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

Forgive Us Our Debts, As We Forgive Our Debtors. 

Every day in our prayers we ask for forgiveness of our sins. We confess them before God as they weigh heavy on our hearts. How often do we pray for the ability to forgive others? The fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer pairs these two together and puts an emphasis on the importance of each one.

In Matthew 18 we read the Parable of the two debtors. It is a very familiar parable to us all about a servant who was forgiven an unpayable amount of debt he owed to his master. After the servant was forgiven this debt, he went to his fellow servant who had borrowed a minuscule amount of money, and had him cast into prison until he would pay the debt. We read this passage with disgust and we can hardly believe the cruelty of this man. How dare he refuse to forgive this man after he had just been forgiven of an unimaginable amount of debt!

And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt” (Matt. 18: 29, 30).

We read this passage with disgust, yet we are that servant. Every time we sin we add and we add to our collection of debt against God, and it has built up to an unpayable amount. We are the man who owes money to his master, and to make it even worse, we refuse to forgive our neighbour just as he did. Every time we hold a grudge and refuse to forgive our neighbour (at times even our closest friends), we are STILL that man who is trampling his friend into poverty. The hate and anger that builds up in our hearts that quite often lasts days and weeks is our way of disobeying the fifth petition. This fifth petition is part of the beautiful prayer given to us from Jesus, and we repeatedly pray over and over again.

As we forgive our debtors.” Jesus directs us to pray this. He instructs us to pray this because he knows our sins, and he knows how hard it is for us to forgive! So often we dwell on a small incident, and as our anger builds up, we drive farther and farther away from God’s command to forgive those who sin against us. Forgiveness takes prayer, takes patience, takes love, and takes selflessness. To forgive we must turn our hearts from anger, bitterness, and hurt. But forgiveness goes against our human nature. We don’t want to forgive! Out of our obedience to God we must have faith and pray for Christ to work that forgiveness in our heart. We must forgive our debtors. Only those who forgive, may be expected to be forgiven from 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). 

Yet our story has a different ending.
“And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.” (Matt. 18:34).

This story is a parable of earthly men, and the poor fellow servant is cast into prison. It is here that we must be fully aware of God’s unfailing mercy. The debts that we build up before God, we are not able to pay and we never will be. God knows this, which is why he sent his Son to pay for them. He does not cast us into the depths of hell, but he promises us eternal glory. And as the Lord continues to forgive our repeated sins as we confess them before him, he will also continue to give us the strength to forgive our debtors.

Please forgive all of our sins, Lord, and help us to forgive others.

Averly Kikkert