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Will God Forgive You?

In the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, chapter 5 and verse 21 (KJV), we read that: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”.  Jesus took our sins upon himself and paid the price for them  that we could be made his righteousness; we are no longer sinners. We were spiritually dead in our sins, we were sinners (Rom 6:23) but Christ won righteousness for us through his sacrifice. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior we come in to righteousness or right standing with God, by grace (Eph 2:8; Rom 3:22; Rom 5:1) and our sins are forgiven (Col 2:13).

But what if as Christians we do sin? We know that we all sin but if we confess our sins God will be quick to forgive us (1 John 1:7-2:2). This does not make us unregenerate sinners again, we are new creations in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:17); the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

In his first epistle and chapter 3, the apostle John seems to indicate that we should never sin but study of the Greek structure here shows us that what he really means is that we should not habitually sin as a life style (v 6-9). In chapter 1, John makes it clear that as Christians we will slip and sin but if we ask forgiveness God will forgive us.

As born-again believers we need to allow his word to renew us and allow his Spirit to change us to walk in his ways so that sin becomes more and more foreign to us (Rom 12:2; Ezekiel 36:26-27). Praise God for his love, grace and forgiveness.

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The P Words.

"And shall God not avenge his own elect which cry out day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:7-8; KJV)?

This verse is talking about persistent faith in prayer. A lot of people are persistent in faith for the first week or month or so but if they have to wait too long for their answer they give up. So, what is faith filled, persistent prayer? “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9). This verse implies persistent prayer but that must be done in faith. In other words, we don’t just ask the same thing day after day but we ask once in faith and then stand upon God’s promises, praising and thanking him for the answer until it appears in the tangible, natural realm.     

So how long do you have to stay in faith for something you are believing for? The answer is to stay in faith and keep waiting on God until you receive, no matter whether it is a week, a month or a year; or more. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise" (Heb 10:35-36). We always need to remember that: “faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb 6:12). Promises, prayer, persistence, praise and patience, the P words.

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“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Phil 3:10). The apostle Paul in this verse indicated that his goal in life was to know Christ and the power of his resurrection.

Think what power (the Greek word dunamis) was needed to raise Jesus from the dead (Eph 1: 19-20). We get our English word dynamite from the Greek word dunamis. That same power dwells in us: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus form the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom 8:11). That power brings life to our mortal bodies, empowers us to be witnesses for him (Acts 1:8) and in fact, makes us like Jesus (2 Cor 3:17-18). Wow and double Wow.

The apostle Paul also mentioned (Eph 1:19) another form of God’s power (Greek Kratos), the power of dominion or authority, which he exercised in raising Christ from the dead. As born-again believers in Jesus we walk in the authority of Jesus over the devil; Jesus took back authority from satan through his (Jesus) death and resurrection (Eph 1:19-22). What a victory we have in Jesus.

But Paul does go on to say, in our theme verse above (Phil 3:10), that we must also be willing to fellowship in Christ’s sufferings and death. With the power and authority Jesus brought us, we must also die to self and live for Christ, no matter how much persecution or difficulty this may bring; are we willing?

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Love is Not Optional

As I studied the subject of love, I noticed in several scripture verses a strong connection between love and keeping the commandments. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For THIS IS THE LOVE OF GOD, that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5:2; KJV). It’s interesting that the first commandment is to LOVE God and the second commandment is to LOVE others. In the disciple Mark’s gospel, we read that “there is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31).

However, in the apostle John in his gospel quotes Jesus as saying: “a new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another” (John 13:34.  If you are wondering, like I was, why it is new, the answer is found in the second half of that verse; we are to love others with the same love that Jesus loved us. In the Old Testament they did not have the practical example of the earthly life of Jesus to follow, but we do. It gives us a whole new kind of love. The word used here for love is agape, God’s unconditional love for us and the love we are to use for others.

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). Wow, what promises!

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So, what is Love?

We hear much about the importance of the word, faith, prayer, praise, the fear of God, obedience, humility, repentance and the need for change in our Christian walk and so we should. But God’s cardinal commands are to love him with all our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves (Matt 22:37-39). Jesus gave us a new command that we love each other as he loves us, by this he said the world would know we are Christians (John 13:34-35). In the great love chapter of the Bible (1 Cor 13:1-13) the apostle Paul taught that without love we are nothing and he emphasized that of faith, hope and love the greatest is love (1 Cor 13:13).

The Greek word for love that is used dominantly in the New Testament is agape (noun); God’s unconditional love and the love that we are called to love with. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, this love is defined for us, take time to meditate on it. The apostle Paul wrote for us that God’s love is in us, poured in by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5) God demonstrated the extent of this love by allowing Christ to die for us (Rom 5:8.

We are called to love with our words (Eph 4:15); words that come from our hearts and are spoken in love. But love has to go beyond our words to actions, our deeds (1 John 3:18); love must be demonstrated, just as faith is not faith without corresponding actions (James 2:17). Think how you can share God’s love today; a gentle encouraging word, a kind spontaneous action.

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