Tag Archive: Forgiveness


Pulling Back the Curtain

imageSin is so terribly destructive, so utterly diabolical! Sin is so horrific that it’s true power and perversity are arguably unfathomable by the human mind. How much more so for the father of lies, the father of sin!?

We dip and dabble at it as if certain sins are permissible. We tolerate sin in our lives and sometimes even encourage it as if it’s as harmless as a squeaky screen door. Perhaps our reluctance to resist the devil (in the Lord’s strength of course) has something to do with our own perspective of sin and the father of it.

What if you discovered you were born into a family that had been hunted and killed for years? What if you also discovered that there was one person behind it all, a person only known as the prowler? You are forced to grow up on the run and after a decade of fear, the unthinkable happens. Your parents, your brothers, and sisters are all trapped and killed. Some how you are able to get away, only to go on the run again.

Another decade goes by, and you finally think you’re safe so you decide to settle down. Not too long after you move into your first place, a package arrives in the mail. Wrapped in beautiful, shiny paper, this intriguing gift causes you to let down your guard. There’s a small card attached. Your curiosity gets the best of you. You open the card. The message reads, “Dear Boy, I hope you accept my gift. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Your Friend, The Prowler.”

Would you open the gift? If not, then why? Why not open a present offered by the one responsible for hunting and destroying so many?

Of course, it’s not always so black and white with Satan, the enemy of our souls. Or is it? Perhaps it is that clear, but because of our deep personal devotion to the flesh, we often allow the issues to become muddied so we really don’t have to think too much about them.

Maybe if we’d ask the Lord to seriously pull back the curtain on sin, Satan, and our own selfish hearts, we’d begin understanding the deep destructiveness of the worldly nets we’ve wrapped ourselves in. Perhaps if we’d sincerely ask the Lord to give us eyes to see the sinfulness of sin and the beauty of Himself, we’d choose to leave this world’s temporary temptations alone, instead clinging wholeheartedly to the only gift that truly and eternally matters, Jesus Christ!

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“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:15-18, 21

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Bible Light Bulb ImageThere are many questions and even more supposed answers about eternity. Lots of people have said there are many ways to get to Heaven.  After all, don’t all spiritual roads lead to the same place? Does it really matter what religion we follow?  If we’re simply sincere, devoted, and passionate about whatever we believe, won’t it all work out in the end?  Can’t my good works outweigh the bad things I’ve done in the past?  How can we really know for sure?

What’s the Answer?

Maybe you’re wondering some of the same things.     If not, you should be. After all, eternity is a lot longer than the few short years we’ll spend on this planet.  Asking good questions is important, but finding the right answers is even more crucial! If you’re lost and stop to ask someone for directions, it really does matter whether the directions he/she gives you are right or wrong. So in hopes of preventing anyone from getting even more lost, let’s examine several of today’s most popular myths.

We’ll examine seven basic misunderstandings/ myths in pursuit of discovering the true answer to how we can know for sure we are going to Heaven.

MYTH 1: The majority must be right. Just because people have answers doesn’t mean those answers are true, even if a majority agrees. A survey of 35,000 American adults shows that 70 percent believe there are many paths to God, but just because a majority believes the same thing doesn’t necessarily make it true.  Consider Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Just because many were in agreement with Hitler doesn’t make what he believed and did correct. Following the majority isn’t the answer!

MYTH 2- Sincerity is what matters.  Just because someone is sincere in a belief doesn’t make it right.

  • Does it matterif a sincere pharmacist puts the wrong pills in a bottle?
  • Does it matterif a surgeon sincerely believed he removed a kidney when in fact he removed the liver?
  • Does it matterif a woman ate a poisonous mushroom, even though she sincerely thought it would be good for her?

It is possible to be very sincere, but be sincerely wrong. The critical question is not whether someone is sincere, rather what is the truth?  Sincerity is not the answer.

MYTH 3: Pretty good is good enough. One of the greatest lies ever believed is that human beings can be good enough to get to Heaven!  I’ve heard this so many times and at one point even believed it myself.  I’ve even had professing atheists tell me if there is a ‘God’, then when they die they’ll be okay because they’ve been pretty good. Here’s the thing, being pretty good isn’t the real issue. God’s standard isn’t pretty good, it’s perfection. After all, God isn’t simply pretty good. He’s perfect.

Being pretty good isn’t the answer.

MYTH 4: Religion is good enough.  At some level, all religions say we must do good works in order to be right. Biblical Christianity is totally unique.  In religion, man has to reach up to God by his good works. In Christianity, God reached down with the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. He was crucified for the sins of the world. If religion, rituals, and traditions worked, Jesus would’ve never had to come and die.  Religion is not the answer!

