There is a clause near the end of the Belief, or Apostle’s Creed, which I fear is often repeated without thought or consideration. I refer to the clause which contains these words, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”
Thousands, I am afraid, never reflect what those words mean. I propose to examine the subject of these words here. I invite the attention of all who care for their souls and want to be saved. Do we believe in the “Resurrection of our bodies”? Then let us see to it that we know something by experience of the “Forgiveness of our sins.”
Let’s consider our need of forgiveness. All men and women need forgiveness, because we all are sinners. None of us have ever kept all of God’s Law perfectly. This is such a basic concept it’s really step number 1 to being rescued by God out of the mess we’re in.
He that does not know this, knows nothing in religion. It is the very A B C of Christianity that a man should know his right place in the sight of God and understand his deserts. We are all great sinners. “There is none righteous, no, not one”; “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23).
We anger, we lust, we deceive, some of us steal, some of have wished someone dead. We were born with an evil streak and we’ve been sinners all of our lives! If you cannot admit to your sins, you cannot be “saved” or rescued from the plight we are in. We, often like our pets, resist what is good for us and do what is harmful and then wonder why our lives go badly.
We take to sin naturally from the very first. No child ever needs schooling and education to teach him or her to do wrong. Doing wrong comes as a natural inclination.
ROMANS 6:23 NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)
23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
Tried by the standard of the fifth chapter of St. Matthew, there is not one of us that would be acquitted. All the world is “guilty before God.” And, “As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this [comes] the judgment.” We must either be forgiven, or perish everlastingly (Rom 3:19; Heb 9: 27).
Forgiveness: Installment #2
Point 2: Who and what do we know of the Lord God, whose eyes are on all our ways. Each of us must one day make an accounting of what we did with our life. Any serious student of life and The Bible will agree God is the creator of the universe, the creator of all the laws that make the universe work together, the creator of time itself. He is the creator of all life. Vastly educated men may attempt to postulate that all of this must have fallen together accidentally. Some say it came together all about the same moment. Others say it took most of the 13.772 Billion years it has existed, according to their best calculations. The hotly debated issue is, did it, could it have, come together by “natural random forces” (from what?) or did a Creator we call “God” design and make it?
This website provides several articles in which some of the world’s best physicists prove it was created. Most of the others know this too, but are afraid to say so because if they do, they’ll lose their tenure and be jobless. So they shut up and go along so they can get alone. They sell their honor for money. This is the real definition of prostitution. “Prostitution” really has little to do with “sex”. It really means someone will trade his/her honor in exchange for money. The Oxford Dictionary says it is: “the unworthy or corrupt use of one’s talents for the sake of personal or financial gain.” If you know your college professors are prostituting themselves to keep their job, and even using what they say to agree with those who want to turn this world’s society into a one world government, one world banking and financial system, bending it’s knee to a one world dictator who will require all of us to worship a one-world religion (worshipping Satan) why would you trust what s/he says? You might just as well tell him/her what s\he wants to hear on your test, graduate, and then write a book proving that what these people say is a ridiculous fantasy. Sometimes their fantasies are so ridiculous, it appears they write this stuff “tongue in cheek” so you’ll recognize immediately they don’t believe what they’re communicating!
The Bible in two places says: “Holy, holy, holy,” is the remarkable expression applied to God by those who are nearest to Him (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8).
No one word can express the intensity of His holiness, which is infinite continually more holy. It’s beyond human comprehension, really.
In the words of one of His prophets:
Habakkuk 1:13 New International Version (NIV)
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
We think the angels are exalted beings, and far superior to we mere mortals. But we are told by Job 4:18 that God places no trust in his servants. Even they make mistakes occasionally, or worse, rebel and follow a leader destined to bring them all to their final condemnation!
Job 4:18 NIV
If God places no trust in his servants,
if he charges his angels with error,
19 how much more those who live in houses of clay,
whose foundations are in the dust,
who are crushed more readily than a moth!
Job 25 New International Version (NIV)
How can one born of woman be pure?
5 If even the moon is not bright
and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
6 how much less (is) a mortal,…?
We can understand here, nothing, not even stars are pure in God’s eyes. Nothing reaches such perfection. People who would like to imagine themselves perfect, and beyond critique, are living in a fantasy surrounded by their own terrors. Thus they are (if terrified) certainly not perfect.
We talk of the heavens as the noblest and purest part of creation; but even of them it is written,
Job 15 New International Version (NIV)
“What are mortals, that they could be pure,
or those born of woman, that they could be righteous?
15 If God places no trust in his holy ones,
if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes,
16 how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt,
who drink up evil like water!
What then is any one of us, but a miserable sinner in the sight of an infinitely pure God? The very idea that He would lower his gaze to look upon you is really miraculous.
Men pray, “Lord, bless this one in a special way…” and I always want to say, the very idea that God even looks in your direction is more special than any of us deserve!
Surely, we ought all to cease from proud thoughts about ourselves. We ought to lay our hands upon our mouths, and say with Abraham, I am “dust and ashes”; and with Job, “I am vile”; and with Isaiah, “We are all as an unclean thing”; and with John, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (Gen 18:27; Job 40:4; Isa 64:6; 1Jo 1:8).
Where is the man or woman in the whole catalogue of the Book of Life that will ever be able to say more than this, “I obtained mercy”?
