Posts Tagged With: Repentance

The Bible and Homosexuality

I have changed my mind regarded Homosexuality. I’d encourage you to do the same. I used to think it wasn’t a sin. For the sake of some people I knew, somehow, I justified it. Who doesn’t want everyone to be OK? Right? I sure do!

rainbow_notwBecause of my desire to have everyone in my life be OK and to avoid the messiness of confronting sin, over the years I have justified many sins in others lives (and my own life). In fact, I once thought that those who practice homosexuality had a spirit of a different gender, so of course they were acting according to how God made them. Was I deceived? How would I know if I was? What is the standard for truth?

Why I trust the Bible as the Standard for Truth.

I trust the Bible because Jesus did and taught us to as well. He proved he could be trusted by his sinless life, the signs God gave him to bear witness to who he was, and the clincher, He rose from the dead. It has been said that there is more evidence for Christ’s resurrection than that Julius Caesar ever existed and that you could prove it beyond any reasonable doubt in a court of law today. Research it for yourself! (Here is one of the best defenses. William Lane Craig debates in colleges all over the nation).

So because of Jesus testimony regarding the trustworthiness of Scripture, I trust it.

So, is it really “clear” from the Bible that those who practice homosexuality are “missing the mark” (def. of sin) of what God intended for human beings? Let’s talk about that.

Here are a quick list of some Scriptures on the subject of homosexuality:

Genesis 1:27 & Genesis 2:18-25 (God creates man and woman. His world, his humans, his design. Who are we to argue?)

“Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.” Leviticus 18:22

Leviticus 20:13 (& a capital offense among those who are called to be holy and in God’s family. When people make war on love, they do so at the risk of, not only their lives, but  their everlasting soul.)

Genesis 19 (Homosexual Sodomites want to rape some angels and Lot)

“And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.” Jude 1:7 (Commentary on Sodom and Gomorrah which were destroyed as a warning to all who would give themselves to sexual immorality)

“So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. 28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.” Romans 1:24-28 (This sin is part of the final stages of God having to hand people over to sin and Satan because of persistent rebellion)

“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“We know that the law is good when used correctly. 9 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching 11 that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.” – I Timothy 1:8-11 (The laws purpose is to expose and confront sins such as these)

These are the main passages of what the Bible has to say on the subject.

The good news is that we get to change our minds (i.e. repent).

“When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.”” (Acts 11:18 NLT)

We have the wonderful amazing privilege of repenting (having a change of heart and mind and turning away) from any sin, whatever it may be. In Jesus, we can walk away and never look back from this particular sin or any other sin you may be involved in. YEA!!!!

Have you ever considered what a gift it is to part ways with sin? Jesus already has paid the death penalty for your sin. As I read through the Bible I was confronted with things I had done that deserved the death penalty. How amazing that there no longer remains any punishment, for Christ has taken it all and he commands, and allows us in his grace, to repent. Take advantage of his offer today. It really is a gift! (More on the gift of Repentance)

Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t in any way hate or even dislike people who commit this particular sin. I am a sinner myself, and I wish to extend the same grace that God has extended to me when I get entangled in sin to anyone who is caught in the snare of this or any other sin. Sin is the enemy.

It’s pretty obvious that sin hurts the one who sins and not only them but also everyone around them as well. We are all in this together. We have all sinned and every one of us needs grace and forgiveness to be set free and stop hurting ourselves and each other. May we have the humility to receive the salvation and freedom that Jesus freely gives to any willing to receive it.

It’s obvious that God doesn’t want us to sin. He wants us to live as he created us to live. In his image. To live loved, and in turn, to live lives marked by His love. Sin is incongruous with God’s loving intentions. Sin is anti-love. Sin wars against love. God created us not harm ourselves with sin, but for love. It pains God to watch us hurt ourselves by choosing sin over love.

