Posts tagged ‘repentance’

Getting Stoned?

How do you feel about your personal sins. Are some of them not too bad? Are there some we have given up on trying to totally weed out of our lives, and have just learned to keep secret? Are there some that, if anyone else knew about them, we would die of shame? Or are you rooting every sin in your life and gaining victory over it?

In the Gospel According to John, there is the familiar account of the woman caught in adultery. Unfortunately, it is too familiar to us and we are tempted to skim over it, sure that we have gleaned all that we could out of it. But take another look and see if there may be more there for us today.

Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say? This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? She said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. (John 8:2-11 NKJV)

There are two sets of people addressed by Jesus here. The first are the scribes and Pharisees. The interrupt Jesus while he is teaching and cast her down on front of him. One wonders how a woman can be in the act of adultery and yet be alone. Ever wonder where the man who was also guilty? And how were they able, as religious leaders, to catch them in the act? I am just speculating, but I think the man was one of the scribes or Pharisees and they were covering this up for him. By trying to get Jesus to condemn her, they could kill the only witness and trap Jesus at the same time. In their eyes, it was a win-win proposition.

Jesus ignores them because he knows that she is already condemned, but that he would soon pay for her sin while shedding his blood on the cross. But rather than get into an intellectual debate with the religious scholars, he goes around there intellect and heads straight for their consciences. He forces them to reflect on their own sinfullness instead of that of the woman. And that is the initial reaction we should have as well when we hear about the sins of another. We have to remember that we, too, have sinned and deserve to condemned. The weight of their guilt becomes too heavy, and they can no longer hold their stones, and file away by age group — those with a lifetime of sin, followed by those just getting started.

The other me who is addressed is the woman caught in adultery and asks where her accusers are. That is just what he does when our sins are remitted at baptism. Satan, whose very name means “slanderer and accuser” has nothing with which to rail against us, for the blood of Christ has cleansed us from all sin. And based on the penalty that he would soon pay for her, he lets her leave. But he doesn’t just leave it at that. Unlike the religious leaders, she was already aware of her sinful state. Jesus tells her to go and sin no more. Implied in the original Greek is that he means to go and not do this sin any more. In effect, he tells her to repent. Forgiveness is not just a “get out of jail free” card. Change is expected. Not in order to be forgiven, but because we have been forgiven. That’s why he says it last, so she won’t think that her forgiveness must be earned.

We also, according to 1 John 1:9, can walk in a continually cleansed relationship with God. But that is not so that we can sin without consequence (see Romans 6), but so that we can start a fresh walk of obedience without condemnation from our past hanging over us.

So about those sins we spoke of at the beginning. Let’s get them taken care of at the feet of our Savior and go on with God!

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Our God Sings!

Throughout the Bible, those who serve God are encouraged to sing. Under the Mosaic Covenant, the psalmist wrote the following:

Praise the Lord!Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly!
… Let the godly exult in glory;let them sing for joy on their beds. (Psalm 149:1, 5 ESV)

In Ephesians 5 believers are instructed this way:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; (Ephesians 5:18-20 NASB)

But what about Jehovah God? Does He sing, too? According to Scripture, the answer is “yes”!

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)

Let’s take a look at what else this verse says about our God.
1. He is in our midst. While God is high and exalted, far above the heavens, He is also close to each of us. For those who will turn to Him, He is always just a step away. As Paul put it on Mars Hill in Athens, “He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ (Acts 17:27, 28 NASB)

2. Jehovah God is mighty, and He uses that might to save us. In the future, at the last day, God will mightily judge the world. But now, in this age, His efforts are directed toward salvation.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:17 NASB)

3. Jehovah God rejoices over us, is glad, and exults over us. This is characterized by gladness, love and loud singing! God is celebrating over those who accept His offer of salvation! At the judgment, those who are saved will be invited to “enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:23)
This is also why there is such rejoicing when a sinner repents. God and the angels literally have a celebration when someone is saved!

I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7 NKJV)

It is important to have a balanced view of God. He is not looking for reasons to condemn, nor is He grudgingly granting salvation. Ours is a God of joy, who is ecstatic about His children, and is overjoyed at the spiritual birth of every one that comes to Him. Let’s make His day and seek out those in need of His salvation. And then we can rejoice along with Him!

