The Devastation of Unforgiveness

‘The LORD – the LORD is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin.’ Ex. 34:6, 7. CSB

As always, God provides us an example to model – this one for forgiveness. Moreover, He also tells us how to access His forgiveness:

“…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chr. 7:14 NKJV

God demands forgiveness from His children as well. There is a dire penalty laid upon those who don’t:

“For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.” Mt. 6:14, 15. AMP

The devastation of unforgiveness then, is a situation where your sins are unforgiven, which, if you remain in that state, will receive the ultimate penalty: eternal separation from God and His children. Where you would reside, should you continue in your sins, is with the devil – the one who suggested that you sin in the first place.

So, how do we get to a place where we find ourselves withholding our forgiveness? We get there because someone else hurt us, or we think that they did. Usually, that someone is close to us; otherwise, we wouldn’t care. We perceive ourselves as wounded, and that wound begins to fester and transforms (with some tweaking by the devil) into anger and bitterness.

We don’t confront the offender because we are still reeling from the fact that someone who should care about us has harmed us in this manner. Thus, we never have a chance to clean up what was most likely a misunderstanding. (That’s not to say that there aren’t people who deliberately attack; yet, confrontation is still the answer). 

Then, we feed this wound, and in time it becomes a torment of imagination that far exceeds the original insult. 

Confrontation, done in God’s way, a loving way, serves both parties:

The servant of the Lord must not participate in quarrels, but must be kind to everyone [even-tempered, preserving peace, and he must be], skilled in teaching, patient and tolerant when wronged. He must correct those who are in opposition with courtesy and gentleness in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and be led to the knowledge of the truth [accurately understanding and welcoming it], and may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. 2 Tim. 2:24 – 26. AMP

Misunderstandings are cleared, wounds are soothed, relationships are restored, all by doing it God’s way, through acting out His word. And, you get to stop playing the victim!

You only withhold forgiveness when you judge; and God gives us a moral imperative against that:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged…And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Mt. 7:1 – 3. NKJV

If we didn’t judge, then we would not blame; subsequently there would be nothing to forgive. 

Judgment is a chronic stream of mental chatter that the devil uses – lies, which if you believe them, will bring you a life filled with dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Within that chatter, you’ll find ‘He did, she did;’ ‘They can’t, I can’t;’ ‘Life is horrific;’ ‘They made me / my life this way;’ etc. What happens? You view your life and others through the lens of your personal preferences – predilections constructed from the afore-mentioned satanic deceptions, that are shaping a false reality. 

You mold your judgments within your self-constructed tunnel vision: images of how you think the world should be. This is all rooted in a blindness that we take on, when we shift our focus from God to ourselves. Ironically, when you judge, the only thing you accurately define is yourself, and you surround yourself with clones of your dysfunctional behavior and your cycles of relationships are simply ‘rinse and repeat.’ 

The tendency to judge is perpetuated by an attachment to being ‘right,’ exhibited by your tenacious clinging to your own point of view as being the ‘gold standard.’ 

When we can suspend judgment, then the burden of self-judgment is also lifted. Only then can we have a space for repentance and forgiveness. 

There are some people who seem to us to be unlovable – ungrateful, unappreciative, cold, cantankerous. Yet, God loves that person, and He wants to love them through you as well; otherwise, He would not have put them in your orbit. 

It’s obvious they are running their own mental schemes as well. Loving them as God loves them, builds your character, gets your mind off of yourself and your expectations, gives the other person a chance to find freedom from themselves, and see an open door to their Creator.