What is the glorious company of the apostles, the good fellowship of the prophets, the noble army of martyrs—what are they all but pardoned sinners? Surely there is but one conclusion to which we can arrive: We are all great sinners, and we all need a great forgiveness.
Forgiveness Installment #3
Let’s consider what just cause one might have to claim that to know our need of forgiveness is the primary concern of true Christianity.
Sin is a burden, and must be lifted off our shoulders, so to speak. Somehow you must be released from what sin does to others, to your life, and to your emotional condition. My personal view is, endless psychology group talk “rap” sessions, or endlessly explaining yourself to any counselor, won’t release you from your upsets. What you need is Jesus the Christ to forgive you and release you, and deep inside you know you need to make a change in your life and your thinking. With His help you can. With God’s help you will release your pains and finally be set free of these burdens of anger, fear, and guilt.
Sin is a form of defilement, and must be “washed away.” It’s a terrible debt, and must be paid. Sin is a mountain standing between us and heaven, and must be removed.
Once we understand this, we begin to see the light out of our dark collapsed coal shaft and we have hope for rescue and release.
The first step towards heaven is to see clearly that we have not kept God’s Commandments and therefore deserve the punishment he promised. I don’t believe it is eternal hell and painful fire. I believe it would be some sort of punishments and then the final second death. That is “condemnation”. There are some people who want to live their life for the pleasures of the flesh and then be blanked out. They’ll get what they want!
In any case there are only two alternatives before us: we must either be forgiven, or be sentenced and the end of that sentence is the second death.
What is The Second Death?
Who Dies, Who Does Not?
A Compilation of Articles and Notes sn
Revelation 21:8 New International Version (NIV)
8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
What you have just read is extremely serious and requires definition to understand completely. I only “touch” upon it here. You may GO TO THIS LINK for much more clarification. sn
Let’s consider the way of Forgiveness. It is right that we pay particular attention to this point, for nothing can be more important. Granting for a moment that you want pardon and forgiveness, what should you do? Where will you go? Which way will you turn? Everything hinges on the answer you give to this question.
Will you turn to Eastern religions or philosophers, psychologists or neurologists who insist everything can be explained in terms of neurons misfiring. Can you seek forgiveness from ministers or priests and put your trust in them? They cannot give you pardon: they can only tell you where it is to be found. They can set before you the bread of life; but you yourself must eat it. They can show you the words of Jesus the Christ and explain what his parables mean but they cannot make you change your ways. Only you can decide to change. Only YOU can pray and ask the Holy Spirit to enter you, enter your life, and help you change.
They can show you the path of peace; but you yourself must walk in it. It’s an up-hill climb on a rocky dusty road. Jesus told us the way downhill is easy, smooth and broad. It leads to “hell” and the final end of our story. That’s the wrong direction. But, as the Master suffered, so also must we sacrifice and suffer. This entry to an eternally better life has a price. You must be willing to work on yourself to change your ways with God’s help, with the help of the Holy Spirit and Jesus the Christ. If you’re unwilling then either you want the second death, or you don’t believe any of what I’ve been saying.
The Jewish priest had no power to cleanse the leper, but only to declare him cleansed. The Christian minister has no power to forgive sins; he can only declare and pronounce who they are that are forgiven.
Will you turn to sacraments and ordinances, and trust in them? They cannot supply you with forgiveness, however diligently you may use them.
The original material that got me started is developing this article came from the great Bishop of Liverpool, J. C. Ryle (1816-1900). It was the Anglican Church’s view that by sacraments “faith is confirmed and grace increased,” in all who rightly use them. But they cannot justify the sinner. They cannot put away transgression.
Bishop Ryle tells us: You may go to the Lord all of your life: but unless you look far beyond the sign to the thing signified, you will after all die in your sins.
This sign might be the cross over a fine alter but that won’t save you. Crossing yourself and genuflecting won’t save you. Giving money to the church, alms to the poor, doing good works of various kinds cannot save you!
You may attend a daily service regularly, go to a Catholic Mass every afternoon after work, but if you think you will by this establish a righteousness of your own, you are only getting further away from God every day. This will not help you, not in the slightest degree. I know this is hard to believe. What about all those tithes and all those candles I lit? Does it count for nothing?
God knows, and is considerate, but, did he tell you in The Bible that tithes and candles would rescue you from this terrible condition? No. He did not. Jesus died as the final sacrifice for sin. Animal sacrifice, any sacrifice now cannot save you. Only Jesus the Christ can save you. He did. He paid the price for us all. He holds the key to allow you into The Heavenly Kingdom. No one else can welcome you in. Only Jesus Our Messiah to Jews and Gentiles!
Will you trust in your own works and endeavors, your virtues and your good deeds, your prayers and your alms? They will never buy for you an entrance into heaven. They will never pay your debt to God. They are all imperfect in themselves, and only increase your guilt. There is no merit or worthiness in them at the very best. Yet the Holy Spirit in us inspires us to do good works including be kind to those in need.
The Lord Jesus Christ explained in a story:
Luke 17 New International Version (NIV)
7 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’
I realize this is a bitter pill for Americans to swallow. Many of us have lived such a luxurious and comfortable life, the very idea that I/we might one day be a servant is cause for distress. But the truth is, you must work for a living someway. We must serve somebody.
“You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody” – Bobby Dillon.