God, because of Jesus and all he accomplished on the cross, has nothing but mercy, forgiveness and cleansing – yes, even complete redemption – for all sinners who want his grace and are simply willing to receive it. Do you want to be free? I know I do.

Honestly I would rather not write a blog post on this topic of homosexuality, but after having a few dreams I thought I must at least voice my concern. My dreams were about how the enemy (yes, I’m talking about the devil that most people don’t really even believe exists) was planning (and is well into implementing his plan) to desensitize and thoroughly corrupt people by putting homosexuality on display, especially in front of impressionable kids.

I see it happening. Don’t you? So this blog is for my nieces and nephews who are being lied to every day by a media that homosexuality is just an acceptable lifestyle.

I get it. People need love. People need intimacy. But we need to realize that the intimacy we were made for is actually meant to be fulfilled in relationship first and foremost with God and, in lesser ways, our mates or our “mates” (of course with the Aussie understanding of the word). God wants to be in close relationship with you and indeed with everyone he has made.

There is an intimacy with God available that is so much better and a far more satisfying way then mere sex could ever do for you.

We get a few pictures of this kind of intimacy between friends in Scripture, which I believe model for us the kind of satisfying relationship/friendship that we can have with God himself. Take for instance the relationship between David and Jonathan:

“Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself” (1 Samuel 18:1 NIV)

David’s tribute to Jonathan at the news of his death:

“I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” (2 Samuel 1:26 NIV)

or Jesus and the apostle John (who referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved):

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” (John 13:23-25 NKJV)

Neither of these close friendships were in any way sexual, and to even imply so would taint this beautiful picture of friendship. We too can be, and are meant to be, one in spirit with Jesus and have a level of intimacy with him that will meet every need of our hearts so we can stop looking for fulfillment elsewhere in what God forbids us to do.

God loves and knows us best and he wants the absolute best for us. This intimate relationship with Jesus is what’s best for us and is what we were created for and will satisfy our intimacy needs. Unfortunately, more often than not, this relationship with Jesus is either neglected or even rejected. And so we are left with unsatisfied hearts searching for love and intimacy elsewhere… in sin.

So many people are confused about this issue of homosexuality, saying people were born this way, etc… and I suppose when I was in the most deceived time in my life, I too believed the same. I once had thought that God had just put a spirit of a woman in a man, or vice versa, but this is complete nonsense when you hold it up the truth of Scripture.

You must read this very thoughtful article on this topic by Ron B. entitled Love that does not Count the Cost.  It was amazing and shed so much light on the subject. Way more than I could or would ever intend to do.

If we say we believe in Jesus, we have to agree with him about what he says is sin and what isn’t. Right? It has been said that Jesus never condemned homosexuality as a sin, that he never spoke about it in his earthly ministry, therefore… what exactly are we supposed to derive from this line of reasoning? Paul was just a homophobic hateful person? Moses got it wrong and had cotton in his ears when God was giving the law? Jesus brother Jude was a heretic?

Anyone familiar with the Gospels will quickly realize that Jesus never came to overthrow the law. The law stands. In fact he upped the ante. I mean, why would he need to say having a perverse form of lust is wrong when he says that to lust is to commit adultery in your heart?

Here is a video from a woman who has a really close walk with God who has visited heaven. I saw this on the Youtube sidebar and was curious if she was going to stay in line with the Word of God. Her talk and many others I’ve since heard are in line with the truth of Scripture and worth considering.

I love John Crowders perspective:


I have been disturbed that many professing Christians don’t know homosexuality is a sin or worse, are even defending it as an acceptable lifestyle. I even talked about this with a pastor who, when asked, told me that he didn’t know if it was a sin. Really?

I think the reason we compromise with the clear teaching of Scripture is that either we don’t want to give up our sin or, there are loved ones or people in our lives with this sin and we have to reconcile with that. I can see how difficult it is. But the answer is not to capitulate the truth, for the truth is what sets us free. (John 8:32)

As I see it, this, and every other issue, boils down these questions: What is the truth? Is God the creator? Does he love us and intend the best for us? Do we trust him? Is he pure and absolute perfect love itself as his word says? And as the loving Creator he is, does he have the authority and right to dictate to us what is love and what isn’t love (what is sin)?

