Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness’

Forgiveness

February 17, 2019

two women walking

I am continually amazed at the awesomeness of God!  He often leads me to an article or a blog post that I desperately needed to read.  Well, the following one SHOULD,  (IMHO) BE READ BY EVERY PERSON WHO CALLS THEMSELVES A CHRISTIAN!  Yes!  It is THAT GOOD and helpful!

The link is here: Standing in Grace: Forgiveness. The author has given permission to share the post with anyone, so here I am sharing it at my TalkWisdom blog. Please pass this along to others that may need to read this truth about forgiveness!

In Christ,
Christine

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Copy of post:

There’s nothing better than being forgiven – that sense of relief when someone overlooks your hurtful words, or covers the cost of a breakage themselves, or gives you a hug after you’ve been unkind. Forgiveness is like the sun coming out through the clouds after a dark storm. Forgiveness, though, is not just something to be enjoyed. For the Christian, forgiveness is something to be understood, appreciated and expressed. It is a significant biblical doctrine and an essential virtue with real warnings for us if it is absent from our lives. The chances are that this is an area you (and I) can grow in, so read on for more.

The Bible doesn’t give us a textbook definition and explanation of forgiveness. Instead, it teaches about it clearly through various prayers, psalms, historical events and parables. Essentially, forgiveness involves the cancelling of punishment and the expression of kindness. When Joseph forgave his brothers in Genesis he did not pay them back for all the wrongs they did to him (Gen 50:15); instead he provided for them, “reassured them and spoke kindly to them” (Gen 50:21). He cancelled their punishment and showed them (and their children) kindness.

In his prayer at the dedication of the temple, Solomon asked God to forgive the people when they sinned so that he might cancel their punishment and show them kindness in the form of rain, freedom or the restoration of land (1 Kings 8:22-52). The same aspects of the cancellation of punishment and the expression of kindness can be found in other parts of the Bible such as the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31) or the testimony of Paul in 1 Timothy 1:12-17:

“Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

It’s important to grasp that forgiveness is costly to the forgiver. Offence and hurt is not simply shrugged off as if it is nothing. The aggrieved father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son gave up his rights, honour and pride to welcome back his son. God the Father gave up his son to secure our redemption and forgiveness of sin (Eph 1:7). Each of us, if facing the question of whether to forgive someone, instinctively feel what we might lose if we do so. Our loss could be things like pride, righteous indignation, relational superiority, or even something too hard to put into words, and thus we hesitate to forgive. There’s no doubt that forgiveness is costly.

That’s probably enough about the basics of forgiveness; let’s get into some points of application gathered under three headings: “We have been forgiven”, “We must forgive others” and “Forgiveness must shape our community”.

We have been forgiven

As Christians, a key part of our identity is that we have been forgiven. Psalm 32:1-2 says:

“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”

This blessing is something we know and love as Christians. God has blessed us with “every spiritual blessing” (Eph 1:3) including the forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7). Using the terms explained above, God has cancelled our punishment and now shows us kindness.

Forgiveness, though, is not a once off event like, say, regeneration. As we continue to sin we continue to ask God for forgiveness. There is a brilliant promise in 1 John 1:8-9:

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us all our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Confession and the receiving of forgiveness is best seen as a regular habit like brushing our teeth or washing our clothes. In fact, in my prayer diary I have a line on my daily page labelled ‘confession’. It’s there on the (safe) assumption that I have sinned in some way in the last 24 hours and should be coming to God about it. But also I should probably grow more in being quick to confess and ask for forgiveness at any hour of the day when I sin (and am aware of it).  So forgiveness is not a once off thing. Forgiveness is something we ask for and receive from God every day of our lives.

A final point under this heading of “We have been forgiven” is that our understanding of our own forgiveness has a direct relationship with our love for Jesus. If we doubt (consciously or subconsciously) whether we have much need of forgiveness our appreciation of Christ’s sacrifice will be small. Correspondingly, our love for Jesus will also be small. There will be little joy in our Christian life and things like Bible reading, giving, and singing in church will feel tiresome.

In contrast, when we grasp God’s forgiveness for us, we will have a great and growing love for Jesus. This is explained powerfully in Luke 7:36-50 in the account of Jesus being anointed by a woman in the home of a Pharisee (a passage worth meditating on deeply). Jesus concludes his rebuke of the Pharisee with these words in verse 47:

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little”.