“But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seeks the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Mt. 5:44 AMP

For those people who did actually and purposely cause you injury, forgive them, (staying away from them if a safety issue exists), and remember God’s place in this situation:

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in scripture], “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. Rm. 12:19 AMP

Keep in mind that just because we come to a place where we can see how we have been being and what we have been doing, and how our judgment is antithetical to what God wants for us, we are still human. In spite of our best efforts, we will still sin, we will judge. When our God-given conviction kicks in, so must a new cycle of forgiveness:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Col. 3:12, 13. ESV

Sometimes, the tendency to judge is seemingly impossible to turn away from – especially if someone does something that you perceive not to be in your best interest. The truth is, most people are not intentionally injurious. They only know how to exist the way that they are being at that point in their lives, because they believe that behavior is vital for their survival. 

We need to be compassionate towards them, forgiving them for projecting their inner suffering outwards. We just happened to be a convenient target.

When you don’t forgive these ‘injuries’ and the stories that you build around them (your judgments), they hold you in bondage. How does God want you to respond?

…you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise, such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow…reaffirm your love to him. 2 Cor. 2:7, 8. NASB

Our Father in heaven places such a high priority on forgiveness, that He will not even hear your prayers until you make reconciliation with your object of unforgiveness. (Mt. 5:23, 24.) Christ told us to forgive everyone perpetually. (Mt. 18:22)

There is never an excuse for judgment where others are concerned. We are condemned spiritually, and our lives will suffer every time we practice it. 

Forgiveness begins in the mirror. After all, most of the things we don’t forgive in others, are the same things we don’t forgive in ourselves. Without forgiveness, we create a barrier between ourselves and our Creator. 

Forgiveness comes from the heart; it is a Spiritual endowment, completing our relationship with ourselves, God, and all other people. Forgiving is the highest act of giving: where we give our love away, regardless of whether we think it is deserved. After all, who doesn’t deserve love?

Forgiveness emulates the character of the Father and the Son. Christ went to the cross for our forgiveness. When we forgive, we honor His sacred sacrifice – acknowledging that it was enough…

Goodnight and God bless 

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You Can’t Have Too Much Jesus

Why? Because He was present at the beginning of time. He spoke into existence all that Jehovah designed, (who designed it with Jesus in mind). And Christ nurtures and maintains the universe, until He returns to usher His Father’s children into eternal paradise. (Jn. 1:1; Col. 1:16, 17; Mt 25:34.)

We can’t have too much Jesus because He came to fill a need that we could not meet – the need to live a sinless life, to be able to pass over death into eternal life. Jesus showed us that it could be done because He did it. Yet He was no ordinary human being. No other person in history was / is able to follow His example.

Praise God for His grace though Jesus Christ. He allowed His children to co-opt His Son’s righteousness so that they appear acceptable to Him through our faith in Christ’s sacrifice:

…be reconciled to God. He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness}. 2 Cor. 5:20, 21. AMP

In this process, we are forgiven our transgressions, and bolstered in our faith by the resurrection of Jesus, so that we never feel the sting of death:


“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” 
Jn. 11:25, 26. NASB

Jesus was offered for all people when He was on the cross. Yet even when we’ve received Him, the enemy never lets up. However, Christ is always by our side:

“…I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually – regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” Mt. 28:20 AMP

We were made to give God glory; and Christ came to position us to be able to. We need Him to strengthen us to do so, because we are weak. We fall prey to the devil and his suggestions. Yet if we stay in God’s word, we are walking with Jesus, which opens the door for Him to use us to fulfill our godly purposes:

“My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough – always available – regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9 AMP

…the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thess. 3:3 NASB

We can depend on Jesus. We can reach out when we’ve lost our way. He empowers us to be what God intended us to be. Our focus is changed from the temporal to the eternal as we move and have our being through the eyes of Christ, submitting ourselves to His directives.

In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men. Jn. 1:4 AMP

He will bring me out to the light, and I will behold His [amazing] righteousness and His remarkable deliverance. Mic. 7:9 AMP

You can’t have too much Jesus, because He is the original template for the human heart. When we connect our heart to His we can climb out of our adversities and walk the godly walk that brings truth, peace, joy and love – a love that does not ever let you go:

“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Jn. 10:10 AMP

And that same love brings Him back:

“…they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Mt. 24:30 NKJV

“Surely I am coming quickly.” Rv. 22:20 NKJV

You just can’t get too much of Jesus…

Goodnight and God bless.