MYTH 5: My future good deeds will make up for my past bad deeds. Here’s the problem. Let’s say you get a speeding ticket for driving 55 in a15 mph school zone, then stand before the judge and tell him you’ll never speed again. Will that make up for the crime you’ve already committed?  No. What if you tell the judge you’ve driven through that area many times before, always following the law? Will that make up for your crime?  No. We don’t get extra credit for following the law. The law requires that we follow it completely. That’s the whole point. Following the law tomorrow will never make up for the fact that we broke it today.  Simply said, the price has to be paid!  Future good deeds are not the answer.

Myth 6: I’m a good person.  We all tend to compare ourselves with one another; forgetting people are not the standard.  We did not make this universe, and we did not make the moral laws any more than the physical laws of this universe. God is the Creator, and He is the standard, not us. All one has to do is look at God’s law, which can be boiled down to the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20)  to see if we really are good people, if we measure up to the holiness of God.  Here are a few of God’s moral laws:

  • “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”  Telling the truth is the backbone of any society and the Bible. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie…” God is truth.  Have you ever told a lie; even a “little” one?
  • “You shall not steal.” Have you ever taken something that is not yours?
  • “You shall not commit adultery.”  Jesus took this commandment to a deeper level when He said, “If you have even looked upon someone with lust, it means you have already committed adultery in your heart with that person.” Matthew 5:27-28. Have you ever looked at someone with lust?

Now things get a little more interesting.  James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

So if we’ve even broken one of God’s commandments, we’ve broken them all.

 I ask you again, “Have you broken any of the Ten Commandments?” If you’re honest, you’ll have to say yes. Since we’ve all broken God’s law, it’s clear no one is really a good person.

Here’s the truth:  The reason sincerity, religion, and good works just don’t cut it is because they all originate from men and according to God, we’ve all willfully sinned. That is to say, we’ve all come short of God’s standard of perfection. Period!  We’re not the solution, frankly we’re the problem.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

God knows we’ve sinned.  We know we need His forgiveness. “For I will declare my iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.” Psalm 38:18  

The shedding of an animal’s blood reminded the Israelites that death was a result of man’s choice to rebel against his Creator. It was also a clue of God’s faithfulness to one day send One who would pay the ultimate price by dying for all of humanity, One who would not only die, but take the spiritual and eternal punishment we deserve so our penalty against God would be fully paid. A male lamb without spot was used in the Old Testament for a yearly sacrifice to God. This was a clue that One would come, not as a spotless lamb, but as a sinless man and God to die for the sins of the world.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29  

Jesus is the Lamb of God that the Old Testament pointed to, the One that would be the final, complete, and eternal sacrifice to God the Father by dying on the cross for our sins. God the Father literally poured out the anger and wrath we deserve upon His Son!

“He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Are you ready to repent (turn) and put your    belief in Jesus and His finished work on the cross for you?

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for your sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:3-6  

Myth 7: Christianity is just too narrow-minded.  With so many religions around the world, this might seem reasonable. Jesus claimed to be the only way to Heaven, yet many believe this is too narrow-minded. But is this bad? When I walk through the front door, does it ever bother me that there’s only one door? When I enter a gas station or a store, do I ever stop to complain when there’s only one door?  No. One door doesn’t mean anything other than there’s only one way in.  One way, in reality, makes it simple. There’s one way, making it very easy to identify both the true and the false doors.  Yes, one way to Heaven is narrow, but narrow doesn’t mean it’s bad. The God of the Bible says He’s one God (Deut. 6:4), so why not only have one way? God doesn’t want us to follow a lie. All may enter, but we must enter His way, not our own. Being too narrow just isn’t an excuse. Believing there are many ways to Heaven isn’t the answer.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14

 THE TRUE and ETERNAL ANSWER

The answer of eternity is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!  You have two choices. Sadly, most choose the wide road to exit planet Earth. The other way is the narrow road which is covered with the blood of Jesus Christ.

WHICH ONE WILL YOU CHOOSE?

“If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.  For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture says, “Whosoever believes on [Jesus] shall not be ashamed.”  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:9-13  

“For [God] says, “I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I helped you: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  2 Corinthians 6:2  

There is only one way to get to Heaven. The true path is through Jesus Christ and Him alone. You must make this decision before you die. There’s no second chance after death.

Repent and believe on Him for the forgiveness of your sins before it’s too late.

(Originally produced and distributed by Once Lost Ministries)

Why Did Jesus Come?