We’re going to serve the devil or we’ll serve The Lord. We’ve got to serve somebody. If we don’t serve, we’ll be deleted from the dream that is generally called, “The Universe.” Fortunately, The Lord has a bright future ahead for you and whatever service you do is intended to teach you by schooling and by experience until you finally mature and become like Your Heavenly Father.
Will you trust in your own repentance and amendment? You may say you are very sorry for the past. You might resolve to do better in future. You hope God will be merciful. You tell yourself, “I think I’ve been good. I think God will accept me into Heaven.” My answer is, “It doesn’t matter what you think. What matters is what God thinks!”
Alas, if you lean on this hope that God will have mercy only because you said you’re sorry, you have nothing supporting your future hopes and dreams.
A courtroom judge does not pardon a thief because he is sorry for what he did. Today’s sorrow will not wipe off the score of yesterday’s sins. Not an ocean of tears can cleanse an uneasy conscience and give you peace. Perhaps that is why so many men drink themselves to death. They find no peace, until they finally carry their life to Jesus.
I did. I once carried my life as, in my imagination, a formless translucent blob, like a jelly fish, like a tube of water in a plastic bag. I dropped it bobbing lifelessly at his feet and said, “I can’t do it anymore. Everything I do comes to dissatisfaction. No matter how hard I’ve worked, no matter how much I have given and sacrificed, or how good I’ve tried to be, it’s never been enough. My life is outwardly successful and inwardly feels like a disaster. Please take this from me and kill it or rescue it! Take the leadership of my life and I shall do your will.”
I think that was the third time. The times before I said I wanted Him to rescue me, but I still ran the show. I wasn’t working for him. I was working for me and hoping that was enough. I knew I was still sinning. It wasn’t right. I was still looking in from my perch in outer darkness. In wanted God’s guidance, yet….
I still wanted more of what the material world offered in comfort, luxury, imagined security, and of course a fabulously beautiful woman to love me.
Nothing was right. Nothing felt right. I was doing superb natural healing work – doing more and giving more and being paid less than any other Chiropractor in my community. I was not just a Chiropractor. I’m also a Swedish Massage Therapist. When patients came to me after seeing several other doctors without success I got them comfortable, able bodied and returned to work. But I wasn’t collecting all I earned. I was working hard and taking home too little. I was alone, working on patients all day, writing about health care and nutrition into the night, reading, studying, miserable and alone. It was a thoroughly unsatisfactory life.
I wasn’t a criminal. I didn’t do anything so terrible. I just knew I lacked for something MUCH better than what I had in my present condition.
The entire world’s people seemed insane, lost in space, loving what was evil, hating what was obviously good. All around me was a society with more domestic violence, more sexually transmitted diseases, more emotional illness, more general evil than I had ever encountered in all of my small town life on New York’s Long Island. I didn’t think the southern corner of Washington State was a part of America. It seemed like a sick society on another planet! I needed a release. I felt as if I were imprisoned and needed a rescue.
When I finally gave my life completely to Jesus the Christ I began to change and my life began to receive blessings and changes. I finally sold that practice and left the community headed east with the cruise control set to maximum allowable speed.
Where then must one go for pardon? the Bishop asks.
You know there’s a characteristic about a good harbor. You might raise all your sail and the breeze seems soft and the sky is bright blue and it all looks like a perfect day. You get out of the harbor entrance and suddenly the wind is strong and the waves are throwing your little boat around and you’re getting seasick and trying to reduce sail to save your life.
If you go out there on your own with no protection and no forethought about what you might discover past the harbor entrance you’re likely to have a bad time. Better to go out there with sails shortened and with the protection of a powerful friend.
The devil is powerful and he wants to cause you serious harm. You need protection!
Where then must one go for pardon and protection? Where is forgiveness to be found? There is a way both sure and plain, and that is the course we draw on our chart before we lift sails and catch the wind.
That way is simply to trust in the Lord Jesus the Christ as your Savior. It is to cast your soul, with all its sins, unreservedly on Christ; to cease completely from any dependence on your own works or doings, either in whole or in part; and to rest on no other work but Christ’s work, no other righteousness but Christ’s righteousness, no other merit but Christ’s merit, as your ground of hope. Take this course and you are a pardoned soul.
I have written here that I believe the 15-second “save me” prayer is not sufficient. That you must attempt to change your ways. But I know this is a debated point. What can we say about the thief on the cross beside Jesus. He had no time to change. He sincerely wanted salvation, requested it, and Jesus told him he would have it. All things are possible to God. If he looks into your dark heart and sees that you are sincere in your desire for salvation, he can rescue you.
Can you do it? I used to make my living selling life insurance and tax deferred investments. I discovered that just getting people to listen is sometimes difficult.
They don’t have the courage to listen. (You do. Obviously, you’re still reading.) They’re too busy in their silence making up answers and arguments to anything you’re saying. It takes courage to listen! It takes willingness to admit you don’t know everything, you’re not perfect, and in truth, you’ve been wrong, done many things wrong, and made a mess of your life! More than likely you’ve done nothing for Heaven’s sake and everything for your own benefit. But, the expected happiness and benefit is not yet realized. If you continue on this course, I can assure you, probably you will not realize the happiness and benefits of which you dream — not ever. You’ll go to your final breath dissatisfied.
If you want satisfaction you can only have it AFTER you’ve received The Salvation of The Christ!
