Tag Archives: Forgiveness

The Destruction of Innocence

As humans, we seem to be at war with all things innocent.   It is as if something is innocent, we must destroy it, so we can feel better about ourselves.  The  destruction of innocence is a result of selfishness, vanity and greed.  The list of immoral reasons could go on, but why?

My heart is crying out and I am broken.  My Spirit cries day and night due to the destruction of innocence in our world.  I wake in the night thinking about it.  My brain can not turn it off.  I could be working and suddenly the crime that is being perpetrated sneaks in. Taking over my thoughts.  My Spirit can not rest.  What have we come to?  What happened to the sanctity of life?  What happened to “Thou shall not murder”?

The destruction of children, by forcibly putting them into the sex trade.  The slaughter of men and women whose only sin was living in the wrong place and believing the wrong thing.  We so easily rush to violence to get our way. (selfish and vain) We rush to murder to fill our pockets (abortion, euthanasia, greed and vanity).   We murder (en masse) babies (defenseless) due to inconvenience or even due to another persons wrong.  We have been taught that two wrongs do not make a right, but we justify it (selfishness) by saying it’s not our fault (vanity and selfishness).  Over 52,000,000 babies are slaughtered, in America alone.  Over 1.7 billion abortions since 1973 world wide.  Why are girls targeted?  Why do folks wait to find out the sex of the child before aborting?  Why are folks devalued just because they cannot be seen?  Out of site out of mind (selfishness)?

The poor are forced from their land so that governments can get more tax dollars. (greed)  The rich take advantage of the poor (who have no education or understanding to fight back) and take what little they even have (greed).  Our society makes laws that protect those in power; while at the same time raping the inalienable rights that have been given by God. (greed, selfish and vanity)  Society says it is okay, so it is okay (it is not).

How about robbing the worker of his wages (greed)?   We abandon Scripture as if there are no consequences.   Deuteronomy 24:15 “You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the LORD and it become sin in you.”

Who are we to steal and to deprive folks of what is theirs?   Why do you say this does not happen when it happens everyday.  Why do we turn a blind eye?  (selfishness) Is it easier to pretend these things do not happen?  Or would we rather have it not bother our lives since we are busy with our own problems?   Are we like Cain “am I my brothers keeper?”

There is a cry going out day and night directly from the throne of the Father.  “Who will stand in the gap?”  Yet the destruction of innocence grows and those who stand for righteousness shrink back as their numbers dwindle.  The acceptance of this destruction is tantamount to doing it ourselves yet we say we are tolerant (no tolerance allowed).  We say “it’s not in my country” (it is).  We lie to ourselves daily so that we can keep sipping our $5 coffee. Or stream our music on a monthly service as we drive down the road in our automobile; which cost more then 10 years of wages in the vast majority of the world.  I know, I know, you earned it. They have not.  What have you done for the poor?  Matt 5:42  Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

Christians turn a blind eye.  They forget what it means to stand up for innocence and fight for the poor.  They worry about their daily drug of choice (coffee) and whether or not it was made properly.  Was it the right temperature, the correct amount of sweetener, the perfect roast on the glorious been?  Then when it is not right, maybe a bit to cold, or to sweet, or not sweet enough we are up in arms.  We go straight to management and demand they fix it.   We tell all our friends about our horrible experience.  Sad!  We fear losing what we have acquired, but we forget that all that we have acquired came from God and He can take it away if He chooses to.   Job 1:21  And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Have we forgotten where we came from?  Have we forgotten how much God has done for us? His forgiveness? His blessings (physical and Spiritual)?

