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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness of sins’

I was just reading a post on a “Christian facebook” page where the person had put up one of the cute little pictures that talked all about not judging someone just because they “sin differently” than you do. (I had to take that “cute little picture” and then tweak it just a bit) It seems like those that want to always tell everyone “DON’T JUDGE!!!” are the ones that want to continue in their sin and not have people make them feel bad about it. They take Scripture and twist it all up to suit their desires, just like the Bible says people like that will do. (2nd Timothy 4: 3, 4) A person that’s truly wanting to follow Christ and turn from their sins for Him seem to want to know when they’re making a mistake and committing a sin, so that they can get with the Lord and pray for help in that area.

Yes, Jesus told the Pharisees and teachers of religious law that if they wanted to stone the adulteress to death for the one who’d never sinned to cast the first stone (John 8: 1-11) , but people today want to use this verse to try to convince people that it’s wrong to point out another “believer’s” obvious sin.

However, Jesus Himself also tells us in Matthew 18:15-17 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen. take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.”

Ephesians 4:21-24 tells us – “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God -truly righteous and holy”, and in Ephesians 5:6-11 we’re told – “Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey Him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of the light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.”

There are plenty of different Scriptures that can be used to show God’s thoughts on sin and judging of it amongst believers, but you have a Bible to go and look those up if you want to read more. I will add one more though. One that I have felt such conviction from lately. One that is hard folks. Hard. It’s in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 where we’re told by Paul – “When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside, but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

Wow, a person that claims to be a believer, but that consistently chooses to do things that they know are sin is actually considered an evil person and someone you should not only judge, but you should also totally avoid them. That, my friends, is hard.

So, when it comes to people that profess to be a believer in Jesus Christ and believe to be among the saved, it is actually our obligation, according to God’s Word, to confront them with their sin and “judge” them.  Ouch.  Certainly not one of the easier things we’re asked to do as believers and followers of Christ.  Definitely won’t be winning any popularity contests, at least none here on earth.  Jesus is worth it though. It’s a narrow road, but His love is more than worth whatever the cost is to follow Him and fully be one of His disciples.

**God longs to forgive us, but we do need to do our part and repent of our sin, turn away from it, and turn back to Him again.  Always, always, always remember that Jesus LOVES you so much that He chose to die in order for your sins to be forgiven.  Don’t toss His incredible gift back in His face and continue in any type of sin.  Nothing in this world is worth it.

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Recently it was brought up at my church, and also the next day on Facebook, the question of “how do I develop a real relationship with Christ?”

Like any relationship we choose to have, it takes time.  A close friendship doesn’t happen overnight.  It happens slowly, over a period of time, as you get to know each other and as you live life, going through the good and bad times. We’d never dream of walking up to someone and just telling them we’d like to be their new B.F.F., so why would we think having a close, personal relationship with Jesus be any different in terms of how it starts out?

Jesus is totally different in who He is, because He is God. The one and only God who created our world and everything in it and because of that, He can be anywhere and everywhere at the same time.  He literally lives in the body of all of His believers. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a pretty awesome trait for a B.F.F. to have.  If you need Him, He is as “right there” as you could ever ask for a B.F.F. to be!  Not to mention, the most important part of having a relationship with Jesus Christ, which is the fact that He took all the punishment for every single wrong thing you’ve ever done, or thought about doing, and paid the price of that for you.  I’ve never in my life had a friend that would even consider paying the price for my every single wrong doing, never mind wrong thinking.

When you first start a relationship with Jesus, there are many things you can do to build the relationship into a close one.  Anytime you meet a potential friend you want to get to know them, and the same is true for Jesus.  You can do that by reading and studying your Bible.  Really get in there and get to know Him through the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  A lot of people I’ve talked to prefer reading the New Testament part of the Bible, but once you’ve read the Gospels,  it’s important to read, and study, in the Old Testament so that you can get a better understanding of what Jesus did for you (for us all) on the cross.

People often tend to view the cross as, “Oh yeah… Jesus died for my sins, so now I’m forgiven” and don’t really understand fully, or appreciate fully, exactly what that means.  When you read about the Israelites and all the things that they had to go through to become “right with God”, you’ll begin to have a better understanding and appreciation for what Jesus did for you.

If you have a hard time reading your Bible, it may be time for a new version.  My personal favorite is the New Living Translation (NLT), but other popular versions are the Amplified Bible (AMP), New International Version (NIV), and the New King James Version (NKJV).  There are many other versions out there that you may like, so use a Bible App, such as “YouVersion“, and test them out to see which one suits you the best.  Reading and studying the Bible on a regular basis is extremely important to building up a real relationship with your Savior.

Prayer is the most important part of building your relationship with Jesus.  Prayer is spending time with Him, talking to Him, and listening to Him.  It’s how we can let Him know how very thankful we are for all He did on the cross for us, and all He continues doing for us.  It’s a time when we can bring issues up that we need His help with, and our fears, hopes, questions, dreams, and requests.  It’s also a time when we can simply sit in His presence and allow Him time to “speak” to us.  It may feel a bit strange in the beginning, but in no time at all you’ll begin to treasure this time with the Lord.

Everyone is different, but I prefer to start my day out with Jesus through prayer and reading my Bible.  I feel it helps me to get my day started in the right mindset.  What you’re thinking is very important in the life of a Christian.  In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul tells us, “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” (NLT)  You must begin to get control of your thoughts in order to mature in a relationship with Jesus.  Our thoughts end up being our actions.  The Bible tells us that, As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7  and in John 15:15,16  Jesus tells us – No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing;  but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.    You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed  you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  (NLT)

John didn’t mean for us to become orange or apple trees.  In the Bible, when Jesus and the disciples used the metaphors comparing us to fruit bearing trees, they were teaching us that, like an apple tree bears only apples and not cherries, we as Christians should bear good fruit.  In Galatians 5:22 we see that good fruit is listed as being love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Galatians 5:16 tells us, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.  Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”  

As a new Christian, it’s important that you learn all you can about the Lord and what it means to be one of His followers.  James, who was Jesus’ brother, writes in James 4:4-10 ~  You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God?  I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy?  But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires.  As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”  So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Come close to God, and God will come close to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. 

When you became a Christian, you became a new person.  2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us ~ This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  This is such an amazing truth!  You are no longer the old you, but instead are now His, and because of that, you are given a brand new life!

As you learn more about God and His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, you will be in awe of the incredible gift of LOVE that we are given.  God gives us a helper, in the Holy Spirit, who comes to live inside of you when you become a Christian and true follower of Christ.  Ephesians 4:21 – 24 tells us ~ Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy. 

You have a new life, a new nature, and a new best friend forever (B.F.F.) – Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:1-2   Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. 

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