That “weak ego” is the little monster on your shoulder whispering into your ear, telling you, “That’s good for him but not for me. That’s what he thinks, but I’m different. I can do it my way and do it better.” But we never do it better.
Even when we think we’re doing better, we’re making a mess of our lives. That’s why you just read: …. simply trust in the Lord Jesus the Christ as your Savior. Cast your soul, with all its sins, unreservedly on Christ; to cease completely from any dependence on your own works or doings, either in whole or in part; and to rest on no other work but Christ’s work, no other righteousness but Christ’s righteousness, no other merit but Christ’s merit, as your ground of hope. Take this course and you are a pardoned soul.
Continue to do things YOUR way and you must finally admit, you did NOT give your will up and learn the righteous way. You weren’t courageous enough to change, to admit you were and are wrong, and to be quiet and listen. The consequences of this lack of faith and trust in Christ is your own second death!
That’s a bit frightening for some of us. It’s “a hard saying.” Good men left their fishing nets, their wives, girlfriends, homes, and dreams and followed Jesus. They went all over the Jewish world and then went to Greece and even Rome and around the Black Sea preaching this message of One God and yet one who made himself a man and walked amongst us; This “Jesus” a messiah and his gospel, his good news.
They were preaching about ONE true and living God, and saying worshiping several gods and goddesses was a fantasy made up by men and women to justify their lusts. Often they were accused of disturbing the peace and stirring up trouble. They were arrested, beaten, imprisoned, thrown out of the city hungry, injured and in tatters. Eventually most of them were murdered for preaching the good news that you can change your ways and have a happy eternity! They preached a better future and were murdered for doing so! The righteous way of The Christ is not an easy path. But, it’s the only right one to take IF you want an eternally happy life.
You aren’t required to follow that way. You can follow the “do it if it feels good” crowd and get the Lord’s “condemnation”at the end of your life. Some people say it’s eternal hell, fire and misery. I don’t believe that interpretation is right. I believe that is reserved for the Devil and his demons.
I believe, We fool humans get some degree of punishment and then the second death IF we follow our own ways. But, if you’re willing to give up your self-pride and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you love, kindness, forgiveness, and pure thought, then you’ll find God’s way is light, loving and hopeful, happy, and filled with a peace that others can’t understand.
Acts 10 New International Version (NIV)
“…41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
The Apostle Paul writes about his time a Antioch:
Acts 13 New International Version (NIV)
38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.
[This news, by the way, was received with such relief and interest we should read a bit futher…]
40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:
41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
wonder and perish,
for I am going to do something in your days
that you would never believe,
even if someone told you.’[e]”
42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. 43 When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.
I find it interesting that today’s New York City orthodox Jews are afraid still that they must keep the law perfectly lest they will die. But they know they cannot keep the law perfectly. They hope at the Day of Atonement they can be forgiven. But they’re never assured of forgiveness. …
Philippians 4:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
… They really never enjoy a peace that is beyond understanding.
Paul writes in his prayer about God: 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Lord Jesus the Christ, in great love and compassion, has made a full and complete satisfaction for sin, by suffering death in our place upon the cross. He was horribly tortured and died so you don’t have to suffer punishment and the second death!
There He offered Himself as a final sacrifice for all of us, and allowed the wrath of God, which we deserved, to fall on His own head. For our sins, as our Substitute, He gave Himself, suffered, and died.
He Jesus, was the only man who was just and he died for us, the unjust. He was the innocent who died for the guilty— so that by doing this He would deliver us from the curse that must fall upon us for breaking God’s Law. In this way he provided a complete pardon for all who are willing to receive it.
Bishop J. C. Ryle writes to us in concluding today’s remarks:
By so doing, as Isaiah says, He “shall bear” our sins; as John the Baptist says, He “taketh away” 3 sin”; as Paul says, He “purged our sins,” and “put away” sin; and as Daniel says, He “make[s] an end of sins,” and “finish[es] the transgressions” (Isa 53:11; Joh 1:29; Heb 1:3; Heb 9:26; Dan 9: 24).
Christ, in one word, has purchased a full forgiveness, > if < we are only willing to receive it. He has done all, paid all, suffered all that was needful to reconcile us to God. He has provided a garment of righteousness to clothe us. He has opened a fountain of living waters to cleanse us. He has removed every barrier between us and God the Father, taken every obstacle out of the way, and made a road by which the vilest may return.
(The Catholic Vatican did not say this. In reading this we see the Anglicans at least in Liverpool, were more on the side of the Protestants! Indeed, this is not “Catholic Light.” This is true Lutheran Protestantism.)
All things are now ready, and the sinner has only to believe and be saved, to eat and be satisfied, to ask and receive, to wash and be clean. And faith, simple faith, is the only thing required, in order that you and I may be forgiven.
That we will come by faith to Jesus as sinners with our sins—trust in Him, rest on Him, lean on Him, confide in Him, commit our souls to Him, and forsaking all other hope, cleave only to Him—this is all and everything that God asks for.
Let a man only do this, and he shall be saved. His iniquities shall be found completely pardoned, and his transgressions entirely taken away. Every man and woman that so trusts is wholly forgiven, and reckoned perfectly righteous. His sins are clean gone, and his soul is justified in God’s sight, however bad and guilty he may have been.