Maybe not all Christians are so narcissistic.  I mean after all we pay $5 for that cup of coffee.  While at the same time participating in systems that often rob the farmers of their wages.  I will admit that many Christians have bigger problems then that. Such as paying an electric bill or some how getting their kids through college.  I get it. We live in a society that does not value those that are innocent or poor.  They only value those who are like themselves and they are neither innocent nor poor.  They value money, time and success.  If you do not have money, time, or success then you are nothing and obviously you have sinned. (Job’s friends)

Why should I be held responsible?  Why does it matter if I do nothing? I am not doing it myself.  I have not participated in slavery in any way.  I have not killed an innocent child.  I have not lied to someone to get what I want.  I have not personally stolen wages from a worker or property from someone poor.  I have not participated in the loss of innocence.  Remember Jesus’s words:

Matt 25:45, 46  “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Sexual slavery (largely children) is on the rise today at a rate not seen in the history of the earth.  Do you realize that porn is the starting point in this (for the west) and that it is largely supported by those in the west.  If we were to end it here then the majority of the children in this world who are enslaved for this purpose would become free for there would be no demand for illicit sex.  Where there is no profit there is no need.  (sad very sad)  Yes selfishness drives our libido so we seem to not care who we hurt and ignore the end consequences.

Or have we forgot the obligation Christ left us with? Have we turned that blind eye?  Have we abandoned those in need and not fought against the shedding of innocent blood?  Why? Because we were busy building our lives, raising our children and filling our stomachs. Meanwhile others (our kin) are being slaughtered by the millions.  Millions more starve and are kept in a position of poverty so that others can have wealth.  What about the slaughter is so appealing? Why have so many participated by either slaughtering the innocent or not fighting against it.  Do you somehow believe that liking a post on Facebook will absolve you of innocent blood? (I really would like to know)  When you stand on judgement day before the throne of God and He ask you why you did nothing what will your answer be?  I could not make folks believe as I do (pat answer).  I did not like it, in fact I like hundreds of post on Facebook against it.  I signed an online petition. I told a friend it was wrong.   I hated those who did it (love your enemy).  What will you say.  It was society, I could not change society (12 did).  Some in our faith have turned the world upside down.   Acts 17:6   And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;

What will you say?  As for me, I want to be able to say I fought hard, even to the shedding of my own blood. (not someone else’s) Our Christ shed His blood, why not I!?!

Why do some believe that others will do it for them? I will give money, now I am absolved of my obligation to my brother and sister (this is a lie).   As easy as this is to swallow, it is wrong and the day will come where you will no longer have that luxury. In fact, the day may be directly upon us.  Heed Joshua’s words  Joshua 24:15 “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

You may not serve the god of the Amorites or the god beyond the River, but if you participate in violence against innocence, you serve a different God then Yahweh.  Do not fool yourselves. Do not allow your brain to trick you into believing that you can serve two masters (yourself and God).  Matt 6:24  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Our God is a Jealous God.  He allows us to have no other master.  Repent today while there is still time.  He is faithful to forgive you.  He will cleanse you from the sin of the destruction of innocence.  If you have participated in the sexual exploiting of others, in abortion, or in any other form of the destruction there is forgiveness.  There is hope.  There is repentance.  Turn from your wickedness and find that Christ has a balm of healing waiting for you.  A salve that He will administer made from His very own healing blood and flesh.  He will apply it liberally as needed and you will be healed.  You will be free from these past sins.  I wish to leave you with this tid bit to chew on: John Newton wrote Amazing Grace.  This song has touched generations of folks around the world, Christian and non Christian alike.  Prior to this, he was the captain of a slave ship and he did horrible things.  He did not hold any value on life nor did he care about innocence.  He only cared about the bottom dollar.  In the end He was redeemed and touched the world to such a degree that few have ever seen.  His act of creation still reverberates today, hundreds of years later.  If there was redemption for him then there is for you as well.  He was a true reprobate and God still loved him.  He murdered and spilled much blood. God still forgave him.  He did his part in enslaving our brothers and sisters, but God brought renewal and for my part I am thankful.  The song Amazing Grace has touched me to my depth over and over again.  To know that God’s grace is all I need.

Here are a few verses for you to peruse.  They will help lead you down the path of Righteousness and build life and holiness within.

Exodus 23.7  Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent or the righteous, for I will not acquit the guilty.

Proverbs 15:17  He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.

Jeremiah 22:3  ‘Thus says the LORD, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

Jeremiah 26:15  “Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves, and on this city and on its inhabitants; for truly the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”

2 Kings 21:16  Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; besides his sin with which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the LORD.

Psalm 106:38  And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood.

Isaiah 59:7  Their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, Devastation and destruction are in their highways.

