Tag Archives: Romans

Forgive Myself?

“You just have to forgive yourself”, my friend told me. I grievously sinned against God and another believer. My heart broke and no matter how much I asked God to forgive me I did not feel forgiven. But forgiving myself? Somehow that did not sit right in my spirit. However, I would repeat the phase to others when they felt the lack of forgiveness.

– “You just have to forgive yourself”

– “What does this mean? Is it biblical?”

Through prayer and study the Lord revealed to me why my spirit was unsettled about the statement,

– “You must forgive yourself”

As a believer I know that sin is inevitable.   Even the Apostle Paul confessed his struggle.

“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” Romans 7:19

What did the apostle Paul do when he encountered his own sin?

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24-25

– He acknowledged his sin.

– He acknowledged the need to be rescued from it.

– He thanked God for Jesus’ deliverance.

– He did not forgive himself.

As I continued to study I heard these questions echo in my head.

– “Did you hang on the cross?”

– “Was the sin of the world put on you?”

– “Did you endure excruciating pain?”

– “Are you God?”

Tears filled my eyes as I exclaimed

– “NO! NO! NO! NO!”

– “You did it Lord, You were the one.”

I remembered the following verse.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;” 1 Peter 2:24

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” 1 Timothy 2:5-6

“Why do I still feel bad after knowing that I am forgiven? I know that I stand righteous before God because I am in Christ, so why am I hurting?” Fifteen years later I got my answer during a sermon from Reverend Ken Lawrence of First Baptist Church in Hampton Falls.   I am ashamed to say I do not remember the sermon topic but I remember him saying, “Sin leaves a wound and that wound needs to heal.”

“That’s it! I have a spiritual wound that needs time to heal.”

I sat in the pew carefully writing down exactly what the pastor said. I continued jotting down verses that came to mind.

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

The Word is a sword that goes deep; cutting out the sin that so easily entangles; leaving a Spiritual wound. The pain from the divine surgery lingers and we think that we are not forgiven.

We must allow our sin wound to heal. This takes time.

As the Word convicts and cuts, it also heals.

“I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.” Jeremiah 33:8

“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” Psalm 119:28

Why do people say, “You must forgive yourself?”   In my case it was ignorance.   Ignorance of what truly takes place in a person who has sinned against a most Holy God. I did not realize the pain I felt was the healing of a wound surgically removed by the word of God through conviction and repentance.   I have forgiveness. I stand righteous before God in Christ. Nothing can take that Truth away.

“For He chose us in Him (Christ) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1:4,7

How will you react when someone says, “You just need to forgive yourself”?  Be gentle. Remember we are all at different places in our walk with Jesus.

Maybe you are the one making this statement to others. God knows your motives. My motive was to help and encourage. Also, I was repeating what I heard.   Now I know the Truth.

So what do you say to someone who has sinned, asked for forgiveness and still feels guilty?

Have you been forgiven through Christ? Live in that forgiveness and embrace the Truth.   Please do not judge yourself more harshly than your Heavenly Father.

Give them the Word.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

Be like Isaiah. He stood before the Holiness of God, he heard the angels. The glory of God surrounded him. He was pierced to the heart with conviction and he felt ruined.

“Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:6-8

Isaiah did not remain in the pain; He desired to serve the Lord.

The best way to heal from a Spiritual wound is serving your God.

The power to forgive comes only from God.

I promise the pain will decrease as you bask in God’s love and forgiveness.

Cherrilynn Bisbano
Speaker/Teacher/Writer
godsfruit@juno.com

Visit Cherrilynn at Pelican Promise

Welcome To The World Of A ChristianRep

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. – Ephesians 1:17

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The Good Stuff is a place to go to find information from the Romans Road to the Serenity Prayer…The Good Stuff!

 

Becoming Animals

It’s interesting living in the culture we do.

In this post-modern culture, or whatever it’s called now,  there is a wholesale abandonment  of belief in God.  At university level the statistics say that 70% or more of Christian kids will abandon their faith and become agnostic or atheist.