(speaking to preachers he says) This is the doctrine which is the true strength of any church on earth at this day. It is not orders, endowments, liturgies, or learning that will keep a church alive. Let free forgiveness through Christ be faithfully proclaimed in her pulpits, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.
Let it be buried, or kept back, and her candlestick will soon be taken away. A church is only useful so far as she exalts free forgiveness through Christ.
This is the doctrine which, of all others, is the mightiest engine for pulling down the kingdom of Satan.
(However if you)….Preach salvation by the sacraments, exalt the church above Christ, and keep back the doctrine of the atonement, (then) the devil cares little— his goods are at peace.
But preach a full Christ, and a free pardon by faith in Him, and then Satan will have great wrath, for he knows he has but a short time.
This is the only doctrine which will ever bring peace to an uneasy conscience, and rest to a troubled soul. A man may get on pretty well without it so long as he is asleep about his spiritual condition. But once let him awake from his slumber, and nothing will ever calm him but the blood of Atonement, and the peace which comes by faith in Christ.
What is The Second Death?
Who Dies, Who Does Not?
A Compilation of Articles and Notes sn
Revelation 21:8 New International Version (NIV)
8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
What you have just read is extremely serious and requires definition to understand completely. I only “touch” upon it here. You may GO TO THIS LINK for much more clarification. sn
Forgiveness: Installment 4
Bishop J.C. Ryle and I continue:
You should ask yourself whether you have really received the truth which I have been dwelling on, and know it by experience. Jesus, and faith in Him, is the only way to the Father. He/She that thinks to enter God’s Paradise by some other road will find him/herself fearfully and sadly mistaken.
There is no other foundation that anyone can build for the immortal soul to rise into God’s parallel universe, which we call “The Heavenly Kingdom” than that of which I have been feebly speaking. He that travels here and remains here is safe. S/He that attempts to come from some other doctrine or location has not a foot to sand upon.
You should seriously consider what kind of a ministry you are in the habit of attending, supposing you have a choice. You have reason indeed to be careful. It is not all the same where you go, whatever people may say. There are many places of worship, I fear, where you might look long for Christ crucified, and never find Him. He is buried under outward ceremonies, thrust behind the baptismal font, and under the shadow of the church, we have lost sight of him! “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him” (Joh 20:13).
Be cautious and careful about where you settle yourself. Try all doctrine and what they say to you by this single test, “Is Jesus and free forgiveness proclaimed here?” There may be comfortable pews; there may be good singing; there may be learned sermons. But if Christ’s Gospel is not the sun and center of the whole place, do not pitch your tent there. Say rather with Isaac, “Here, is the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb?” (Gen 22:7). Be very sure, this is not the place for your soul.
III. Our third interest is to encourage all those who wish to be forgiven. YOU can move on into a happy eternal life. Certainly there are people who imagine they are not ever going to be a forgiven soul. They might think they’ve said their prayer asking Jesus into their lives but they think still, they’re not forgiven and Hell awaits them. Some believe they must somehow make themselves good enough to be received by God. God won’t have me. He doesn’t want me I’m not good enough! What qualification can any of us provide to be good enough? Even the great apostles went through their lives preaching that No one is good enough. Everyone has broken God’s law and commandments. Only Jesus can rescue us.
Not only that. Jesus did the work and finished the salvation by being the final terrifying sacrifice on the cross. The sacrificial animal this last time was God sacrificing His only son unto Himself!!!
Jesus was hanging breathless and in pain calling out, My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me? And meantime (I imagine) God was there beside him in travail watching the anguish, experiencing this anguish too as he killed a part of himself to be the final end to the entire horrible ordeal of law that must be satisfied, but cannot be. Just before Jesus died he said, in modern English, “The debt is paid in full. It is finished.”
No one is so perfect, and cannot be. That is why to receive the Holy Spirit and THEN say It is NOT finished is the ultimate insult to God. Get that into your mind, please!! It IS finished and now your work is to your best to change your ways and sincerely (I mean REALLY SINCERELY) make every effort to keep God’s commandments. Will you ever be like God or good enough? No, of course not. But, we keep trying to the last moment. The Cabbalists ask “Am I Like God Yet?” and of course they know they are not. But they strive to make prayer even until their final dying breath.
Modern people I have met want eternal happiness but they’re afraid they’ll be sent to a mission in Black Congo or some sort of frightful place. Not so! The mission field is before you. It’s your family, it’s your friends, it’s those smug self-important little groups of people at cocktail parties. It’s that woman with the fabulous figure wearing “dental floss” at the beach. It’s the beggar here in The Philippines, blind with the deformed face strumming three strings of some homemade gut-stringed banjo hoping people will drop a coin into his cup. The first time I dropped a coin there and said, Bless Jesus, I felt embarrassment. I walked away and thought, “It wasn’t so bad. No harm done.”
The mission field is all those people on college campuses convinced by their professors that the universe fell together by accident. You don’t need to go to fictitious “Black Congo.” You need to go to the corner of Haight and Ashbury Street in San Francisco, or 42nd Street Times Square in New York City, or 1st Street Seattle, or a thousand other places and tell people God is Real!
At least send an email to everyone. Put up a message at your social media, Facebook and Twitter and all the others. Ask what they think. Is the universe created or did it “just evolve?” Tell them God is not a myth. He is real. Jesus is truth. Receive him to receive hope for a decent future.