Joel 3:19  Egypt will become a waste, And Edom will become a desolate wilderness, Because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, In whose land they have shed innocent blood.

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Being Made Perfect Through Suffering (sermon that was preached)

This is a sermon I preached a bit ago.  I wanted to share it please ignore the improper grammar I did not correct it.  I believe the message speaks to trouble we as a world, but even more pointed as THE CHURCH, are going through today.

“Today I want to speak about suffering I want to speak about grace and our need for both.  The question is how do we act in suffering?  Do we accept grace?  Are we willing to follow Christ no matter what?  If the unreasonable is asked of us are we willing to do this?

Suffering is something everyone goes through.  Some go through more than others but it seems that when we are going through suffering no one else can ever understand.  Lets be honest there is nothing new under the sun.  Sorry teenagers we are not able to understand your angst. We were never teens, we never went through hormonal changes and we were never tempted with things that are sinful.  We never had parents who could not understand. And worst of all Our parents had the gall to tell us that we would have to suffer from our own kids in the same way we made them suffer.  Now that is scary.  Teens think about that before you put your parents through anymore suffering.  I learned that lesson the hard way.

Often times we get so lost in our suffering that we are not able to see others and the suffering they are going through.   We often lose perspective.  We get lost in ourselves to the degree we actually get mad at God or even question God’s existence because we do not believe that the suffering is fair or that if God was good we would not go through this.

Lets be honest sometimes the suffering is not fair.  Bad things happen to us to no fault of our own.  It is true sometimes we do not deserve our suffering.  I know an eight year old who suffered through years of molestation by her father she did not deserve that.  BUT sometimes our suffering is fair.  Sometimes we do deserve our suffering.  Have you ever known that person who makes very unwise choices and gets themselves in all kinds of trouble?  I am sure we all have.  Once they get into trouble they go looking for someone to help them.  Someone usually steps up and helps.  Then they are okay for a bit and get right back into trouble again because they just keep making the same unwise choices.  They are suffering a lot due to their own choices.  On top of that those who are helping them are suffering a lot because of the choices they are making.

If you claim to believe that God is who He said He is then does it matter?  I say this because if He is who He says He is then He knows and has allowed the suffering to take place.  He has a purpose for that suffering.  He is trying to accomplish something and this is the only way it can be accomplished.  He needs something from you or out of you or in you and this is the only way to have it done.

Are you willing to accept unfair suffering?  Are you willing to accept a suffering that is on you because of someone else?  Are you?  Are you willing to accept suffering that you have caused yourself?  Are you willing to accept the suffering you deserve? Are you?  

Often people complain that they are suffering but they caused it themselves and they say it is not fair.  Christ suffered.  He did not deserve it.  He did not earn it.  He did  nothing in any way that would justify His suffering.

Are we not supposed to follow the example of Christ?  Are we not to desire to be like Christ?  Are we not to follow the example that Christ shared with us?  

I Peter 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps

Christ who was without sin still had to suffer to be made perfect.  So why do we think we do not need to be made perfect?

Hebrews 2:10 For it is fitting for Him, for whom all things, and through whom are all things, in

bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

I want to bring this to our minds so we can think through this.  If Jesus , who did not sin, had to suffer to be perfected how much more suffering do we need to go through to be like Christ.  Even though He was without sin He still had to be perfected for the purpose of satisfying the offering.  So think of it this way not all imperfection is sin.  I know we often think that all the imperfections in us are sin but that is not true.  Christ’s example is proof of that.  

To understand the concept of Jesus needing to be made perfect and how not all imperfection has to do with sin lets take a look at the military.  When someone joins the military they are sent to boot camp.  The purpose of boot camp is to re-educate someone on how to think how to obey.  If they goof up is that a sin. NO.  If they do not know how they are supposed to act is that a sin. NO.  They are trained this is the purpose of boot camp.  In this way Jesus had to go through training to be prepared for the cross.  Remember He was human he had to learn proper grammar, math, reading and so on.  He was not born with this information.  Was He sinning when he misspelled a word? Or got a math problem wrong?  NO of course not.  In the same way He was not sinning just because He was born not able to die on the cross it was a process.  This process He went through was tough.  It brought a lot of suffering to Him and He learned endurance.  He learned how to endure suffering by keeping in good relation with the Father.  He learned that the more suffering He had the closer to the Father He had to be.  Was it sin that He did not know this?  NO.  How would a 8 year old know this?  It took Him 33 years to be ready to die on the cross.  That was 33 years of preparation for His main purpose death on the Cross.   He suffered through out.  He was our example.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer while delivering a sermon in 1934 entitled “Our God is a suffering God” says this:

