Tag Archive: Forgiveness



“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 19That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed us to the message of reconciliation.” -Romans 5:17-19

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The Holy Bible should not be considered some mere book, that one reads once through, or even a few times, and that is all that is required. It is the Word of God and it may speak to us through a single verse in many different ways. This being the case, there is no such thing as too much repetition within the Holy Writ. We must consistently read and study, letting the Lord speak to us all the while, in order that through and by it, we may overcome the burdens or challenges that my arise within our lives. In addition, the memorization of Scripture, assists us to overcome the temptation of sin, which so easily entangles.

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When we look at the temptation of Christ as he wandered through the wilderness, we find that our Lord answered the temptations from Satan with Scripture. Whenever Satan attempted other tactics, they were shot down in a similar fashion. This should be a lesson unto us. Often times the Lord guides us to Scripture, prior to, or preceding, a particular temptation in our lives.

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Though I have wrote on this particular verse before, I do not question where the Lord is leading me in His word, and with every verse I ponder over it, and more importantly, I pray that it would remain in remembrance. In addition, I pray that the Lord would illuminate the Scripture for me, that it may be yielded as a weapon against darkness if and when the time should come.

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When a person comes to Christ, it is easier to believe that our past sins are forgiven, rather than those which are committed under grace. However, the glorious message of reconciliation shows us that even our current and future sins can be covered under this same grace. Concerning this truth, being a new creation, we are renewed day by day. Though we may have backslid yesterday, today is a new day in which our sins, by Christ, may not be counted against us, in the sight of the Almighty. Christ, along with the Spirit that dwells within us, shows that God is committed to His promise of reconciliation for all those covered in Christ blood. Given this, we should be committed to this message that others may be reconciled unto God.

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If we confess with our mouth that, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we become born again and are created anew. We are given a new Spirit by Christ, and our old selves pass away. This is only possible through Christ, who paid our debt when He took our sins upon Himself at Calvary, justifying us from our trespasses. Therefore, when we die in body, we will be given a new one, clean and free of decay, as Christ has. This is all due to the glory manifest at the cross, that in our faith in the Son, it may be credited to us as righteousness.

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“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” -Romans 6:14-15

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Once a subject comes to the Lord, and evil’s grasp over a person begins to weaken, the enemy reaches into his well worn bag of tricks to pullout a biggie. Those who come to the cross know that they are forgiven for their sins, and the newly created, not yet having moved onto solid food (Hebrews 5:11-14), may be approached with the temptation that Christ’s blood, which grants righteousness through faith, gives one freedom in sin. God’s perfect word addresses this very thing. Yet, even as I mentioned , that this is a common temptation when first coming to the Lord and knowing only the elementary truths, it can, in fact, afflict even those who have moved onto a more mature diet.

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As Romans 6:15 urges us not to sin while we are covered with grace, The Book of Hebrews reiterates the danger of using Christ’s blood as an excuse for iniquity:

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” -Hebrews 10:26-27

In Exodus 34:7, there are three kinds of sin that are mentioned. There are those sins, which result from the habitual acts and thoughts of the human nature, more or less, because of our “natural” faulty faculties, by which we fall short of the Glory of God. For instance, catching ourselves cursing at someone in traffic. I will refer to these sins as a “breach.” Though I may give these kinds of sin different terms, this is strictly for the purposes of differentiation, and by no means necessarily reflect how the Lord may judge these sins, which is not for me to say. These are just general categories that seem to be implicit in Scripture.

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The second category, and addressed throughout this entry, is iniquity. Iniquity is willful sin in the sight of God. The willful sins are of greater consequence. We know this, not only because of the dangers represented through God’s word, but as those who have engaged in willful sin under grace (as I have) should be able to testify, the conviction by the Spirit concerning such sin weighs more heavily than does the conviction of a breach.

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Thirdly, and yet first in terms of severity, is “transgression,” or willful rebellion. To rebel against the ways of God, is to rebel against the nature of God, and in such sin there is no forgiveness, for there is no repentance. True repentance is not merely the asking for the forgiveness of sin, but turning and walking away from it.