Besides, even if we all agreed that homosexuality wasn’t a sin, would that change the truth? Can we shout loud enough to drown out the voice of God? Can we change his mind about how he intended his creation to be if we all agree to protest? There is an account in Scripture of a time to come in the last great rebellion when the masses will unite to overthrow God’s rule. Do you think they succeed?

The worldly media has been saturated with the homosexual agenda. You know it and I know it. There is hardly a show out there that doesn’t have the token gay character or at least have guest appearances of gay characters. It’s an agenda to desensitize us and make this sin commonplace and an accepted part of society.

But, it is all a deception. We live in enemy occupied territory you know. The devil exists and rules this sin saturated world. (And only rules because of our sin.) He seeks to turn us all away from our loving heavenly Father. He seeks to twist and corrupt what God intended for good – our sexuality – and pervert it.

Based on what I have read in Scripture, I don’t believe anyone is born homosexual. I do, however, believe the enemy may come in at an early age and deceive and distort and bring confusion to someone’s sexual identity. This is what the enemy does. He seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus has come that we might have life abundant and free… free from sin.

If you are caught in this or any other sin, God can and will lovingly restore your innocence if you let him. He loves you and created you just the way you are for his glory.


Other Great Articles on this topic:

Why Homosexuality is not like other Sins (Desiring God)

Categories: Homosexuality, Repentance, Resurrection | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tullian Tchividjian, a man after God’s own heart

 Tullian TchividjianTullian Tchividjian stepped down from his leadership role as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after he confesses to an immoral relationship. His wife committed adultery, he then followed the same destructive path. His last few tweets as of today were:

“I’m so so sorry. I love you all…fade to black.”

“So grateful that God is a bottom feeder.”

“No vertical condemnation does not mean no horizontal consequences. Surrender early.”

“Welcome to the valley of the shadow of death…thank God grace reigns here.”

“You and I are persistent promise breakers. God alone is a perpetual promise keeper.”
From his twitter page.

His bottom feeder comment reminds me of the song Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. As I like to say whenever I play that song, that chariot will swing as low as it has to in order to rescue the worst of us.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus suffered on the cross, He “swallowed death“. He became sin to make us the righteousness of God. Because of his love for us and for his Papa He voluntarily drunk the dregs of all it means to be separated from Love – His Papa – to rescue us from all that we had become apart from him. The way I like to think about Christ’s atonement is that Jesus has plumbed the very lowest depths of hell to rescue whoever might be there. He came for every last one of us sinners (see Ephesians 4:9-10).

Jesus took Tullian’s sin upon himself at the cross. At the cross Jesus became guilty of Tullian and his wife’s adultery and has already suffered the wrath of God on his behalf because of his great love for them. Jesus has done the same for you. He became guilty of all your sin.

Tullian is obviously receiving the forgiveness and restoration that Jesus extends to him. He has confessed his sin and can expect, along with anyone else who confesses their sin, to be completely forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV)

One of the comments on one of the posts on Tullians Facebook page was this:

“Tullian Tchividjian, hearing the news was heart breaking. I pray God uses this to further his gospel and pray you and your wife find common ground. You said it yourself “I am the biggest sinner I know.” You are upholding that phrase well but you are also upholding a better practice, confession and repentance. What you did makes you no less of a leader to a lot of us. Depending how you handle the situation it could even make you a bigger one. Come out of this a better pastor, father, and husband. Don’t rest and give the devil hell.”