Sometimes Your Place in the World Brings You Down

You know what I’m talking about. It happens to all of us when we go through the ‘valleys’ of our lives – when you shake your head in disbelief, despair, fear, frustration, maybe even anger. You find yourself lamenting, ‘Oh God, why me?’ Or worse, ‘Have you left me God?’ 

And yet, God is exactly who we want to reach out to. He is always watching and always ready to help:

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven… Eccl. 3:1 NKJV

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity, consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that no one can discover anything that will come after him. Eccl. 7:14 CSB

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not look anxiously about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Is. 41:10 NASB

‘Even to your old age I will be the same, even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you.’ Is. 46:4 NASB

God is not idly sitting on the sidelines. Whatever is happening in your life, if you are a child of God, (in right relationship with Him), there is a purpose behind it, that many times we cannot fathom. (Is. 55:9) Nevertheless, He is always just a prayer away, waiting to come to your aid to get you through your trials. 

…they cried out to God in the battle, and He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him. 1 Chr. 5:20 NASB

And yes, sometimes it looks like your prayers are not being answered; but that’s where your faith is being tested and strengthened. While you wait, ask the Author of your faith for that strength:

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who has no might He increases power…those who wait for the LORD [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; they will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like the eagle [rising toward the sun]… Is. 40:29 & 31. AMP

“I do believe; help [me overcome] my unbelief.” Mk. 9:24 AMP

The foundation for faith comes from our trust in our all-powerful, truth-telling, ever-delivering God:

“For I am the LORD, I do not change [but remain faithful to My covenant with you]… Mal. 3:6 AMP

Now, we must also consider that some of the valleys in our lives are of our own manufacture – especially when we fall back into the ways of the world. There is always a price to pay:

Disaster pursues sinners… Pr. 13:21 ESV

“With reproofs you chasten a man for iniquity…” Ps. 39:11 NASB

That’s why we want to get those slips handled immediately by going forward in humility to the God whom we have sinned against:

Tremble [with anger or fear], and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still [reflect on your sin and repent of your rebellion]. Offer righteous sacrifices; Trust confidently in the LORD. Ps. 4:4, 5. AMP

The LORD is near to the heartbroken and He saves those who are crushed in spirit (truly sorry for their sin). Ps. 34:18 AMP

The LORD is good and upright; therefore he shows sinners the way. Ps. 25:8 CSB

For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon you. Ps. 86:5 NKJV

And when you are back on track, God starts helping you journey towards your new ‘peak’:

His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning. Ps. 30:5 NASB

God is the only one who can deliver you from your trials, be they your fault or not. There is not any other kind of ‘idol’ (e.g. money or addictions) that can. They only leave behind hell to pay. 

Our Creator knows what He’s doing. Jehovah God has a good plan for each of His children; and as long as they stick with Him, He will make it come to pass. Furthermore, in a way that only He knows, God will dovetail the elements of your experience that were necessary for you to encounter, in a way for you to gain an ultimate eternal benefit:

…God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son… Rm. 8:28, 29. NASB

God’s grace in Christ is forever moving us through our peaks and valleys, toward our eternal redemption to an eternity that is unimaginable. Meanwhile, we need to keep our eye on that prize, and not on the moments of our life’s discontentment. For help in that process, we can lay our sufferings regarding the parts of them that we seem to have no control over, at the feet of our blessed Savior:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mt. 11s:28 – 30. NASB

In fact, our entire focus should be on Jesus, and then all the aspects of our life will come together. He is the source of our satisfaction (Jn.6:35), He is the only way to the Father (Jn. 14:6), our doorway to heaven and eternity (Jn. 14:2; 8:51.) and the living Word of God that gives us all the answers and bolsters our faith, (Jn. 1:1; Heb. 12:2.)

