Category Archives: Forgiveness

Forgiveness – a debt we can never repay

In 1945, to save Great Britain from bankruptcy, the United States loaned them $4.34 Billion.  In 1950 Great Britain began repaying the loan on an annual basis.  Every year but six afterwards she made the payment.  In 2006, she transferred the last $84 million to the U.S. Treasury.

Paid in full.  Though America could never repay the English for standing alone and absorbing the shock of powerful Hitler armies since 1940.  But from a financial standpoint, Britain repaid her debt.  Which could be done.

Some debts soar far beyond our ability to repay, though no higher than our need of resources.  Forgiveness of sin is the ultimate example of that.  How can we ever, in this world or the next, find a way to repay Jesus for removing our sins and bestowing eternal life on us?  When do we say to God, “We’re paid up.  Make no more demands.”  When can we read our spiritual balance sheet and find we’ve finally given God the obedience necessary to discharge our debt?

Interestingly, the $3.4 B loan to Britain in 1945 doubled the production of their entire economy.  God’s grace to us in Christ infinitely exceeds any production, any service, any financial gift we give to him.  Throughout a lifetime and expanded eternally, no matter.  Saved mortals can never repay the “debt of love” we owe.

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Forgiveness – the second chance – Part III

Every mortal reaching the age of accountability becomes a sinner, the result of the old Adam and Eve complex.  Jesus Christ offered himself as the Sole and Only Perfect sacrifice for sin.  That sacrifice, once personally accepted through faith, repentance, confession and baptism, forgives every sin committed prior to accepting Jesus and qualifies us for a second chance with God.

That blessing has three meanings:  First, God hides his face from our sins, not from us.  Second,  we have but One second chance, which we activate repeatedly with every repentance expressed.  Third, in this Finale, God expects forgiveness of sin to be followed by a new life.  As Jesus said to the adulteress in John 8:11, “Then neither do I condemn you…Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Jesus said what he meant, to her and to us.  Once forgiven, God expects us to progressively build Christ’s nature in us.  Then God can systematically exercise the Savior’s resurrection Power in us instead of his Saving Grace.  Though we’re often more like the American soldier during the battle of Aachen, Germany in WWII.  He repeated the experience of many GI’s.  He finally got the shower he had longed for:  hot water, soap, shampoo.  He stood under the flow as long as allowed.  He repeatedly shampooed his hair and soaped his body, rinsing and re-applying.  He wanted to get the stink of war off his body and head, the mud of war out of his mind, the horror of war out of his soul.

Then…because he had no alternative, he pulled on the old mud-caked, foul-smelling clothes and went back to war.

In direct contradiction of our Lord’s command, too many believers go directly from repentance into repeated sin.  From the chance to live anew in Christ’s image to the more comfortable Adam-complex.  From Spirit-directed habits to fleshly-satisfying cravings.

We must stop behaving this way.  And the only way to stop denying the purpose of our forgiveness is to STOP it!  To make it our determination, under God, to build Christ-directed thoughts in our mind which, practiced long enough, will become Christ-honoring behavior.

In 2006 Great Britain repaid the last of the $4.34 billion loan America extended in 1945.  That loan prevented national financial collapse in England.  She began repaying the loan in 1950.  In 2006 she transferred the last $84 million payment to the U.S. Treasury.  Debt paid in full.

Which no believer can ever say:  “God, I’m paid up.”  We can never repay to Jesus the debt we owe for saving us.  The best we can do is to give the Holy Spirit the right to keep developing Jesus Christ in our minds and hearts.  But we must do that.   Nothing less!  Fini

 

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New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

Forgiveness – the second chance – Part II

To have a second chance with God, we must admit we’ve blown our original chance.  Which everyone of accountable age has Romans 3:9-18.  Jesus alone provides us with the second chance through his sacrifice at Calvary.  But what are some practical meanings of his forgiveness?  Consider two of three.