God will and is using this to further the Gospel (The Good News) that Jesus loves and forgives sinners. None of our sin will remain secret for long. All of heaven knows all our stuff already, and the Lord has said, “you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23) and “God cannot be mocked, we reap what we sow”. And again, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.” (Luke 12:2 NASB)

We will all stand before God one day and give an account for our lives. Jesus has assured us we have the opportunity through trust in him and by receiving his gift of righteousness that we can stand before him pure and clean and as white as snow warmly received by cheering crowds of heavenly saints and angels because we trusted and appropriated his gift.

Or, we can hide and cling to our sin and suffer the profound shame and regret in the presence of a Holy God and all the saints and angels.

“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 NLT (NASB says “will find compassion”)

Another quote from Tullian:

“If the depths of everyone’s sin was made public, we would all be much more gracious to each other.” ~ Tullian Tchividjian

He’s very quotable. I also wholeheartedly believe he truly is a man after God’s own heart. This phrase was used by the LORD of King David. His sins were made public too. He suffered some severe horizontal consequences. Many who are reading this have as well. There is grace for you!

The thing about grace that is often overlooked, and even perhaps not stressed enough (even by Tullian) is that grace empowers us to live holy lives. To live a holy life is a New Testament imperative:

“…but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth…” 1 Peter 1:15-17 NASB

He means it. He gives us the Holy Spirit to see to it. He expects it, commands it, and demands it. So, what does being “holy” mean? I have come to learn that, just like the commitment we make in marriage, it means essentially that you become 100% God’s… i.e. wholly God’s, surrendered. This is what the Bible also refers to as, “pure in heart”. We get to surrender our all to love! This is why I love the song I Surrender All which appears on our last album:

The result of this complete and absolute and total surrender is living empowered by the Holy Spirit to do and be and live as God would have you to. His Grace (His unmerited favor) works this into our lives:

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14 NKJV)

God will change us because he loves us Tullian

I still love Tullian and still think he has a great deal to contribute to the kingdom of love in Jesus Christ… in fact, even more so now. I am reminded of a quote about Johnny Cash after he passed on: “Sinners make the best saints.”

I will still recommend Tullians books and teachings (Here is one not to be missed: Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything!). I also suggest you visit his Facebook page and subscribe for grace filled quotes and encouragement. I pray for the healing of his marriage and that God would bless his ministry to all the rest of us sinners made saints by the grace (unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor – and smile – of God upon us) of Jesus (whose Name means “I AM Salvation”). I encourage you to run to Jesus yourself and find his open arms welcoming you back into the sweet loving fellowship of your Papa who loves you intensely and immensely.

Jesus plus nothing equals everything

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Categories: Forgiveness, Gospel, Grace, Redemption | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We “Get To” Repent!

“Repent” is the very first message associated with the good news of Jesus. First proclaimed by his herald and forerunner John, it became the very first message preached out of the mouth of Jesus Christ himself:

“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 3:2 NLT)

Today is Yom Kippur. It is a day associated with the turning away from sin and atonement. Of course turning away from sin is one of the essential aspects of repenting. The other aspect has to do with identity. Thinking rightly about who God is, and who that makes you in relationship to him.

This is a big deal. It couldn’t get bigger. Thats why Jesus starts with:


So what does it mean?

Repentance literally means “to have a change of mind”. Start thinking rightly. About what?

Well, I would suggest that the most important thing to “have a change of mind” about is who God is.

Do you view God as he has revealed himself in His Word or as something else? Do you view him as the very essence and source of love and wisdom and beauty? Do you acknowledge him as Lord, the Master? Your Master?

Do you agree with him about what he says is wicked and evil? (Dare I say that most people don’t.)

Agreeing with him about what he declares evil in your own life is step one to being liberated from the evil that enslaves you.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9 NLT)

Who wants freedom?

First step is to agree with God about everything he deems as evil in your life.

Do you lust? Drink to much? Neglect God? Fail to honor him and put him first in everything? Confess it to God. Tell him in painstaking detail what you have done and failed to do, how many times you did it, who you did it with, and agree with him that it was wrong. Pour out your heart to him. He will forgive you. You have his word on that. Turn from your sin.

