Archive for April, 2018

Must We Forgive Anybody & Everybody?

I am compelled to write on the topic of forgiveness because just like when we speak out against sins like homosexuality, we are told that we must not judge, the world has similarly misconstrued Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness to only suit themselves. After all, the people of the world are gods to themselves, who love to use the Word-of-God to serve their own wicked interests. It’s a very painful thing to forgive the wrong people but the world doesn’t care as long as they can fool the innocent into keeping their guard down, so they can be taken advantage of further. Such is the sadist nature of many people in this world. It’s funny that the world’s people, who have no desire to follow Jesus, with not even an inkling whatsoever of what a Godly demeanor is, can have their heads filled with all these silly notions of religiosity that God requires of the believer, which highlights nothing but their wishful thinking & ignorance. The Bible is available to anybody and everybody who wishes to know God and it is usually lethargic fools who succumb to the world’s idea of forgiveness, which does not serve God’s interest but only the interests of the wicked who delight in sinning against their neighbour. Ideally the Fear-of-the-Lord is the beginning of wisdom but with such humanist teaching flagrantly being taught in Christian circles, what Christians today are learning is not the fear-of-the-Lord but the fear-of-people, which is why the nominal devout Christian is a fool even by the standard of this godless world.

John 20
22When He had said this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.”

Mat 16
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Yes, I am aware of all the verses that teach us to bless those who persecute us, curse us and speak evil against us (Mat 5:44) and that God shall forgive us only as we forgive those who sin against us (Mat 6:12). I also know that we are taught to turn the other cheek but this is in the context of not returning evil for evil (Mat 5:38-39). For instance if somebody breaks into my house and steals from me, Jesus doesn’t require me to keep the doors wide open thereon, neither am I to break into their house and steal from them to set things even but I have all the right under the moral and civil Law, as provided by God to take action against this person who stole from me. Remember, scripture must be studied and understood in the light of scripture so that we understand the Word-of-God on God’s righteous terms and not on the World’s ridiculous terms. What I am talking about is studying scripture by way of exegesis and not via an eisegesis. We must understand that scripture teaches us to conform to the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29) in whose image we were made. So, just as there is no salvation without repentance, we are not required to forgive unless the person who has sinned against us is sorry for what he/she has done. In this context, even if the person who has sinned against us apologizes to us seventy times seven (Mat 18:21-22), we are to forgive in imitating the meek nature of Jesus Christ (Is 42:3) but to those hypocrites who are unrepentant being right/wise in their own eyes (Isaiah 5:21), we are under no obligation to forgive them and we can even pray to God asking for His justice that the perpetrator may be softened with humility (Luke 18:7), so those necessary interactions we make with them are bearable or better still that he/she may repent and turn to God through our witnessing for the Gospel.

Luke 19
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. 3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him [b]gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone [c]to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

The above portion of scripture shows us that an apology/repentance is not an empty word because the Bible requires people (Rom 2:12) to back it up with the action of restitution as you can see (Luke 19:8) and God loves a cheerful giver (2Cor 9:7). Even if you we were to look at the Judicial Law concerning protection of property and social responsibility in Exodus 22, we understand that the Judicial Law demands restitution only because the Moral Law which it serves to hedge demands it. Though the people of the world might have a good laugh on this subject of restitution, it only shows why pagan societies are so inconducive compared to western societies which have been shaped by the Gospel. It is important to note that though Jesus cried out on the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34), not all but only those (elect [Acts 13:48]) who repented of their sin were forgiven. For instance: the centurion who stood before Jesus when He breathed His last (Mark 15:39), this centurion exclaimed just as the Apostle Peter did (Mat 16:16)… saying truly this Man was the Son of God. However, in the case of Judas who betrayed Jesus (John 17:12 [below]) and the Pharisees who wickedly tried Him (John 19:10-11 [below]), there was no forgiveness for them and these were handed over to their own destructive lusts (Ps 81:12/Rom 1:24). Judas hanged himself & as for the Pharisees, they saw Jerusalem fall and the destruction of the temple in just a span of 37 years from Jesus’ death. Unless I have to really spell it out for you, Judas and those who wickedly tried Jesus received no forgiveness. The historian Josephus described Jerusalem as having reached a state very similar to what liberal Hollywood portrays as the future of the world (judging from movies like Pacific Rim Uprising, Resident Evil Retribution, Mad Max etc.); 70 century AD Jerusalem not only saw the destruction of the Temple but also the people’s plight reduced to what was prophesied in Isaiah 3. There is one account of this looting party who broke into this woman’s house because they smelled something cooking and when they got in they found a woman cooking her own baby. Though these people had hit an all-time low in their depravity, they left the house being unable to even stomach the idea of woman sharing with them her food which was her own child which she was cooking as food.

