The spirit of forgiveness is the blessing of a spiritual characteristic that permeates the Lord Jesus. He won’t forgive if one does not ask and does not submit to His authority as revealed in the New Testament. But if one does, forgiveness flows freely. There is no “have to” with the Lord, but there is always a “want to.” “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4, ESV). With some, however, they will not forgive unless compelled to do so. Imagine the Lord thinking and operating in such a shallow immature way! Those who are this way can be sure that as they applied their standard to others, it will be applied to them. In Matthew 7:1-5, in relation to interpersonal connections, the Lord condemns hypocrisy; the one who “forgives” because of a compelling reason (but does not forget and maintains a continued separation), those who think and operate this way are judged by the Lord. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive, that your Father in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11.25-26). “I will forgive because I have to” means one has not forgiven.
- Worship is following the blueprint in the book of Acts.
The practice of establishing authority by command, apostolic example and necessary inference, is a doctrine that descends from the Scottish Enlightenment, the reformed Presbyterians, the Puritans and Ulrich Zwingli.
See here for an example of this teaching in the Churches of Christ.
Worship is telling God how much you appreciate what he has done for you. Worship is every positive thing that goes on in your head and in your heart.
RT – What an interesting comment! He says nothing concerning whether it is wrong or not, he only speaks of its origin (or so he thinks). Does he really want to dismiss the idea of “establishing authority” in some way other than God’s commands? Does he want to “establish authority” in some way other than the apostolic examples recorded in the New Testament? Evidently he does. He described (or defined) worship as “Worship is every positive thing that goes on in your head and in your heart.” By whose authority did he establish this decree (for that is what it is)? Was it by God’s command? If so, one would think the Scripture would so declare. Was it by apostolic teaching or example? If so, then surely the author of this authoritative declaration would have set forth a word from any one of them so declaring. Yet, in both cases, there is not a word from God on this. In fact, the only authoritative word are the presumptuous words of our author. Not much authority, it seems to me.
The word “worship” (proskuneō) means to make obeisance, do reverence to (Vines 1258); to fall down and/or worship someone (Mounce 810). Note how this does not conform to the assertion of our web-article. Moreover, note how this does not conform to the Scripture in John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (ESV). One translation reads this way, “God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth” (Contemporary English Version). Some translations read “reality,” “genuine,” as if to convey in accordance with the nature of God (“in harmony with the Nature and Will of God,” Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary). An important question in relation to this. If “truth” is in accordance with one’s own way of thinking, then how can one know whether or not he is right? He can’t; he can think he is right, but he can’t know it. Jeremiah 10:23 makes this abundantly clear (cf. 17:9; Proverbs 14:12). Since man can’t know, then is it not better to follow the pattern as set forth by the apostles? If it is, then why the resistance? For one reason only: “Because I want to!”
Here is a reminder from Scripture about what Paul thought his approach should be (all from the ESV): 1 Corinthians 14:37 – “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 4:17 – “That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. Romans 15:18 – “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience–by word and deed…”
- God is reluctant to forgive.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” –Luke 15:20
RT – This is utter and complete nonsense! He offered no evidence of this, not even his own so-called experience.
- Every time you sin you are lost until you ask forgiveness.
“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” –Romans 6:14. Paul teaches that we live under forgiveness.
“12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he hasmade perfect forever those who are being made holy.” –Hebrews 10
“23The words “it was credited to him [Abraham]” were written not for him alone, 24but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness–for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.25He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” –Romans 4
For more on this click here.
Having looked at the links (to Gospel Advocate and Truth Magazine), I noticed the links did not open to the desired location. Perhaps this is why there was some additional words within the thematic website (http://ex-churchofchrist.com/PhariseesCoc.htm) that addressed it. I find, however, since I have come to see how they handle the Bible to mistrust what they say in citing the writings of another. Be that as it may, let me address what was said and the reply to follow.
In an article in the Fulton County Gospel News, Mammoth Springs, AR (Nov. 2004) a writer states,
“If a person is to receive the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and if that person is to remain in a saved condition, he must ‘sin not.’ ‘But,’ many might interject, ‘don’t we all sin from time to time?’ To be sure…The remedy for individual, momentary acts of sin, of which every Christian who is blessed with life is guilty from time to time, is found in I John 1:9–penitent confession to God.”
Note the minimizing: “individual, momentary acts of sin”. The apostle Paul stated that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). I don’t know about you, but I believe I fall short of the glory of God, and the example of Jesus’ life on earth, 100% of the time. I am convinced that sin is a much more pervasive and insidious issue in our lives than the Fulton County Gospel writer believes.
RT – The only critical remark made is that the critic believes sin is more pervasive than the lifted words of the Fulton County Gospel News. The critic did not say the writer was biblically wrong, only that sin is more insidious that the original post. The author of the original post did not deny Romans 3:23 (at least as far as the lifted-from-the-context remarks are concerned).