If you choose not to, I would not want to be you when you come to your “life review”. You choosing to remain tied to any sin guarantees that you are going to be ashamed come judgement day… and you forfeit so much!

“Those who worship worthless idols forfeit the mercy that could be theirs.” (Jonah 2:8 NET)

The fact of the matter is that if you don’t love Jesus more than anything else in your life, than you have an idol. That’s a given. An idol is anything that takes center stage in your life. What do you give your attention to? What do you invest your life in? Who has your heart?

Scripture says that those who fail to love Jesus are under a curse.

“If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22 NLT)

I was talking with a friend about falling in love with Jesus. We figured, if you are in love with Jesus and he is the pursuit of your life, then sin won’t be. You’ll come to hate your sin in the end for what it did to you and everything and everyone you influenced for the enemy. You’ll profoundly regret that you gave your strength and energies, attention and time to the enemy and enlarged the domain of hell because of who you chose to serve.

The wisest man (besides Christ) who ever lived once wrote:

“Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.” ~ Solomon (Ecclesiastes 9:18 NIV)

I think about that.

Today I was pondering this warning in Scripture:

“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT)

Anyone with a porn addiction or any other idol for that matter, will not inherit the kingdom of God… don’t fool yourselves.

Indeed a great deal of people are fooling themselves. They may say, “But I believe in Jesus”. The Lord’s brother James would say, ‘show me your faith by what you do‘.

“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?” (James 2: 17-20 NLT)

And what I read in Romans does not bring anyone comfort who still insists on clinging to their sin:

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:4-11 NLT)

What are we going to do?

Respond with soft hearts to the Lord? Or press onward on the broad road that leads to destruction?

This is NOT bad news people! You get to repent of your sins! YEAH!!!!

Did you miss the first part of that last passage of holy Scripture? It’s God’s wonderful kindness and (perhaps infinite?) willingness to forgive and show us mercy when we do repent of our sins.

Repentance is woven into the good news of Jesus from start to finish.

Here is the Gospel message as recorded by Luke:

“It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.'” Luke 24:47 NLT

Only someone who has suffered for years with an inability to repent can really begin to appreciate the fact that we “get to” repent. As someone who was mercifully granted repentance, I appreciate the magnitude of this kindness from the Lord. He allows me the wonderful grace of parting ways with my sin.

Here is a passage about being granted repentance (what a gift!):

So here’s the thing, keeping in mind that repentance means “having a changed mind”, then we need to remember that a changed mind about sin is but a small part of all that repentance truly is.

I am reminded of a Scripture in Romans:

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 NLT)

So repentance is really about adopting a whole new mind. It is to be transformed in the way you think and percieve reality… as God does! This is a life long pursuit.

The Atonement

Yom Kippur is a day for celebrating the atonement.

“It is finished.” ~ Jesus

Jesus spoke these words on the cross. What weight and significance do these words carry as the Lamb of God was slain for the sins of the whole world? Jesus has now reconciled all things to himself. What does the Atonement mean? What are the implications?

I’m going to close this post with a reflective reading on this Holy day of Atonement (Yom Kippur):

Christ Is Supreme

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. (Colossians 1:15-22 NLT)

Do you believe it?

Next, to explore: What does “the Kingdom of heaven is near” really mean?

Categories: Repentance | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Will God Forgive You For Anything?

I once had a conversation with a friend and co-worker about Jesus and forgiveness. He could not believe that God would forgive him for sleeping with his best friends wife. He was overwhelmed with guilt.

I tried to tell him that God forgives all and every and any sin. It fell on deaf ears.

A while ago a Christian brother and I prayed with a man who admitted to rape and murder. He too was so overcome by guilt he could not receive our prayers or God’s forgiveness. I didn’t know whether to turn him in or what. Apparently he “got away with it”.

I am a firm believer that justice does and will prevail no matter what. No one, no where, ever “gets away with it”. The guilty may be out of prison or jail but they are constantly being hounded and tormented by they weight of their guilt. We reap what we sow.

