Tag Archives: forgiveness

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Hem Me In

He had hemmed me in
Behind and before,
Drew the lines that fall
But I thought to soar
Past sunsets that looked
Like bars might prove more.

Pastures green, like plain
Bread, stale and dry
Rolled on for days; Streams
Meandered nearby-
My eyes gazed elsewhere,
I refused to lie.

“Pleasant places, these,”
Said a lamb. I nod,
Pretend, but o’er the
Valley there’s a broad
Place with less restraints-
To please! But not God…

Oh, but there to taste
To spread like wild vine!
Should such a pleasure
Be deprived of mine?
Can sweet fruit not grow
Among fainter lines? Continue reading

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5 God-granted Realities for War

I said here that I would share more on God-granted realities for waging war against sin, stating that “You can’t begin to war against your flesh today without remembering and walking in the new realities that have been granted to you in salvation.” So here we go. If you are in Christ these spiritual realities (among others) have been made true of you:

1. Your sins are forgiven.

Here’s the one truth that is at the very core of gospel application for believers: You have been forgiven. It is such a basic truth of Christianity, but I wonder if sometimes we neglect to think about it because of that. “As far as the east is from the west so far does He remove our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).” “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God… ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’ Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin (Hebrews 10:12,17,18).”

There’s simply nothing left to do to atone for your sins. Jesus Christ’s perfect offering was complete. He paid your penalty in full. If you neglect to remember, glory in, and appropriate that forgiveness to yourself in continuing with repentance and faith, then you are going nowhere spiritually. Here, at the cross, is your foundation, your core, your wellspring – Never trade Christ’s offering in for works-righteousness or faithless, ongoing penitence that forgets to find a cleansing flood in Jesus. If we are saved “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace… Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 5:16, 10:22).”

2. Your old self has died with Christ, and slavery to sin is over.

Romans 6:6 “We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

This is to say that sin’s reign and rule in you and over you is dead. You are no longer bound to defeat. Sin is still at war within you (Romans 7:23), but Christ has freed you from its’ dominion and supplied you the means to continually put it to death. What He has done for you in bearing your sins and dying your death has robbed sin of its’ power (Roman 8:2, 1 Corinthians 15:56-57). His faithful work to sanctify you will continue through to glorification (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

3. You have been made a new, living creation.

2Corinthians 5:7 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Ephesians 2:1-7: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

The old person was spiritually dead and unable to discern spiritual things. He had no appetite or love for God, but rather hated Him. He conformed after the world, followed Satan, and acted according to sinful passions that ruled him.

The new creation has been made alive to God, with a new capacity to love God, obey Him, and please Him. He has been set free from Satan’s dominion, and enabled to follow after Christ instead of the world’s system. The new creation no longer has to obey sinful desires, but has been freed to live righteously.

4. You have obtained a new position before God.

This point naturally flows out of the last. As a new, born again creation, you are no longer “by nature children of wrath.” Rather, you have been adopted as sons and daughters of God.

Ephesians 1:4-6 “…In love He predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”

Romans 9:25-26 “As indeed he says in Hosea, ‘Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'”

I should note here what should be obvious- the new position you have been granted before God is one that brings you into an intimate relationship. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'(Romans 8:16)”

5. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit none of these other spiritual realities would be possible. Without the Spirit’s work and power you certainly would not have been born again (John 3:7-8, John 6:63), nor could you wage war against your flesh and gain victory over sin (Romans 8:13). This is something I want to give more thought and study to, and hopefully address this spiritual reality more thoroughly soon.

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The Death of Christ: Our Example

2 Peter 2:20-21 “For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”

How often have you considered that the manner in which Jesus Christ suffered and died has been recorded that you might follow His example? The cross is the apex of everything. It is humility pressed to the farthest extreme. Selflessness poured out in blood. Forgiveness in the face of false accusations, ridicule, and torture. Trust in God even when His presence is not felt, even when it feels He has turned His back. Resistance against all temptations to escape the Father’s will when it is tremendously costly. It is love, with every stumble beneath the weight of a cross, with every pounding of the nails, with all that He fulfilled like a lamb lead to the slaughter who did not open up His mouth(Isaiah 53:7). It is the pinnacle of obedience and faith; You will not find a better example. “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:6).” Where do we turn when we feel like the cost is too high? When we want to give up? We look “to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).” We “consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that (we) may not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:3).” Continue reading

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Preach Penal Substitution

I didn’t grow up in a Christian family or in church and I still managed to ask Jesus in my heart three times by the age of 15. As a kid, it was kind of like fire insurance, something to tag on in case Hell was real. As a teenager, it was because I was invited to church and the preacher told me I had a God shaped hole in my heart only He could fill, and that resonated with me. Tears running down my face I raised my hand to accept Jesus. Christian kids from school smiled and got teary and gave me hugs. I went home with a One Minute Daily Devotional and felt pretty certain that now I was headed for Heaven.

