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As Far as the East is from the West

By Spencer Burress

Throughout the Capital Fellows year, we have the chance to sit down with some of our pastors and talk about life, leadership, and theology. Last week, we discussed justification and the question of whether God likes us. If you want good insight on that particular question, then don’t read my blog—go read Megan’s post from last week. As a matter of fact, you should just go read Megan’s post regardless. If, however, you finish her post and you, like me, are a sinner who still struggles with understanding the whole grace thing, then I invite you to read on.

Sometimes I feel that God is an angry sky-judge keeping a record of every time I’ve messed up to hold against me one day. I’ll be doing well and feel like best buds with God, then give in to sin and think to myself, “Your luck’s run out; that was the time he stopped loving you.” I base my standing with God on my spiritual performance. Maybe you’ve felt this way before, too. If that’s the case, then I’d ask you to crack open your Bible for the duration of this post. Let’s see what God has to say about this lie that Christians like us so often fall victim to.

First, I would suggest that we give credence to this lie because we think too little of the cross. After the warm feelings of Sunday worship wear off and we’ve just caved to that one sin that we can’t seem to shake, do we actually believe that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was enough to forgive us? Do we truly believe in that grace thing we always talk about?

The truth is that Jesus’ death on the cross, once for all (Hebrews 9:14, 26-28; 10:12-14), has paid for all our sins not in part, but in full (Colossians 2:13-14). Our record of debt has been totally erased! The cross guarantees God’s promise through David that “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). We can rest assured that God is not keeping a record of his children’s sins to condemn them. 

Scripture affirms this in many other places. In Isaiah, God addresses his children, Israel (now referring to everyone who believes [Galatians 4:29]), saying “‘I, I am he, who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25). Did you hear that? He will not remember our sins! Through Jesus, he has redeemed us from all lawlessness and blotted out our guilt (Isaiah 44:22, Ezekiel 36:25-26, Titus 2:14). When God sees us, he sees co-heirs with his Son (Romans 8:17, 29). He sees a justified people with the very righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 3:9) because Christ bore our sin and died with it on the cross (Isaiah 53:6, 1 Peter 2:24). He no longer sees sinners with a rap sheet; he sees beloved children. He sees the children whom he promised in Jeremiah 31:34, “‘For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” 

Dear brother or sister who struggles with accepting God’s grace, hear these final words:

“Thus says the LORD: If the heavens can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done” (Jeremiah 31:37-38).

As his child, God will never cast you aside. Your standing with him is based on what Christ did, not what you’ve done.

Spencer Burress is a member of the Capital Fellows class of 2023-24. He is from San Clemente, CA, and is a graduate of Baylor University. This year, he is working as an intern at McLean Presbyterian Church in the Missions department.


Pictures From The Week

Celebrating Jack and Shea's engagement!

Cracking jokes in the hallway of Cornerstone.

A pancake crisis at the latest Student Ministries' Breaking Bread event.

Some babushkas bundling up at our Winter retreat. Stay warm!


Know a Potential Capital Fellow?

If you know a college senior or recent graduate who should consider joining the Capital Fellows program in 2024-25, please encourage them to get in touch with us. The easiest way to express interest in the program is through our Contact Us Form. You can learn more about the program, including application deadlines, by visiting the Capital Fellows website.

About Capital Fellows. Capital Fellows is an advanced leadership and discipleship program for recent college graduates. Through graduate courses, a paid internship, one-on-one mentoring, and many leadership and community service opportunities, fellows develop and apply their gifts in real-world situations while learning to integrate a Christian worldview into all areas of life. Capital Fellows is a unique opportunity to live and work in the Washington DC area and to be an active member of a supportive community that seeks to serve the city with the love of Christ. It is also a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in the workplace while deeply exploring God’s design for us as workers and contributors to human flourishing.


Pray for the Capital Fellows

Thank you for praying for the Capital Fellows each week!

Please pray for the Fellows as they step further into the spring semester. Please pray for each of them to navigate the coming job search or graduate school decisions well. Please also pray that their life together as a community will become even richer this semester as they meet regularly with their peer counseling groups and start their Identity and Relationships class with Dr. Bill Clark in a few weeks.

Want to pray for the current Capital Fellows in an ongoing way? Download this handy prayer guide for your phone or tablet.

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About The Fellows Initiative

Capital Fellows is part of a network of similar programs across the country. This network is called The Fellows Initiative. There are 34 Fellows programs in TFI, roughly 3,000 alumni living around the world, and more Fellows programs on the way.

If you know a church in the US or Canada that would benefit from joining TFI by launching a new Fellows program. Please contact TFI by visiting their website.


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