I am reminded of the movie The Machinist with Christian Bale. What an amazing film. Christian Bale starved himself (read more) in preparing for his role as an insomniac, emaciated, delusional character who as it turns out SPOILER ALERT!!! (skip to next paragraph if you want to watch this for yourself!) is haunted by a suppressed memory of a crime he had committed. He finally turns himself in and finds some peace.

I once met a man in the Spokane homeless shelter. He had been on the run for years all over the country and lived as a nameless homeless man. He too was haunted by his past and guilt over something he had done which led to a warrant for his arrest being issued in Spokane. He was back in town to after all these years turn himself in. Jesus had done a marvelous work in his life and he had finally found peace and was ready to face the consequences for his actions.

He turned himself in and to his complete surprise, they could find no record of him committing a crime and no record of his warrant. He was free to go. I saw him shortly after that and didn’t recognize him at all. He had a beaming smile and a new lease on life.

I often wonder what would have happened if King David, instead of trying to hide his adultery and have Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed, if he instead confessed his sin to his friend Uriah and begged his forgiveness. Would Uriah have tried to kill him in a rage? If it were me I might have. No doubt this was a very real fear for David as he weighed his options.

Instead of repenting, he chose to compound his sin and guilt… and still God forgave him. There were serious consequences that plagued him the rest of his days however, but he was forgiven and embraced back into sweet fellowship with God.

After his repentance the baby died. After David’s moral failure the enemy had access to his family in the area of sexual deviance. His son Amnon raped his sister Tamar and destroyed her life. Another brother Absalom then kills Amnon and later tries to seize the throne. To incite the people to join him and to convince them how serious he was in his rebellion to his father David, Absalom publicly sleeps with several of Davids concubines.

These are the kinds of consequences that David suffers for his moment of passion with another man’s wife and his subsequent cover up. We don’t actually “get away” with anything. We reap what we sow. Our sin will affect our children and our children’s children and everyone else around us. Your sin becomes part of your legacy. This is how you affected the world and you have to live with that. But you can change your legacy! Your sin can be forgiven and forgotten for all eternity!

David was forgiven. He changed his legacy. As all the consequences for his sin unfolded in his life, he enjoyed the wonderful bliss of a reconciled relationship with God (who is love) as soon as he repented. But… not a moment sooner.

If any of us want to enjoy the awesome friendship of God as some of the consequences for our sin continue to play out, then we must repent. If we’d rather be miserable and alone as our sin wreaks its havoc and continue to compound our sin and our guilt and our agony, eventually leading to its horrifying abysmal end, then don’t repent. These are the only two options.

Unfortunately the default is the latter option… to do nothing. You actually must take action to repent. To not repent requires no action on your part whatsoever. Put on another movie and distract yourself until your dead. Another misspent life down the toilet bowl of the universe. Forgive me for being feces-ish I mean facetious.

Our sin is serious. So serious that Jesus actually had to die an agonizing death on a cross and most of all suffer the rejection of his Father and bear all the righteous wrath of God for sin on the blackest day ever to repair the rift and discord in the universe that our sin has caused. Our sin will also cause you to miss our purpose, mainly to be loved and then to love others and whatever else it is that God had foreordained for us to accomplish in our short time here. We are, after all, his masterpiece created for good works. We get to repent! You get to repent! God is granting us the privilege of repenting from that which causes us harm! AWESOME!!!

Repentance means having a change of mind. It is taking on a whole new paradigm for how to view reality through God’s eyes. Have a change of mind about who God is, and change your mind about sin. It involves leaving sin (your idols) and coming to Christ. It means to stop trying to be your own god and submit to the only true God who is love. Just think, we get to surrender to love!

