Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Can You Be Forgiven?

No news to share today. Funny how some days are like that. Our internet service was down again this morning so I couldn't get to my blog this morning like I was supposed to. It'll just have to be late for you. But that's okay. I'm considering doing my writings at night for the next day's blog. I haven't made up my mind but I am considering it. I don't watch that much TV so it might be beneficial and timely to type them at night. If you have a preference, send me an email and let me know what you think. Would you prefer having the blog first thing every morning as soon as you get up and check on your emails, etc.? Or does any ol' time fit you just fine? One thing I just thought of is my light source. I don't have the best lighting over here on my computer at night so that will weigh heavily in my decision.

We are going across the river and up the mountain to have dinner with my oldest granddaughter this evening with my son and daughter-in-law. It will be fun to see her again. It's been quite a while since I've seen her. Working full time and going to college full time at the same time is a little rough on her. Personally, I don't see how she does it but she manages.

Our Fall weather has been just perfect lately. Hope it stays this way for a long time. When I got out of Church Sunday night it was a bit nippy. Of course it probably didn't help any that I had worn shorts to the Celebration service. But it was still on the warm side when I went. This is the time of year where you always need to bring a "wrap" and I didn't do that. Next week I will take a sweater with me.

I just have a short blog this morning. Since it's so late I decided short would be wise. And it doesn't help my conscience any to know that I'm sitting here blogging and I don't have all my chores done. I'm half done; does that count? Okay, okay, I'll go finish them before I type my blog's message. Be right back!

There, that didn't take long and I feel a lot better knowing I've got all my chores done. I think my carnal nature is beginning to rebel against my spiritual disciplines. LOL.

Can You Be Forgiven?
Are you still suffering from the guilt of past sins? Do you feel guilty from sins you did before you came to know the Lord? If you do, Scripture has a special assurance for you. The early believers in Corinth struggled with this issue as well and Paul wrote to them and gave them assurance. He wrote this for our benefit too. Paul gives us all counsel and encouragement: "Such [sinners] were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor 6:11)

Preceding this verse is a long list of disgraceful and sinful lifestyles that continue to the present day. Every week, pastors and other church staff hear from people who ask whether God can possibly forgive them for a homosexual lifestyle, or adultery, or murder, abuse of family members, lies, theft, or one of a host of other such transgressions. The answer to their every question is a solid, freeing, God-honoring YES! Praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Yes, He can and will forgive us our every sin. (1Jn 1:9) (If you didn't notice it the first time through, read that list again and notice that the sins range from something as mild as gossip to something as grievous as murder.) Scripture doesn't say He will forgive us of some of our sins. No, it says He will forgive us of all sins, past, present, and future. The penalty for sin is death and in Christ we have all died. (Ro 6:23) Therefore we have been freed from sin and it's penalty.

Until a believer understands how the Lord forgives and removes sin, he or she will carry that guilt around like a heavy backpack. Our promises to do better will always end in futility. And the reason is that forgiveness is based solely on the blood of Jesus Christ, shed at Calvary. Jesus bore our sin on the cross and died in our place. That's the only way we can gain forgiveness. Through the blood of Christ. Our efforts to right wrongs will always fail. It is impossible for us to do away with our guilt on our own merit. Only Christ can do that. Only when we come to the point of understanding what happened at the cross and acknowledge that Christ alone ... only Christ ... can make us righteous before God will we be set free from any and all guilt. In Christ we are given a completely new mindset. A mindset guided by God's Holy Spirit to empower us to keep our focus upon the things of God instead of on our own sinful desires and inclinations. Once we accept God's forgiveness we will truly be free to worship Him as we ought to worship Him. Once we apply that Truth to our lives, we will finally be free of all guilt. That is the Truth of the gospel. Jesus came to set us free and in Him, we are free indeed. (Jn 8:32; 36; and Gal 5:1).

Do you wake up each morning just to trudge through the guilt of past sins. Listen. Write it down. You don't ever have to do that again. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is waiting for you to ask Him to take that heavy load from you; and when He does, He will cast it as far away as the East is from the West. (Ps 103:12). All you have to do is just hand over your burden and receive His forgiveness. Praise God!

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