Always Ready: Helping pre-Christians understand how God really forgives
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My friend Kay demonstrated grace to me as I humbled myself and told her the truth. And you know what? I found a new internal motivation and lost some of that weight.
What the law could not do grace did. I fast twice a week. I pay tithes of all I get. For everyone who exults himself shall be humbled but he who humbles himself shall be exulted. If we refuse to humble ourselves and receive His grace, then there is no relationship.
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As we come to the Lord and tell Him how we are falling short in those areas then He will meet us in that need with His grace. God is not demanding that we change ourselves. Instead He asks us to come to Him in honesty and faith, and cast all our cares on Him. The Pharisees tried hard to be holy, to keep the law, but their motivation was to impress others. We need to come in truth and humility. Some years ago, a young woman came up to me at the end of a seminar.
Her face looked full of darkness and she seemed very weighed down and condemned. As we began to talk, I realized that Christ was in her life, but she had a habit in her life that she was very ashamed of. She had tried and tried to get rid of it, but to no avail. And when this thing happened she felt awful, and she felt condemned. I explained to her that Satan loves for us to sin and he loves to beat us over the head with it and to condemn us. And I asked her if she had ever brought it to the Lord. And she said no. She was so ashamed of it that she had never brought it to the Lord.
Lord, I thank you that You love me. Lord, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all sin. Lord, I acknowledge my sin, but I cannot do otherwise unless you enable me. Will you do in me and through me by Your Spirit what I cannot do for myself? I prayed with her and together we thanked God for His grace and peace.
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It was very evident to me that she wanted to turn and repent of this sin and she had. A couple months later I got a note from her because I asked her to write me to let me know how she was. We must take God at His Word that His grace is there, in order to be able to receive it. We have to respond to God with an answering trust.
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And He will act. If I can know that God is absolutely trustworthy, if I can know that His love is absolutely real, that His kindness is utterly sincere, that His concern for me really does mean an abundant life, then He will do what is His very nature to do.
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He will reach me way down deep where I really live. His grace can transform me. It can touch the very deepest motivating drives of my heart and He can make me a new person. And this is the very thing that God is committed to doing for us. I will be their God, and they will be my people. But it needs to be understood that this change does not happen all at once. It is a process. We come to the Lord in our weakness, in our inability, in our sin and in our failure.
God Does Not Forgive Excuses
We choose to believe His love and ability to change us, as we rest in His grace. The result is that we grow. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired men.
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He was truthful when he came back to the father. But you know what? The older brother who chastised the father for extending grace to this son represents legalism. But the father still loved that prodigal son no matter what he had done. A relationship with God is more powerful than the law. Satan would rather have us be connected to the law in legalism so we will walk around guilty and condemned all the time.
The Spirit filled life is moment-by-moment realizing His grace. The Spirit filled life is acknowledging it when I fail and keep bringing it back to God. It is when we take personal responsibility for our sin, and ask God to change us that brings the growth. On the cross, Jesus died for our sin, for our badness. We were guilty and He paid for the guilt.
When we confess our sins, we are taking care of what is wrong and what the cross already pays for. Being a man or woman of God is a matter of being humble and truthful about our sin and accepting His grace and growing.
But rather we are loved and we receive His grace so we can change, grow and be good. To grow we must hold a commitment to what is true. Knowing we are fully loved and accepted by Him, He calls us to come to Him with everything so that He can help us experience freedom John and a more abundant life John I remember a young woman who came to me for counsel. She was full of condemnation and incredible fear and humiliation. The reason she was feeling this way was because she had been involved in immorality. She was caught in a web and she was afraid to tell anyone because she was afraid of rejection.
With her head lowered she blurted out the whole story. She was truly remorseful about her sin. She was repentant. In my presence, she confessed her sin to the Lord and she received His forgiveness and His grace. She told me later that when she came she was in an internal emotional prison. And what she found when she came, instead of rejection, was love and acceptance of her.
A few months later I received a letter. I had a sense of freedom and freshness. It was what you did. It was who you were. You demonstrated His love and acceptance and forgiveness to me. But it felt safe because she was accountable to the person who had extended grace. She went on to get additional help and came to understand her own needs more. He was a refugee. The world I was dreaming about was not the world my church was dreaming about. You realize it is not good news at all if you are just baptizing certain inequalities or biases.
I worship like one, I talk like one. But I love the community that raised me. A lot of evangelical parents are judged by the successful transmission of values to their children. I am very excited to vote for Andrew Gillum. It is not that you have conservative evangelicals suddenly becoming liberal. My parents are very much among the white evangelical demographic that voted for Trump, and still proudly support him.
What Does the Bible Say about Forgiveness?
Last year I was in the car with my mom and her husband. Trump had said something. It was five minutes. I am a devout believer of Jesus, but I voted for Hillary Clinton because I believed she would be a good leader for this country. Politics is more than just one issue, we have to look at all aspects of each candidate and discern who could represent us best.