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The similarities of the last two examples reside in the fact that they are both willful. Yet, in the case of transgression, it is a willful rebellion against God. Between iniquity and rebellion there is a subtle difference, in which the degree of the rebellion is emphasized. In iniquity, while one does certainly rebel in the very act of the willful sin, and in fact all sin is disobedience, the rebellion in the heart may not be to the degree of transgression. The latter is often strove for in a permanent sense, that the transgressor is not willing to give all to God, or even allow God to work in that area of sin.

As with some breaches, iniquity too can be habitual by nature. This is usually due to our indulgences in that sin, either prior to coming to Christ, or those times when people fall away and rebel willingly, as I too am guilty of. So for such people like myself, where is the hope? Does it exist for those like me who, by my own admission, have rebelled and fallen away (more than once) having both iniquity and transgression represented in my life? It is somewhat distressing personally to read verses like the one contained in Hebrews. Is there any hope if one is guilty of iniquity?

By the grace of God, I am here to tell you, absolutely! There is still hope, for as I stated earlier, in regards to the convictions of the Spirit, which are manifest when those sins that reside in the scope of iniquity are committed, the conviction is a lot, “heavier.” By the mere conviction alone, we see the Holy Spirit still communicating with us and weighing a burden of conviction upon our hearts. Taking this into account, and knowing that the Holy Spirit is, “a guarantee of what is to come,” (2 Corinthians 1:22) we know by the Word itself we may still be under grace.

Yet, let us not undermine the danger in such intentional sin and disobedience. As with Samson, the Lord eventually left him, and as the Scriptures tell us, he was not even aware that this was the case, which is the biggest tragedy. Thus, when iniquity becomes so prevalent in our lives, we may not know when we have moved from under grace to under wrath. To which point this occurs is not for me to say, nor would I, lest by doing so I may cause a stumbling block for others, for man has a tendency to push the limits of what is right, edging as close as he can before crossing the ethical boundaries he perceives, or that which have been set by the Lord. This kind of knowledge is reserved for the Lord and is between the Lord and the trespasser. The fact is, with a willful progression and steadfastness in iniquity, Hebrews suggest that by engaging in this with abandon, there is no sacrifice to cover the sin!

However, even to those who have at one time in their life, “trampled on the blood of Christ,” or fallen away, you have hope abounding! This is because of our gracious, merciful God, to whom belongs all the glory! Even Samson, though the Lord left him, at his end called on the Lord, and by doing so, God gave him the strength to destroy the temple. In addition, as the parable of the prodigal son testifies, there is much rejoicing in heaven when a former son, or daughter, returns to the Lord. In fact, more so than that of the righteous.

Our Lord is gracious and loving, but He warns us sternly not to take advantage of the grace He has offered us. It has been wrought with the blood, pain, suffering and humiliation experienced by His one and only Son, our savior, Jesus Christ. Shall we choose to hammer the nails deeper into Christ by continuing to sin, knowing full well what Christ endured on our behalf?

The three types of sin brought up earlier can be recovered by grace with a repentant humble heart. Yet, man in his imperfection still continues to sin, but Christ’s blood has both covered the sins of the past, and of the future. The warning is powerful, as it should be, for as some will testify, including myself, with the indulgence of iniquity you by your own accord have departed from under the cleansing blood of Christ. If this is the case, and I pray it isn’t, then you may find yourself much like Samson, with the Lord leaving you and you being unaware. Woe to the man or woman who in such a state is perishing.


“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” -2 Corinthians 4:16

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This verse is one that I personally need to repeat to myself daily. When one first comes to Christ and is covered by grace, it is often easier to accept it offers the nullification of the sins of the past than it is to understand that this very same grace covers the sins of the future. Now, I am not one who likes to consistently blame our sins on Satan directly, for to do so negates our own responsibility in sight of the Lord. Furthermore, since we are offered forgiveness in Christ, it testifies to our role in accepting and following the temptations or tricks of Satan.

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Before one comes to Christ, Satan’s deceptions center around keeping man from accepting God or coming to Him. Yet, after we are covered by grace, it seems that Satan reaches into a entirely different bag of tricks altogether. One of his favorite tools is one of condemnation for believers.

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"Lucifer in Hell," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1861 (From Dante's "Divine Comedy," Canto 34 of "Inferno")

As I have mentioned before, Satan hasn’t created anything. He merely takes God’s purpose, His great deeds, and twists, manipulates or perverts them, offering them unto man in a way God hadn’t intended. Our responsibility is apparent when we choose to follow either truth, or the lies of darkness.

