Sunday, December 3, 2017
The Mercy Papers - 10
"Your forgiveness in Jesus, Father, is how You gave heaven to us.
Unforgiveness doesn't open the gift.
That's what He said
Reclaim the Bow
Discovering Original Mercy
COPYRIGHT RESERVED, 2017
The Mercy Papers (10)
“Why was Jesus so angry at the Pharisees and the scribes?
Because He had gone to a lot of trouble to give them
some very good news about forgiveness,
acceptance, and freedom. And
they kept getting it wrong.”
Father John Pisarcik, Ramblings of an Old Man, 2016
The distinctive love ethic of Christianity (agape) is praying and laboring for the highest good for everyone regardless of who, what, where, when, or why without needing or expecting response, regard, or reward.
Indisputably, the highest good for anyone is a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Therefore, the greatest love that anyone can express for everyone is to point them to Jesus as Lord and Savior; because knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior enables confident living in the assurance of eternal life.
Not pointing people to Jesus as Lord and Savior is the most sinful omission of too many of today’s churches; betraying unconverted pulpiteers and pewsitters.
Surely, as an old salt once said, “You can’t give away what you ain’t got for yourself.”
We must have faith before we can share it/Him; and if we have it/Him, we have an evangelistic zeal or passion for sharing the good news of existential well-being bred of eternal security.
Symptoms of disbelief in the eternal benefits of Christianity are the disobedience to the existential expectations of Jesus.
Simply, if we really believe He has the keys to heaven, we really pay attention to behaviors prescribed by Him to prove we really believe in Him.
Putting it another way, how we behave expresses what we believe and what we believe determines our ultimate destiny.
Certainly, as an older elder said many years ago to me, “You love ‘em and let God judge ‘em!”
Just as certainly, part of our loving ‘em is reminding ‘em that God judges ‘em.
Really loving people, again, is wanting as well as praying and laboring for their highest good.
Jesus wants everybody saved; so as we become more intimate with Him, we want what Jesus wants.
Jesus wants everybody to be saved.
According to Him, that doesn’t mean everybody will be saved.
His inviting knock comes to everybody’s door; but not everybody answers.
Existentially, the eternally unsaved express themselves in irregularity, irascibility, and irreconcilability. Their lives are contrary to those who have found love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness, humility, and self-control by grace through faith in Jesus. Their unheavenly lives forecast an eternal destination not to be shared with true believers in Jesus by the book.
Again, that judgment is God’s; yet, as Calvin observed, some folks show signs of salvation while others show signs of…
Some folks or a lot of folks – I don’t know because that’s His business – are not going to heaven after the last breath.
Some folks or a lot of folks – I don’t know because that’s His business – turned down the invitation, didn’t answer the knock, denied, defied, or any other self-damning way that sounds…wrong.
I like Tozer’s conclusion: “All things as they move toward God are beautiful. And they are ugly as they move away from Him.”
While only God knows for sure, there are indicators/proof/evidence/fruit that show who’s going to heaven and who’s going to…
Biblical truth is God alone knows some/lots of people are going to hell after their last breath.
That’s Biblical truth; and when it comes to Biblical truth, we don’t have the arrogance to disagree. We don’t write ‘em. We just read ‘em.
Now hold your breath.
There seems to be a lot of room in hell for the unforgiving.
Jesus doesn’t seem to allow for a purgatory for the unforgiving or coins-in-the-coffer-to-ring-so-souls-in-purgatory-can-spring or any other kinda indulgences or shouldas or wouldas or couldas when He said flatly in forever terms that being forgiving yields forgiveness and not not.
When He taught us to pray, forgiveness was highlighted as indicative of saving intimacy with Him: “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”
It was the only part of that prayer that He explained: “For if you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others when they sin against you, God will not forgive you.”
There doesn’t seem to be any wiggle room there.
Forgive…period…if we want to be forgiven…and go to heaven for sure.
Here are some startling sentences from Herbert Lockyer’s Everything Jesus Taught: “There is one sin…Jesus said a forgiving God cannot forgive. It is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit…the willful, conscious, and final rejection of the pardon God offers in Christ…God cannot forgive such a soul for such a soul is unable to receive and appreciate forgiveness. It has gone too far ever to return.”
Then he makes the existential/eternal connection to forgiveness: “Jesus emphasized the relationship between the two aspects of forgiveness, namely, God’s forgiveness of man, and man’s forgiveness of man…[see Matthew 6:12, 14-15; cf. 7:1-5; James 2:13]…At the heart of the teaching of Jesus was the insistence that the human who would not forgive the human could never be forgiven by God…Jesus seems to say, ‘How dare you ask God to forgive you when you refuse your forgiveness to a brother?’”
Lockyer concludes, “We must do to others as we wish God to do to us. If we refuse to forgive, our own forgiveness is denied.”
I am convinced the greatest challenge in our relationship with God – here, there, and everywhere – is forgiveness.
Whether it’s politics, school boards, siblings, denominations, wives and husbands, families or churches or countries, I am convinced too many people don’t really believe in Jesus as attested by their behaviors antithetical to His example by the book and are rolling the dice to see, for example, how much unforgiveness they can get away with to avoid the only judgment that matters in the end: His!
Forgiveness doesn’t mean we can’t recall the sins or offenses against us.
God made us too smart for that.
Forgiveness means the past no longer influences the present or future.
Forgiveness occurs when the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual barriers separating us come tumbling down.
And according to God in Jesus by the book, all it takes to gain forgiveness from someone who knows Him and has already been forgiven by Him is to admit it (confession) and try harder (repentance) because our imperfections are covered by His blood on the cross.
Read 1 John 1:5-10.
That’s what God has done for us; and when we couple Matthew 18:15-20 and Galatians 6 with 1 John 1:5-10, we know what God expects from us with each other.
Actual perfection is not the prerequisite. If that were true, Jesus did not come to save us from our imperfections or irrefutable inability to be perfectly His. Attitudinal perfection, wanting to be perfectly devoted to Him or having a heart for Him like the imperfect David, is the prerequisite of a saving relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Head and heart and gut wanting forgiveness and wanting to act/relate better after admitting less in the past are all that He requires/expects from us in relationship with Him and all He requires/expects from us in relationship with each other.
To be His is to act like Him more than less and increasingly more than less as we become more intimate with Him by the book: “Love each other just as much as I love you…As you do it to/for others, you do it to/for Me.”
It means the people in our lives who are truly sorry and trying to change their behaviors from naughty to nice and bad to better are to be forgiven by us just like God forgives us when we are truly sorry and trying to change our behaviors from sinful to righteous.
This is not optional in the end.
This is consequential in the end.
I think of Karen McCoy who said not long before going home to Jesus on June 24, 2015, “If people won’t forgive, hell with them…and, Pastor Bob, I didn’t say that. Jesus said that!”
From what can be seen in too many relationships even in churches that should know better, too many people are making a hell of a lotta bad choices.
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!