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We All Have A Heart Condition

Despite accumulating more medical knowledge than any generation before us, heart disease is still the number one killer of adults. A variety of new advances have come about which has enabled doctors to do intricate surgery on hearts and fix them, or even transplant in a new one! Things are being done now which would have been science fiction 50 years ago.

But God has been in the heart transplant business for thousands of years!
He sent Jesus to “heal the broken hearted” (Luke 4:18). Way back in Ezekiel’s day, God promised that someday He would be performing spiritual heart transplants.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26 NKJV)
Then how do we check on our heart health? How do we know what kind of shape our hearts are in? By the way we hear and receive the Word of God, and by looking to see if it is bearing fruit in our lives.

Jesus Christ described different heart conditions in Matthew 13 in He called the Parable of the Sower.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:3-9 NKJV)

Unfortunately, there is a problem with this parable. Actually, the problem is with us. We have heard this parable so many times that there is a tendency to say, “okay, I know this part” and skim over it without digging deeper for more. For there surely is more for us here. So let’s try to take a fresh look at tis parable and find some things to apply to ourselves.

I believe that one major mistake we have traditionally made with the parable is to only apply it to those who are hearing the Gospel for the first time. We use it to show why not everyone responds to the salvation message, or to show why they do respond but then fall away. But Jesus does not limit the interpretation to salvation, and neither should we. This parable applies to the heart condition every one of us have on a daily or weekly basis when we read the Word or hear it preached and/or taught! So with that in mind, let’s take a fresh look at the explanation Jesus gives for the symbols and apply them to ourselves instead of others.

Therefore hear the parable of the sower:
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. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 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.
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.
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. (Matthew 13:18-23 NKJV)

In this short discourse, Jesus reveals the heart conditions of those who hear His message.
Hard heart = characterized by the habit of hearing the message but refusing to take it in and apply it to ourselves. Doing this for an extended period may cause you to lose the ability to understand the message and how it applies to you at all. Can you remember the last time a Bible passage or a sermon changed something in your life? If not, or if you do remember and it was awhile ago, you have symptoms of a hard heart. This can only be cured by repentance, so that your heart soil is prepared to have the Word planted in it.
Heart Stones = also a dangerous condition. This is caused by not preparing your heart to receive the word by growing deeper in your walk with God. Only by prayer, diligent study of the Word, and the encouragement and fellowship of other believers can we put down deep roots. The more we practice these things, the more the Word becomes a part of us and we do not stumble when trials and tribulation comes. Ever read something in the Bible or heard a truth and said, “that’s okay, but no need to get radical about it”? One big symptom of this condition is a string of enthusiastically learning things, but just trying them out to see if they work instead of totally trusting God and doing what His Word says for us to do.
Distracted Heart = also known as spiritual ADD. This happens when we hear or read the Word and say that it is great, but are afraid of what people will think of us if we put it into practice. Or even hearing the truth about something and refusing to change because it might cost us wealth or position if people found out we were sold out to Jesus. A warning sign of this is when you see the truth but the first thought that goes though your mind is, “what would people think if I did that?”. The cure for this condition is the fear of the Lord. Our first thought, upon understanding the truth, should be one of joy at the opportunity to be obedient to God. It should not occur to us to disobey the commandments of God because we love Him more than anything on earth, and even life itself.
Healthy Heart = this is characterized by striving to find something about ourselves in every message and Bible reading that we can change to become more like Christ. Or to find something new that we had not known that will equip us to love and serve Him more fully. Results of this condition will be fruitfulness in our walk with God and ever increasing growth in our spiritual lives.

So how about it? What kind of soil do you have right now? Does your heart seem to go through different phases of soil quality and preparation? Mine does. Let’s be ever diligent to keep our hearts right, and in so doing keep our lives healthy and our doctrine sound, that we may be fruitful in His Kingdom!

“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16 NIV)

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Three Questions That Will Determine Your Destiny

Questions are an important part of life and learning. Some are trivial while others are vital. There are three questions that I believe are vital to your eternal salvation. These are the very basics, the foundation, of what it means to be a Christian. Get any or all of these questions wrong, and the consequences are fatal.