We were put on this earth to do certain things that only we can do, to bring Him glory by reflecting it from ourselves to others in those deeds, which ultimately have their roots in loving the Godhead, ourselves and all others. (Mt. 22:37 – 39.) We do that by giving of ourselves in spite of what is going on in the world around us. 

All of a sudden you will notice, that those valleys in life will not be so deep or protracted as your problems shrink in the light of your servitude. And your life begins to take on the unbridled joy of your eternity, where your place in the world can no longer bring you down – because that place is God’s place…

Goodnight and God bless.

Christ’s Foot Soldiers – part 6

So far in this series, we have discussed how to deliver the gospel, what to convey in that delivery, and have handled some of the objections that those we would evangelize to, may toss our way. Let’s press forward in ways to handle three other concerns of those whom we would lead to salvation, as we bring this series to a close:

4. ‘I believe that when you’re dead, that’s it.’

‘The question of whether there is life after death has been pondered since the beginning of humankind. Fortunately, God has richly revealed the true nature of His eternal disposition of the dead. The first thing to get a hold of, is that everyone is resurrected:’

…the dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Eccl. 12:7 CSB

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake (resurrect), these to everlasting life, but some to disgrace and everlasting contempt (abhorrence). Dn. 12:2 AMP

“…for a time is coming when all those who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and they will come out – those who did good things [will come out] to a resurrection of [new] life, but those who did evil things [will come out] to a resurrection of judgment [that is, to be sentenced].” Jn. 5:28, 29. AMP

‘As we can see, there are only two paths for God’s eternal disposition of resurrected humankind – heaven or hell. The good news is, that you have complete control over which way God renders His sentence.

You can ignore God’s directions for how to live your life, which is living in a form of disobedience (i.e. to commit unrepentant sin). Consequently, as you’ve just seen, you will live out an eternity in God’s contempt, sentenced to exist in His absence, in hell, without love nor any chance of redemption through Christ. Not a good place to be:’

‘Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”’ Mt. 25:41 NKJV

“…to be cast into hell fire – ‘Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’” Mk. 9:47, 48. NKJV

‘There is no way to dress up the final destination of the devil and his followers. And be certain of this, you are either following God or chasing after Satan. There is no in-between.

So, you could instead make the choice to walk in God’s instruction, most importantly the part about accepting His Son, Jesus Christ as your Savior, so that all the times that you have slipped up, are slipping up, and the times that you will slip up, will not incur the penalty of being eternally marooned as a tormented soul:’

“…through His name everyone who believes in Him [whoever trusts in and relies on Him, accepting Him as Savior and Messiah] receives forgiveness of sins.” Acts 10:43 AMP

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life…” Jn. 3:36 ESV

‘Eternal ‘life’ is a heavenly life. Yes, there is a heaven:’

…the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed… Dn. 2:44 NKJV

‘The ‘kingdom of heaven’ is the same as the ‘kingdom of God’ – a kingdom only open to those who accept Christ. It is a spiritual / inner kingdom on this earth where God’s children dedicate themselves to forward that same kingdom, by filling its ranks.

Yet, it is also a kingdom that we aspire to spend eternity in, in its final manifestation:’

For the outward form of this world [its present social and material nature] is passing away. 1 Cor. 7:31 AMP

…the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. Eccl. 7:1 NASB

For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off. Pr. 23:18 NKJV

‘Jesus Himself prepares a place in heaven for every child of God:’

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” Jn. 14:2 NASB

‘At the end of time, there will be great havoc and wars; yet God will separate His children, (those cleansed by the salvation blood of Christ), from the lawless, and deliver them from the final destruction of earth into His blessed presence. And they shall be transformed:’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. Is. 35:5, 6. NKJV

‘Wrapped with new immortal, indestructible bodies:’

It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. 1 Cor. 15:42 – 44. NASB

‘We will be living LARGE in our heavenly home forever:’

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth…the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people…And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Rv. 21:1 – 4. NKJV

5. ‘Why does a good God allow such injustice, cruelty and suffering?’

