How Do I Live Like I’m Forgiven?

“I forgive you” are three of the strongest words we can ever hear another person say, second only to the words “I love you.” I know what is like to long for both of these to be said to me. We all fail and desire to know that we are forgiven and loved in spite of our failures. We may intellectually know we are forgiven and loved, but what does it mean to live like I’m forgiven

First, To Live Like I’m Forgiven, I Must Understand The Bad News.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a ministry of mercy and reconciliation. Mercy is not getting what we deserve, at the top of that list is a relationship with God. We have all sinned against God (1 John 1:8) and are utterly incapable of repairing that relationship on our own. God is holy and just, therefore he must hold in consequence and contempt those who have disobeyed or failed His standard. He is perfect is His justice, just as He is perfect in His goodness.

Yet, all too often, humans add to the justice of God by seeking consequences as if we don’t trust that God will carry out an adequate punishment. It is for this reason that God said over and over, “Vengeance is mine” or “Do not judge, lest you be judged.” He knows what we did and He carries out His wrath perfectly. God never said, “Please help me by keeping me accountable to be just adequately and wrathful fairly.” He doesn’t need our help.

To add the need for man-made justice and consequences cheapens the message of the grace God offers us. Jesus died on the Cross to save us from the ultimate punishment we deserved. If the death of Jesus was enough for God’s righteous wrath to be appeased, then it is also enough for us to forgive ourselves and to be forgiven by others.

I have seen many people feel the need to hold on to their shame as a form of punishment. I have counseled those (and have been those) who seem to think that they have to add punishment on themselves (or others) for past sin. This is a small view of the Gospel — and a small view of God. He is perfect in his wrath but also perfect in His goodness. Most of all, His Son was perfect to appease God’s wrath and make us righteous if we believe (Romans 1:17).

If God has forgiven you, who are you to not forgive yourself? If God has forgiven you, who are they to say or act like you are not? Our sin is first against God, and His Word of forgiveness is most powerful and most lasting.


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What Do We Learn from HEBREWS about the Holy Spirit?

There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what does the epistle of Hebrews say about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the epistle of Hebrews? We find that there is precious little reference to the Spirit of God in Titus! But here’s the one reference that we do have —

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Examining Gary Habermas’ 12 Minimal Facts with John Loftus’ Outsider Test for Faith

Worship Is Not A Reflection Of How You Feel

Joy is not something that comes naturally. In fact, it is a choice. We have to choose along the way to rejoice: “We also rejoice … because we know …” (Romans 5:3 CSB). Rejoicing comes from reminding yourself of something that you know.

It’s amazing how many times in Scripture we are commanded to worship—and not just if we feel like it. Throughout the Psalms, the people of God are told to raise their hands in worship, to sing aloud, to shout, to clap—even to dance. We’re commanded to do these things whether or not we feel like it because worship is a choice. In worship, we choose to rejoice, by faith, in a reality that God declares to be true. Sometimes that choice aligns with our feelings. Often that choice defies our feelings.

Many of us go to church thinking about how we feel. But worshipping is not a reflection of how we feel; it’s a reflection of what we know to be true and what God has promised in his Word. It’s a declaration of what God is worthy of. Here’s what God often (and graciously) allows to happen: As we declare it, we begin to feel it. Sometimes even the posture of our body will actually guide our heart, which is one reason we are commanded to raise our hands and shout in worship.

When I kneel in prayer, I feel submissive. When I raise my hands, I feel surrendered. When I open my hands, I feel needy. The posture guides the heart. Worship is not a depiction of our feelings, but a declaration of our faith. It’s a defiant declaration that “I am not how I feel. My life is not what circumstances may make it look like it is. What God says is true is true, and I am going to act like it.”

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How Can We Be Holy, As God Is Holy?

The Word tells us to be holy as God is holy, so how is that possible?

Holy, Holy, Holy

Perhaps one of the greatest attributes of God, if not “the” greatest attribute of God, is that He is holy. When Jews wanted to emphasize something, they would often repeat it, much in the same way that God often repeated a person’s name twice, but this repeating of the person’s name was an indication of a close, personal relationship. Jesus would say “Peter, Peter,” and later, “Saul, Saul.” In the past, God said “Moses, Moses,” or “Abraham, Abraham,” so importance or emphasis was often the purpose of repeating something or someone’s name, so what are we to make of Isaiah seeing the Lord on His throne, while the seraphim’s proclaim, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3)! Here it is stated that God is not just “Holy, or “Holy, Holy,” but “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Repeating something three times is the greatest emphasis that could be given in Jewish literature, and as great of an emphasis as there is in the Bible, and it is reserved for God alone. God is so holy that it is beyond human comprehension, so how can we be holy as God is holy? Isn’t that asking the impossible?