How did Paul use his remarks in Romans 3:23? In the larger context of his address to the church in Rome, Paul addressed his words to both Jews and Gentiles, declaring that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. The point of those words was (and is) in relation to the need for salvation, that is, the need for Jesus. It is later (in the same chapter) that Paul speaks to this precisely in relationship of faith contrasted by the purpose of the Law of Moses (3:20).
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one–who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. (Romans 3:21-30, ESV)
Sin is pervasive and it is insidious, but Jesus is the remedy for sin. If one is to apply the teachings of the Lord to the behaviors of one’s personal life, is it not the case that the insidious nature of sin can be (and is) overcome? Certainly it is, otherwise, there is no power in the word (Romans 1:16-17).
I find it interesting that the web-article author cites Romans 6, Hebrews 10 and Romans 4 to make his case. Romans 6 speaks directly to the need of baptism, something the author makes no mention of; Hebrews 10 speaks to the Law of Moses and the role of the priest, not the obedience of one who fears and loves the Lord under the authority of the New Covenant; and Romans 4 makes the greater point that Abraham was saved by the Lord without obeying the Law of Moses because it had yet been brought to the people of Israel.
See what you can do when there is no regard to the context!
When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him (Proverbs 16:7, KJV). As a proverb, we can understand the truth of this easily enough, but as an absolute truth, we are reminded of the experiences of the Lord Jesus. Clearly, if there ever was a righteous human being on this earth, it was the Son of God. What did He do that resulted in Him having to suffer? There are many things to say, but only this will I write. He exemplified the righteous standard of God, and there were a great many who felt threatened. Consequently, they fabricated a need to eradicate the threat (John 11:49-53). Thus, our example is always before us speaking loudly. On the other hand, though many felt threatened by Jesus’s words, it happens to be His words that encourages us and teaches us to be a light unto the world. The life we are to live is to be a light that “re-blazes” the path Jesus walked. With this kind of life lived, the Lord God promised (and promises) to be on His holy one’s side. This kind of life residing in a person’s heart teaches kindness, love, forgiveness, and truth radiates out from that which sits deep within. How can one be an enemy of this kind of person? No reasonable person can or will be. Then, again, no reasonable person every killed anyone either! RT
For some people saying “I am sorry” is terribly difficult. Some of these people are preachers and elders, but most are not. Why is it so hard? For a great man people it is because there is resistance to the utterance of the exclamation, even if within they know it is necessary to say. To compensate for this failing (and they know it is a failing) they try to do good in some other way to mitigate the hardness of the feeling that prevents them from saying it and to assuage the feelings of the one to whom they need to say it.
Perhaps, in part, this is why God’s hardest command is repentance.
If it is easy to say, “I am sorry” to the Lord God, then can you think of a good reason why it is not easy to say the same to a brother or sister? I can’t either. Of course, there are reasons given, but none of them are good. I know about that which I speak. I had to learn it myself, and since I have, it is much easier to approach the Lord. With my approach to the Lord being easier, and with His acceptance promised and given, my approach to the brethren should be the same.
Saying “I’m sorry” is an admittance of wrong, guilt. Don’t preface the apology with “If,” as if that will help anything – for the other heard it loud and clear. Imagine how it sounds. “Lord, if I have sinned against you, I am sorry. Please forgive me.”
Try that with the Lord and see if He accepts it RT
Forgiveness from the heart is one of those traits of Christianity that is tremendously important in personal relationships. This is well understood already by those who love the Lord. Though it is, it is also one of those characteristics that can be as difficult to employ as anything a person is called upon to do.
Nevertheless, we are called on by the Lord to do exactly that. Matthew 18 is a chapter dealing with one’s response to a brother in Christ when one of the two (if not both) are guilty of affecting the relationship negatively, that is, there is sin that separates one from the other. For instance, if one brother sins against the other, the “victim” in this case has a moral/spiritual obligation to address the matter with the other brother, the one who is actually guilty. For what reason is this to occur? For reconciliation purposes.
But what if one brother has been so adversely affected by the other brother? I mean, what if the sin is so egregious that the separation is of such a gap that reconciliation is nearby impossible? If the guilty one really seeks to be forgiven by the one offended (sinned against) one, and makes an effort to be forgiven, then the brother sinned against has an obligation to render forgiveness to the one guilty.
“You just don’t know how bad it is!” one might reply. That is true, but be sure to remember, as the Lord spoke in such a context, that what you hope to receive from the Lord—“So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matthew 18:35, NET)
Forgiveness is a matter of the heart, and when the heart of the guilty one seeks reconciliation, asking to be forgiven, why would the offended one not desire that same reconciliation? Because of the heart.
A hope that belongs to the child of God is when the Lord will remember the sins of His saints no more. That is a very encouraging thought; we struggle continually with our own failings, wondering why we can’t seem to get it right. The Lord’s response to His servant is understanding and mercy. He requires of us, however, a spirit of penitence; in other words: we need to hear His word, change our thinking, and then change our behavior. The importance of this can’t be over played. On the other hand, those who refuse, but want to “play church,” the Lord said to His people a long time ago that He will not forget what they have done and what they were (at that time) currently doing (Hosea 7:2; 8:12-13). Playing with the Lord’s memory is a disastrous thing! RT