Soon after, I went to the local Christian book store. I found a Teen Study Bible and bought the only poster available that didn’t look like it was for pansies. It was black with scrawled writing and a bloody cross, and I thought it looked pretty hardcore. Not only that but it had some pretty profound words- words that truly did speak to me and testify to my soul as being true: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it (Matthew 16:24-25).” Continue reading

Praise that Kills the Gospel

I’ve noticed a trend in some of today’s popular Christian music that disturbs me. There’s a song that’s been playing on our local “praise” station, where the artist sings his prayer to God: “Yeah, I want to believe, Jesus help me believe, that I am someone worth dying for.” In the end the artist turns to the listener and exhorts them “You gotta believe, ya you gotta believe, that you are someone worth dying for.” Continue reading

Women: Come to Christ

Let me first say, this is written out of my grief, love and hope for women. You may see it differently and say it is hateful, harsh, and judgemental. Let me say this: “Whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:20).”

I have often thought how I wished a Christian would have been honest with me when I was living in sin. How I might have been spared from sinning and heartache. Maybe I would have hated the person who warned me. Or, I may have repented sooner. I pray the later will be the case for you. Continue reading

Part 6: His Call For You

1Corinthians 2:14 “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

We discussed above that it is salvation that Jesus talked about as being impossible for men, but possible with God.  You may have tried in your own strength and wisdom to comprehend the Bible and even to live like a Christian and found yourself greatly discouraged and frustrated.  Such was the case with me.  You cannot rightly understand the gospel, nor respond to it, in and of your own desire or striving.  It must be spiritually understood, and this can only be granted as a gift from God.  Our lack of capability serves a glorious purpose: “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God (1Cor 1:29),”and “that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1Cor 2:5).” Continue reading

Part 4: How Does Jesus Make Entrance Into His Kingdom Possible?

Matthew 19:23-26 “And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”  When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”  But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””

It is common for Christians to make “all things” mean “whatever I want God to do for me.”  What many people miss out on here is a much greater and stunning truth.  With man salvation itself is impossible, and can only be granted as a gift from God. Continue reading

My Tiresome Sin

Does sin tire you out?  I mean really?  Do you know what it feels like to groan along with creation “as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23)?  You go out in the world and everywhere is sin.  It’s in your ears, it’s in your view; you aren’t looking for it but it is looking for you.  Do you relate?  I become so weary and tired of sin.

It’s not only out there, it’s within.  And this I find to be even more tiresome.  How much I relate to the apostle Paul who said “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh.  For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing (Romans 8:18-19).”  Your words tumble out of a tongue that seems set on fire by hell, your motives get skewed, your excuses get wimpy, and you say you want to make changes but a little laziness just seems to take over.  Your desires are lacking, your passion is up and down, and your appetite for the Word of God is much weaker than it should be.  You know the good you ought to do but do not do it and sin.  It’s me.  How I want to change.  How I want to be more like Jesus Christ. Continue reading

Come to Christ

Come to Christ

How has the domain of darkness
So disguised its self as light?
There you sit as in the shadows
And the chains of death but yet
The world says “this is life,
And yes what life is all about:
To sit in darkness as if light,
To raise your bound hands high
And shout your freedom,
For you are free to do as much
Of what you’re bound to as you like.”

They say that sin won’t really hurt you
It’s what you want; it’s what we all do,
And so you’ve drunken your full measure
Still empty though you’ve had some pleasure
It hasn’t quite felt worth the cost
Of sleepless nights and devastation
Heart-break and felt condemnation,
Once self assured now feeling lost
It hasn’t quite felt worth the cost.

Where can you turn?
Where can you run?
Sin hasn’t proven that much fun.
And why this guilt, and why such shame?
Isn’t there someone else to blame?
You know the world runs hard and fast
The same way you do but at last
You’re left alone to sit and wonder
Why this gnawing feeling grows
That life is more than this world shows.

Have you been lied to and deceived?
You thought money and looks were all you need
Could it be the advice of fools
To suppress guilt and ignore God’s rules?

You’re afraid but must keep it inside
Alone though in a room of friends
Pretending this life satisfies
But what really happens in the end?

You’re hurt, pretending to be strong
Let down, pretending not to care
How could following your heart have proven wrong
And left you with sorrows beyond compare?

The Lord is the one whom you’ve offended
Yet in love for you He condescended
He has loved you, but Him you’ve ignored
Yet He chose to lay aside His sword
And instead became the spotless lamb
The Son of God, The Great I AM
For blemished sinners was punished.

Dear slave of sin come enter in
You’ve seen now that you aren’t free
You’ve been deceived and have believed
A lie that sin won’t make you die.

Come to Christ oh weary sinner
From Him flows a living river
That wells up to eternal life
And then
He says you’ll never thirst again.

Come leave your burden at the cross
Where once was gain you now count lost
This heavy weight of sin come shed
For under its’ weight Jesus bled.

If you’d repent of all your sin
And trust in Christ He’d let you in
He is the door for all of His sheep
But now be warned because you keep
Turning your gaze back towards sin
If you won’t repent
Then He won’t let you in.
Come to Christ, lose your life
To find it in Him,
Or go on lapping up dust
As if water, satisfy your lusts
Preserve this life but who will console
You when you’ve gained the world but lost your soul.

My friend, I pray this won’t be you
Come to Christ who makes all things new.

 Colossians 1:13 “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.”