“I realize that the concept of our God being a suffering God is to many abhorrent but to me it is beautiful.  It is through suffering that we are able to be made ready for God for heaven for life and for Kingdom building.  How else do we expect to be free from sin free from bondage free from this world and wholly Christ, wholly heaven bound, wholly whole.  Suffering is the vehicle our God has chosen and He is participated in this in that He sent His only begotten Son to  suffer and die for us because of us because of our sin.  Without the suffering there would be no forgiveness no grace no mercy no joy.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man who understood suffering.  He understood what it meant to suffer unjustly.  When he stood up to the Nazis and publicly stated they were evil.  He suffered for that.  He was given the opportunity to leave Germany and escape persecution but chose to stay.  He chose the path of greatest suffering for the purpose of Christ.  In the end he died for his stances but also in the end he gave one of the strongest public examples in the 20th century of suffering for the cross.

There are two types of suffering general suffering and Christian suffering.  General suffering covers all the misery, sickness, pain and death which is part of the human condition.  To some degree we all go through this as did Jesus.   I am sure Jesus had a cold or suffered from allergies or some sort of bodily suffering. General suffering we all partake in is something addressed in:

Galatians 6:2  Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

General suffering gives Christians a great opportunity to help others…. to show the love of Christ without reservation.

It is Christian suffering we must participate in if we are going to follow Christ.  I understand that to some, what I just said is diametrically opposed to what they believe.  They believe that Christians should not suffer and that if we are truly following God all suffering would go away and the only reason we suffer is because of our own sin.  I hope the fact that Jesus had to suffer did not pass you by.  If Jesus had to suffer what sin caused His suffering.  Let me restate this one more time.  We must participate in Christian suffering if we are going to truly follow Christ.  Remember we just read Hebrews and 1 Peter where it clearly states that to follow Christ we will suffer.

Now I know there are folks who hate what I just said but I also know there are folks who know and appreciate what I just said.  Folks who have suffered both of their own accord and from no fault of their own.  They understand suffering.

What is Christian suffering.  This is simple.  Christian suffering is our participation of God’s suffering at the hands of an ungodly world.  The degree we suffer because we identify with God is the degree we participate with Christ in the suffering He had to endure.

Often we ask why is there so much suffering in this world? Fair question.  Oft though we get the pat answer that it is because of sin.  This may be true but it is easy and does not struggle with the very real problem with pain.  This does not struggle with the purpose of suffering.  The answer of “it is because of sin” does not have any struggle in it at all.

We must struggle we must suffer and we must have an answer when someone ask the legitimate question of why is there so much suffering in the world.  I realize that most people will not be satisfied with the answer.  They may not understand your answer.  BUT if your answer comes from the point of being as a result of suffering then it will RING true and they will know that.  Their spirit will testify as to the validity of what you are saying and then a real conversation will be made possible.   Even though often that question is a smoke screen to the real question they have.  The real problem they struggle with and the real reason they do not want to serve God or admit God.  The real question is simple.  Why has there been so much suffering in my life?  They personalize it.   Once someone gets to the point of personalizing their problems then you have made it.  You  now have the opportunity to use that suffering that you have been through to serve someone else.  To help someone else.  To fulfill your Kingdom responsibilities.

People do not want to get to personal.  If they do they will have to address things that they have buried deep.  They will have to face sins they have done and sins that others have done to them.  They will have to come out of the darkness into the full light of day.  Where nothing can hide.  

There are things in life we want to hide from.  We place it up in the proverbial attic way in the back in a box but it is really never gone.  We always know it is there we always are aware that it has some sort of power over us.   That deep in the recesses of who we are there is some evil that has root and is trying to take over.