The great love of the woman testifies to her appreciation of the forgiveness of her sins. Jesus challenges the Pharisee (and us) about our love for him and our grasp of our own forgiveness. To put it simply, the more we appreciate how much we’ve been forgiven, the more we will love Jesus.

We must forgive others

The second big application is that because of what God has done for us we must forgive others. There’s really no way around this. Although we are saved by God’s grace and mercy and not by our own good works (Titus 3:5) we must forgive others. It may not be easy or quick but God does call us to cancel punishment and show kindness to those who have offended us (not withstanding certain situations such as when it might be unsafe or the offender has died). Forgiveness is not optional for the Christian. In fact, withholding it from others puts our own status as forgiven children in danger.

We see this repeatedly in the teaching of Jesus, for example, in the Lord’s prayer:

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).

Two verses on, Jesus explains the connection very clearly:

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).

He speaks about the urgency of forgiveness in reference to our prayer life in Mark 11:25:
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins.”
When Peter asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive people (thinking that seven times would likely impress him) Jesus replied with the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21-35). The message is obvious: because of God’s great mercy towards us, we should have mercy towards others (verse 33). If we don’t, we will be judged and punished like the unmerciful servant. Jesus warns us:
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart” (verse 35).
Being an unforgiving Christian is a terrible state to be in. In fact, “unforgiving” is one of the descriptors of ungodly people in the last days:
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving…” (2 Tim 3:1-3a)

Now again it’s worth stressing that forgiveness of others is not a work that earns for us God’s forgiveness. God’s forgiveness is freely granted, and our forgiveness is nearly always partial, imperfect or ‘a work in progress’. But it does not make sense for us to be selective about forgiveness, i.e. “let it be for me but not others”. Being a Christian is about being a “forgiveness person”. Forgiveness is what we love. Therefore, withholding forgiveness from others puts our own forgiveness at risk.

In practice, how it looks to cancel punishment and show kindness will look different in case to case. It might mean stopping hating the person, not bringing up their fault ever again and no longer criticising them to others. Kindness might mean genuinely praying for their good and speaking gently and warmly with them. Perhaps our pastors can help if we’re not sure.

Now for some of us forgiveness might seem like an impossible task. As we saw before, forgiveness is costly. The world is a dark and evil place and humans have done unspeakable things to each other. So for some of us the cost might feel too great.

Yet the call for us to forgive remains in Scripture. On this point we must remind ourselves that God knows us and our stories better even than we do. We must remind ourselves that despite our suffering, God is a good God and his word (including his teaching on forgiveness) is good and what we need to hear. One of my Bible college lecturers, Mark Baddeley, has written an excellent series of posts on this topic called “Forgiveness and Repentance”.  These are well worth reading, especially in considering more complex issues.*

So forgiveness will not be easy, it might take time – even years, and it might require the help of many people. But the call remains. The next step for you after reading this post might be to talk and pray with someone so that they can help you. But we cannot do nothing. Jesus calls on us to forgive others.

Forgiveness must shape our community

Lastly, forgiveness must shape our community. Forgiveness is not just an individual activity that we pursue alone, it’s something that should be a feature of our whole church community. Our heavenly father is “forgiving and good” (Psalm 86:5) so it’s right that his people should be like him in this way.

When Paul gives a series of instructions to the church in Ephesus he says:

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph 4:32).

And similarly, to the Colossians, he writes:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Col 3:12-14).

We see from these passages that forgiveness should shape our community. Forgiveness is the opposite of bitterness and is an expression of love. For the church community, forgiveness is a like the oil in a car’s engine – always necessary so that the whole thing keeps moving. If it leaks out everything seizes up and the car breaks down. If it’s kept topped up and fresh the car can go along fine.

This communal feature of forgiveness also has a missional aspect. Our forgiveness (as an expression of love) testifies to the world about our relationship with Jesus. Being a forgiving community makes us stand out in the world. Jesus told his disciples:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

Being a forgiving church means that as unbelievers visit us and get to know us they will realise that something special is at work here. They will know that we are disciples of Jesus and sense that something supernatural is going on. For many, this will be a reason to investigate more and find out about Jesus.

Conclusion

We’ve covered a lot in this post about forgiveness! Forgiveness is about cancelling a punishment and showing kindness (at a cost). It is something that we have received from God because of Jesus and his sacrifice. It is something we need to pass on to others and it must shape our community.

This topic may be straightforward for you – perhaps you’ve got a few things to bring to God or you might need a small “course correction” in your Christian life. Or the topic might be very raw and painful. Either way it would be good to pray to God now: giving thanks for his forgiveness and asking for help in forgiving others. Please do speak with your Growth Group leader or pastors for help if this is a particularly tough area for you.