“And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things.” Luke 24:46-48 NLT

So yes, God will forgive you for anything but you must repent. What do you need to repent of? What do you need to turn yourself in for to God (or even to the authorities)? Take it to the LORD. David gave us a wonderful glimpse into the prayer he prayed to get right with God. He encourages us to learn from his example and use his prayer as our own:

Psalm 51
New Living Translation (NLT)

A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
5 For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6 But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.
16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Some really serious sinners have found grace and redemption in Jesus Christ. No, you haven’t out-sinned God’s grace because, “Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds”. Grace is always shown to be greater. Its his trump card. You played your hand of rebellion and sin and you thought you had him beat. He plays the grace card and wins… your heart.

Jesus loves you and I love you! Stay tuned and Subscribe!

Categories: Forgiveness, Repentance | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Love Your Neighbor… Rebuke them?

I was reading Leviticus 19 in my journey through the Bible and was struck by the verse just before the famous “love your neighbor as yourself” verse.

Here it is: “Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.” (Leviticus 19:17 NIV)

Here it is in context in another translation: “You must not hate your brother in your heart. You must surely reprove your fellow citizen so that you do not incur sin on account of him. You must not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people, but you must love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” (Lev. 19:17-18 NET)

I thought that was interesting. It has always been a real struggle for me to rebuke anyone. This is mostly because I doubted that any rebuking I would do would come from a place of love.

Jesus quoted the above Scripture when asked what the most important command in Scripture? He was asked this once by an “expert” in the Torah:

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’(Duet. 6:5) This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’(Lev. 19:18) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40 NIV)

So often in today’s society we think that “tolerance” is love, when in reality it is just the opposite. If you saw someone in a kayak heading down a river and knew a fatal waterfall is just beyond them, wouldn’t it be unloving not to do everything in your power to stop them and save them? Yet in our society we are told we ought to be tolerant of their right to explore rivers so don’t make them feel bad or upset for their choices. “That would not be loving”, so says the world.

I got pissed off the other day thinking about the fact that so many enemies of God are demanding of their loved ones, “It’s me or God. Make your choice. You can’t have us both.”

Let me explain.

Say your Christian friend or neighbor, brother or sister, parent or child is shacking up (we all know someone who is). Of course they just want to be accepted (as we all do) just as they are with their chosen lifestyle. But you, the Christian who loves and obeys Jesus (?), you want them to love Jesus and obey him too! And don’t we all agree this is the very best thing any of us could do? BUT, they stubbornly refuse to repent and so you are left with a difficult choice. Either you follow Scripture and rebuke them and likely suffer loss of “relationship” OR you accept them the way they are with the choices they have made. This is the demand they make of you.

How dare they hold you hostage like this and make you a partner in their sins! They are cruel!


I admit it. I accepted them. I refrain from rebuking because I didn’t really love them. And to top it off I’m not loving God in this either. But guess what? I get praised by the world for being “loving”. I get acceptance from society for being tolerant.

Tolerance sucks!

How loving is it to tolerate our friends, neighbors, and most especially our own family to their own destruction? The way I see it, tolerance is the enemy to love! Tolerance condemns! Tolerance also reveals a lack of real faith.

John the Baptist didn’t tolerate Herods sin of shacking up with his brother Philips wife. He could have kept his mouth shut and avoided the hurt Herod would bring his way but he did not. For your and my benefit he did not. His principles and his God were of more value to him than his life. Eventually he lost his head… literally.

Do I have the courage to love my neighbor like that? Do you?

BUT, the good news is that we all have the wonderful privilege of repenting from our sins! YEA!!!

I repent!

I repent of all my sins and I also repent of refraining to bluntly rebuke you when I see you sinning! (In love of course). You can do the same for me.

May God give us the wisdom and courage to do as His loving Spirit directs.

Your thoughts?

Update: Is this a New Testament idea? How do we rebuke others the way God would have us to, saturated in the love of Jesus? How do we follow Christ’s example in this? Paul’s example? (Paul said, “follow me as I follow Christ”).

Categories: Repentance | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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