What do we do?  We hide.  We deny.  We run.  We pretend.  We ??

We need grace.  What is the purpose of grace? unmerited favor to put it simply.    Grace is not easy it is not  a quick prayer one says that will inturn free them from all things that are bothering them.  With grace comes suffering. With grace comes hardship.  This is why so many run from grace.  They run they hide they try their darndest to keep the status quo.   sooner or later it catches up. Grace brings to the forefront all the darkness (thankfully not all at once) and releases you from it.  This is why it is unmerited favor.  You have not earned this but God gives it to you anyways.  The problem comes when you run from it.  When the suffering comes you turn and hide.  You deny.  You pretend.  You do what you have to do so that you can protect yourself how you think you need to be protected. Eventually though it catches up.

Has it ever caught up to you?  Have you been in the deepest darkest night and there it is?  I am sure you understand what I am saying.  That thing that has power over you.  Could it be a lie you spoke?  How about a lie you live?  How about something sexual you have done or something sexual someone else has done to you?  Could it be pride?   Sin brings suffering true even if it is someones elses sin.  You can suffer for someone else’s sin.  

We come back to grace.  Grace is costly and hard.  Easy grace is cheap and has no value.

Dietrich Bonhoefffer states in his book The Cost of Discipleship:

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

From <http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/29333.Dietrich_Bonhoeffer>

When we understand that last sentence “Costly grace is the Incarnation of God” then WOW our lives are about to change.  We are not able to learn that and stay the same.  We are not able to understand that statement and stay the same we must make a decision and that will either draw us nearer God or we will have to turn our back on Him.  There is no in between with God.

When we understand that God considers grace to be costly so much so that He gave us His only begotten Son to die upon a cross.  The death of a criminal.  The death that you and I deserve not the death He deserved.  He did not deserve any death.  Death came as a result of sin the Garden.  The reason Jesus could not be held the in the grave is because He had no sin to hold Him in the grave.   Christ suffered for us so that we can have grace to be forgiven to be freed to be whole.

Grace is not cheap because God is not cheap.  The work that Jesus did is not cheap.  The cross is not cheap.  The  nails in His hands are not cheap.  The nails in His feet are not cheap.  The thorns in His brow are not cheap.  The stripes on His back are not cheap.  The blood He shed is not cheap.  The hatred that was heaped upon Him is not cheap.  The anger that was heaped upon Him is not cheap.   No friends grace is not cheap and it is not easy.  It is hard.  Hard as nails.  Hard as thorns.   Hard as whips.  Hard as flesh being torn from His back.  Grace is hard it brings suffering.  We must participate in His sufferings to find perfection.  To be made perfect we must live in grace.  The beauty is when we find grace…… we find Jesus is there with us.  He shows us the way the path the center. We were lost and He opens the way.  We were blind and He gives us site.   Suddenly the storm the hardness the suffering is not so bad.  His burden is light His yoke is easy.

Okay friends suffering is a must otherwise we would not grow.   We would not change.   We would not be able to be more like Christ.  In the end our Goal is to be more like Christ.  

Lets switch modes for a moment.  When someone has surgery there is pain and suffering involved.  We find this normally acceptable, because the point of the surgery is to fix us.  We are to be made well through this surgery even though it is painful and will often cause a lot of suffering afterwards.

My point here is that suffering is not always bad.  God uses suffering to refine us and do surgery to our lives both physically and spiritually.  God sees us for who we are and He understands the mess we really are.  In fact He understands our mess more than we do.

C.S. Lewis put it true when he said , in his book The problem with Pain, this:

“I have been trying to make the reader believe that we actually are, at present, creatures whose character must be, in some respects, a horror to God, as it is, when we really see it, a horror to ourselves. This I believe to be a fact: and I notice that the holier a man is, the more fully he is aware of that fact.”

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

From <https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2976220-the-problem-of-pain>

Yes our character is a horror to God.  Sin is a horror to God. Our character is racked in sin and needs to be cleansed thoroughly.  Needs to be completely transformed.  We need to be a new creation. The closer one gets to God the more real this is.  The more we understand the necessity to die.  That there is nothing of myself that is good.   Ouch that is hard. Nothing at all.  Nothing.

Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells with in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

Romans 3:10 As it is written “There is none righteous, not even one;

Isaiah 64: 4-9  ….. for all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away……..

Is there any doubt.  We can’t be good enough.  We can’t please God by being good or by doing good or by any means that is within us.

The degree we suffer is directly proportional to the degree we fight God in this process.  There will always be suffering in our lives there will always be pain in our lives.  The more we fight God as He uses this pain and suffering to change us the more pain and suffering we feel.

I say to you today.  One simple thing.  Let go of it.  Let go of having to be right.  Let go of the pain someone else put on you.  Let go of your hidden sin.  Your shame.  Your lies.  So what if others know.  So what if you are embarrassed.  So what.  Truly they have their own shame and guilt to deal with.  They have their own embarrassments to deal with.  You have to stand before God and be judged.  You have to answer for yourself they are not going to pay your penalty for you.  They are not going to hell for you.  Be Honest, Be faithful, Be Honorable.  Let go of it.  Let it all out.  Do not hold back be FREE,

I say to you today what Joshua said to the children of Israel thousands of years ago.

Joshua 24:15 “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

God gives this to you today.  Choose make that choice.  No longer sit on the fence but choose you today whom you shall serve.  Do not allow suffering to sway you but grab on with both hands and be excited about what God is doing.

there is an Old Negro spiritual and it makes a simple and pure statement :

Free at Last

Free at Last

Thank my God I am Free at last.

 

Who wants this freedom?”

The Three Most Holy Days for Christians (part 2 of 3)

This post is going to go over Good Friday.   The first question is what is Good Friday?   This is an easy one.  Good Friday is the day Jesus was crucified read Matthew 27: 33-56 for the story.  The hard question is “Why is it called good?”

The answer is simple yet incredibly hard to accept.   Forgiveness.  That is the simple answer what makes it hard is that Jesus had to die so we could get forgiveness.  So the reason a sinless man was on the cross was exactly because He was sinless.  Our sin needed to be forgiven (so we put Him there) and this was the only way to do that.

In the Old Testament of the Bible God instituted a sacrificial system.  Ancient Israel would sacrifice lambs, bulls, birds and so forth as per the instructions from God.  The reason was simple any sin brought guilt on someone and the penalty of death.  God clearly stated that the penalty for sin is death, due to this God instituted the sacrificial system using the blood of animals instead of our own.  (this is called blood guilt)  The problem with the sacrificial system is the blood of animals did not take away the sins only covered them up.  This allowed God to not destroy humanity because of sin.  This did not solve the problem with sin it only put a band aide on it.  The true problem solver was Jesus.  When Jesus was born this was His purpose and only purpose.  There was  no other reason to come He was to provide a way for true forgiveness of sins and not just a covering of our sins.  This means that when Jesus the Christ forgives us our sins then they are gone.  As far as the east is from the west.  They are remembered no more and God the Father only sees the payment that Jesus made and then looks to us and says welcome good and faithful servant.  (even though some of us are not so faithful He sees us this way anyways)

The reason this day is Holy is simple this is the day Jesus voluntarily gave up His life.  He could have said no.  He could have called down angels and wiped out all the Roman and Jewish cohorts who had Him there.  He could have just walked off the cross and became God in front of everyone and everyone would have believed.  This is not what He wanted.  He wants us to make a choice.  He wants us to have faith. He wants us to live knowing there will be proof other than a personal relationship.  So each person has to find that proof themselves.  Science will never prove nor disprove God.  Philosophy will never prove nor disprove God.  Only in a personal relationship can we find proof that we will ever accept.

I want to address what would have happened if Jesus actually did not go through with it.  Remember in the garden He asked the Father to allow this to pass and lets try something different.  The Father said no.  Now Jesus being God could have done what He wanted to He could have said yes and not have gone through this.  What would have happened.  Honestly, this would have been absolute proof that He was not who He said He was.   In other words God will never be untrue to who He is and thusly even if everything else was just right and in the end He did  not follow through He would not have been who He said.  Thank fully He did go through this.  If He had not we would not have forgiveness.  We would not have someone else pay our debt a debt mind you that we are not able to pay.