A good place to finish is another great verse from the Bible, this time from Micah:

“Who is a God like you, who pardons sins and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy” (Micah 7:18).

*I can’t find Mark’s posts on the internet right now but I have a copy or you can ask your own pastor.

Hat tip:

Standing In Grace.com

Why did Jesus speak in parables?

December 8, 2018

Parable of the Sower - Matthew 13 - Seed, Soil, wayside, stony ...HT graphic:  gbcdecatur.org

That’s a question that Ligonier.org – The teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul answers in a video presentation. There is also a transcript to read.

Excerpt:
He actually answers that question Himself, or gives one answer to it, when He tells the parable of the sower and the soils and His disciples don’t get it. They come to Him and say, “What was that all about?” and He explains it to them.

He says, “I’m giving these explanations to you because you’re my disciples. But one of the reasons I tell these parables is because when I tell the parables it actually makes clear whether people really grasp the meaning of the kingdom or not.” (See Matthew 13:11-17, Mark 4:10-12, or Luke 8:9-10.)

I don’t know if it’s said so often these days, but there was a time when people constantly said to ministers, “You should tell more stories like Jesus so that we can understand.” But Jesus didn’t tell these parables so much so that people would understand. They were really test cases of whether they understood the gospel that He preached in other words. When you think about it, that’s the case.

The Parable of the Sower is the gateway to all of the parables of Jesus.

Parable of the Sower | BibleOpia BlogThis explains why people can be at different levels of belief in their lifetimes.  It explains why people can “fall away” from faith in Jesus Christ.  The Bible is an honest book, telling us the truth about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, while also informing us about the sins, errors and failings of mankind.

Personally, I have gone through several “crises of faith” in my 64 years on this earth.  A person who once loved (the agape kind in Christ, no less!) my husband and I made a sudden and devastating decision to abandon us.  Why?  Over a simple argument that could have easily been resolved.  In addition, he also rejected any family members, friends, acquaintances that he perceived as “siding” with us.  This occurred over a year ago, but when it first happened I cried day and night for three months.  I thought, how could this person do such a drastic, painful and heartless thing? Where is the forgiveness?  Where is the reconciliation?   I asked and prayed, “God?  Where are you in this?”  Now, I realize that it is a situation that needs to be resolved in the life of this person.  We are just the “collateral damage,” so to speak.  If this person is supposed to be a true Christian, then why this rejection, even after apologizing and asking for forgiveness?

Apparently, a person can reject those that he used to love unconditionally; and be totally indifferent about it.

Last Christmas, the pastor mentioned to pray for those who are in estrangement situations.  Much weeping and sniffling could be heard from the congregation.  I never knew how prevalent the act of disowning family members was until I did some research on it.  Rejection hurts – terribly!  But with faith and love in Jesus Christ, we can overcome.  Why?  Because He has “overcome the world” through His death and resurrection to life!  In eternity, there will be no tears, pain, hate, indifference, warfare, sin, or rejection.  Why?  Because the imperfect world we live in now will be gone, and a new life of love, peace, joy and worship of God will replace all of those negative and painful things that we endure while on this earth!  That is why the lovely list (love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, goodness) in “the fruit of the Spirit” also contains the term longsuffering.

As Jesus told us in Scripture, there will be those who will reject Him – and the Gospel.  Then, why would we ever expect to never be rejected by people who have obviously been negatively convinced against us?  I really don’t know how this person can live with himself.  It’s very sad.  However, people make bad choices all the time and then need to live with possible regret and future consequences.

Moving on with this post.

One of the more popular posts here at this blog is entitled, The Importance of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares.

Within that post, we also read about the Parable of the Sower:

Jesus told us that there will be those who will reject the Gospel in the Parable of the Sower

Mat 13:18

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower:

Mat 13:19

“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.

Mat 13:20

“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;

Mat 13:21

“yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

Mat 13:22

“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.

Mat 13:23

“But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

As Christian evangelists, we are to “plant the seed” through spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God does the rest! The verses in Matthew reveal the many ways that a person who hears the Gospel either “goes by the wayside,” or, “receives it with joy but only endures for while and then stumbles because of persecution,” or,  “allows the word to be choked out because of the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches.” All of these can cause a person to become unfruitful.

We may inquire further to discover what Jesus meant when he stated (in Matthew 13:23) “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it.”