J.C. Ryle says, My heart’s desire and prayer is that such an one may seek his pardon at once. And I would fain help him forward, by showing him the kind of forgiveness offered to him, and the glorious privileges within his reach. Consider, then, for one thing, that the forgiveness set before you is a great and broad forgiveness. Hear what the Prince of Peace Himself declares: “All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies, wherewith so ever they shall blaspheme” (Mar 3:28). “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall become as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa 1:18). Yes: though your trespasses be more in number than the hairs of your head, the stars in heaven, the leaves of the forest, the blades of grass, the grains of sand on the sea shore, still they can all be pardoned. As the waters of Noah’s flood covered over and hid the tops of the highest hills, so can the blood of Jesus cover over and hide your mightiest sins. His blood “cleanseth us from all sin” (1Jo 1:7). Though to you they seem written with the point of a diamond, they can all be effaced from the book of God’s remembrance by that precious blood.
Paul named a long list of abominations which the Corinthians had committed, and then said to them, “Such were some of you: but ye are washed” (1Co 6:11). Furthermore, it is a full and complete forgiveness. It is not like David’s pardon to Absalom—a permission to return home, but not a full restoration to favor (2Sa 14:24). It is not, as some fancy, a mere letting off, and letting alone. It is a pardon so complete that he who has it is reckoned as righteous as if he had never sinned at all! His iniquities are blotted out. They are removed from him as far as the east from the west (Psa 103:12). There remains no condemnation for him.
By this the Heavenly Father gladly sees you and me joined to Christ and is well pleased. The Son beholds him clothed with His own righteousness and says, “Thou art all fair…there is no spot in thee” (Sol 4:7). Blessed be God that it is so!
I completely accept that if the best of us all had only one blot left for himself to wipe out, he would miss eternal life. If the holiest child of Adam were in heaven all but his little finger, and to get in depended on himself, I am sure he would never enter the kingdom. If Noah, Daniel, and Job, had had but one day’s sins to wash away, they would never have been saved. Oh they had many sins, but God restores them to righteousness by their ceremonies for atonement.
We living in this Satan-influenced world have difficulty accepting that we don’t have to pay some price ourselves. But, praise God, in the matter of pardon for our sins, the price was paid. There is nothing left for anyone to do.
“The ONLY unpardonable sin is to refuse the gift of pardon and eternal life through Jesus Christ Our Lord.” So said pastor Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California. That one statement on radio struck me better than any other he’d ever made.
The only way you can mess this up is to refuse Jesus! Don’t mess this up!
……………….Let’s Continue from where I went aside………………..
Praised be God, that in the matter of our pardon there is nothing left for man to do! Jesus does everything, and we have only to request another chance, a pardon, a redemption, a payment of our debt to God’s law. All we do is ask for help and receive it. All you must do is hold out an empty hand and receive.
What Jesus gives is a free and unconditional forgiveness. It is not burdened with an “if,” like Solomon’s pardon to Adonijah: “If he will show himself a worthy man” (1Ki 1:52). Nor yet are you obliged to carry a price in your hand, or to bring a character with you to prove yourself deserving of mercy. Jesus requires only one characteristic about you. That is you should know that you have broken God’s Laws and recognize you are a sinful, woman or man. If you know you have broken God’s laws you know you are a sinner.
A woman once long ago close to me cried out, “I am NOT a sinner!” and two more occasions I offered for her to reconsider and received the same answer. Alas, my mother argued with everyone and one day she will argue with God Almighty. Don’t you be one of that group. Who amongst us has kept God’s law perfectly and without any mistake, even once? Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.
The Lord God invites you to “buy wine and milk without money and without price,” and declares, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Isa 55:1; Rev 22:17). Like David in the cave of Adullam, He receives every one that feels in distress and a debtor, and rejects none (1Sa 22:2).
A Moment For A Story: John 8 New International Version (NIV)
8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
If Jesus, who was God walking amongst men, forgave her, knowing soon he also would die a terrible and humiliating death to save unborn millions, how much more will He be willing to recognize and rescue you who comes to him admitting your guilt, even perhaps weeping and pounding your chest to say, “I know I am to blame. I am culpable.?”
Are you a sinner? Do you want a Savior? Then come to Jesus just as you are, and your soul shall live. Again, it is an offered forgiveness. I have read of earthly kings who knew not how to show mercy: of Henry the Eighth of England who spared neither man nor woman; of James the Fifth of Scotland, who would never show favor to a Douglas.
The King of Kings is not like them; he makes himself an example to all kings as to how one should behave. He calls on men to come to Him, and be pardoned.
Proverbs 8:4 New International Version (NIV)
4 “To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
Isaiah 55 New International Version (NIV)
Invitation to the Thirsty
55 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
John 7 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Goes to the Festival of Tabernacles
33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[c] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.”
Matthew 11 New International Version (NIV)
The Father Revealed in the Son
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
It ought to be a great comfort to you and me to hear of any pardon at all; but to hear Jesus Himself inviting us, to see Jesus Himself holding out His hand to us—the Savior seeking the sinner before the sinner seeks the Savior—this is encouragement, this is pitiful compassion in its highest form!
What The Lord offers is a willing forgiveness unknown to small minded men. I have heard of pardons granted in reply to long entreaty, and wrung out by much importunity.
