Charles Stanley – Freely Forgiven

Charles Stanley

“How could God ever forgive me? You don’t know what I’ve done.”

“How could I have done such an awful thing? I can never forgive myself.”

As a pastor, these are similar to questions I hear from people who have never fully understood God’s forgiveness. When we do not realize how the Lord’s mercy applies to our daily lives, the result is bondage, which stifles our ability to love and accept others. It also chokes the abundant life that Christ promised to those of us who believe.

Forgiveness is “the act of setting someone free from an obligation resulting from a wrong done against you.” For example, a debt is forgiven when you free the offender of his responsibility to pay back what he owes you. True forgiveness, then, involves three elements, all of which are necessary: an injury, a debt resulting from the injury, and a cancellation of the debt.

In God’s economy, sin creates a deficit; that is, something is taken or demanded from the sinner. What He ultimately requires of the transgressor is death:

The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).

The result of their sin was that death came into the world—not only physical death but also eternal separation from God (Rev. 20:15).

Why did God not immediately snuff out the lives of Adam and Eve? Why does He not do the same for all sinners? The answer is simple yet life-changing in its profundity: There is something God desires more than retribution for the disrespect shown Him—He wants fellowship with us.

He cared enough about Adam and Eve to slay an animal and make garments of skin to cover their nakedness and hide their shame (Gen. 3:17). This was the beginning of the sacrificial system that restored the fellowship between God and His people.

God was willing to move quickly to reinstate fellowship with Adam and Eve, and He will do the same for us today. In light of His mercy, shouldn’t we likewise extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us?

God doesn’t look at sins on a case-by-case basis to determine whether He will grant forgiveness. During Old Testament times, any person could receive atonement for transgressions simply by following prescribed steps. Similarly, to anyone desiring forgiveness today, it is freely available through Christ’s death on the cross:

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us” (Eph. 1:7-8).

Notice that forgiveness is “according to the riches of His grace.” Scripture is clear that forgiveness is a gift, available for the asking (1 John 1:9).The details of what we have done, why we did it, and how many times we did it are irrelevant.

Are there sins from your past that continue to hang over you like a cloud? Do you doubt that God hears you because of sinful choices you’ve made? Do you feel that your potential for the kingdom of God has been destroyed?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have not yet come to grips with God’s solution to your sin. You are still holding on to a way of thinking that can keep you in bondage for the rest of your days on earth. You have set yourself up for a defeated life in which you will never reach your potential in the kingdom of God.

God wants you to be free. And because He does, He sacrificed what was dearest to Him. I encourage you to meditate on the concepts in this article. Ask God to sink them deep into your heart so they become the grid through which you interpret the experiences of life. When you can see yourself as a forgiven child, you will be able to enjoy fellowship with the Father, which was made possible by the death of His Son. Then you can begin to fulfill His marvelous calling on your life.

Adapted from The Gift of Forgiveness, by Charles F. Stanley, 1991.

 

Related Resources

 

Related Video

Why the Cross?

We wear them on our jewelry, we place them on our cars, we put them on top of our churches – but what does the cross truly represent to you? In this message, Dr. Stanley takes a look back on the history of crucifixions and the reasoning behind Christ’s death. (Watch Why the Cross?)

 

Our Daily Bread — Christmas Wonder

Our Daily Bread

1 Chronicles 16:7-13

Remember His marvelous works which He has done. —1 Chronicles 16:12

After my first semester in seminary, my family was given airline tickets to fly home for Christmas. The night before our flight, we realized we had less than $20 for the trip. Parking, transportation, and other incidentals were certain to cost more than $20. Heartsick, we resolved to pray about it. Though our children were small (6 and 2), we included them in the prayer time.

As we were praying, we heard footsteps in the hallway of the apartment building, and then “whisk”—the sound of an envelope sliding under the door. Inside the envelope was an anonymous gift of $50.

The wonder reflected on our 6-year-old daughter’s face matched the wonder in our own hearts. Here was a mighty God writing His name on a little girl’s heart by hearing and answering our prayer in the same instant. And so we, like the psalmist David, could “talk of all His wondrous works!” (1 Chron. 16:9).