For example, look at the foundation of a house. If the foundation is bad, it does not matter how well you build the rest of the house. You may make some mistakes later, but you can fix them because you have a proper foundation to work with. Another example is a mathematical equation. If you make a mistake at the beginning, the rest of the problem is wrong, not matter how well you do it.

Question #1. Who do you say that I am? Matthew 16:13-16

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

It does not matter what others think about Jesus. Not your parents, your spouse or your friends. The question you must answer is “who do YOU say that Jesus is?”

He is the eternal Son of God

John 1:4, 14 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is the only way to God. There are other roads but they all lead to destruction. All roads do NOT lead to God. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.(John 14:6)

Notice he uses “the” instead of “a” to show that He is the one and only way to God. This is affirmed again by the apostle Peter in Acts 4:12 where he said, “ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

And Jesus is the one and only mediator between God and man. 1 Timothy 2:5-6

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Whenever any organization sets themselves up between you and Christ, they are false and you should run the other way.

He was not just fully God, but as the previous verse said, Jesus was also a man. You see we needed a perfect man to atone for the sins of man. But if He were just a man, His death would only atone for one other man’s sins. No, he had to also be deity so that He could make an eternal sacrifice for all! Hebrews 4:11-14 states

“11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

While Jesus Christ was hanging on that cross, suspended between heaven and earth, He was both God’s perfect man, and man’s perfect God!

Question #2. By what authority do you do these things? Matthew 21:23 23 Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things?”

EXAMPLE: Matthew 4 with Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. For every temptation, Jesus responded with His greatest weapon – “It is written.”

Jesus NEVER quotes the oral or written traditions of the fathers except to condemn it. Mark 7:13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

The Word of God is the most powerful force in the universe, yet you can keep it out of your heart and life with something called “tradition.” Watch out for those who would say that we need to follow both the written word and holy tradition. Jesus promised the Apostles that the Holy Spirit would be sent to lead THEM into all truth. That’s why in Acts 2:42 Doctor Luke wrote, “ 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread,

Even after that time, the writings of Paul carried the weight of the Word of God.

1 Thess 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

And this word of God was delivered once for all. It did not get lost and have to be delivered again.

Jude 3 3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

That brings us to the “so what?” question. If the first two questions are answered correctly, what difference does that make for me? Glad you asked!

Question #3. What must I do to be saved? (Acts 2:37)

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Peter gave them an answer, but it was based on where they were at in the salvation process. They had just then heard and believed, so Peter starts with repentance in verse 38. But let’s take a look briefly at the overall process.

a. Hear the Gospel message – Why is this one first? Because salvation requires faith, and

b. Repent – Acts 2:38 states it plainly “repent and be baptized”. This means not just to

c. Confess – Matt 10:32-33

d. Baptism – time will not permit me to go to every scripture that talks about baptism, so

according to Romans 10:17, “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of

God.” So once someone hears and understands the Gospel (which an infant cannot

do), they must believe it and have faith that it is true.

They then repent, which is more that to turn from sin, but turn to God.

“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

For baptism, let’s focus on one passage – Romans 6

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

What about the sinner’s prayer? There is never a record in the New Testament of ANYONE praying a prayer to be saved. This was an invention of D.L. Moody in the 19th century. But if you must have a sinner’s prayer, here is what the Bible says.

Acts 22:16 16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

And here in 1 Peter 3:21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, NASB

It is not a sinner’s prayer and then baptism. Baptism IS the sinner’s prayer.

In conclusion, make sure your life is built on the solid foundation of truth. Study it and be solid in your convictions so that the enemy cannot move you from the sure rock of the Word of God.

Make sure that you fellowship with a congregation that at least has these basics correct. If these are not right, you can save yourself some time because it means everything else is wrong.

Now that you know the truth, obey it. If you really believe it is true, you must do something about it. Your true beliefs will determine your actions. And your foundation will determine your destiny.