First, it means that God hides his face from our sins, not from us.  In a sense, God has a paper shredder in his mind when we confess our sins.  Environmental companies have machines that chew to bits most anything we no longer want or need:  glass, plastic, electronics, concrete and  Taylor-made golf balls and shoes.  Whatever is shredded into bits by a machine is then compressed into bales that, recycled, comes back in another form.

Nothing God forgives ever comes back in another form.  It vanishes like a TV screen one instant bright with life, then in the next suddenly dark, with no image.  When God forgives, the sins confessed are gone.  Since they are, he won’t let Satan disinter them from the grave where God buried them.  God won’t have us casting a line to retrieve any he’s cast into the deepest sea.  If God forgets our sins, we don’t have to remember them!  We dare not live shackled inside sins God has banished!

Second, it means that we have only ONE second chance with God, because one is all we need.  We instinctively think we’ve exhausted second, third, fourth, maybe 10 million second chances with God’s forgiveness.  As if God piles all our sins up somewhere, covered by a blanket with FORGIVEN marked on it.  That would remind us HOW MUCH we have sinned and HOW MUCH grace God has expressed.

Scripture, however, stresses the removal of all past sins once we accept Christ as Savior, which Paul related to baptism in Romans 6.  Once restored to God’s grace, forgiveness comes on a prayer of repentance, as I John 1:9 says.

The point is:  Repentance of any sin after baptism takes us all the way back to our original purity after baptism—not to our latest sin.  That means the Second Chance continues to repeat itself continually every time we repent.  We’re always one repentance away from our original purity.  That means each sin is gone, forgotten, erased as if it never happened.  End Part II

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New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

Forgiveness – the second chance, Part I

Sunday, 1 January, 2017.  The first Lord’s Day of the New Year; the first one as the beginning of our 17th year in century 21.  What it holds, no one can say.  What we hope it holds depends on the values and aspirations we embrace.  What God’s people certainly know it includes are God’s sovereignty over the entire year; Christ’s control of all its events; God’s will in Christ being done, whatever the opposition; Our personal importance to God, however anonymous we may be; Our forgiveness, freeing us to live Christ’s righteousness.

We accept two facts in order to live in that freedom.  First, that we all are sinners before God.  ALL, as in every person of accountable age.  ALL in that group, none exempted.  ALL, none excused.

It’s estimated that only 20% of those needing help with problems they can’t resolve seek it.  Though 100% of people of accountability exist as sinners, far fewer than 20% admit their inexcusable betrayal of God’s holiness and word.  I mean Really, in-down-deep guilt, admit they fall under God’s wrath.  Many continue to believe that, bad as they may be, God will not condemn them.  They need to understand:  no one can be found by Christ’s grace until he admits he’s lost without Christ’s grace.

Second, Jesus has paid our sins by becoming sin on Calvary II Corinthians 5:21.  God counted only Jesus worthy to pay such a price to achieve such an end.  While we may know that intellectually, the next blog explores HOW MUCH it means.  End Part I

  

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

 

 

Forgiveness – of others necessary

In July 1836, seven years before his death, Andrew Jackson was baptized into the Nashville Presbyterian Church.  He said he would have done it much earlier but feared it would be seen as a political strategy.  (Note:  the least excuse is no worse than the best reason anyone gives for not having his sins forgiven.  That issue is so important to sinners that nothing should ever be used to delay it.)

As his biographer said, Life of, p. 733, Jackson’s hardest challenge in repentance was to forgive his enemies.  Furthermore, he qualified even that by saying he would forgive his enemies.  He would never forgive anyone who slandered his wife Rachel.

Old Hickory didn’t pay attention to Jesus in Matthew 18:21-35.  If we want to enter Judgment holding grudges against those who offend us, we can.  Or holding grudges against someone who offended a loved one, we can.  Either way, Jesus warns that we will be forgiven our sins only if we forgive all offenses, ALL, nothing held in reserve against offenders.

