When it comes to the ex-felons and sex offenders in this society, there is not much forgiveness. When Christians hail the fact that the tenet of their faith encompasses forgiveness, it is withheld among those two groups and of course, among others.
If the truth were known many of us would be charged with a crime only we were never found out.
And thus we ask the question: what is greater among a Christian: Justice or Mercy? Certainly, the champion among Christians would desire Mercy. Especially when it comes to our own fate.
When we want people to change and then change the rules for them: we make it impossible for one to gain a job or even live in a particular neighborhood, where is the forgiveness, the new chance?
Folks. This is what forgiveness is all about. I charge that if you can’t forgive them, when then, do you expect God to forgive you?
In Christianity, if you commit one sin you are guilty of them all. And the wages of Sin is death.
How much so, then are we to forgive even as our Lord has forgiven us?
Bring it to your heart to forgive. Bring it to task to actively reach out to those who desire a new life in Christ the same as you and me.
Before throwing stones, examine your own life and see where you might be charged.
If there are those among you who are sinless, then I’ll listen to you.
My encouragement to you is to: Forgive.
Recognizing that we are sinners is the first step in coming to God. Being a sinner simply means that you are human. You were born that way. It doesn’t mean you are to stay that way, but only that you were born in to sin because of Adam, the first man.
The second Adam, Jesus provides an exit from sinner into forgiveness. Insomuch we are called out of sin, we are to become like Jesus as much as possible.
Jesus, an innocent man, came to the earth in the flesh so that he might dwell with people like you and me. He forfeited his life so that we might live beyond the grave.
Yet another important feature of Christ coming to earth is that we might begin the new life here while still in our flesh. This is only a beginning.
In reality there has only been one true Christian, and that was Jesus the Christ. We are to attempt to be like him, but this is in fact, not attainable.
To sin simply means to miss the mark. Clearly, we are to aim for the target which is righteousness, but because of our inherited flaws, we miss more often than not.
Aiming for the mark is our efforts to strive to be holy. Yet, holy we are not. In this regard, in particular, it would seem those who teach to be holy are more holy than the rest. This is simply not true. More than likely, no one is more holy than you.
Much guilt is experienced by those who feel others are better than themselves. However, in standing before Christ, we are all sinners, made clean only because of Him standing in the Gap before our glorious Creator.
Other than attempting to do what is right, we have the scriptures to guide us. Beyond that, most of us really don’t know and must rely on faith.
Don’t let anyone claim to know, for they don’t. They too, must rely on faith for all of that which is not explained, and much is simply not known.
When it all comes out in the wash, I am the same as you. I believe, I act and then again I pray the same as you. Yet, I don’t know any more than the next guy. My faith also must be what sustains me. Between now and then at the end, we rely on our savior and our friend, the Christ.
The issue at Easter is not whether or not God is alive, but the significance of His Son, Jesus who died on the Cross. Moreover, even more important than the Cross, is its total significance: what happens later: his miraculous rising from the dead.
Debating the horrendous treatment, crucifixion of many Jews and rebellious groups by the Romans is more than well document. Those things happened, often unto thousands.
Thus, dying on the Cross is one sacrifice the Christ made for us, but the hope is that his promise for eternal life was made sealed with his reappearance from the grave after three days.
Anyone knows these events happened a long time ago, around 2,000 years ago. For this day, and as a monument to Christ who established His church we should testify today that His spirit is demonstrated even today by virtue of the Holy Spirit that dwells in his church members.
Not only is it important that Christ, an innocent man died for us, but that now: all of the world should now see God because of us. How is this possible?
Actually, there is nothing strange about this. Christ was our example: in obedience to his Word we should be beacons of light by word and by action. The two should flow together. There should be nothing unnatural about this and all that we do should also be in accordance with what Christ said and did when he was present on this earth.
So then: what should we say and do?
We should Forgive and teach forgiveness
We should love and teach love
We should love our neighbor as our self and teach the same
We should seek justice, mercy, kindness, possess a sense of giving, caring, and teach the same.
Our natural characteristics should be one that loves our God with all our heart, mind, body and soul. And we should teach the same.
Somewhere in celebrating Easter, we should remember why our Lord saved us to begin with. However, one thing is not in dispute: because of our sinful ways, Christ at least offered salvation for those who abandoned their natural selves and those who desired a new spirit, one after God. We call those people Christians.
Over 70% of the New Testament have been attributed to Paul the Apostle. Anyone with any bible studies knows Paul didn’t write all the scriptures attributed to him.