‘God did not plan for a world with these conditions. The world He created was a paradise:’

And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing…” Gn. 1:28 AMP

The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food… Gn. 2:8 NASB

‘Everything was gifted to Adam and Eve. God also gifted them (and us) with free will. He did that so that they might love Him, because conscripted love is not love. Unfortunately, they used that free will to choose to rebel against God’s authority. Because of Adam’s sin, (the taint of which is carried through all generations), we all die – as God had told them would happen if they made that choice. Thus, the problem is not God, (He’s just being true to His word), it is humankind.

God does not plan anything evil:’

“It is impossible for God to do wrong, and for the Almighty to act unjustly.” Job 34:10 CSB

‘All we had to do was follow God’s instructions:’

“If you want to live securely in the land, follow my decrees and obey my regulations. Lv. 25:18 NLT

‘Why? Because God loves us:’

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Pt. 5:7 NLT

‘God’s hands are tied when we turn our backs on Him, because God will not violate our free will. Therefore, we are left to experience what we bring upon ourselves.

Yet God is loving and merciful as well. He sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden, having atoned for their sins (with respect to its immediate effects upon them), onto a new path for redemption.

However, within ten generations later, humankind rebelled against God again, this time on a global scale. Again, God would not violate their free will to wantonly violate His commands. He left them to their own designs, which ultimately resulted in a sentence of death.

There was only one family of eight people that was following God, led by Noah; which was fortunate for us, because again we behold God’s mercy, when He uses them to give humans a do-over by repopulating the earth from their seed. (Gn. Ch.6 – 10.)

Many generations later, in spite of many human-induced bumps along the way, God preserved His people, creating a seed-bed that would bless all generations all over the world. (Gn. 22:17, 18). He sent them a mighty prophet, Moses, who would lead His children into the Promised Land. Moses spoke for God, who gave him the Ten Commandments to teach the people. Thus, there could be no further confusion regarding how they were to live their lives, nor any excuse for being in violation of them.

Once again, the people rebelled. (Ex. Ch. 32; Dt. 9:24.) Subsequently, an entire generation was denied access to the Promised Land; but God’s mercy never wanes. Their children were given admission.

They too rebelled, over and over. God sent them more prophets to try to turn them back to His ways, and to inform them of the price to pay, if they didn’t. They propped up human kings, trying to usurp His authority. The people practiced pagan rites, including the killing of their own children. For these things, God gave them over to their circumstances – allowing them to be conquered and enslaved. Yet, after a time, He brought His people home.

Still, the rebellion never ceased. The people favored the voice of Satan, (the author of their rebellion), over their Creator. (By the way, the devil was not created to be evil; he chose to be that way). People don’t realize that the enemy hates them:’

And the great dragon was thrown down, the age-old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, he who continually deceives and seduces the entire inhabited world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Rv. 12:9 AMP

…the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving to prevent them from seeing the illuminating light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Cor. 4:3, 4. AMP

‘God has never wavered in His purpose: to wipe out evil and restore the earth to the paradise it was before the wayward people corrupted it, and to fill it with those who love Him for eternity:’

“Now judgment is upon this world [the sentence is being passed]. Now the rule of this world (Satan) will be cast out.” Jn. 12:31 AMP

“…the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed…” Dn. 2:44 CSB

“…for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure…” Is. 46:9, 10. NASB

“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them…” Rv. 21:3 NASB

‘Even now, with the majority of the world still resisting God, denying Him and defying His commandments, He sent a final doorway, an entrance into heaven – His Son, Jesus Christ. Our part is to confess our sinful state, repent to the best of our ability, accept Jesus in our heart, and make Him Lord over our lives. Then, and only then, will our slates be wiped clean:’

“I am the [only] Way [to God’ and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jn. 14:6 AMP

‘So, is God an unfair God? Hardly…’

The righteous will inherit the land, and dwell in it forever. Ps. 37:29 NKJV

…according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Pt. 3:13 NKJV

6. ‘Christians don’t act any better than non-believers.’

