Posted tagged ‘forgiveness of sin’

Search Me Oh God

April 22, 2018

Depositphotos Image ID: 67632305 Copyright: alazs

Judas Iscariot is a tragic figure in the Gospels. He is known best for betraying Jesus Christ, leading to his crucifixion. John wrote this of Judas many years after the events occurred in the garden of Gethsemane: “he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

Given John’s characterization of Judas, it’s a bit unnerving, perhaps, to think that Judas spent years in the company of Jesus. Judas knew Jesus intimately and was part of the very inner circle of followers of Jesus. Jesus certainly knew Judas as well. He knew well that Judas would be the one who would betray Him. He “called it” at the Last Supper.

Have you considered the fact that Jesus allowed Judas so close to him all that time, knowing what Judas would do? John’s comment about Judas many years later, describing Judas as a “thief” who helped himself to the funds that Judas oversaw for the group of disciples, suggests that John knew the character of Judas as well.

The betrayal of Jesus, of course, was part of God’s plan. It had it happen. Jesus came to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of men, but Jesus added, “But woe to that man who betrays him!”

What sort of man betrays Jesus? Was Judas just an evil person?

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Where Do You Stand in Relation to God?

March 9, 2018

Depositphotos Image ID: 100613226 Copyright: tokkete

We live in a world that defies God. That is the point of the Adam and Eve story. The temptation to go our own way is great. In fact, like sheep wandering without guidance, ignorant of the dangers that lurk around us, we have all gone astray. That is our lot.

From Adam and Eve, throughout all of the Old Testament, this is the story of the world. This is the world into which God came, having reduced himself from the greatness of being our creator[1], to become one of us, in the form of the man Jesus[2].

That God loves us could not be more intimately or completely demonstrated for us than in the life of Jesus. Though he was God[3], he did not hold on to His privilege and power over us. He emptied himself for us. He came humbly and obedient to his own purpose, which was to lay down his own life for us[4] in a demonstration of love and compassion the world had never seen before and has never seen since.

God came into the world, and the world did not recognize him or receive Him[5]. Yet God was faithful to his purpose. He was faithful in his love for us. He was faithful to fulfill what he came to accomplish, which was to redeem us.

He came while we were yet sinners[6]. He didn’t wait until we became holy, righteous and good. He would have still been waiting. He came to heal us from all that makes us broken, which is our innate inclination to separate ourselves from God and to go our own ways.

This is the world and the reality in which we live. The world sets itself in opposition to its creator. Many people pay lip service to God, but their hearts are far from Him[7]. They deny Him in the way they live their daily lives. Though they honor Him with their lips, their actions belie them.

The good news, which is what Gospel means, is that God loves us anyway. He came for us while we were in this very condition, knowing the worst of us. God became man and lived among us knowing how corrupt we were, that we would reject him and knowing that we would attempt to put him to death. He came anyway. This is the extent of God’s love for us.

Our choice of how we will live in this world has consequences because of God’s love and the fact that He made us in His own image, to love him back. We are not compelled to love Him, but we are given the freedom to love Him. We are not robots or automatons who have no choice. But our choice is eternally significant.

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How Do We Measure Our Relationship With God?

February 9, 2017
depositphotos Image ID:40565079 Copyright: atholpady

depositphotos Image ID: 40565079 Copyright: atholpady

I don’t see anywhere in the teachings of Jesus a statement that we will be judged by the degree to which we have achieved justice for the wrongs that have been done to us. God is just. In fact, he is perfectly just, but He didn’t leave us any instruction to that effect.

We may think of God’s justice in the context of an eye for an eye.[A]  Where there is a wrong, perfect justice requires recompense. We don’t feel this any more keenly than when we have been wronged ourselves by others.

But there is a flip side to God’s justice. The flip side of God’s justice is God’s mercy, and God desires mercy more than God desires justice.[B] God desires to extend relationship to people rather than assign punishment. In fact, our own relationship to God can be measured by the extent of our relationship with others.

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The Importance of How We View God and Ourselves

January 27, 2017
depositphotos Image ID:31614317 Copyright: DesignPicsInc

depositphotos Image ID: 31614317 Copyright: DesignPicsInc

The story of the sinful woman who wipes Jesus’ fee with her tears and anoints them with oil is a tender but rather uncomfortable story. [i] A Pharisee had invited Jesus to eat with him at his house. While reclining at the Pharisee’s table, a woman, a known sinner, came up behind him.

Where did she come from? How did she get into the Pharisee’s house? Was she, perhaps, a daughter of the Pharisee, one of whom he was not very proud? was there something else going on? We don’t know.

When she came up behind Jesus, she was weeping, and she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped his feet with her hair, kissed his feet and anointed them with oil. A greater display of open, unabashed affection is hard to imagine. Thinking of the vulnerability and openness of her affection is even uncomfortable.

The Pharisee was taken aback, as we would be, mumbling to himself that surely Jesus must know who this woman is. Her reputation was well known, at least to the Pharisee.

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Open Apology to My Children and Wife

October 13, 2015
Symmes Chapel in the Blue Ridge Mountains, SC

Symmes Chapel in the Blue Ridge Mountains, SC by Dave Allen Photography

The wages of sin is death. We all know that. But, who has not sinned? I am painfully aware of my own sin, yet I continue to fall into sin, wretched man that I am.

I have prayed to God for His forgiveness, as all of my sin is ultimately sin against God, and I know that God forgives me. He placed all of the sin of mankind on the shoulders of His son and allowed Him to be crucified, sacrificed for – sacrificed for me. God shed his glory and became man to take on my sin and the sin of the world gladly to rescue us from ourselves

I do not deserve it, yet I know He freely offers me that forgiveness, and I dare not reject such a sacrifice.

At the same time, I am keenly aware that the sin I have committed, the sin that has affected me, does not affect me alone.

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As We Have Also Forgiven

July 26, 2015

15636643813_df011ec118_z“… as we[i] also have forgiven[ii] our debtors[iii].” (Mt. 6:12) The forgiveness I may ask for, receive and experience from God is directly related to my forgiveness of those who “owe me” (or who I think owe me). The emphasis in this verse is on us (me)!

Whatever your theology is in regard to the sovereignty of God and grace, it is hard to ignore Scripture when it emphasizes something we must do. We dare not ignore it! This is one place where the emphasis is on us, and, therefore, we really need to pay close attention. (more…)


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