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.comWhy did Jesus ultimately choose to be born, crucified, and three days later rise from the dead? Not to sound heretical, but ultimately Jesus did not come to merely die for our sins. I believe God’s Word points to a much grander plan.

Too often a prisoner who has spent many years in prison, once released, has a difficult time acclimating to freedom. Ultimately a prisoner is not released just to be released. He is set free to live a new life of freedom operating under a new perspective of how to utilize that liberty. So it is with the forgiven sinner.

Often we are so excited we’ve been released from our prison of sinful selfishness, but then don’t know what to do next. We, in a sense, are standing just outside the prison walls, unsure what steps to take next. So instead of stepping out in faith, we set up camp where we are, never truly enjoying new life in Christ. Jesus reminds us, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

We are redeemed, we are set free not just to be set free, but so we can for first time freely begin to understand and know the Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

So, yes Jesus came and died for our sins, but ultimately He came to do so much more. May we pull up our stakes from the prison walls and begin stepping out in faith, fully assured of our high calling in Christ Jesus! May we seek to continue growing in the understanding of our Glorious Redeemer and also boldly and lovingly make Him know to those both stuck in prison and those who have pitched their tents just outside its walls.

 

Great resource video, audio, and transcript for any age in many different languages. Sharing the truth of Christ from a historical perspective can be very helpful, especially in a generation that has been so indoctrinated with a very different history.  http://www.christiananswers.net/godstory/creation1.html

Go to: http://www.christiananswers.net/godstory/ for video options.

God's Word is True

“Where is the office of counselor in the New Testament? Is there a specific calling of counselor as there is for evangelist, pastor and teacher?  Are there specific offices for a counselor as there are for elders and deacons?”

“There is no one-up/one-down relationship of counselor and “counselee.” Instead there is the mutual care, encouragement, and edification of all members of the Body of Christ.  Counsel may be given and received, but the real position of counselor is reserved for the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer, who sees into the inner man, who applied the Word and  makes it effectual in the believer, and then who enables the believer to glorify God through the love and obedience, as most clearly taught in Romans 8:26-27: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”   

“It has been said by some, and we agree, that those who take the position of counselor in someone’s life may be usurping the role of the Holy Spirit.  Believers are called to comfort (1 Thessalonians 5:11), instruct (2 Timothy 2:24-26), edify (Romans 14:19), admonish (Romans 15:14), forgive (Ephesians 4:32), and restore (Galatians 6:1) one another.  However, the only one who can accurately see inside a person and therefore be the real counselor is the Lord Himself.”  Martin and Deidre Bobgan, Person to Person Ministry, Soul Care in the Body of Christ, pp. 45-47

The Cross of Christ

It is common place for Christians and unbelievers alike to wear glittering crosses as jewelry.  However, it is more than a bit ironic that the real crosses of Rome’s times were not made of gold, nor were they designed to accessorize an outfit. The cross was intentionally designed as a cruel and humiliating form of execution.  It was made to expose and eradicate the flesh of the criminal.  Three things that the cross should help us remember:  First- The Humiliation, Second- The Criminal, and Third- Death.

  • The Humiliation: Jesus allowed Himself to be arrested and crucified because He knew it was the Father’s will that He should be the once and for all sacrifice for mankind’s sins.  The humiliation He bore should remind us that no sin goes unnoticed by God.  All sin will be exposed before us.  Jesus took the humiliation we deserve.
  • The Criminal:  All have sinned against the Creator of the universe.  This is the burden every man bears. We are the criminals, not God.  Yet God took our place. The perfect Creator humbled Himself to become a man, never stopped being God, to pay the penalty of our rebellious sin.
  • Death:  Yes, the penalty of sin is death. But why?  Because sin is rebellion against God and God is Life. Therefore if we turn from Life, all that is left is Death.  Therefore, the penalty for those who rebel against the Living God is death and that death is eternal.  Why eternal?  Because the One we have sinned against is eternal, therefore our penalty must be forever.  If this were the end of the story, we would be at best hopeless and helpless.  Thankfully, the good news, rather the great news is truly amazing.  God, in His infinite love and grace, sent His Only Son to pay the price for our sins.  “He who knew no sin became sin for us.”  The Cross represents the humiliation of my sins, the criminal nature of my heart, and the death I deserve. But it also represents the goodness of God.

This goodness is revealed in the humility of the Living God, the mercy of Jesus, and the Amazing Love found only in Christ.  “Amazing love, how can it be that You my King would die for me!”  “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  John 3:18

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior;that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7

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