‘Many times, that is unfortunately the case. We all must battle our sin nature, and often, everyone will lose some of those skirmishes:’

…for there is no one who does not sin… 1 Kn. 8:46 CSB

‘Yet, a Christian is acutely aware when they sin, through the conviction of Christ, who mercifully leads them back to Him for confession and repentance. Christ went to the cross so that we might receive His forgiveness for our sins, and be given the grace to avoid an eternity of condemnation:’

We know [with confidence] that anyone born of God does not habitually sin; but He (Jesus) who was born of God [carefully] keeps and protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 1 Jn. 5:18 AMP

‘It’s a matter of living in God’s grace, doing the best that we can, and Christ will make up the difference.

The important thing to realize, is not to throw that first stone, because we all have to answer to God for our own behavior:’

So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore… Rm. 14:12 NKJV

This to my dear readers: I hope that you feel better-equipped to share the gospel. What a privilege it is, to contribute to the human soul, through serving the living, loving God…

Goodnight and God bless.

Christ’s Foot Soldiers – part 5

Last time, we were looking at responses to theological objections that a potential brother or sister in Christ might voice, (mostly due to having been misinformed). We looked at those who protested that they did not believe in God and / or did not believe the Bible was the inerrant truth of God’s word. Let’ continue:

3. ‘I don’t believe Jesus is God.’   

I understand why you wouldn’t. This has been debated for centuries. So, let’s take a look at what God has to say:

Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]…” Gn. 1:26 AMP

‘Note the Amplified Bible’s insertion of a trinity of deities. The New King James translation just sticks with the word ‘Us.’ You might think that God is just referring to Himself in the manner of a royal ‘We.’ Personally, I don’t think so.

Can we conclude that the Son of God was present when humankind was created?

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last…” Rv. 1:11 NKJV [Note that God says the same thing about Himself. (Rv. 21:6)]

“Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Jn. 8:58 NKJV

“And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” Jn. 17:5 NKJV

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. Jn. 1:1-4. NASB

Clearly, the Son of God is the Word of God; God’s very expression. Unmistakably, He was with God before anything, (including the universe itself), was created. Thus, there was nothing to create Christ with, other than the essence of God Himself. And yet, because God is infinite, He cannot divide Himself without becoming finite. Therefore, the Son of God must be incorporated within the Father.

Does that make Him God? In a sense, (to the best of our abilities to understand the infinite), yes; or at the very least, a definite deified Being. A mere man would not be one who could facilitate all creation. Indeed, the Son of God cannot, at this juncture in the beginning of time, be a man, because flesh and blood cannot inhabit heaven. (1 Cor. 15:50) Therefore, He must be a Spirit.

Note that some religious sects try to explain that God and Jesus are not the same because they read Jn. 1:1 as: …and the word was a god in their own translations of the Bible.(Emphasis mine.) But check this out:

For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption [because of His sacrifice, resulting in] the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sin’s penalty].

He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation. For by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth, [things] visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [that is, by His activity] and for Him. And He Himself existed and is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [His is the controlling, cohesive force of the universe.]

…He Himself will occupy the first place [He will stand supreme and be preeminent] in everything. For it pleased the Father for all the fullness [of deity – the sum total of His essence, all His perfection, powers, and attributes] to dwell [permanently] in Him (the Son)… Col. 1:13 – 19. AMP

This is not an ordinary man. Jesus would have to be at least God-like, which this scripture clearly expresses. Neither can we hold up a human being to be our source of salvation:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Jn. 14:6 – 8. NKJV

Jesus is essentially saying, “Look at Me, this is what God is like in the flesh.” This is so that we may experience God with our five senses.