Lets tie this together now.  Jesus had to die in fact if you read the Bible you will find that He knew this even before creation was made.  He decided to make creation anyways.  He had love for us even before we were created.  That love was their even knowing what we would do, say, think and so on.  He knew how often we would fail.  He knew how often we would really hurt those around us.  How often we would do things to ourselves that are just wrong.  He knew all this and decided to do it anyways because of love.

This is simply and explanation.  There are hundreds of Bible passages that relate to this and when I get to this section under my Systematic Theology section I will explore this in its entirety.  Thanks for your understanding as to why that is not done here.

Thankfully though the story does not stop there.  Be ready for part 3 next.

Why Jesus had to die (part B)

jesus-on-the-cross-at-sunset

I realize that part A was replete with words and actually said everything that was needed.  I also wonder if I should just leave it as it is.  I think to myself when something is said why expound on it?  Why make it wordier then it need be?  I guess my answers is I think what I am about to say needs to be said as well and since it ties in with what was already said then I guess I am making it part B. (or I just like to read my own thoughts not really sure which)

Jesus had to die because of sin.  Revelations 13:8 shows us that even before the foundations of the Earth was laid Jesus was slain.  In other words even before God made everything that is He knew Jesus would have to die, His only Son.  He did this anyways in order that His justice, His righteousness, all His immutable qualities may be made manifest to all even to the angels and the fallen angels. God whole purpose is that we may have opportunity to have a relationship with Him and live eternally in Heaven.

Lets step back and go to the beginning.  Adam was in the garden of Eden (paradise).  God told Adam to eat anything there except the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said if you do this you will surely die.  The punishment for SIN is death.  God made that clear in the beginning.  The natural question that arises is why put the tree of knowledge of good and evil even in the Garden?  Glad you asked that is a great question.  God did not want people who served Him because they had to He wanted folks to serve Him because they chose to.  The only way to do that is to have an opportunity to choose to not serve God.

The problem is Adam and Eve decided to eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now SIN has entered and death came not only to mankind but also to the animal kingdom.  Remember Adam and Eve realized they were naked.  They tried to hide themselves with fig leaves (fig leaves can be rather large) and they hid from God due to their nakedness.  At this point God questioned them and in the end it came to Him killing an animal to make clothing for both Adam and Eve.  Mans SIN affected more then just himself it also affected the animals, the earth and everything that lives.

As SIN goes it grew more and more.  People continued to sin and they offered sacrifices to God to seek forgiveness and to have their SINS covered.  The problem was the sacrifices offered were only putting a bandage on a gaping wound.  It helped but radical surgery was needed and man was not able to do it themselves.  God proved this where He held Jesus back 1000’s of years to give man the chance to serve God and in doing this God proved that man was always going to SIN and that man needed help.

Enters Jesus.  Jesus came with the express purpose to help man fix the broken relationship with God.  He did this knowing He would be the ultimate sacrifice.  The one fix that is permanent and would always satisfy.  In fact Jesus sacrifice did not cover up SIN as the old sacrificial system did but His sacrifice actually took the SIN away.

This is incredible because now we have the ability to go boldly to God and we can do so in a state like Adam had prior to his SIN.

Jesus knew when He created everything that He would have to go through this but He chose to do it anyways.  He knew that His death would be painful and His suffering would be great but He chose to do it anyways.  Creation was created for the express purpose of showing Gods love to all of creation.

Now we have this benefit and look forward to an even greater benefit in the after life.

There will be more in my Systematic Theology section when the time comes.  Stay tuned for more.

Forgiveness (where would we be without it)

forgiveness

forgiveness (Photo credit: cheerfulmonk)

I am going to change my format a bit.  What I mean by this is that I am going to talk a bit more about the topics in hope that I can get some feed back.  So far I have had people like my stuff and read it.  I was hoping for more feed back since my end goal is to publish this work so that others can learn and know about Christ while at the same time not using jargon or Christianeze. Forgiveness.  I think the statement says a lot “Where would we be without it.”