The culture at large is moving away from a belief in God as well.  Around us is a culture proud of its ability to function without God.  They even claim to be moral without God (but that discussion is for another day).

What’s the price for these choices? What does it cost a man to turn his back on God?  Or course you might expect me to say it costs him salvation, and that is true, but there is another price that most don’t realize they pay- they lose their role as image bearers.

The bible says we were made in the image of God, but when we deny him, refuse to believe in him, to follow him, we forsake the very thing we were designed to be- image bearers of God.

As a result we often choose to bear the image of the only thing left, the animal world around us.  I think this is why movies like the Twilight series are so popular.  Men and women becoming vampires and werewolves gives them an image to reflect, an identity….the image of animals.  

This comes out as well in a new TV series titled GRIMM.  In this series a police officer is chasing people who look completely normal, but are really animals under the skin.  When we deny our role as image bearers of God we usually imitate what we see around us.

Romans 1 talks of this, but not in exactly the same way I am here.  It’s clear we were designed to reflect God, to bear his image.  When we refuse our identity we will reflect something, what will that be?

Some wonder why the world around us is becoming so violent, why anger, killing, and war seems to be growing.  In part it’s because we have decided to abandon our calling as image bearers of God and the results are what we see in our world today…men acting like animals.

When you turn your back on God you lose much more than you would imagine.  You lose the God who made you, you lose the promise of life, you lose peace (that’s another post as well) and you lose sight of what you were designed to be, you lose your identity.

The price is much higher than we even know, but when we deny God we also deny being made in his image and choose a lower image. We choose to become men without souls, without a purpose, without a moral compass, without hope.  We become animals.

 

Visit Mike at FinishingWell.
 
 

It’s All About Him!

Romans 11:36 ~ For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

This amazing verse comes at the end of a difficult treatise by Paul about his people, the Jews.

The question unasked in Romans, that Paul now answers in chapters 9-11, is this- what about the Jews? What is God’s plan for them. Many are still trying to understand all that Paul wrote in these three chapters, but this verse we are looking at today is his conclusion.

From him– God is the source of all things. They all come from him. He made everything. That’s a clear declaration of scripture from beginning to end. Why? He will explain that at the end of the verse, but core to understanding all that exists is this source question- where did all of this come from? God declares clearly, “It all came from me. I made everything that is.” Even science agrees with God on this. The word science uses to describe this “from Him” idea is a term science calls biogenesis. It means that living things come only from other living things. This is a scientific principle that agrees with the declaration of scripture. Life made life. The life that is the source of all life is God himself.

Through him– Not only is God the source of all things he is also the sustainer of everything. One of the things science cannot explain is life itself. Where did it come from? How did life start? What is life? What the bible declares is that God not only gave life to all things, but even holds them all together and sustains everything that is. He keeps it all going, every cell, every life, every breath. (Col. 1:15-18)

To him– And, finally, he is the one all things return to. Life came from him and returns to him. Source, sustainer and finally culmination of all things.

Why? Why has he set it up this way? I love the last part of this short verse, so that “To Himbe the glory forever.” Why did he do it this way? So he would be glorified, worshiped and praised. All that is comes from him, is held together by him and will return to him so that he will be glorified and praised. That’s the right response to all he is and all he has done.

It is, in fact, all about him. Man’s response? In our world today, as Paul describes in Romans 1, is to deny the creator and credit the creation with its own inception, but there is no question in scripture that at the heart of everything is God himself. It is, in fact, all about him! Amen!

Visit Mike at FinishingWell.