King Edward the Third of England would not spare the citizens of Calais till they came to him with halters round their necks, and his own Queen interceded for them on her knees. But Jesus is “good and ready to forgive” (Psa 86:5). He “delighteth in mercy” (Mic 7:18).
You and I may well come boldly to the throne of grace. He who sits there is far more willing and ready to give mercy than we are to receive it…
Hebrews 4:16 New International Version (NIV)
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Besides this, it is a tried forgiveness. Thousands and tens of thousands have sought for pardon at the mercy seat of Christ, and not one has ever returned to say that he sought in vain. Sinners of every name and nation—sinners of every sort and description—have knocked at the door of the fold, and none have ever been refused admission.
Zacchaeus the extortioner, Magdalen the harlot, Saul the persecutor, Peter the denier of his Lord, the Jews who crucified the Prince of Life, the idolatrous Athenians, the adulterous Corinthians, the ignorant Africans, the bloodthirsty New Zealand native warriors—all have ventured their souls on Christ’s promises of pardon, and none have ever found them fail.
Indeed men and women lost in prisons for what they did, or did not do, can receive rest and peace at last, an extended life and endless happy years if they will finally lay down their shield and give themselves completely to The Christ, Jesus.
If the way which the Gospel sets before us were new and untraveled, we might have justification to be frightened and faint-hearted. But we can rest assured. It is an old path, firm after millions of footsteps.
It is a path worn by the bloodied and painful feet of many pilgrims who preferred death and release from this world at the hands of Satan’s mercenaries rather than to turn away from the Christ. This past has it’s foot print all pointed in one direction. You can follow them to Heaven’s Gate.
The treasury of Christ’s mercies has never been found empty. The well of living waters has never proved dry. Besides this, it is a present forgiveness. All that believe in Jesus are at once justified from all things (Acts 13:39). The very day the younger son returned to his father’s house he was clothed with the best robe, had the ring put on his hand, and the shoes on his feet (Luk 15:22).
The day Zacchaeus received Jesus he heard those comfortable words, “This day is salvation come to this house” (Luk 19:9).
The day that David said, “I have sinned against the Lord,” he was told by Nathan, “The Lord also hath put away thy sin” (2Sa 12:13).
The day you finally give up this world’s temptations and request God to rescue you through the sacrificial blood of Jesus the Christ, your sins are all removed. Your pardon is not a thing far away, to be obtained only after many years and hard work with terrible sacrifice. It is near at hand. It is close to you, within your reach, all ready to be bestowed.
Believe, and that very moment it is your own. “He that believeth is not condemned” (Joh 3:18). It is not said, “He shall not be,” or “will not be,” but “is not.” From the time of his believing, condemnation is gone. “He that believeth…hath everlasting life” (Joh 3:36). He that believes has everlasting life!
It is not said, “He shall have,” or “will have,” it is “hath.” It is his own as surely as if he was in heaven, though not evidently so to his own eyes.
You must not think forgiveness will be nearer to a believer in the Day of Judgment than it was in the hour he first believed. His complete salvation from the power of sin is every year nearer and nearer to him; but as to his forgiveness and justification, and deliverance from the guilt of sin, it is a finished work from the very minute he first commits himself to Christ. Last, and best of all, it is an everlasting forgiveness.
It is not like Shimei’s pardon—a pardon that may sometime be revoked and taken away (1Ki 2:9). Once justified, you are justified forever. Once written down in the book of life, your name shall never be blotted out.
The sins of God’s children are said to be cast into the depths of the sea, to be sought for and not found, to be remembered no more, to be cast behind God’s back (Mic 7:19; Jer 50:20; 31:34; Isa 38:17).
Some people imagine they may be justified one year and condemned another; adopted children who find themselves suddenly no longer welcome having become strangers after some time. They imagine they were heirs of the kingdom in the beginning of their days, but may have become servants of the devil in their end.
We do not find this in the Bible. Such ideas overturn the good news of the Gospel altogether, and to tear up its comforts by the roots. What is more it insults God because he suffered and died and suffered as he watched a part of himself suffer and die in humiliation on that cross. Now, after all of that, can you say He didn’t do enough and you cannot accept his gift? Of course not!
I believe the salvation Jesus offers is an everlasting salvation, and a pardon once sealed with His blood shall never be reversed.
I have set before you the nature of the forgiveness offered to you. I have told you but a little of it, for my words are weaker than my will. The half of it remains untold. The greatness of it is far more than any report of mine.
But I think I have said enough to show you it is worth the seeking, and I can wish you nothing better than that you may strive to make it your own.
Do you call it nothing to look forward to death without fear, and to judgment without doubts, and to eternity without a sinking heart?
Do you call it nothing to feel the world slipping from your grasp, and to see the grave being made ready for you, and the valley of the shadow of death opening before your eyes, and yet to be not afraid?
Do you call it nothing to be able to think of the great day of account, the throne, the books, the Judge, the assembled worlds, the revealing of secrets, the final sentence, and yet to feel, “I am safe”?
This is the portion, and the privilege of a forgiven soul. Such an one has built his home upon a rock. When the rain of God’s wrath descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, his foundation will not slide, his habitation will be secure.
Such a women is in an ark. When the last fiery deluge is sweeping over all things on the surface of the earth, it shall not come near him. He shall be caught up, and borne securely above it all.
