Tag Archives: forgiveness

Cleaning up

1 John 1:9 (ESV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

When it comes to cleaning up our lives, many people get things backwards. If you think that you’ve got to clean up your act to become a Christian, you don’t understand how this thing works. You and I are incapable of getting ourselves cleaned up until after we give things over to Jesus.

All of the hurts, habits, and hangups that keep us from following after the Savior are exactly the things He came to heal us from. We don’t get ourselves into shape before going into the gym, we go to the gym to get into shape. Likewise, we don’t come to Jesus after we’ve saved ourselves. We go to Him for salvation.

If you’re struggling with something right now that’s keeping you from giving your life over to Christ, like I was before I took that step, look what God’s Word has to say about the subject. There’s no command to “get right” before coming to Him. There is, however, plenty to be said about giving ourselves over to Him so that He can be the one to cleanse us.

Don’t get it twisted. Jesus does the cleaning up. We’re not able to do it on our own, even if we try our hardest. God isn’t impressed with our efforts, He wants our repentance. What are you waiting for?

Desire reconciliation, not revenge

lightstock_160956_medium_user_3963721“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” 

-Matthew 5:38-39

The way of Jesus Christ is often counter-intuitive, often counter cultural. The way of the world is to get back at those who have wronged us. And why is that? It’s because human nature instinctively drives us to defend ourselves and we feel a sense of entitlement to seek an “eye-for-an-eye.” The way of Jesus, though, is to forgo our entitlement and let go of our right to get even.

It’s hard, isn’t it? Think about the last time someone did something to you that was deserving of revenge. What did you do? Did you store up resentment? Did you take action to get what you deserve? Or did you turn the other cheek? Depending on your answer, I would ask you how you felt about your decision. Did it give you peace? Did it help your relationship? Did either of you benefit from your choice?

God isn’t just about do’s and don’ts or listing off rules to make us unable to do anything. He’s actually very concerned with our character, with our relationships, and with our spiritual maturity. Giving up the right to seek revenge, even when no one would fault you for doing so, isn’t about being weak. It’s ultimately about having the peace of God. It’s about having the character of Christ. And it’s about reconciliation with others.

This doesn’t mean to become a door mat or to accept abuse, but it does sometimes mean sacrifice. It’s not easy, but it wasn’t easy for the one sinless man who ever walked this earth to be executed for wrongs that He didn’t commit either. Next time you face the option of getting even or getting peace, pray for guidance. Choose the way of Christ.

Walking in the light

1 John 1:5-10  This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

One of the things that can most negatively affect our relationship with God and with other people is unconfessed sin.  If we hold onto the idea that we’ve done nothing wrong when in reality we’ve offended God with our thoughts and actions, we’re putting a barrier between Him and ourselves.  The same is true when we act as though we’ve not wronged others.  We can’t have true fellowship when we’re walking in a lie.

But if we confess our sins to the Lord, He’s not standing by waiting to strike us down with lightning; He’s ready to forgive us and to cleanse us.  When we’ve been cleansed by God, we’re then enabled to walk in the light.  If we have fellowship with God, we can’t be in the darkness, so it’s also fair to say that if we’re walking in darkness we’re not in fellowship with God.

Where are you right now? Are you walking in the light?  Are your relationships reflective of God’s work in you?  Or are you in broken relationships with other people and a broken fellowship with God?  The good news is that at any time we can turn to Him and admit our sins.  He’ll wash us clean with the blood of Christ, just like He took a big eraser and wiped out all of our wrongdoing to give us a fresh start.  He wants to do that for us.  The Good News is for believers too.

Christ our Advocate

1 John 2:1-6   My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

If we claim to be Christians, there ought to be something to show for it.  If we aren’t walking a true Christian walk, obeying God, growing to be more like Christ, loving others; then we aren’t fooling anyone.  If we love God, we’ll follow Him in everything we do.

All that said, we can try to obey in all things, but we will fail at times.  We can’t be perfect, even though we should try to walk as closely to God as possible, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  We’ll fail, but the true test is whether or not we admit to wrongdoing and ask forgiveness.  If we say we don’t sin, again no one is fooled.  We have to have a heart that’s humble enough to confess that we’ve sinned.  This is what we’re called to as followers of Christ.

The best part is that we, as Christians, don’t receive God’s wrath for our sins, but we get forgiveness.  Jesus already died in our place, He already took on our sins so that we don’t have to suffer the consequences.  He made a way so that we have no reason to hold onto our sins as a secret and not admit to them.  If we’ll just confess them, He’s faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9).  Jesus stands in the gap, advocating on our behalf, making our case.  This isn’t just a message for seekers of truth; the gospel is for Christians too.

We owe it to each other to forgive

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

If I asked you why Jesus had to die on the cross you would likely mention forgiveness. It’s true, the only way we can obtain God’s forgiveness is through a relationships with Jesus Christ. He paid for all of our sins, past, present, and future. But still we hold on to grudges against the people that have caused us harm.