As importantly, or even more importantly, it seems rare that sermons are preached on the very words that Christ is known to have preached.
There seems a concentration on the Old Testament, Paul and the Book of Revelation. As important as all these books are: I suggest we look at what Christ had to say.
In particular, Christ proclaimed himself as the Son of God, the Son of Man, and as He who gave Life.
Christ told us to forgive, to love, to yield, to perform services to others. In short, he proclaimed that we should reduce ourselves in or to be great with or among God.
Paul has his stripes and for that, I read every word that he says: Yet, it was Christ that died for our sins.
For those of us, we await for the return of our Lord, the Christ. In Paul, he grants us understanding. In the absence of Paul, we have our Savior who stands alone on the cross, who died, and who arose after three days.
Aside from Paul, I see where there is no way I can do what Christ has commissioned with all his ways. I gain hope, that all things are possible with God. In Paul, I am granted an explanation.
One often overlooked fact is that Jesus came to this earth in the flesh as a fully developed human. It might be easily said that for Him to overcome temptation was an easy matter, but with a human mind, human emotions, it was probably even more difficult as he had direct access to his father and his father’s mind.
Luke’s account tell us that Jesus tells his disciples to buy swords, but then they produced two which he says is enough.
When Peter produces a sword at the Garden of Gethsemane, cuts off an ear, Jesus heals the ear and tells Peter to put away the sword.
Perhaps earlier, the human side of Jesus begs God to conquer the oppressors of the time, yet, Jesus also states that God’s will be done and not his.
In other words, Jesus was tempted. Easily, he could have proclaimed himself King of the Earth and established himself at the moment, only he didn’t yield to this temptation and suffered the consequences of crucifixion for the sake of mankind. This was a most difficult decision. As a man, he knew all could be ended easily by his spoken word, yet instead, Jesus trusted his Father and His Father’s decision to decide how it would be ended.
And this is one major difference between the Son of Man and Us. We probably would have been eager to have done it our way. In the End, the glorious Savior, the Son of Man, the Christ chose to die so that all might live. Praise be his Holy Name, the Christ.
What do you do when after all your prayers, you don’t find your answer? The answer is: you are screwed. Why lie about the almighty? There are many times when we simply don’t know. Yes, those of the cloth will come up with something, but the truth is: we simply don’t know.
I have prayed and have friends die in my arms. Heck. I simply don’t know.
What is the purpose of over promising, of stating that which is not. There is no reason except to lie.
The book of John reminds us that the world hated Jesus before it hated us. When there are questions of God that we don’t know we shouldn’t say that we do.
Simply there are times when we don’t understand. That is all there is to it.
For those who give a terse reply and quote a single scripture to comfort us. They mean well, but the truth is: they don’t know any more than we do.
When replying to your brothers, to or friends: as Christians: don’t lie. Don’t sugar coat the truth. There are many times when we simply don’t understand.
From the onset of the original sin, death was promised as a result of pronounced disobedience by the one man, Adam. Obviously, Adam didn’t die immediately, but eventually he met his fate, the same as the rest of us in due time.
In the beginning It was the intent of God for man to live forever, but as a result of Adam and Eve running afoul, we were stuck with a curse, the certainty of death.
In Matthew 10:28 we are warned: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
My point is that unlike that which is commonly believed, it is not Satan who holds the keys to death, but it is our creator and our creator even from the beginning.
The story doesn’t end here: Jesus came to save us from this curse and performed a victory over the power of death. “Oh, death, where is thy sting?”
Consequently, because of Jesus, while we still come under the power of the curse, we are also redeemed from its permanence. As Jesus, we are promised eternal life, rising from the grave because Christ became the ultimate sacrifice for our total sins.
Thus, the complete power of death no longer is to be held over our heads. As believers, we are expected to believe the promise that those who are the followers of Christ will at long last, meet up with Jesus and the Father in Heaven.
The key to this expectation is faith: To be clear: death is all around us. Any sane person believes in the absolute death of death. Conversely, possessing faith, the belief in Christ unto salvation is the task before us.
In this respect, faith then defies logic. Logic dictates the finality of death. Anyone who has experience the loss of a loved one knows the grief from the absence from those we hold dear.
Yet Christ gave the greatest gift when he laid down his own life for our benefit. He paid the ultimate price, his life so that we may live.
By this process we have hope beyond this life, beyond the grave to spend eternity with God and all those other saints that followed him. The power of death no longer controls us. All Glory to God and His son for this present free of charge. Christ is Lord of all!
“You Shall know the Truth and The Truth shall Set You Free.” One of the greatest questions asked by Pilate was what is truth?