David Guzik has a good commentary about that verse:

d. Good ground: As seed falling on good ground brings a good crop of grain (Matthew 13:8), so some respond rightly to the word and bear much fruit.

i. This soil represents those who receive the word, and it bears fruit in their soil – in differing proportions (some hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty), though each has a generous harvest.

e. Therefore, hear the parable of the sower: We benefit from seeing bits of ourselves in all four soils.
– Like the wayside, sometimes we allow the word no room at all in our lives. – Like the stony places, we sometimes have flashes of enthusiasm in receiving the word that quickly burn out. – Like the soil among thorns, the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are constantly threatening to choke out God’s word and our fruitfulness. – Like the good ground, the word bears fruit in our lives.

i. We notice that the difference in each category was with the soil itself. The same seed was cast by the same sower. You could not blame the differences in results on the sower or on the seed, but only on the soil. “O my dear hearers, you undergo a test today! Peradventure you will be judging the preacher, but a greater than the preacher will be judging you, for the Word itself shall judge you.” (Spurgeon)

 

Guzik goes on to reveal another aspect of this parable, and it has to do with “good soil” and ultimately asking ourselves, “what kind of soil am I?”

ii. The parable was also an encouragement to the disciples. Even though it might seem that few respond, God is in control and the harvest will certainly come. This was especially meaningful in light of the rising opposition to Jesus. “Not all will respond, but there will be some who do, and the harvest will be rich.” (France)

iii. “Who knoweth, O teacher, when thou labourest even among the infants, what the result of thy teaching may be? Good corn may grow in very small fields.” (Spurgeon)

iv. Even more than describing the mixed progress of the gospel message, the parable of the sower compels the listener to ask, “What kind of soil am I?”

The Ligonier essay continues:

Think about the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). We all know what the answer is to the question “Which man went down justified?” but that’s only because we don’t really grasp the parable. Nobody listening to Jesus thought it would be the tax collector who went away from the temple justified.

I sometimes say to people, “Just think about these two men. You’re an evangelical Christian. Which of these two are you more like? Don’t you say to God, ‘I thank you that I’m not like other men’; ‘I thank you that you’ve helped me to discipline my life’; ‘I thank you that you’ve helped me to give away money rather than hoard money’? When you begin to think of those things, actually you sound more like the Pharisee.” And that’s very, very uncomfortable: to discover that, even though you trust in Christ, there’s a Pharisee deep down inside you.

Jesus tells these parables to probe inside us to see whether we really understand the gospel and whether the gospel is really beginning to transform our lives.

They’re not just stories. They’re weapons in spiritual warfare.

Hat tip: Ligonier.org

How Do I Get to Heaven? Unlocking the Bible.

October 25, 2018

Graphic:  newriversinternational(dot)org

How do I get to heaven? The story of the thief on the cross makes the answers to this question crystal clear—this man had no works to offer, either before or after his salvation. His salvation was only by grace of God. A. W. Pink asks:

What could he do? [The thief] could not walk in the paths of righteousness for there was a nail through either foot. He could not perform any good works for there was a nail through either hand. He could not turn over a new leaf and live a better life for he was dying.[i]

Truth can always be twisted by perverse people. The wonderful truth that God saves by grace, through faith and without works is no exception. A man said to Spurgeon, “If I believed that, I would carry on in a life of sin,” to which he replied, “Yes, you would!”[ii]

But the redeemed heart loves Christ. The forgiven sinner has a desire to please his Lord.

If the thief had been rescued from the cross and lived another 30 years, he would have lived a new and different life, but he did not have that opportunity. The fact that he entered paradise shows us with great clarity where our salvation lies.

Our salvation in Christ involves three marvelous gifts—justification, sanctification and glorification. Justification is the gift by which our sins are forgiven, sanctification is the gift by which we grow in the likeness of Christ, and glorification is the gift by which we enter into the everlasting joy of heaven. If you get that, you get the Christian life.

Graphic:  wordblessings(dot)com

Christ Justified Us

Now think about what happened to this man. He was justified and glorified on the same day! He completely bypassed sanctification! This man missed out on the entire Christian life—no battles with temptation, no struggles with prayer. He was not baptized, he never received communion, and he did not become a member of any church.

Let’s return to our question: How do I get to heaven? Here’s what this story tells us: Entrance to heaven comes through justification, not through sanctification. You enter heaven by forgiveness and through the righteousness that Jesus gives you. You do not enter into heaven by the Christian life.

