Adultery is Near! (2)

In my last article, I warned of the consuming sin of adultery that taints our society and is near to us in our lives. The warning was expressed so that we may take heed to ourselves, or perhaps one close to us, and repent or exhort one another to walk again in a holy life. The last article may have seemed negative having barely mentioned the salvation and grace that is afforded to us on the behalf of our Lord Jesus who offered up Himself on the cross. This article now resumes by way of Scripture to tell of that blessedness of living outside of adultery and sin in general and walking in holiness by way of the Holy Spirit.

First, we observe I Corinthians 6:9-11, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor effeminate…shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” This passage speaks specifically of those who walk in stark contrast to the seventh commandment of God’s law. God despises those sins and will not tolerate them. However, by God’s work of justifying us on the basis of Christ’s work, working true repentance in us, and bringing us to live a new holy life, we can be assured that the guilt of our sins is completely taken away, and that we have been given the ability to live a holy life in the name of Jesus. God has given us this assurance and we must live in it.

Secondly, we consider the message of Revelation 3:1-6 to the church at Sardis. According to the angel’s message this church was about to die. Sardis was not exhibiting works that were pleasing unto God. The church was described as wearing defiled garments, yet they continued to wear these filthy clothes. They did not take off the dirty garments to cleanse them but found it pleasurable and convenient to keep wearing them. The angel urged them to remember their first love. The church was called to remember the zeal they once had for the word that caused them to be consumed in the studying and praising of God. The church was called to cleanse those defiled garments or perhaps get rid of them entirely to prevent any remembrance of them. The blessedness of this passage is revealed in verse four, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” We may at times fall away into these sins, undoubtedly, we all have walked in adultery in some way or another, but as we observed in I Corinthians 6 God smiles upon us when we flee unto Him and resist sin and temptation with our whole heart.

As children of God, we always have hope. We never need to feel overcome and taken over by sins such as adultery. The Bible does not say that Christ came for the perfect. If it were so, then His people would not need Him. Our Lord and Savior came for those whom His Father gave Him, and He loves (Luke 5:32). Our calling as you may remember is to “possess [our] vessel in sanctification and honor” (I Thess. 4:3-5). If we do fail and possess our vessel in dishonor then we must repent and flee unto God our rock.

The blessedness of man according to David is that our iniquity is forgiven, our sins are covered, and the Lord does not attribute sin to us (Rom. 4:6-8). May we joyfully and thankfully live in our calling given in I Peter 1:15, “But as he which hath called you is holy, be ye holy in all manner of [living].”

Luke Christian Potjer

Forgiveness

One of the most important character traits that a human being can have is dependability. Yes, human beings are fallen and broken and defective creatures. And no human will ever be able to attain anything resembling perfection or one hundred percent trustworthiness on this earth. The future is always uncertain and impossible to predict. The world will throw things at you that you don’t think you can handle.

And yet you know somewhere deep-down that you can. That God never gives His people anything more than what they can handle as long as they continue to put their trust in Him.

I’m thankful for people in my life. I’m thankful for people being unpredictable and fun and interesting and mysterious and different and new and weird.

But that doesn’t make it any less disappointing when a mind changes, a heart freezes, plans shift and twist, or responsibilities fall away in the wake of personal interest or uncertainty.

I could go on, positively or negatively, but it’s late and my eyes struggle to keep me looking or feeling awake when it gets late these days. So I’ll leave on this note.

If you’ve ever disappointed me, I forgive and have forgiven you. I love the broken because I too am broken, and yet I am loved with a Love so gracious and merciful as to fall on me, a sinner and the chief of sinners. I’ve disappointed people before. I’m no perfect individual, and I’m as hypocritical as the next fallen human being. But, in my mind, forgiving has never meant forgetting. Forgetting is naive, and forgetting contains no justice at all.

Maybe you’re struggling with forgiveness. Maybe you’re on the verge of being disappointed by someone or something, bad news or a bad score. Maybe you, too, could use the devotional of Psalm 51, a Prayer for Forgiveness:

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.  2  Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  3  For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.  4  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest […]  7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. […]  9  Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.  10  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me…

In the word of the psalmist in other passages, selah. Think on these things.

Ashley Huizinga

Forgiving Our Debtors

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” (Matt. 6:12). These words from the well-known Lord’s Prayer are words that we often speak, yet it can be so easy to verbalize them without really thinking about their meaning. “As we forgive our debtors.” Because of our sinful human natures, that can be so hard to do! Living and interacting in a world full of sinners, we are sinned against daily. But how do we react? So often we are tempted to hold a grudge against that sinner, refusing to make amends and forgive him of his wrongdoing. But Jesus instructs us in Luke 17:3 as to the proper response: “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.” Here are a few things to consider that will help motivate us to maintain a forgiving attitude towards others.

  1. Remember the great debt of sin that God has forgiven of us. “Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Col. 3:13). By nature, we hate God and want nothing to do with Him, content to drown in our world of darkness and sin. By nature, we commit the greatest of sins against Him, adding daily to the mountain of transgressions on our account. By nature, we are bound to serve the Devil, and do so willingly. Apart from God, we are blinded by the darkness of sin, desiring no salvation, but reveling in the lusts of the flesh. Yet God, in His infinite mercy and grace, chose us and loved us in eternity, and thus provided the Way for us to be redeemed and forgiven. He sent His only begotten Son to redeem us sinners who cursed, mocked, and ridiculed Him, and the sinless One willingly laid down His life fully to satisfy the whole wrath of God against our sins.

  1. God calls us to forgive others out of thankfulness for His gracious forgiveness of us. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32). As those who have had the mountain of our sins forgiven, we have the greatest example and motivation for forgiving others. When we meditate on the magnitude of God’s forgiveness of our sins, how can we not be filled with gratitude and a desire to reflect that great work of God in our relationships with others? When we remember this, we will always have reason to forgive because no matter how great a sin is committed against us, the forgiven debt we owed to God will always be infinitely greater.

  1. Christ not only died to forgive you, but all of God’s children. If you are wronged in some way by a fellow Christian, remember that you are both sinners saved by the same grace. God holds that sinner in His hands just the same as He holds you, and he is part of God’s covenant family just as you are. God has already forgiven that child of His of that sin, so who are you to refuse him your forgiveness when he asks for it?

  1. God forgives our sins constantly and completely – and so must we forgive our debtors. Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” That is how completely God forgave our sins, and that is what true forgiveness is. It is not saying, “I forgive you,” while refusing to forget the incident and continuing to foster feelings of hatred and resentment against that person. But it is forgiving the sin so completely that we cast it from our memory, never allowing it to resurface to taint the reputation of the sinner. God also forgives our sins continually. Daily  we add to the debt of sins we owe to God, and daily He forgives us of every single one. We, in turn, receive the calling to do the same with regard to our debtors: “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4). When we remember how constantly we sin against God and how readily He forgives us of those sins, we should be able to forgive our debtors no matter how frequently we are wronged.

When we meditate on these things, we will find ourselves much more willing to forgive our debtors. And when we forgive our debtors, we will have the assurance that our debts are forgiven by God. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15). Of course, our act of forgiving others does not cause God to forgive our sins – Christ has already accomplished that once and for all and nothing we do can change that. But when we forgive our debtors, we experience that forgiveness and have the assurance that ours are forgiven as well. Then we can pray with understanding the words of the Lord’s Prayer as Christ has taught us, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

Anna Langerak