Needless to say, Pilate was staring right at the truth. In this sense, we are speaking of the Greek use of the word—used in a sense of greater than mere reality, but spiritual truth.
The greatest aspect of this is that in knowing Truth which was Christ we are able also to know God. We can know God as we learn the Character of God because of his Son, the Christ.
In knowing the truth: we learn
Love, forgiveness, patience, salvation, eternal life, healing, gentleness, we even come to know sin as the separation of God.
In knowing the character of Christ we learn that love and not injury is the first concern of our Creator. We also learn the act of giving as God gave his Son, his life for our on the Cross, so that we can be forgiven and be received into his kingdom forever.
Knowing the Truth means that God forgives us, that he desires our company and our obedience to him with his church as Jesus at the head.
We learn that God’s ways are the opposite of our own. We learn that our desires are generated out of our won corrupted hearts and thus, must learn we must lean on Him to provide the true divine nature of Righteousness and Holiness.
We learn to disavow hate and instead to perform the impossible, to love. We learn that God, as our Father really cares for us and wants the best for us.
And in all of that, we also learn how much we fail, and must rely on Him to offset our own inadequacies.
As a Christian it means I must love and be close to you. It means as a brother I must seek the Christ through the Holy Spirit that dwells in you to see perfection.
Knowing the Truth means we have been set free from ourselves and too, from the terrible, permanent sting of death for Christ conquers all, was raised from the dead for us to follow.
Knowing the Truth means we are changed. It means there is no way a person can embrace all that is good and remain the same. To all of this, we should seek to emulate Him and in emulating Him we are also brought to the audience of our Father.
Clearly, Christ spoke the Truth when he declared himself as the Son of the Living God.
There is no time such as now to meet the Truth. The conclusion is to be set free.
This ambiguous statement means so much depending on how you might interpret it. At least, for those who are at the bottom, the great news is that wait-in the time to come, all shall be acknowledged and brought to the top.
This makes sense for truly, anyone in heaven has achieved greatness in itself by simply being there.
Looking at the prior parable, one might think Jesus was talking about the differences between Jews and Gentiles, that with the advent of Christ, the Gentiles are to inherit all that was promised to his ‘chosen people’ the Jews.
Notwithstanding, at least the statement means a change is going to occur, one with great overtures.
So then, perhaps for those of us who are not great here on earth, by merely being in the presence of God, we are brought into greatness.
For those who feel they are of no consequence or seem small in earthly terms, this is a magnificent hope.
It doesn’t matter that you are on one here on earth. This life is short and temporal. The hereafter, the life in heaven is a life eternal. What matters is that our name is written in the book of life and that a place is there for us.
A place is there in our Father’s mansion for Jesus told us he had to go there to prepare a place for us.
When all is said and done: that is all that matters. We are here now, but there forever. What a wonderful hope!
And when life has you down, where you are feeling you are crawling around in the mire: that you’re worthless to yourself and others: remember: you have great value to God.
Far, far more promises are offered to us. All is required is simply that we believe. Truly, God is a magnificent God. Thank you, Jesus for all you have given. What a blessed name.
In John 6:67 wonderful times had turned into perilous times. Jesus, confronting his closest disciplines asks a painful and pondering question. At first we could introspect the question to ask if Christ was surprised by his follower’s actions. But, then again, the more likely explanation is that Christ was really attempting to forlorn his disciplines to the eventual conclusion of friendship until after his execution and then brief return, and finally, the day of Pentecost.
As we look at this passage, more than likely we’d be no different than those who failed Jesus at his most critical trials. We’d like to think we wouldn’t but human nature dictates that we would.
We are no better than the temperament of Peter or any of the others. When times are good, we roll with the punches, but when times toughen up, we identify our real goals and personal agendas.
We all know and have experienced ‘good time’ friends. Heck, at some point, maybe we have been that good time friend until events change and we sober up.
Jesus asked “What person builds a house without considering the cost?”.
In this sense, we should count of cost of being a Christian. The truth is: most of us are NOT willing to pay the price. We like to entertain the idea, but deep down, we love the elements of the world more than we do a God that we cannot see, or a Jesus that died 2,000 years ago.
Some of us could ask our own friends, or members of our own household if they would also go away. It could confound us to learn that in reality many of our friends have never really been with us and even some members of our own family deserted us long, long ago.
So then, we realize there are moments of good times when everyone seems behind us; and then again, moments when we evaluate our situation when the cheering stops.
In those moments, it is probably already too late. There is no need to ask if those who say they love us will also go away. They have long since, already been gone.