The New Testament repeats this theme again and again:

A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. (Galatians 2:16)

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. (Titus 3:5)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

It’s always true that where faith is birthed, works will follow, but salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. This is the good news that your acceptance with God does not depend on your performance in the Christian life.

Where would you be if Christ said, “I forgive you, but I’ll be watching to see how you do from now on.” What kind of love is that? “I forgive you, but make sure you don’t mess up again.” When you read the words “not by works,” rejoice. If it wasn’t for this, you’d be sunk because your Christian life is not what you want it to be and neither is mine.

Christ Gives Complete Assurance

“Today, you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Don’t you just hate the business of waiting for exam results? You do the test, hand in your paper, and then you have to wait. Can you imagine living your whole life waiting for the results? Imagine praying every day, serving every week, and then wondering, “Will I make it into heaven? Or will I spend eternity in hell?”

When the man says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” Christ does not say, “We’ll have to wait and see.” He doesn’t say, “It’s rather late in the day for you to think about repentance now. Look at all the years you’ve wasted!” No, Jesus says, “Today, you will be with me in paradise!”

The Son of God brings the declaration of the last day forward for all who put their trust in him. Do you see how the gift of assurance flows from Christ saving us by grace, through faith, and without works? If our works were in any way involved in our gaining entrance into heaven, assurance would be impossible.

If salvation rested on our works in any way, all assurance would be arrogance because it would be saying “I’ve done the necessary works.” Salvation depends not on your works for Christ, but on Christ’s work for you. His work is finished. It’s perfect and complete. You can rest your life, death, and eternity on him with complete confidence.

Heaven Is Nearer Than You Think

Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Christ is the Lord of paradise. He holds its keys. There can be no higher assurance than his promise. That’s why the apostle Paul says, “It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?” (Romans 8:33-34).

Graphic: pinterest(dot)com

Death does not lead to a long period of unconsciousness. Nor does it lead, for the believer, to a long process of being prepared. For a Christian believer, death is an immediate translation into the joys of life at the right hand of God. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Christian, heaven is much nearer than you think. “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

[This post was adapted from Pastor Colin’s sermon, “Breakfast with the Devil, Supper with the Savior,” the second sermon in his series, 7 Words from the Cross.][Photo Credit: Unplash]
_______
[i] A. W. Pink, “The Seven Sayings of the Savior from the Cross,” p. 34, Baker, 2005
http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Sayings-Saviour-Cross-Arthur/dp/0801065739/
[ii] C. H. Spurgeon sermon, “Election and Holiness” March 11, 1860
http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0303.htm

How Do I Get to Heaven? — Unlocking the Bible

Graphic:  thereshope(dot)org

Hat tip: Truth2Freedom’s Blog

Debating forgiveness: must a person admit wrongdoing before being forgiven? – Wintery Knight Blog

March 9, 2018

Relationships can be difficult and hard in this life. It takes work, but also a lot of love and forgiveness in order to get through disagreements, hurt feelings, and terrible things that can happen. No one has a perfect life, nor a perfect marriage.

I wholeheartedly agree that repentance is required in order for genuine forgiveness to happen. Without these facts, then reconciliation would be hollow and even non-existent!

God’s love for us was poured out through His Son Jesus at the Cross of Calvary. As believers in Him, we are instructed to love others, as He has loved us. The Bible doesn’t say to stop loving others when they make mistakes, especially when they are willing to ask for forgiveness and desire reconciliation with those that they have sinned against.
Jesus told Peter that we are to forgive not only seven times, but “70 times seven” times! Was Jesus utilizing hyperbole in order to get the point across that repentance, as well as reconciliation are required?
I read a devotional today that asks some pertinent questions.

“Today, when you look at your life, and the lives of those closest to you, do you see fruit and abundance? Or do you see another picture? Are you like a dried-up branch, devoid of any good works that speak of a godly source? Do your relationships suffer because you are at the center, not Jesus?”

The requirements of confession, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation are all needed to be forgiven for our sins and become right with God through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Is this not the pattern that we should follow for the forgiveness of people in our lives during our journey in this world? If we don’t follow such a pattern, then how are we to bring others into God’s Kingdom?

The devotional ends with:

“Throughout the trials you face–whether big or small–cling to Jesus as the source and giver of life. May you remain in His love. And may His love fill you with abundance and cause you to bear fruit for His Kingdom.”
Amen!

Hat tip:  Wintery Knight

WINTERY KNIGHT

Two horses fight it out, may the best horse win! Two horses fight it out, may the best horse win!

