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August 28th, 2008

Basic Confession

Basic Confession

Jesus is my Lord. The devil has no power over me. (Matthew 28:18; Colossians 1:13)

In Jesus’ Name I bind you satan and forbid you to bother me in any way. (Mark 16:17; James 4:7)

No weapon formed against me shall prosper. (Isaiah 54:17)

No evil or accident will happen to me. Neither shall any sickness come near me. God has given His angels charge over me to always keep me safe. (Psalm 91:10-11)

I fear no evil for You are with me Lord. (Psalm 23:4)

Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Christ has set me free from the curse of sickness. By His wounds, I have been healed. (Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24)

The Lord is my Shepherd. I do not lack. (Psalm 23:1)

My God is supplying all I need. (Philippians 4:19)

I am a child of Almighty God. He loves me and takes good care of me. (Matthew 6:32-33; 7:11)

The Lord is my Helper. I will not be afraid. (Hebrews 13:6)

I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

All things are possible to me. I have faith so nothing is impossible. (Matthew 17:20; Mark 9:23)

I am a forgiver. I am patient and kind. I walk in love. (1 Corinthians 13, Romans 5:5)

God gives me favor with people. (Acts 2:47)

Jesus has become my wisdom. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

I have the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:5)

The Spirit of truth lives in me and teaches me all things. He guides me into all truth. (John 14:26; 16:13)

The Lord gives me wisdom and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)

God is for me. (Psalm 56:9)

August 28th, 2008

What is Forgiveness – C.S. Lewis

Forgive and Forget

Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive, as we had during the war. And then to mention the subject at all is to be greeted with howls of anger. It is not that people think this too high and difficult a virtue: it is that they think it hateful and contemptible. “That sort of talk makes them sick,” they say. And half of you already want to ask me, “I wonder how’d you feel about forgiving the Gestapo if you were a Pole or a Jew?”

So do I. I wonder very much. Just as when Christianity tells me that I must not deny my religion even to save myself from death by torture, 1 wonder very much what 1 should do when it came to the point. I am not trying to tell you … what I could do–I can do precious little–I am telling you what Christianity is. I did not invent it. And there, right in the middle of it, I find “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those that sill against us.” There is no slightest suggestion that we are offered forgiveness on any other terms. It is made perfectly clear that if we do not forgive we shall not be forgiven. There are no two ways about it. What are we to do?

It is going to be hard enough, anyway, but I think there are two things we can do to make it easier. When you start mathematics you do not begin with calculus; you begin with simple addition. In the same way, if we really want (but all depends on really wanting) to learn how to forgive, perhaps we had better start with something easier than the Gestapo. One might start with forgiving one’s husband or wife, or parents or children, or the nearest N.C.O., for something they have done or said in the last week. That will probably keep us busy for the moment. And secondly, we might try to understand exactly what loving your neighbor as yourself means. I have to love him as I love myself. Well, how exactly do I love myself!

Now that I come to think of it, I have not exactly got a feeling of fondness or affection for myself, and I do not even always enjoy my own society. So apparently “Love your neighbor” does not mean “feel fond of him” or “find him attractive.” I ought to have seen that before, because of course, you cannot feel fond of a person by trying. Do 1 think well of myself, think myself a nice chap? Well, I am afraid I sometimes do (and those are, no doubt, my worst moments) but that is not why I love myself. In fact it is the other way round: my self-love makes me think myself nice, but thinking myself nice is not why I love myself. So loving my enemies does not apparently mean thinking them nice either. That is an enormous relief. For a good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are really not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are. Go a step further. In my most clear-sighted moments not only do I not think myself a nice man, but I know that I am a very nasty one. I can at look some of the things I have done with loathing and horror. So apparently I am allowed to loathe and hate some of the things my enemies do. Now that I come to think of it, I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man’s actions, but not hate the bad man: or as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner.

For a long time I used to think this is a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life–namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact, the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.

Consequently Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery. We ought to hate them. Not one word of what we have said about them needs to be unsaid. But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping if it is anyway possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere, he can be cured and made human again.

August 28th, 2008

Sin: Is It An Honest Mistake?

Repent and sin no more

The first problem with the false modern gospel is a watered-down definition of “sin”

Sin is not an “honest mistake”

It is an honest choice from a sinful heart to do what you know is wrong.

Would a good judge describe the crimes of a vicious murderer as “honest mistakes”? While it sounds ridiculous to call murder and rape “honest mistakes” , God sees hatred to be as wicked as murder (1 John 3:15), and lust as deceitful as adultery (Matt 5:28). In God’s world, those who lie are liars. If we have stolen, we are thieves. If we have broken God’s Law in any way (in word, thought, or deed) we are Lawbreakers.

God defines sin in His Word: “Sin is transgression of the Law” (1 John 3:4). We are on the hook for our sins, and God doesn’t view us as innocent misguided victims of our “honest mistakes.” In God’s holy eyes, our hearts are “desperately wicked and deceitful” (Jer. 17:9) and we are “by nature, children of wrath.”

Ignorance of God’s Law is no excuse, because He has written it upon our hearts (see Romans 2:15). We have a conscience. We know right from wrong. When we lie, it isn’t an honest mistake. Stealing and lusting, hating and blaspheming, idolizing, coveting, and dishonoring our parents are not honest mistakes either. Scripture says that we have actually angered God by violating His Law, and made ourselves “enemies of God,” and therefore, are “by nature, children of wrath,” “storing up wrath for ourselves that will be revealed on the Day of Wrath” (see Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:1-3 and Romans 2:4-5)

We are not doing sinners any favors when we minimize the seriousness of their sin. George Whitefield, a famous preacher once said, “First, then, before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must be made to see, made to feel, made to weep over, made to bewail, your actual transgressions against the Law of God.” It is only when a person sees his sin as wicked and understands the seriousness of offending his Creator, that he can find a place of true repentance and surrender to the Savior.

Within the last 100 years, a new gospel has crept into our churches. It has been designed to not offend you. It has been carefully crafted not to be too “in your face.” It gently suggests that you open your heart to Jesus if your current lifestyle isn’t working for you, and try God “when the time is right for you.”

This “seeker centered” and “no offense” approach is no gospel at all; it is “another gospel.” If we continue to define sin as “honest mistakes,” we will continue to fill our churches with “backsliders” and false converts who fail to repent because they don’t see the seriousness of their sin. We will give them a cruel false hope, and make them comfortable aboard the “Jesus loves you” pleasure cruiser, singing songs to the Captain, while they blindly speed toward the iceberg of Eternal Justice.

The Captain has already lowered the life boats of salvation, but they are mostly empty. God help us to stop the music, and sound the air-horns. We must tell the passengers about the iceberg and direct them to the emergency exits of repentance. Time is slipping away, and those who die in their sins will perish. If we are faithful servants to the Captain of our Salvation, we will obey his Commands and preach the pure gospel, the only gospel that can save souls.

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