John 17
12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

John 19
10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore, the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

To conclude, it is rather ironic to notice those who believe that one must forgive even when the other is not sorry, extend this idea to their doctrine thinking, genuinely believing in the Gospel can exist without repentance unto Christ (Jn 12:24-26). However, God doesn’t rebuke His people for praying to Him for justice, when the world has dealt unjustly with them individually or collectively (Rev 6:10). The Bible also teaches that the Gospel is veiled from the unbeliever (2Cor 4:3) by his/her own unrepentant nature (Mat 11:20). So, if we who are made in the image of God, are taught to imitate God, in His likeness as revealed to us in Christ, we are not bound to forgive those who aren’t sorry, just as God does not forgive those who do not repent & believe in the Gospel.

John 8
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Faith & Works, are these separate in God’s sight?

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James 2:14-17
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

As a reformed Christian believer, I do believe that “justification is by faith alone” but very often we have humanist fools who differentiate faith from works because somehow, they want to credit the salvation God offers us in Jesus Christ to the works they do by their own volition. So, they like to see faith separate from works because they would like to see this all coming from their own volition. After all, their faith exists because they choose to believe from their own free will and since this faith arises from their own volition it must not reflect their depraved spiritual condition, lest their faith be proven counterfeit. It’s as Jesus says that you can tell a tree from its fruit (Mat 7:19-20), a good tree bear good fruit and bad tree bears bad fruit. As for most unbelieving goats (self-righteously stubborn humanists) who are wise in their own eyes, they subconsciously realize that if faith and works are not considered separate, then their wicked lives would prove that their faith is useless and so they fool themselves into believing that faith and works is separate in the sight of God.

Titus 1
13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

If you were to read the account of the fall of mankind in Adam as reported in Genesis 3, you would notice that what Adam willingly chose over the righteousness of God was the righteousness of self. In Adam, we have this natural apathy for the truth about God and His righteousness (Is 5:20) but in Christ the elect are spiritually reborn (Jn 3:3), being given this living hope which is from God (2Cor 4:8-10). It’s very important that scripture be understood in the light of scripture because when you look at scripture like Phil 3:14 in the light of Phil 4:13 or for that matter Eph 2:10 in the light of Eph 2:8-9, we understand that works is simply the evidence of genuine faith. This is why on one hand the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6) while on the other hand it says that faith without works is dead (Jam 2:26).

Eph 2
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The faith and works argument is very much like the grace and law argument. The humanist however argues that faith and works are separate because he/she foolishly believes faith & works are actuated by his/her own free will and not by the Sovereign will of God as the Bible teaches (Eph 2:8-10). When it comes to grace and law, the humanist goes on another wild goose chase because he/she believes that the grace he/she receives in salvation is a license for him/her to live as he/she pleases (Rom 6:15). However, grace seen from a Biblical perspective teaches us that saving grace is that unmerited favour by which God turns us around from ourselves unto Himself (Jn 12:24-26) because truthfully, we are not God but God is God. It is therefore in turning to God that we learn there is standard we are to live by. The Moral Law is the very nature… the very image/character of God in which we were made (Gen 1:26). Imagine the immense privilege we have been given by grace (unmerited favour) to share in the very nature of the Almighty Triune God! Though we are not under the Law but under grace (Rom 6:14), those who won’t live by the Law shall perish apart from the law (Rom 2:12-16) because if we won’t glorify God by conforming to the image of God-the-Son (Rom 8:29), we have no right to the life offers us in Himself (Jn 14:6). The Bible says that the Law is like a mirror, which the elect look into and make amends in their own nature (Jam 1:23), in willingly conforming to the nature of Christ as revealed in scripture. The aspect of grace is in this, that Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Rom 5:8) that we may not just share at His table but also share in His nature. A nature which is now a Law we live by! Still, we are justified through faith alone and not by works because if we were justified by our works then the salvation we have in Jesus would not be by the power of God but by the power of our own will, and this blasphemes the redeeming merit of Jesus Christ who secured for all His people, salvation in all its fullness which is lacking in nothing. I hope you are able to see how works identify genuine faith by which we are justified just as the Moral Law identifies with saving grace by which we are saved. By grace alone… through faith alone… in Christ alone!

Mat 22
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

To conclude, remember how Jesus cursed the fig tree for not bearing fruit that the Lord of lords may eat and be satiated (Mark 11:12-25)? This is very much along the lines of Mat 7:21 where Jesus says not all who call Him Lord shall enter His abode but only those who do the will of His Father because just like faith and works aren’t separate, so too recognizing Jesus as Lord over our lives is not separate from obeying His Commandments/Law in our lives.

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