Secular and Religious folk agree that with out forgiveness we have a very mentally (and physically) unhealthy people.  Our mental health has a very strong effect on our physical health.  As a Christian I take it even further.  I believe without forgiveness we will have a society that is trapped in anger, bitterness, revenge and justice without mercy.  How can we have a proper society with out mercy and with out forgiveness.

As a Christian we have firm beliefs that everyone (literally everyone) needs to be forgiven.  Our God Himself teaches us in our Scripture Mathew 6:12 that we are to ask for our forgiveness from God and in turn God expects us to, in the same way as we expect from him, forgive others.  Mathew 6:14 says the same thing if you forgive others their sins then our Father in heaven will forgive give us our sins.  This very concept is played out in Scripture over and over again it is a basic tenant of our faith that we need forgiveness and we need to forgive.

Romans 3:23 states that everyone has sinned so everyone needs forgiveness.  As a Christian I firmly believe there is not one person who does not need to be forgiven.   I believe that all humans understand that.

The question to ask is what is forgiveness?  How does it look?  How does it feel?  Why should I forgive someone else? (they do not deserve it).  These are all great questions and all valid.

The dictionary standard definition is simple “to pardon an offense or offender, to cancel a debt” while these are good and proper on the day to day level they are hard to do.  The Christian concept of forgiveness takes it to a whole different level.  As a Christian I will define it differently or maybe it is better to say I define it at a higher level.

When God forgives He also forgets, He also removes that sin from us and gives us real freedom from it.  I think we can all understand how things we do wrong can stay with us even if we quit doing it.  For some reason that thing we did wrong seems to have power over us.  Forgiveness takes that power away.  James 5:16 states that we need to confess our sins to one another so that we may be healed.  To obtain forgiveness we need to confess our sins and that action of verbally confessing our sins can take away the power it has over our lives and we can be free.  The reason he says confess to one another is because as Christians we can understand and sympathize with the other so that as God has forgiven us we can share that same life experience with others and they can find the healing of forgiveness from God.

From the Christian perspective when God forgives us that sin (wrong doing) is no longer there it will no longer be held against us.  Of course as Paul states in Romans 6:1 we can not continue in that sin which grace has brought forgiveness for.

I see I just introduced a new thought one of grace and how it works in tandem with forgiveness.  This can be a long topic and I think I will have a different post regarding how each one of these themes work together in synergy to bring about a whole Christian and a mature Christian.

I believe most people get the basic concept of forgiveness it is easy to understand and since there is no one who has not done something wrong we all understand that we all need it.  The problem comes with the implementation and how that works out in day to day life.  This is where it gets personal.

I will say a quick prayer before going further since this is a very difficult subject to breech and to tackle.   …….  Okay done.

The next question to tackle here is “Why should I forgive someone else?”  This is valid.  There are people that most would say do not deserve forgiveness.  They have done some very horrible things such as molesting children, raping people, murder and so on.  There are things so horrible that we can not think of forgiveness.  Why should we?  Wow the answer is not easy and many will disagree with me.

Here I go.  I think everyone should have the opportunity for forgiveness.  I remember when James Dobson interviewed Ted Bundy.  People were saying that there is no forgiveness for Ted Bundy. He does not deserve it.  I would agree that he does not deserve it.  I would also agree that I do not deserve it.  Folks this is hard to accept but I have to believe it to be true that when God says the only unforgivable sin is that of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit that is the only unforgivable sin.  I am not saying that Ted Bundy and for that matter anyone should not be held responsible for what they have done that is wrong.  As far as humans go it was correct to sentence him to death.  He earned that from his actions.  In the whole of eternity God has His own plan and if Ted Bundy was honest (I am not so sure he is able to be honest) and actually accepted Christ then he will be in heaven (or as some think maybe a type of purgatory).

Christ Himself states in the Lords prayer for me to receive the forgiveness of God that I need to also forgive.  If I hold it back then so will He.  Matthew 18:21-35 a great parable about forgiveness.  I would not want to be the servant who did not show mercy and forgiveness.

Okay all this is getting to long for one post this may not be the best place to stop but I will continue the second piece later this week.