Abounding Grace

God’s grace is a big deal to me. It’s the most important thing to understand in all that God has provided in Christ. Many, by not understanding it, have resorted to works to please God and frankly God is not at all pleased by that response.
He has provided grace and wants us to live in it, but few understand its implications, even fewer are comfortable with how that is lived out. If you want to know a bit about what God has done and what it means in your life here are Paul’s words in Romans 5 about that grace,

15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Abounding grace. That very phrase should make you want to know what that means, what’s the implications, why did it need to abound? Grace is one of God’s most profound works, and one that few are comfortable with. It means that in Christ God has done all that needs to be done for us to please him. There’s nothing more to do to find favor with God. If you have trusted Christ as savior you are his child, his son or daughter and you DO please him. He not only loves you he actually likes you just as you are right now. His grace has abounded above all your need and provided everything required to bring us into relationship with God, to provide forgiveness of sin, to give us security for eternity, to do all that needed to be done so there is nothing left for us to do.

Books have been written on this topic. I know in these few paragraphs I will not satisfy many hearts and minds with answers, there’s simply too much to discuss, but there is a reality in our Christian world that needs to be resolved- Do you believe it’s all been done or do you believe there’s more that you must do? It’s one or the other.
I know, as I write this, that many are saying, “Yeah, but….” And here begins the discussion about what I must do. Frankly, to please God there is nothing you can do. All that was needed to please God was done by Christ at the cross. The harsh reality of grace is this- there is NOTHING you can do to please God other than to say “yes” to the grace he has already provided.

Justice says I get what I deserve. Mercy says I don’t get what I deserve, but grace says in Christ I get what I don’t deserve. In this abounding grace I come to God and find that by simply trusting Christ I please God! That’s it. Nothing more to do. Grace says it’s all been done already. My response? Worship. Praise. A life that obeys him, but these are all just responses. They merit nothing for my salvation. That’s been done. Now, all that I do is respond to grace and in that response I find God’s joy.

Many in our culture call this simple idea “cheap grace,” but what they don’t understand is that it must be this way. If any of my works, my deeds, my performance for God are part of grace it’s a statement to the world that what Christ did on the cross wasn’t enough. When he said, “it’s finished” he just didn’t understand. You can’t have it both ways. Either he did it all or he didn’t. And if he did it all then your only response it to simply say “yes” to his gift and bask in that grace.

Abounding grace….abounding far above my need, abounding far above my understanding, grace to do for each of us what we could never do on our own.

Today I joyfully rejoice in God’s abounding grace to me!

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

You’re gonna have to serve somebody

You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
These lyrics from Bob Dylan’s song resonate with the words of Paul in Romans 6. Paul’s focus in the second half of this chapter is this- we are all designed by God to have a master. We are built that way. That sounds strange, doesn’t it, but when I use the word master it’s the lowest idea of what God intended.

 

God designed us to always be in intimate relationship with him….all the while allowing him to be Lord of our lives. But that plan went wrong when Adam chose a different lord….a taskmaster that led him into bondage. Now this idea of another reigning in my life is considered primitive, religious or even stupid.

But here’s the problem…in spite of our aversion to the idea it’s still the way we function, it’s still the way we are made, so we WILL install a master, a lord to reign in our lives. The question Paul asks is this- Do you understand how important this decision is? Do you understand the
implications? Who you choose as your lord will determine all that follows.

As I prepared to teach through this material last week I came to two verses, completely unrelated, that caught my attention because of one common word. Here are the verses and then let’s talk about them,

Genesis 4 “Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Notice these words, “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you…it desires to master you, but you must master it.”

Now, contrast that passage with this,


“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

Two visitors have come to seek entrance. One comes by stealth, crouching, looking for a way in to master us. The other comes knocking, looking for a relationship. What a contrast of masters. One simply wants to master our lives to sin, and finally death. The other wants a relationship, time to eat, fellowship with us and brings life. These are the two choices of masters. We each will choose one or the other. Here’s how Paul describes it in Romans 6,

“…do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

You’re gonna have to serve somebody. At the door wait two masters. One will reign with evil desires and death as the final outcome. The other will rule in love and grace with life as his goal for you.

As I have thought about this I realize that most do not believe this is true. We believe, as the writer once wrote, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” But it’s simply not true. We aren’t our own masters. It’s clear we choose whom we will serve, but serve we will.

 

 

Who do you serve?