This week marked a remarkable feat in the career of Tiger Woods. A 5 year stint of not winning was replaced by a win at the The Tour Championship held at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, GA (his 80th career win). What was just as remarkable is that he was one stroke away from winning the 2018 FedEx Cup Championship (Justin Rose made a great birdie putt to take that away from Tiger on hole 18).
Take a look back at history
From 1997-2014, Tiger ranked as the the #1 player in golf, almost exclusively, and undisputed by any other golfer and it included 14 major championships including a career Grand Slam in 2000 & 2001. He is my no short term of imagination an amazing athlete! However, the media had many reporting of his failures in life (marriage, divorce, injuries, surgeries, therapy sessions, et cetera). It seemed almost improbable that this sports figure would ever return to dominance. In fact he received a World Golf Ranking of #861 (in 2016) and #1199 (in 2017)– both are lower than his initial ranking when he played as an amateur in the 1995 Masters. For many fans, now wanting their children to see Tiger they way they once saw him it seemed that it was a becoming an impossibility.
Yet, as history was being written, we saw the crowds grow on Sunday as people began following him from hole 15 through hole 18 at East Lake. It was as though Tiger was about to be redeemed from all of the pain and suffering of the last half-a-decade to become a champion again–and millions were watching! Many headlines read so clearly: “Tiger Is Back.” The crowd didn’t care about the past 5 years, they were there to celebrate the victory of the day, the return of Tiger.
As I reflected on Tiger’s golfing win, it made me once again realize our eternal trophy, our salvation. And, how God desires to call us His children–despite out past mistakes and failures (of whom I have many). He wants us to set aside our guilt, our pain and suffering, and celebrate our redemption through Christ! Dr. R.C. Sproul says it clearly in his explanation of Coram Deo:
the Bible teaches that in our redemption “our record does not change, but our guilt does” (Faith Alone, p. 96).
You see, it is impossible for our omniscient God to forget our sins, but when we are justified by Christ, He no longer holds those sins against us as. If we are new creatures in Christ by faith alone, He can not see us as guilty. This does not mean we may sin freely, but it does mean that the justified will seek to practice holiness for their new redeemed position. God desires that we celebrate our new lives, found only in His redemptive plan!