I’ve listened to this debate three times because I liked it so much. I even ordered Chris’ book for my best friend Dina. She has listened to the debate, and is currently split between the two debaters. I am in firm agreement with the pastor Chris, although Remy has some useful things to say that I agree with.

Here’s a link to the debate page on Moody Bible Institute’s “Up For Debate” program with Julie Roys.

Details:

Should Christians Forgive No Matter What?

Should Christians forgive someone even if he’s not sorry?  Or does true forgiveness require repentance and a desire to reconcile?  This Saturday, on Up For Debate, Julie Roys will explore this issue with Chris Brauns, a pastor who believes forgiveness requires repentance, and Remy Diederich who believes it does not.

Although I disagree with Remy, I only disagree with him…

View original post 899 more words

Genuine Forgiveness Includes Reconciliation

March 2, 2018

A mother who has been suffering through a sudden estrangement situation with her son told me that his “break up with his parents” letter included the following comment:

“I forgive you, but I can’t be around it anymore.” 

According to the letter the mom had received, his grievances included perceived “unhealthy communication” and “crossing boundaries,” plus “convictions” regarding grievances which had never been shared with the parents while growing up.  But now, they have “come to light” and were included without much explanation in the letter written.  The son has ignored the pleas of his mother to at least talk it out, or even see a counselor together in order to understand the son’s convictions and grievances; some of which she has no idea in what he’s talking about.

The entire family has been suffering with grief over this for the past four months.  They don’t know whether or not this young man will ever come around and be willing to talk with them or see them again.  It’s a very sad situation!  This young man even wrote to his own sister and in a separate email message where he basically made her choose which side she and her husband were on; his or their parents!

I’m not trained as a counselor and I don’t claim to have all the answers to such a situation.  However, when I see human problems from a biblical perspective (which is something that, as Christians, we should always strive to do), I like to share it here at this blog in the hope that what is written might help someone who is suffering in an estrangement situation.

Forgiveness is Divine.

No wonder it has been said that, “forgiveness is Divine.”  Isn’t it so true that it is often very difficult for us imperfect and sinful human beings to forgive?  But when one forgives another, it is like a huge weight has been lifted off of the heart, soul and mind.  It releases all of that pain, resentment, and rage that once plagued us.  It’s difficult to explain, but when it happens in your life, you know it!

The second (and most important) action that follows forgiveness is reconciliation.  Without reconciliation, the term “forgiveness” is hollow and meaningless.  Man can still claim to forgive, but holding a grudge and refusing to return towards a relationship with one who has been forgiven demonstrates that there is still contempt, dislike, or maybe even hatred for the person (people) that one claims that they have forgiven.  Holding a grudge eats away at one’s heart, soul, spirit and mind!

Christians should not live that way.  They should not hold grudges or have contempt for those that they have loved before, claimed to have forgiven for a simple trespass, yet refuse to participate in a path towards reconciliation.

Our Model, in this respect, is Jesus Christ Himself.  Even when He was being crucified on the cross, (a most painful and excruciating form of punishment that leads to death) He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”  When Jesus died for our sins – the sins of all mankind – He was buried in a guarded tomb.  However, death could not hold Him down and after fulfilling His purpose on this earth, He rose on the third day.  Yes!  His glorious resurrection had a crucial purpose.  Those who would believe in Him and the reason why He died for our sins would join in with the joyous purpose of being reconciled back unto God!

Without the goal of reconciliation, the entire purpose of forgiveness of our sins would be meaningless, wouldn’t it?

If Jesus had listened to and obeyed the man in the crowd at Calvary who yelled, “if you are truly the Son of God, come down from that cross and save yourself,” then the entire purpose for which He was sent and born into this world would have been lost!  Jesus would have ended up going back to the Father, but He would have entered back into heaven alone, for all of eternity.  The offer and goal of salvation for mankind would have been lost.

Only the sinless Son of God could have (and did!) accomplish the plan of forgiveness, reconciliation, and salvation for all who would believe in Him!

Jesus is the bridge that crosses the deep cavern that exists between sinful man and Holy God!  Without reconciliation in this manner, what good is there in forgiveness?  Answer:  it would be hollow, to say the least, and not a soul saving type of forgiveness.

This serves as a model for human relationships and the need to follow Christ’s lead towards forgiving one another.  Without reconciliation, it is hollow at its core.

God bless and may you find peace in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ,

~  Christine

Dan 9:24 – “Seventy weeks[fn] are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of[fn] sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.

