Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for. (Isa. 6:7)

“The buck stops here.” The phrase has a fascinating origin. In frontier days, when players gathered around a poker table, they passed a marker from person to person to indicate whose turn it was to deal the cards. Frequently, this was a buckhorn-handled knife—the “buck.” If you didn’t want the responsibility, you simply “passed the buck” to the next person. Out of this idea, “The buck stops here” came to mean taking full and final responsibility.

Isaiah was overcome by his sin. Rightfully so, since he knelt before God Most High. Knowing he could do nothing about his sinfulness himself, he threw himself on God’s mercy. Yet God never berated him. Instead, He sent an angel with coal, a mediator, to make things right. God himself took responsibility to atone for Isaiah’s guilt. Isaiah’s job was to accept that forgiveness.

So it is with us. To become the kingdom leaders we are all called to be, we must confess our sins, then trust God to forgive and to purify us. His Son’s sacrifice, once accepted, covers all our guilt. All of it. He took the responsibility. The buck stopped with Him. If we don’t fully accept that, we become mired in our past or trust in our works. If we do accept it, we become free to serve, with our perspective of ourselves—and of God—in perfect alignment.

Tear up the slips of paper you created yesterday to illustrate God’s forgiveness.

Diane Gardner lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where she is a writer and freelance editor; leads Bible studies; and enjoys reading, traveling, street fairs, and live theater.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.