False Converts

There will be many people that will be before Christ on Judgment Day, but many will hear the most shocking thing of their life. Jesus said of that Day, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21), so doing God’s will is more important than saying, “Lord, Lord,” which again, repeating a name indicates a personal relationship, but they don’t really have one with Christ. They think they know the Lord, but Jesus doesn’t know them, and that has tragic consequences. The Lord said that “many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name” (Matt 7:22)? They thought they were doing things for Christ, but not actually doing the things He specifically commanded (i.e. Matt 25:35-36). They emphasized works and “doing” instead of the finished work of Christ, and as a result, Jesus says that “I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:23). It does not matter to Jesus if you say you know Him. What is of eternal importance is that He knows you. They relied on their works to be saved (Eph 2:10), instead of Christ to save them by grace alone. There are “many” who think they have this relationship with Christ (“Lord, Lord”) but these same many, not a few, will be turned away from the kingdom for all time.

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Committing No Sin – podcst

The Letter of Hebrews and the Church

A Passage To Ponder: 2Corinthians 9:6-7

There’s an old story of an African-American preacher who was trying to motivative his congregation to greater ministry.  As he concluded his sermon, he said if this church is going to go it’s got to walk the walk.  To which someone, responded, “Let her walk, preacher!”

Then he said, if this church is going to grow, it’s gotta get up and run.  Among a chorus of “Amens” someone hollered, “Let her run, preacher!”

Feeling the surge of excitement, the preacher bellowed, “And if this church is really going to grow big, it’s gotta fly!  And with even greater gusto, the congregation roared, “Let her fly, preacher!”

Seeking to seize the moment, the preacher challenged with even deeper passion, “And if this church is gonna fly it’s gonna take money.”

At that, someone yelled back, “Let her walk, preacher.”

The subject of giving is a touchy subject for many.  Anytime you begin to discuss the topic of the members’ money, someone thinks you’re meddling in something that’s none of your business.  And many preachers shy away for fear of being accused of lobbying for a raise.

The Bible, however, discusses the use of money in a direct and unambiguous manner.  In addressing the need to support the needy saints, Paul issues this exhortation to the Corinthian church.

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (1 Cor. 9:6-7)

At the heart of giving is the issue of stewardship.  A steward is not the owner, but one assigned to properly manage the owner’s assets.  God is the owner.  Everything belongs to Him.  But he’s entrusted us to use the prosperity he’s given us while we’re on earth.

Stewardship involves the proper use of our time, talents and treasure. All that we are and all that we possess is because of God’s grace and goodness.  From the Old Testament teaching on tithing to Jesus’ stewardship parables, to plain instructions in the epistles about using our gifts to glorify God and sharing our monetary resources, the Bible is clear about our stewardship responsibilities.

When it comes to the Lord’s day contribution, the question is often asked, “How much should I give?” There’s no definitive answer with an amount or percentage.  It’s more of a matter of looking into our hearts rather than our wallets.

Here are 5 guidelines for giving that hopefully will provide some direction.


Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from COLOSSIANS about the Holy Spirit?

How Can Christ’s Crucified Life Become Our Pattern?

Christians often speak of living a life like the one Jesus lived on this earth. But how can we live such a life? Philippians 2 describes the pattern of Christ’s crucified life:

How Christ's crucified life becomes our indwelling pattern

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal with God a treasure to be grasped,
7 But emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming in the likeness of men;
8 And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, and that the death of a cross.

Reading these words, we may be touched with Paul’s exhorting word and agree that this kind of life must be the pattern for our Christian life.

But if we are honest with ourselves we will have to confess that living such a crucified life is a human impossibility.

Who can live such a life? Only the Lord Jesus Himself.

Then what can we do? What is the secret?

How can Christ’s crucified life become the pattern for our Christian life?

First, we need to let the mind which was in Christ Jesus be in us (Phil. 2:5)

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