Why would any of us not forgive offenses against us when forgiveness of our sins gives us a new chance with God AND with each other?  We really are spiritual idiots, you know!

Note:  Computer down, back up again, I hope to stay.

 

Forgiveness – the word that frees

It had lasted 443 interminable days:  Americans in captivity, held hostage by Iranian terrorists.  An incompetent rescue attempt had failed, and the nation had grown weary of our helplessness against Islamic intractability.  Then, suddenly and dramatically, it all changed, and they were on their way to West Germany.  On the CBS Evening News that night, January 20, 1981, one word told it all.  It appeared as a graphic on the American flag behind anchorman Dan Rather.  Just one word, but it was enough.  A single word, but it shouted the emotional release we all shared that night.  That word was FREE!

When Herbert Philbrick appeared before the Un-American Committee, he took refuge in FIVE words:  The Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Considered as a communist stooge, he really served as an FBI informant all those years.

Words have meaning, especially Bible names and words, however few or many are used.  God called Hosea to marry Gomer, and she bore three children.  God ordered them called by names which indicated Israel’s alienation from grace and his refusal to any longer consider them his children.  Israel’s sins had grown beyond the forgiveness that reaches out to forgive even the worst of sins and sinners.

Our words don’t carry the weight of Bible words, but they’re heavy enough to give us pause.  They often tell more about us than our looks.  Profane words instantly show little love for God.  Careless words often show little respect for others.  Words can heal or hurt, win or repel people.

Speaking of single words that soothe and caress us, consider FORGIVENESS.  We could write pages full of our sins, mistakes, failures, broken promises, etc.  The weight of them all would depress and intimidate us.  But once we scrawl over them all FORGIVEN, our burden lifts, our guilt vanishes, our loneliness flees. Thank God in Christ for his forgiveness of all our sins, in all their forms and disguises.

Forgiveness – needed, not deserved

Jesus taught the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector to stress the only acceptable approach sinners can have to be forgiven Luke 18:9-14.  The Pharisee failed to receive it while The Publican achieved it.  The attitude each broughtto the subject determined the outcome.  The Pharisee thought he had the right to be forgiven; the Publican knew he had none.

We can’t deserve God’s forgiveness.  We have no right to expect his forgiveness.  Why should God forgive?  Who can expect God to forgive?  Who would dare consider himself worthy of forgiveness?

Shakespeare’s Coriolanus insightfully recorded it.  Menenius said that the banished warrior would have to be merciful before Rome had any hope.  Cominius replied, who could ask for it?  Not the Tribunes:  they had banished him.  Not the people:  they affirmed the Tribunes’ decision and deserved no more pity from him than the wolf from a shepherd.  Not his best friends:  they had been silent against the false charges filed.

So say we all of the Father in Heaven.  Unless he has mercy, we’re all undone, condemned, punished, damned!  As helpless sinners, we can only “knee our way” to him and plead for grace.  We can naturally demand nothing, expect nothing, and hope for nothing but mercy.  The least candidate for God’s forgiveness is the person who thinks he deserves it.  Indeed, never come to God seeking his justice or our rights.  We aren’t equipped to be heard in that mode, let alone answered.

Forgiveness – baseless excuses why we don’t offer

We say, “He did it deliberately.”  Consider a correcting example from the American Revolution.  On his retreat from Bemis Heights, British General Johnny Burgoyne ruthlessly ordered American General Philip Schuyler’s house burned.  When Burgoyne later surrendered, Schuyler welcomed him to his Albany home.  The Britisher couldn’t believe the largesse.  The man he had so unnecessarily injured extended such kindness.  The American replied, “That is the fate of war,” and wanted nothing more said about it.

And we would not consider forgiveness since the offense against us was intentional and cruel?

