sin. He's still there. He's still firmly holding our hand!
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)