*******

Rom 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9 – Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Rom 5:10 – For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Rom 5:11 – And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

*******

2 Cor 5:18 – Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
2 Cor 5:19 – that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
2 Cor 5:20 – Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
2 Cor 5:21 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

*******

Update

Also see:

Truth 2 Freedom: March 2 The Godhead Forever One

Forbearing One Another

February 4, 2018

(6.) Mutual forbearance, in consideration of the infirmities and deficiencies under which we all labour: Forbearing one another.

We have all of us something which needs to be borne with, and this is a good reason why we should bear with others in what is disagreeable to us. We need the same good turn from others which we are bound to show them.

  • (7.) A readiness to forgive injuries: Forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any. While we are in this world, where there is so much corruption in our hearts, and so much occasion of difference and contention, quarrels will sometimes happen, even among the elect of God, who are holy and beloved, as Paul and Barnabas had a sharp contention, which parted them asunder one from the other (Acts 15:39), and Paul and Peter, Gal. 2:14. But it is our duty to forgive one another in such cases; not to bear any grudge, but put up with the affront and pass it by. And the reason is: Even as Christ forgave you, so also do you. The consideration that we are forgiven by Christ so many offences is a good reason why we should forgive others. It is an argument of the divinity of Christ that he had power on earth to forgive sins; and it is a branch of his example which we are obliged to follow, if we ourselves would be forgiven. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, Mt. 6:12.

  • H/T:  Matthew Henry commentary at Blue Letter Bible

 

The Wonder of Your Mercy…

September 26, 2016

I have often found that people who are not (yet!) born again in Jesus Christ do not “get” the whole concept of forgiveness, mercy and grace via the Cross. I see that there are people who think Christians are “arrogant;” and thus surmise that “we think we are better” than everyone else. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Repentance for sin is a MUST  before we can take part in the forgiveness, mercy and grace given to us through the shed blood at the cross of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah reminds us of our true condition before the Cross of Christ cleanses us:

Isa 64:6

But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.

We know that being born again does not mean we are perfect. We will still have to live with a sinful nature (here on earth), but because of what Christ did for us, we DESIRE to live for Him more fully and avoid the occasion of sin.

In a later verse, Isaiah shares hope for us:

Isa 64:8

But now, O LORD,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.

This past weekend, a non-believer told my son that he thinks that, “the Christian faith is a beautiful religion.” This is the adult young man who encouraged me to read Eckhart Tolle’s book, “The Power of Now.” They had a great conversation, and although I didn’t hear all of it I was so proud of my son for witnessing to him! Near the end of the conversation, my son also shared that there are religious off-shoots of Christianity (i.e. Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses) that do not adhere to the general revelation of God nor the Scriptures that have “once been delivered to the saints.” He didn’t use those exact words, but that was the gist of it. At that point, the young man objected to “bashing” someone else’s beliefs. I’m sure that this was because Tolle’s book (and teachings) combine some Christianity, Buddhism, and Gnosticism; therefore, we must be “tolerant” of other religions. When they briefly touched on the “religion” of Islam, the young man stuck to the liberal leftist stance that the religion has been “hijacked” by a radical few. My son didn’t try to change his mind on that issue (would take too long anyway), but the next time I see this young man I will mention the “tenet” of “taqiyya” within Islam which allows any Muslim to lie in order to advance their global jihad political Caliphate plans via claims of being a “religion of peace.”

All in all, it was a great conversation to observe! I was so encouraged that my son is not worried about political correctness [PC] when sharing the Truth with others.

PC is what is constantly used against Christians in order to shut them up.

One of the tools being used by the PC and “tolerance” crowd is the “coexist” movement.  What is ironic is the fact that the PC crowd (usually the liberal leftist side of the political spectrum)  ignores the reality of the danger presented by Islam and many who live in the PC universe spew claims that Christians are not tolerant.  Well, many Christians would whole-heartedly disagree!  Here is why:

The following graphic describes what is REALLY behind the “Coexist” bumper sticker and movement, quite well!

H/T for graphic: Watchman’s Bagpipes blog

Hat tips to all links.

Mercy Lyrics

from Your Grace Finds Me
I will kneel in the dust
At the foot of the cross,
Where mercy paid for me.
Where the wrath I deserve,
It is gone, it has passed.
Your blood has hidden me.

Mercy, mercy,
As endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
For all eternity.

We will lift up the cup
And the bread we will break,
Remembering Your love.
We were fallen from grace,
But You took on our shame
And nailed it to a cross.

Mercy, mercy,
As endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
For all eternity.

