So let me ask you something, did you ask God for oxygen today?
You didn’t…why not? The obvious reason, because it’s already there. It’s been floating in the atmosphere long before you were born and will continue long after you die. In fact, you can’t remember a normal time when there wasn’t air. Why? Because it’s always been around you. You don’t ask for it because it’s already given in full supply.
So, instead of asking for air, we breathe it in, and by doing so we apply the oxygen in the air to our body, thus giving life. If you don’t breathe it in, all the oxygen in the air doesn’t do you much good. That’s why we don’t ask for air, we simply breathe. By God’s design, that’s how it works. Out of love, God makes the air, we breathe it, in and out, in and out. In fact, God creates most everything by design into systems. The stars and planets are organized into systems. The sun rises and sets as a system. Your body is made up of numerous systems. Breathing is a system. A God who doesn’t care about your life doesn’t make oxygen.
In the same way, God creates spiritual systems. And much like breathing, God’s Grace was designed as a kind of system. In one aspect of Grace, out of love God provides the forgiveness, we breathe it in, and it gives life. As we breathe out, we give forgiveness, and it continues to give life; life to our life, life to our relationships, and life to the lives of others. Breathe in, breathe out.
When we truly begin to understand God’s Grace, we realize there is no point in asking God for forgiveness. In Christ, it has already been completely supplied like the air we can breathe. When we ask God to forgive us, we are really asking for something God has already graciously given. In fact, in the Bible, there is no place where we are told to ask for forgiveness. Confessing our sins is entirely different than asking for forgiveness. “Confessing” simply means to agree with God.
I think a lot of people, including myself at times, have spent a whole lot more energy asking God for forgiveness instead of applying it to their life. And then we wonder why we are so short of spiritual breath in our lives and live in defeat. We spend our time asking and begging God for something we already have available only to reject in disbelief what God has already given. In the process, we send a message to God that what Jesus did on the cross wasn’t good enough, and it certainly wasn’t good enough for us. Maybe it covered a few issues in our life, but not all of them. Maybe it dealt with some sins, but certainly not the ones that are waiting around the corner.
The truth is, the cross didn’t just cover over sin, the cross took them all away. That’s why there is “no condemnation” in God’s heart towards those who believe. A person’s life in Christ is no longer defined by sin, it is defined by Christ.
We apply God’s forgiveness through faith. Faith is simply spiritually breathing in Jesus. We believe in our heart what God declares on the cross, “it is finished.” No more guilt, shame, condemnation, unrighteousness, and brokenness for us. The old self is finished, and the new self begins. For Jesus, a person’s heart leaping towards Him is more important than a person’s words confessing. The heart leaps because the mind has been changed. I see who Jesus is, and I see my need for Him, and therefore, my heart leaps.
We breath in the fresh air of God’s grace because we know we need it and we are as good as dead without it. No one breathes because they don’t need it. Breathing is the body’s confession that it needs air to live. Faith is always a result of an awareness of need. The moment we breath in Jesus, as it was in the Garden, God’s resurrection breath makes us into a new creature that has become no less than the righteousness of Christ. We are made whole, complete, and without blemish. The curse is broken and condemnation is sent packing. Jesus lives in us and we are free from all guilt and shame. That’s our new identity. Our spiritual lungs are full-filled.
Imagine if we spent more time breathing and less time asking. We ask because we doubt. We wonder if God may have turned His back on us, if His patience may have run out. We ask because we fear condemnation, we want to make sure God still has a place for us in His heart. Here again, there is not one single place in the Bible where we are told to ask God for forgiveness. Why? Because you don’t ask for something you already have. The more we spend asking the more time we are absent of the power of forgiveness being applied to our lives and walking in this new identity.
Imagine if we spent more time applying God’s forgiveness, breathing it in. Imagine if we spent more times reminding ourselves that we are the righteousness of Christ, that greater is He that is in us than is in the world, that I need not harbor guilt and shame, that it is no longer my nature to sin and sin no longer has to define my life. Imagine if our self talk became rid of all thoughts and phrases of condemnation. Imagine if our self esteem was revitalized with an inner thought life that believed that you are completely accepted, loved, and lack nothing as a person. What would be the result? Chaos, rebellion, a sin carnival? No, the truth is, we would walk in freedom, confidence, resilience, passion for God, and sin far less. Not to mention how our relationships would be transformed.
Guilt and shame never produces obedience, our new identity in Christ breathed in through faith produces obedience. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” Separate from the vine, branches don’t and can’t produce any fruit. It is Christ who produces fruit in and through us.
Stop asking God to do what He has already done, forgive you. Breathe it in and allow it to give you life overflowing. Asking changes nothing, breathing changes everything.