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The Value Of Tears

There are a multitude of reasons to shed tears. I have wept hot tears of sorrow as I held my baby girl as her life slowly ebbed away in the newborn intensive care unit. I have seen many weep at the loss of a relationship or a treasured family pet. On the other hand, it is genuinely a pleasure to laugh so hard that you cry! And who would fault someone for getting misty-eyed at a tender and moving scene like a wedding or the birth of a baby?
It is normal for us to weep, and it is part of our human nature. Even Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus, even though He was about to raise him from the dead! (John 11:35) We are commanded to “weep with those who weep” and many times such weeping is more appreciated than words we could think to offer.
But tears are also a valuable addition to our individual ministry. As we pray for those with whom we share the Gospel, and weep over their lost condition, the Lord seems to use those tears to make the seeds of our prayers grow.
In Psalm 126 the psalmist wrote through inspiration, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. (Psalm 126:5, 6 NIV)
In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 NIV) Could it be that this comfort will be obtained as that for which we have wept before the Lord comes to fruition?

Elsewhere in Scripture, weeping is associated with repentance. David wrote this in Psalm 30:5,
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 ESV)
This weeping, which Paul refers to as “godly sorrow”, is essential to our spiritual growth and progress. Paul explained it to the Corinthian Christians this way:
“As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.” (2 Corinthians 7:9-11 ESV)
Furthermore, this godly sorrow gets God’s attention. It is often referred to in the Bible as “a broken and contrite heart.” Let’s take a look at Isaiah 66. Jehovah is speaking and lets His people know that He is in need of nothing, and there is no building they could erect that He would find impressive. But look in verse 2 and see what DOES cause God to turn and look.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.'” (Isaiah 66:1, 2 ESV)
Wow! Do you want to get God’s attention and have Him look with favor on you? Be humble, contrite in heart, and be in awe of His Word such that you tremble at the thought of the value of it!

But tears and crying will not always be with us. There will surely come a day when death and tears and crying will be no more. I mentioned briefly the passing of my infant daughter. She was only with us for eight hours, but I know that she is not gone away, but rather she has gone ahead. When she was buried we put the reference to this verse on her gravestone.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 ESV)
Speaking of eternity together with the Lord can be an abstract theological discussion. But all of that changes when you face reality and no safety net, and faith in the Everlasting arms is all you’ve got to stand on. But rest assured, the God who spoke the universe into existence and sent His only begotten Son to redeem us cannot lie, and what he has promised will surely come to pass.
Weeping may last the night, but there will most definitely be joy in that eternal morning!

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Isaiah and the Naked Truth

Isaiah And The Naked Truth
There is a term used in Australia that was made popular years ago in the movie “Crocodile Dundee”. When Mick Dundee would wander around the Australian Outback, he said he was on a walkabout. Years ago, Jehovah God told the prophet Isaiah to go on a walk about, as recorded in chapter 20 of Isaiah.

“at that time the LORD spoke through Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go and loosen the sackcloth from your hips and take your shoes off your feet.” And he did so, going naked and barefoot. And the LORD said, “Even as My servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot three years as a sign and token against Egypt and Cush, so the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, young and old, naked and barefoot with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. Then they will be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and Egypt their boast.” (Isaiah 20:2-5 NASB)

And before you conclude that the text could not mean actually nakedness, the word in Hebrew is the same one used to describe Adam and Eve in Eden!
So why would God tell his prophet to do something like this? To communicate the shameful way that Egypt and Cush would be led into captivity. But what lesson is here for us today? Why did God make sure this chapter was preserved for us today?

In our western culture, we are constantly bombarded by sensual imagery. Pornographic material is now piped into homes via the Internet with such privacy and ease that even those who once would never have frequented an adult store or movie house are trapped in its addictive snare. (Duh. Why do you think they call it the web?) We are witnessing a nation that was once characterized as a Christian nation being led into moral slavery. I believe that this flood of nakedness and fornication has gone largely unchecked and will be symbolic of the way this nation will fall.

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV)

Just because a nation declares itself to be secular does not in any way exempt it from the judgment of God! Unless we as the church in America repents and turn from our wicked ways, God will not hear from heaven and heal our land. The call is not for the post to turn and change their behavior. The promise of God is contingent on those who are called by His name forsaking their wicked ways! Don’t believe for a second that there are not church members all over the country trapped in these sins. The time is now, and it needs to begin with each of us as individuals or it will never happen to us as a group!
Let’s start today to be the light in this dark time and lead the way by humbling ourselves (before the Lord does it for us) praying and seeking God, and turning from our sins so that our land will not go down in shames!