Mercy, mercy,
As endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
For all eternity.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

I will kneel in the dust
At the foot of the cross,
Where mercy paid for me.

Read more: Matt Redman – Mercy Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Is It Important to Ask God for Forgiveness?

March 2, 2016

I have a suggestion for Trump followers who happen to call themselves Christians.

First, read the following “Four Spiritual Laws” and “The Roman Road.”  These two put forth the gospel message in a systematic way.  The Scriptures used are simple and to the point, but are also essential in realizing that Christians need to agree with them in order to be saved!  Otherwise, why call yourself a Christian?

Our job as Christian evangelists is to use Scripture to convict (of sin – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God) , convince (those who don’t know Jesus Christ personally of the fact that He is the only Lord and Savior who can save us from our sins) , and convert (non-believers to biblical Christianity).

After you read them, read the copy that is written below about Trump’s attitude regarding the need to ask God for forgiveness.  Then, make your own conclusions.

~ Christine

Four Spiritual Laws:

  1. God loves you:
    1. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life,” (John 3:16).

Man is sinful and separated from God.

  1. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Rom. 3:23). “For the wages of sin is death,” (Rom. 6:23). “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,” (Isaiah 59:2).

Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin.

  1. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me,” (John 14:6). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Rom. 5:8).
  1. We must individually receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.
  1. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” (John 1:12). “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved,” (Rom. 10:9). “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,” (Eph. 2:8).

Saw this today (3/2/16) and thought I would add it to this post!

Hat tip:  Pastor Ward Clinton’s blog.

The Roman Road

Another list of verses usable in the same way as the Four Spiritual Laws is the “Roman Road.” The advantage to these seven verses is that they are all in the Book of Romans. Sometimes this is an advantage when you don’t want to flip through a lot of pages.

  1. Rom. 3:10, “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one . . . “
  2. Rom. 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
  3. Rom. 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
  4. Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  5. Rom. 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  6. Rom. 10:9-10, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
  7. Rom. 10:13, “For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

I recommend you put the Roman Road in your Bible. Go to Romans 3:10, underline it, and write Romans 3:23 next to it. Then go to Romans 3:28, underline it, and write Romans 5:12 next to it, and so on. That way all you need to do is memorize where you start: Romans 3:10.

Hat tip:  Matt Slick at CARM

*******

Article about Trump from The Blaze:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said back in June that he isn’t sure that he’s ever asked God for forgiveness for his sins, but that he participates in communion, which he described at the time as a “form of asking for forgiveness.”

“I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so,” he told moderator Frank Luntz during the Family Leadership Summit. “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”

Trump again discussed this subject in an interview with CBN News’ David Brody last Tuesday, during which Brody asked the businessman if he believes that “it is important to ask God for forgiveness.”

“Well, I do. I think it’s great. I consider communion to be a very important thing. When I go to church and I take communion I consider that asking for forgiveness in my own way,” Trump said. “I do think it’s a great thing and I do think it’s an important thing. It makes you feel good.”

These comments about communion follow additional statements that Trump made back in June at the Family Leadership Summit about the importance of partaking in the Christian practice of consuming bread and wine in remembrance of Christ.

“When I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed,” Trump said at the time, according to CNN. “I think in terms of ‘let’s go on and let’s make it right.’”

Trump’s comments at the Family Leadership Summit gained attention, considering that asking God for forgiveness and seeking atonement are central tenets of Christianity.

The candidate did tell Brody in his more recent interview that he was possibly “getting a little bit cute” when he addressed forgiveness and communion at the Family Leadership Summit, saying that he didn’t “know it was going to be such a big deal.”

“I think communion to me is very important,” Trump said.

As TheBlaze previously reported, this isn’t the first time that Trump’s views on faith and the Bible have made headlines, as he declined to name his favorite Bible verse when a reporter pressed him on the issue last month.

That said, the presidential candidate struck a very different tone in the same interview with Brody, seemingly having no problem diving into his stance on the holy book.

“There’s so many things that you can learn from [The Bible]. Proverbs, the chapter ‘never bend to envy’ —  I’ve had that thing all of my life where people are bending to envy,” Trump said. “Actually, it’s an incredible book. So many things you can learn from the Bible and you can lead your life and I’m not just talking in terms of religion — I’m talking in terms of leading a life even beyond a religion.”

It is unclear where this “envy” chapter is in Proverbs, as Trump did not cite a specific verse. That said, the subject is dealt with a number of times throughout Proverbs, as Brody noted.

(H/T: CBN News)


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