So it was that first Christmas night, when a mighty, all-knowing, all-powerful God wrote His name on the heart of humanity, stunning us with the generosity of forgiveness and the joy of unconditional love. The birth of Christ is the answer to our most fervent prayers for love and forgiveness. Can you feel the wonder? —Randy Kilgore

Lord, restore to me the wonder of Christmas,

felt most keenly when I first met Jesus;

for I long to tell the story with all the

joy it brought me that day.

A wonder-filled life is ours when we know the Christ of Christmas.

Bible in a year: Micah 6-7; Revelation 13

Alistair Begg – How Can He Fail You?

Alistair Begg

I will strengthen you.

Isaiah 41:10

God has a strong reserve with which to discharge this responsibility, for He is able to do everything. Believer, until you can drain the ocean dry of omnipotence, until you can break into pieces the towering mountains of almighty strength, you never need to fear.

Do not think that the strength of man will ever be able to overcome the power of God. While the earth’s huge pillars stand, you have enough reason to live firm in your faith.

The same God who directs the earth in its orbit, who feeds the burning furnace of the sun, and trims the lamps of heaven has promised to supply you with daily strength. While He is able to uphold the universe, do not dream that He will prove unable to fulfill His own promises.

Remember what He did in the past, in the former generations. Remember how He spoke and it was done, how He commanded and it stood firm. Will He who created the world grow weary? He hangs the world upon nothing; will He who does this be unable to support His children? Will He be unfaithful to His word for lack of power?

Who is it that restrains the tempest? Does He not ride upon the wings of the wind and make the clouds His chariots and hold the ocean in the hollow of His hand? How can He fail you? When He has put such a faithful promise as this on record, will you for a moment indulge the thought that He has outpromised Himself or gone beyond His power to fulfill? No! You can doubt no longer.

My God, You who are my strength, I believe that this promise will be fulfilled, for the boundless reservoir of Your grace can never be exhausted, and the overflowing storehouse of Your strength can never be emptied by Your friends or plundered by Your enemies.

Now let the feeble all be strong,

And make Jehovah’s arm their song.

 

Charles Spurgeon – Plenteous redemption

CharlesSpurgeon

“With him is plenteous redemption.” Psalm 130:7

Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 4:1-7

This “plenteous redemption” is plenteous, because it is enough for all the distresses of the saints. Your wants are almost infinite; but this atonement is quite so. Your troubles are almost unutterable; but this atonement is quite unutterable. Your needs you can scarce tell; but this redemption I know you cannot tell. Believe, then, that it is “plenteous redemption.” O believing sinner, what a sweet comfort it is for you, that there is “plenteous redemption,” and that you have a lot in it. You will most certainly be brought safely home, by Jesus’ grace. Are you seeking Christ; or rather, do you know yourselves to be sinners? If you do, I have authority from God to say to every one who will confess his sins, that Christ has redeemed him. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Are you a sinner? I do not mean a sham sinner; there are lots of them about, but I have no gospel to preach to them just now. I do not mean one of those hypocritical sinners, who cry, “Yes, I am a sinner,”—who are sinners out of compliment, and do not mean it. I will preach another thing to you: I will preach against your self-righteousness another day; but I shall not preach anything to you just now about Christ, for he “came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” But are you a sinner, in the bona fide sense of the word? Do you know yourself to be a lost, ruined, undone, sinner? Then in God’s name I urge you to believe this—that Christ has died to save you.

For meditation: We spend money to buy presents for others; Christ came to spend His lifeblood to buy sinners back for God. Christmas means nothing without the Christ; Christmas means nothing without Easter (Mark 10:45).

Sermon no. 351

22 December (Undated Sermon)

John MacArthur – The Confirmation from God

John MacArthur

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will” (Heb. 2:3-4).

When Jesus preached the gospel, He performed miracles that made what He said believable. He said, “Though you do not believe Me, believe the works” (John 10:38). Jesus claimed to be from God, then made it obvious He really was from God.

Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “No one can do these signs that You do unless God is with Him” (John 3:2). Jesus confirmed His ministry by His own miracles. Peter reiterated that fact on the day of Pentecost: “Jesus the Nazarene [was] a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs” (Acts 2:22).

God also gave these same confirming signs to His second generation of preachers–the apostles–so no one could dispute the validity of their message. What the apostles said was not their own opinion; it was divine truth substantiated by signs, wonders, and miracles.

Signs, wonders, and miracles are synonyms referring to all the supernatural things the apostles did. But the apostles also confirmed the Word with “gifts of the Holy Spirit.” That’s a reference to the temporary sign gifts described in Scripture, such as tongues and healings, not to the permanent edifying gifts given to the church for all time.

Today God attests to the gospel with the miracle of His written Word. Let it not be said that you neglected Jesus Christ. History confirms that hours of neglect cost Napoleon Waterloo. Neglecting Christ’s salvation will cost you eternal blessing and joy and bring you damnation. Don’t allow yourself to drift past God’s grace.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Thank God for His Word, and that through it you have all the truth you need to communicate the gospel.

For Further Study:

Read Acts 5-19 and list all the miracles performed by the apostles to confirm the gospel.

 

Joyce Meyer – Peace in the House

Joyce meyer

Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention.

—Philippians 2:2

When Jesus sent the disciples out two by two to do miracles, signs, and wonders, in essence He said to them, “Go and find a house and say, ‘Peace be unto you.’ And if your peace settles on that house, you can stay there. If it doesn’t, shake the dust off your feet and go on” (see Mark 6:7-11).

One day God showed me what Jesus was really saying to them: “I want you to go out with the anointing, but to do that you need to have peace in the house.” You need to do whatever you can to maintain peace in your home because it dramatically affects the anointing and power of God that rests on your life. Keep the strife out of your life! No peace, no power! Know peace, know power!

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Proof of His Love

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“For when He punishes you, it proves that He loves you. When He whips you it proves you are really His child” (Hebrews 12:6).

Most of us prefer more pleasant ways of having others prove their love for us. Children, for example, never particularly relish the idea of having the “board of education” applied to the “seat of learning,” but sometimes the disciplinary spanking is necessary.

We do that to our children because we love them. How much more important that our heavenly Father discipline us to keep us in line with His perfect plan and will for our lives. Sometimes that discipline is tough and painful.

This does not mean, of course, that God sends chastisement which is not deserved, or that He sends it for the mere purpose of inflicting pain. But it does mean that He is showing His paternal, loving care for us as His children when He punishes us.

As a child, a practical illustration helped me with this concept, so much so that it still sticks with me. When I allow my life to be flexible, like putty or soft clay, God can take it and mold it as He chooses. When I decide to be stubborn and resistant – hard like concrete – He sometimes has to smooth the rough edges, and that always hurts.

We sing a chorus about the Spirit of God falling afresh on us. “Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.” When you and I are like putty in His hands, yielded and committed to Him, He can indeed mold us in His image.

Bible Reading: Revelation 3:19-22

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will surrender to God’s disciplinary action in my life realizing that as a kind, loving heavenly Father He must take such action for my own good and benefit, when I am in need of correction.

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G.- Knowing Him

ppt_seal01

Earlier this year, England’s Prince William and his wife Catherine bore a new royal offspring. They faced the selection of a name for the babe. They were influenced in their choices by family, friends and British tradition, and spent much effort discerning the meanings of the names they ultimately chose: George Alexander Louis.

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

Matthew 1:21

Mary and Joseph were also influenced in the name of their firstborn. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him not only what to name the boy, but why: Jesus, the angel prescribed, for He shall save His people from their sins. (J-E)These are the first letters in Jehovah. The name “Jesus” identifies this child with His people and, more, it identifies Him with the Father, the only true God. (S-U-S) Some consider this the abbreviated form of “Savior.” This is the express purpose of the Son of God: His mission, His future.

It’s not enough to just know the name of the Living Son of God. You must know Him – Jesus – as your own personal Savior. Do that today if you never have. Then pray that America’s leaders will find their identity with the Father and His Son.

Recommended Reading: Romans 10:8-15