The past is the past – or is it?

I volunteered to serve in the work of a local homeless shelter.  They told me I needed to undergo a background check.  “Really?”  Evidently my reputation preceded me.

The results were returned, 71 pages containing every crime that anyone named James Johnson had ever committed.  Unfortunately, there are 26,850 of us in the USA at this moment.

So, the supervisor of volunteers scanned the report and decided that I was probably not guilty of the assault in Baltimore or the 30 counts of fare evasion in Dallas. 

But she did have a concern.  She said, “Tell me about the DUI in DeKalb, Georgia in 1989.”  

“What? Wasn’t me!  Never even been to Dekalb.”   After a 5-minute interrogation she decided I was on the up-and-up and cleared me to serve.    

It was humiliating, being suspected of a crime that I did not commit. 

And yet – if I were to back up the clock prior to 1972.  My rap sheet would fill up 171 pages.   It would include vandalism, shop lifting, embezzlement, theft, breaking and entering, multiple DUI’s and tons more.  These things are not on my record because I was never caught.

Except I actually was!  The Holy Spirit chased me down and wrapped me up with guilt over my sin.   Like King David I could say, “When I refused to confess my sin, my whole body wasted away, while I groaned in pain all day long.  4 For day and night you tormented me; you tried to destroy me in the intense heat of summer. 5 Then I confessed my sin; I no longer covered up my wrongdoing.  I said, “I will confess my rebellious acts to the Lord.”  And then you forgave my sins.” – Psalm 32:4-5  NET Bible ®

That took place for me in November of 1972.

But I wonder if there will be a spiritual background check in my future?  Hebrews 9:27 says, “people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment.”  NET Bible ®   

BUT – yay, the apostle Paul tells me that I’ll be exempt.  He says, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Col 2:13-14 – NASU

There is a “certificate of debt” full of hostile decrees and it has my name on it.   But Christ canceled that certificate.  He nailed it to the cross, where He personally satisfied my debt.   And I don’t ever, ever need to worry about those things coming up again.

The Psalmist says Amen.  He wrote, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”  Ps 103:12  KJV    The prophet Isaiah agrees. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 – KJV

My record has been expunged. 

Of course, there is the practical matter that I had wronged a lot of individuals with my recklessness.  But each has been contacted and has heard my confession and apology and received restitution.  They have also extended phenomenal forgiveness to me. 

Well, I suppose a day may come when I’ll stand at the threshold of heaven, and an angelic gatekeeper will stop me and ask to do a background check.  But that’s when Jesus will step up and say, “I’ve got Him covered.” 

What about you? 

A PRAYER: Lord I pray for those who have not yet asked Jesus to bear their sins.  May they experience this gift soon.

This has been Jim Johnson with

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.