Let’s reflect upon one of God’s prophecies:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Is. 7:14 NKJV

Immanuel means ‘God is with us.” Here is the same prophet, mouthing God’s words:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Is. 9:6 NKJV

Indeed, God conveyed the Spirit of His Son, (the essence of God), by way of the Holy Spirit, into the womb of the virgin Mary. The rest is history:

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles believed on in the world, received up in glory. 1 Tim. 3:16 NKJV

…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus… Titus 2:13 NASB

“My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal to God. Jn. 5:17, 18. NASB

Jesus in fact, said that we must give Him equal honor:

“…all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father.” Jn. 5:22 NKJV

…although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes – the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it]… Phil. 2:6 AMP

What must also be considered, is that God demanded in the first of the Ten Commandments that only He is to be worshiped. (Ex. 20:4, 5.) That also forbade any worshiping of angels. (Rv. 22:8) However, Jesus did allow Himself to be worshiped:

Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Mt. 14:33 NKJV

Then he said, “Lord I believe!” And he worshiped Him. Jn. 9:38 NKJV

While He was here bodily, Christ raised people from the dead, e.g. Lazarus. At the end of time, He will also give eternal life to all God’s children:

“…everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jn. 6:40 NKJV

Again, and again, no ordinary human being could do these things.

Jesus was filled with the essence of God and was separately human. Note the demonstration of His power:

And when He called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Mt. 10:1 NKJV

Even when Christ went to the cross, He had the power to resurrect Himself:

“…I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again.” Jn. 10:17, 18. NKJV

For myself then, if Jesus is not God, He is so much like Him that there is no meaningful difference. However, I receive letters from these aforementioned sects that present well thought-out objections. Let’s consider them:

1.     Jesus died; and God cannot die.

My answer is that only the human form of Christ died, and that part, (the perfect man), had to, to pay for the sins of Man. His humanity was trusting His Father to care for Him. It was Christ’s ‘God essence’ that raised Him from the dead (which only God could do), so that the world could be reconciled to His Father.

2.     No one can see God and live.

True. But all the people saw was His human form until His resurrection, when they witnessed His integrative God-Man self.

3.      Jesus was flesh and blood.

Yes, His human part was. The nature of His God-Man self is unknown to us. As we know, He could then appear and disappear at will, yet allowed the apostles to handle Him.

4.     He prayed to His Father. Yes, but that was prior to His God-Man manifestation.

5.     Finally, Jesus was tempted; and God cannot be tempted.

Christ was tempted in His flesh. God wanted Jesus to be humankind’s high priest. The only way to do that was to gain an empathy towards them which could only come by direct experience. His ‘God Essence’ was not involved. God cannot be in touch with sin. This was the only way.

Ultimately, even if the Godhead is considered as one, we must acknowledge, (even if we don’t understand it), that there is some form of tripartite existence within the whole. We see in scripture where God declares Himself as one God (Dt. 6:4; Is. 46:9). We see He and Jesus separately in Daniel’s vision (Dan. 7:14, 14.) and during Jesus’ baptism we see all of the Godhead together but separate. (Mt. 3:16, 17.) Jesus said that He required His Father’s power to accomplish anything, but that was when He was in the flesh manifestation. (Jn. 5:19, 20.) He also said that His Father was greater than Him. (Jn. 14:28) We may consider that in the light of God being the integrative whole of the Godhead, but that’s only conjecture on my part. Finally, we have Jesus’ outcries of anguish on the cross; but, He was experiencing the pain of His flesh, which was the source of His cries. (Mk. 15:34)

And then we have all the aforementioned scripture that infers a closeness between the Father and the Son that we may never understand until our heavenly appointment…

Meet your listener where he or she is at, present your case, and the Holy Spirit will lead them to an understanding.

Goodnight and God bless.