Such a man is secure in his hiding place. When God arises to judge terribly the earth, and men are calling to rocks and mountains to fall upon them and cover them, the Everlasting Arms shall be thrown around him, and the storm shall pass over his head. He shall “abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psa 91:1).
Such an adopted child of God is in a city of refuge. The accuser of the brethren can lay no charge against him. The law cannot condemn him. There is a wall between him and the avenger of blood. The enemies of his soul cannot hurt him. He is in a secure sanctuary.
Such a person who once felt victimized by the world’s powers and governments run amok finds himself rich. He has treasure in heaven which cannot be affected by worldly changes, compared to which the great wealth of China and Europe are nothing at all.
He has no reason to envy the richest merchants and bankers. He has a gift from God that will endure when bank-notes and gold sovereigns have been declared worthless. He can say, like the Spanish ambassador, when shown the treasury at Venice, “My Master’s treasury has no bottom.” He has Christ.
Such a man, woman or family though persecuted is yet insured. They are ready for anything that may happen because even in body death they are saved and when they next open their eyes they will be with Christ Jesus in the most fabulous kingdom in all the universe. Nothing can actually harm them. Banks may go bankrupt. Revolutions may rise. Governments may be overturned. Famine and pestilence may rage around him. Sickness and sorrow may visit his own bedside. But still he is ready for all: ready for health, ready for disease; ready for tears, ready for joy; ready for poverty, ready for plenty; ready for life, ready for death. He has Christ.
He is a pardoned soul.
“Blessed” indeed “is he whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered” (Psa 32:1). How will anyone escape if he neglects the gift of great salvation?
What justification now do you have to refuse the gift of pardon of your sins and receive the Holy Spirit through prayer and make The Christ Jesus a permanent part of your life? Why should you not receive this gift right now.
Just now, this moment, grasp hold of the pardon Jesus died to give you.
Simply pray and say, Lord, I’ve sinned and I know I must change my ways. Pardon me. Be my Savior!
What better offer is there? What would you have, if the way I have set before you does not satisfy you? Come while the door is open. Ask, and you shall receive. It won’t hurt a bit. It will set you free and the changes made with God’s help will be the greatest feeling of liberty and happiness you have ever known.
What must I do to be saved?
Answer: First of all, a man must feel his need of salvation and know that without Christ he is lost. He must be ready to pray the only prayer a sinner can pray and expect to be heard. “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). A man must recognize that there is a God—that he has sinned against God—and that God is the Moral Governor of the world. He must acknowledge that God is merciful—that man has no merit, of his own— and he must trust in God’s forgiveness.
Who saves me from my sin?
But someone must pay the sinner’s debt before the Divine law, for he is helpless and powerless to pay it himself. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Jesus, God’s Son, died upon the cross in the sinner’s place. God has accepted the sacrifice of His Son—our Lord Jesus Christ—on our behalf. Therefore, it remains only for us—free moral agents that we are—to admit our sins and to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. Romans 10:10 says, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
- Believe with the heart—no mental reservations. We just throw our helpless souls on Him.
- Confess our sins to Him, and confess our faith in Him.
- Call upon God in prayer.
Let nothing hold you back
Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Let nothing hold you back. Let no person, or thing, keep you away from the loving Savior. Some who have been church members for years have never found salvation. They live merely formal Christian lives. But you are dissatisfied if you are not a real Christian. And there is something better for every dissatisfied heart.
Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Take the Gospel of John and read it slowly—and pray as you read. Your faith will increase. Faith comes by hearing the voice of God in His Word. God will hear your prayers, and the Holy Spirit will come into your heart.
Salvation: God’s power or my power?
Don’t say, “others don’t know how hard it is to break my habits—they have never experienced them.” That’s not the question. The question is: Does God know how hard it is? Can God help me? Can God give me the victory? Does God know how hard it is for me to break with sin?
Of course He knows! He has delivered thousands who were in a worse state than you are. And He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” NIV translation – to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, (Ephesians 3:20). God has the power to change you, but he won’t do it until you sincerely give up your grasp of the steering wheel and trust him to do the driving. Do not worry about His ability to save you. The big question is: Are you willing to surrender to Him, and to ask Him, in the name of Christ, to set you free? Are you willing to let go and let God take the reins of your carriage horse and direct you onto the right road, or don’t you trust God? Do you imagine you still must make the choices and control the speed and direction of travel?
For you this is an uncharted journey. What qualification can you have to make these choices? I’d say you have no qualifications and if you do the directing you’ll end up riding in circles. You must give up the control and give it all to God!
Pray to God
Pray this prayer with me when you are ready to mean it from the very depth of your being.
Lord God, I surrender. In the name of Your Son Jesus the Christ. I am a sinner. Please forgive my sins. Make me what you intend for me to be. I should be. Take my life and direct it properly, because I realize now, I’ve been going in the wrong direction and doing everything the wrong way. Put me to work for you in some way. I have the courage to trust you to do what you know is best for me. I ask this in Jesus holy name, Amen.
Now, privately—alone with God—kneel down and tell God all your problems—confess your sins to Him—talk aloud to Him, as a little child—and understand, He has forgiven you. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Have you confessed your sins? Yes, you say. Then, has God forgiven you? Has He? Why, of course He has, and you are to rest on this promise and believe it—no matter how you feel. And, remember, that I and many others have been and are praying for you.
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