Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In Love With God - lesson 11

In Love With God - lesson 11

The only thing that I want for this semester 
is for us to be in love with and on fire for God

“Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die. O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live.”  - Ezekiel 18:31-32

“But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?  - Ezekiel 18:21-23

     These are amazing verses to ponder for a while. God’s forgiveness is so overwhelming to me. Did you know that there actually can’t be any desire to see a person harmed in order to have full forgiveness? This does not mean that there won’t be pain from discipline, but the actual harm from choosing to live in sin and reaping the consequences of it. The Lord must have no desire to see a person die in order to stand fully ready to receive anyone who would turn back to Him. Bitterness or revenge could never be in His heart or else when a person turned back to Him for forgiveness He actually wouldn’t be glad they did because of the desire to see them pay for their actions. This kind of reminds me of Jonah when He was upset with the Lord for so easily forgiving the people of Nineveh. God’s forgiveness and love are constantly free from anything that would hinder Him from whole-heartedly welcoming back the prodigal son.
     This does not mean that discipline is not required in our lives simply because we are forgiven, but it does mean that all that takes place after turning back to Him will be for our good and will cause His character to be molded deeper into our lives. “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6

     I want us to think about this whole-hearted forgiveness. It is good to dwell on really understanding how fully we are forgiven because this is our example of how we are also to forgive others. It is a forgiveness that has no bitterness or resentment. We must know how fully we have been forgiven in order to understand how fully we are to forgive. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of things in my past that I want forgotten. Lately I’ve been telling the Lord, please forget all that I have done before, both good and bad. I don’t want what has gone on before to influence how things go on in the future. The bad I want left behind as a life I never want back and the good I want left behind because it is merely filthy rags as it says in the Bible, (Isaiah 64:6) and has had so many selfish things mixed in with it that I don’t want to go back to that either. I want a deeper walk with the Lord that makes anything good I might have done, seem as not good because of how much more vibrant and full of life my work for the Lord is now! I want a new story full of a deeper passion for Christ! Full of a deeper love for the people around me! Full of a deeper character of Christ etched into my very being! Full of a forgiveness that is as real as the forgiveness God has offered to me!

     This is what the Lord’s pardon has truly brought to me. This is the affect of His forgiveness to me. The ability to never look back, and with a clear and devoted, conscience, be able to love and serve the Lord with all my heart. This is just a little window of what forgiveness means. This is just one or two facets to the many sides of what God’s forgiveness is for us.

     Will we not stand in the fullness of what Jesus has done for us and forgive others just as He has forgiven us? Will we also give people the ability to begin brand new with us and have no grudge or bitterness to overcome when they come to us?  Forgiveness is not dependant on whether someone has asked us to forgive them. It must be already done in our hearts or else bitterness will always stand between us even if there is an outward look of reconciliation. Forgiveness is not waiting for the right moment to forgive. It is already done in our hearts. This is the forgiveness offered to us by the Lord. It is already done but we must turn from the stubbornness of our own ways and desire to walk in His ways with all our heart. It is our own unwillingness that keeps us separated from the Lord, not His lack of forgiveness. It is our own unwillingness to want to leave our sin behind in order to be forgiven.

     When God offers us forgiveness it really is too big to comprehend all that it means. When He says He forgets and casts our sins away as far as the east is to the west which is infinite, it is hard to believe because it is so easy for us to remember our own sins or the hurts someone has caused to us. Just think what total forgiveness means. If you have your license to drive and have made a bunch of infractions which go onto your account just think about how when those years go by and the points are removed, how free you feel! They are no longer being held against you. It’s as if you never made any mistakes while driving before! When you see a police officer you no longer worry that this might be the last time you drive for a while. No, your record is clear! With God, our record becomes clearer than that! Will we also clear others wrongs off of our own records?

     Spend some time thinking about these things. They will change your life. The Lord’s prayer says Father forgive us as we forgive others. We simply must forgive. It is not an option. But the truth is, think about what the Lord’s forgiveness really means to you. It will change the way you live, forever!


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