We say, “the offense was too great.”  Consider a correcting example from WW II.  When Allied liberators saw the horrifying conditions Allied POW’s had experienced in the Kwai death camps, they wanted to shoot the Japanese on the spot.  As Ernest Gordon wrote in Through the Valley of the Kwai, 230 intervention by the victims saved the offenders.  The captors were spared by the captives.  The very men Japanese guards had brutalized forgave them.  Those men had been converted to Jesus Christ during their captivity!

And we think others have committed so heinous an offense it would be unforgiveable?

Indeed, God Almighty, the most sinned against person in history, ORIGINATED forgiveness.   Knowing we wouldn’t seek it, he nevertheless provided it.  Knowing that we would find ways to excuse or forget our guilt, he gave the ONLY way we can have it removed.  First through the Mosaic sacrifice of animals and ultimately and perfectly through the Master’s sacrifice on Calvary.

According to Paul’s instructions in Colossians 3:13, offended Christians must take the initiative in forgiving the offender.  We often say, “if he asks, I’ll extend forgiveness.”  That betrays the gracious nature of Jesus Christ’s forgiveness at Calvary Luke 23:34.  Since he offered grace to sinners, how can we withhold grace from offenders?

Forgiveness – appreciation of demands guilt

At the evening meal hosted by Simon the Pharisee, Luke 7:36-50, a woman walked off the streets into an assembly where the only women were servants, and where she knew herself a trespasser.  Intently winding among the couches, and hardly able to contain her emotions, she stopped where Jesus reclined.  There she found refuge from protesting male glares.  There, as if by invitation, her reserve vanished, out from her eyes a flood poured, and she bent to wash Christ’s bare feet.  Shamelessly performing a shameful act, she unbound her hair, turned her head and wiped his feet with her long tresses.  Then she cupped his feet in her hands and tenderly kissed them.  Taking a cruse of perfume from the folds in her garment, she poured the contents and gently massaged it ankles to toes.

The Pharisee read transgression of tradition in her behavior; Jesus unconditional affection for guilt removed.  Perhaps Jesus hadn’t known it, but, in the crowds listening, this once anonymous face had absorbed his teaching on God’s forgiveness.  She opened herself to it, and it revolutionized her life.

Sensitive to the many ways people signify a change in life’s direction, Jesus instinctively understood and honored her act.  He used it to teach a great lesson:  we’ll love God to the degree we think he’s forgiven us.  If we have any feeling of goodness, our love will be less.  If we understand that our sins are great, and that Jesus alone makes possible our freedom, nothing he asks in return will be excessive; we’ll seek ways to express our appreciation; anything will be the least we can do for him.

How much sin has Jesus removed from us?  Our response to the demands of discipleship reveals the answer.  Yet…only admitting great sin removed approximates the woman’s act of appreciation.

Forgiveness—and the change needed in

As any soldier in the front lines knows, a combatant cannot keep clean, or even think of it, while fighting.  On rare occasions he withdraws from the lines to shower and shave.  One soldier in the battle of Aachen in1944 told of standing in line for the shower, then standing in the shower as long as possible.  He washed again and again, rubbing the soap into his skin, hoping to get the dirt and stench out.  Then, clean and fragrant, he stepped from the shower into the same filthy clothes and made his way back to the same muddy foxhole.  Bloody Aachen, p. 108

As Isaiah 31:6-7 stressed, God wanted to forgive Israel.  He didn’t delight in condemning them.  Heaven rejoiced whenever a single sinner repented.  Unworthy as Israel was, God loved her.  And, though offended by her flagrant wickedness, God took the initiative and offered forgiveness, a magnanimous gesture only he could make.

That forgiveness exacted a demand in the forgiven:  they had to abandon idolatry and serve God alone.  No more could they live as before.  Neither can we.  After forgiveness is experienced, we must display a change in attitude, lifestyle and behavior.  Yet, how many times we, like that soldier, walk fresh from God’s forgiveness and climb right back into the old way of life!