How can we accept the forgiveness offered to us for every single bad things we’ve ever done and will ever do without being willing to show the same grace to people who do us wrong? Haven’t we done worse to God and yet been granted a pardon?

How arrogant we are when we hold onto the grace of God for ourselves and don’t pass it along to others. May we have eyes to see how wrong it is for us to do such a thing, how much it goes against God’s will for us. Who do you need to forgive right now? Have they really done something so much worse to you than you have done to the Creator who not only forgives you but does so through the sacrifice of His own Son? We owe it to each other to forgive, just as God in Christ forgave us.

Forget about it

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Revenge is never worth it. Holding a grudge does nothing to help anyone. Bitterness is a cancer that eats away at the soul. God wants so much more for your life.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians deals mostly with unity within the body of believers, so it’s important to note that this refers to forgiving those who are our brothers and sisters in the Lord’s family. When we don’t forgive our own church family we can’t live the lives that God intends for us. The Church can’t function as it’s supposed to when we live with anger and bitterness towards someone.

Forgiveness, though, is a cure for many of the faults within the Church. Letting go of the hurts we hold on to brings healing that can release all of us from the shackles that we find ourselves in. Jesus didn’t die for our forgiveness just so that we can refuse to show the same grace to the people God’s placed around us. Forget about it. Let it go. Love those who have hurt you and pray for them – and yourself.

Forgiveness takes away the enemy’s weapon

Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. 

There are few things our enemy the devil hates more than a unified body of believers in Jesus Christ. He can’t stand to see God working through people who love one another and bear each other’s burdens. His strategy is to divide us.

We’ve all been to churches where there’s disunity. Maybe someone didn’t like the choice of colors for the new carpet or maybe someone got upset because the coffee pot was moved to another location. Whatever the reason, people get angry with their fellow Christians and they begin to miss out on the mission God has for them. That’s exactly what the enemy wants.

But when we forgive offenses that our brothers and sisters in the Lord commit, we offer him no ammunition to use against us. When we put away our anger and instead choose love, we don’t allow him a way in. When we value people and relationships more than things, we take away something from the enemy’s arsenal. We leave him weak.

When we choose to love, it honors God and brings Him glory. That should be our ultimate incentive for treating others well and acting in unity as a church of believers.

Forgiveness in Christ

Passage:  John 19:28-30

Key verses:  Colossians 1:13-14  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Since the sin of our first parents, we’ve been on the path of destruction.  Only perfection can enter into the kingdom of heaven and we’re tainted.  Our sinful nature bought for us a ticket straight to eternity away from God.  But the story doesn’t end there.

You see, God couldn’t let it end that way.  He loved His creation far too much to let us have what we deserved, so in the ultimate act of love, Jesus became flesh, God bankrupted heaven of its treasure, and He delivered us from destruction.  Our debt was paid in His sacrifice.  Everything we owed was paid in full when He died on that cross.  He transferred us to His kingdom, a life spent with God, not apart from Him.  He redeemed us.

In Christ we have full forgiveness.  Our slate is clean, our record is wiped out.  We owe Him everything, because He has set us free.  In Him we have life.  His death finished the work that He was sent here to do.  But still the story doesn’t end there.  No, that part of the story gets us to Friday – but Sunday is the part that makes it all mean something.  Sunday is the main event.

Jesus Victory Over Sin

Romans 6:6-11 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.  And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.  When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.  So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

We all love to make plans and try to take control of our day, we make plans and then we face the roadblocks to our plans, the rest of the world likes to get in our way. There is a plan that hasn’t been altered or modified, that would be God’s plan, it has been the same since the beginning of time.

Satan knew that God’s plan to break the power of sin was an assault on his power, the grip that he had on man was coming to an end, Satan was fighting back for thirty-three years but he failed to stop the plan. Satan worked to spoil God’s plan from Jesus birth all the way to his death, from King Herod all the way to the soldiers nails, but the plan kept on.

Jesus set me free, my sin was taken to the cross and they have been removed from the record books, the spreadsheet that was being kept has been deleted without any payments being made by me. Jesus paid off the entire balance. The only payments that I can make is to live for Jesus in obedience to him, I can offer my life as a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1-2)

I now have real life that is worth living. Life without bondage and fear, life with hope and a bright future, a life that will never end. I need to share this good news with everyone.

Thank you Lord for giving me real life without the bondage and fear that so many people are still trapped in. I pray that they will hear the gospel message and receive your powerful healing in their life.

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Lavished upon us

Ephesians 1:8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight

Out of the abundance of all that He has (which is everything), God lavishes upon us His blessings.  He’s a loving Father who cares for His children and wants to bless them.  And He does it in all wisdom and insight.

That means that even though the all-knowing God who lives outside of time and knows everything before it happens has knowledge of our sins and disobedience, He chooses to bless us anyway. A better word than “chooses” is “chose,” because before He even created the world He had already chosen how to bless you.

He knew the choices you’d make and the sins you’d commit against Him, and still He chose to love you and bless you, to redeem you and forgive you.  If that’s not grace, then what is?  If that’s not worth your thanks, then what is?