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What A Shame

What A Shame!

“To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none of those who wait for You be ashamed.” (Psalm 25:1-3a NASB)

It is a beautiful and wondrous thing to experience the forgiveness of sin that is found in Christ alone! Especially when we contemplate that price that was paid to make that forgiveness available to us! But often, even though we have been forgiven from the sin, we still carry around the shame of it with us.
Shame can be spiritually debilitating. Whenever we begin to step out in faith and do the work of the Lord, our adversary whispers in our ear saying, “who do you think you are, telling people about Jesus? If they only knew about your past, they would see what a hypocrite you are for trying to do something in Jesus’ name.”
It is shame that causes people to believe the lie that they are unworthy of God’s forgiveness and grace. As a result, many spend their lives addicted, defeated, and feeling like they have messed up their spiritual lives beyond repair and are no longer useful for God. That is why so many times we turn from a sin, especially an addictive sin, and eventually go back to it. We stop the behavior, but because we have not left the shame, we don’t feel any better than we did before, and it draws us back into the trap.
And all because they have believed a lie! I love a quote I heard today by Beth Moore. She said, “Shame is satan’s laughter morphed into a human emotion.”

But walking in shame over forgiven sin is not the way Christ would have his children to live! For on the cross, Jesus not only paid for our sin, but he also bore our shame!
“keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NET)

Isaiah prophesied about it this way (from the Amplified Bible):
“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” (Isaiah 53:4, 5 AMP)

When we carry around guilt over sin that God has already been forgiven, we are in effect saying that either we don’t really believe what God has said about forgiveness, and/or that the blood of Christ was not sufficient to pay for their sin. We dare not go there!

I am not saying that we don’t try to make amends when we sin, or not to not remember how bad the guilt and shame felt before we were forgiven. But we must also remember to leave behind both the sin and its guilt at the foot of the cross and not go back for it!

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The Danger of Pride

The First Sin

The Bible is clear that the first human being to sin was Eve, followed closely by her husband Adam. (By the way husbands, if you see your wife having a conversation with a snake, put a stop to it. But that’s a topic for another post.) Anyway, I was always taught that Adam and Eve committed the first sin. But I would like to ask you to reconsider that statement. We’re they really the first ones to sin? No!

You see, over in Isaiah chapter 14, God gave us a glimpse of the fall of the real first sinner, Satan.
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart:
I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.” (Isaiah 14:12-15 NKJV)

Lucifer was an angel created in perfection by Jehovah. The book of Ezekiel describes his this way:
“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:14, 15 NKJV)

So what was the iniquity, or sin, that lucifer allowed to enter into his heart? Pride! Notice back in the Isaiah 14 passage the “I will” statements that were in his now-corrupted heart. Lucifer was no longer content to be in the presence of God and worship Him forever. He suddenly determined to decide for himself, to make his own rules, and to take for himself worship that belongs only to God!
Thus he fell and went from being the light bearer to being the slanderer and opposer of God. He also became the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev 12:10)
Not content to have fallen and taken 1/3 of the angels with him, he went to Eden and tempted Adam and Eve to commit this same sin. In pride that took the prerogative for themselves to determine right and wrong. They listened and heeded the lies of Satan, who told them that Jehovah God was holding out on them and didn’t have their best interests at heart.

While all of this is bad, how does it apply to us? Glad you asked!
When decide that we, as humans, are qualified to decide what is right and wrong, rather than to believe what God says on the matter, it is pride. And pride is spiritual poison! It is pride that keeps us from submitting to the lordship of Christ. It is pride that keeps us looking for specks in the eyes of others, when we have a plank in our own eyes. It was pride in their positions that kept most of the Pharisees and Saducees from recognizing the Messiah.

Pride is the sin that made a perfect angel into the Devil! As such, we must run from this lethal sin whenever we recognize it in ourselves. Because sin will cause us to lose the ability to admit our sin and repent.

Pride is deception’s welcome mat!

So let’s endeavor, with God’s help, to steer clear of pride. And run after our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
“Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God
did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature.
He humbled himself,by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!
As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:3-11 NET)

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