As Christians, Satan may now attack us in ways that belittle Christ’s sacrifice and/or our relationship with the Lord. When we come to Jesus and are baptized in His blood, we begin to gain a conviction of sin through the Spirit and we may feel guilty or sorrowful for our disobedience in sight of God. Yet, the enemy tries to twist this conviction into condemnation, again making a mockery of what Christ accomplished on the cross.

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"The Darkness at The Crucifixion," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1866

I am no stranger to this lie, and I remain quite convinced it is a common trick used by the enemy that Christians need to be aware of and refute using scripture. This is a verse the Lord led me too early on after my conversion and one that has allowed me to overcome the stumbling block of such condemnation. This is the very same condemnation Christ took upon Himself and freed me of and it is disrespectful to the Lord to say that what He did wasn’t good enough for me, when everything about the message of reconciliation says otherwise.

Yet, let us remember that we are not given a divine “get out of jail free card,” to continue sinning. For to rely on grace as an excuse to continue sinning is to trample on the blood of Christ and take advantage of God’s Son to indulge in your own evil desires. This is disrespectful and evil as well, and I urge all Christians to not fall into that trap. The grace of God is not a pass for sin, but an opportunity to fight against it. Sin still has the ability to easily entangle, that’s why the conviction of the Spirit is so important, not to condemn, but to warn or identify that area in your life that remains a stronghold.

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Give thanks that God does not want you to take on these strongholds alone. It is important that one press on, ignore the taunts from the enemy, work on your relationship with the Lord, and pray He would mold your heart and guide you into victory. If God demanded perfection in man, then Christ wouldn’t have came. What He does demand however, is your love, faith, trust and loyalty.

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Do not lose heart if you slip and fall, for Christ’s grace is sufficient for you, just as it was for Paul. As a river’s water is renewed day by day, Christ, the River of Life, will renew your water day after day, hour after hour, and moment by moment. Though our bodies age, decay and become marred by mud, sweat and blood, the internal self is not bound to such a sentence. Rather we can develop that side of ourselves which is unseen, and gain a richer relationship and understanding of our Savior.

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Do not let conviction of sin, and even guilt, turn into condemnation, which is closely followed by despair, for this leads to death. Rather rejoice, not in your sin, but instead that the Lord by His Spirit is convicting you of it, and is therefore with you, and realize that if He couldn’t cover your sin, you wouldn’t have been granted the Spirit, a deposit guaranteeing what is to come, in the first place.

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2 Corinthians 7:8-10, “For even if I grieved you with my letter, I do not regret it—even though I did regret it since I saw that the letter grieved you, yet only for a little while. 9Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed, so that you didn’t experience any loss from us. 10For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death.”

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There is, of course, much discussion concerning the “letter” or “epistle” referred to by the apostle Paul in verse 8. There are at least five theories concerning the biblical etymology and development of the books known today as 1 and 2 Corinthians. These theories are discussed in the NIV Study Bible and the Life Application Study Bible. The NIV Study Bible tells us:

“Some think Paul here refers either to 1 Corinthians or to 2 Corinthians 10-13, but more likely he refers to a letter now lost that he wrote shortly after his ‘painful visit.’” –Philip E. Hughes, NIV Study Bible

This “painful visit” is mentioned by Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:

2 Corinthians 2:1, “So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you.”

Philip E. Hughes continues:

“This former visit could not have been the one he made to Corinth at the time when the church there was founded in response to the preaching of the gospel. Therefore he must have paid a second visit, which is confirmed by [2 Corinthians] 12:14; [2 Corinthians] 13:1.” –Philip E. Hughes, NIV Study Bible

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These aforementioned verses read:

2 Corinthians 12:14, “Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.”

2 Corinthians 13:1, “This will be my third visit to you. ‘Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’”

Paul, therefore, is stating that his visit to the Corinthians is to be his third. His first visit was apparently the founding of the church at Corinth itself, so we have a “missing” second visit. Concerning this the NIV Study Bible says:

“The second visit probably took place between the writing of 1 and 2 Corinthians, though some hold that it occurred before 1 Corinthians was written.” –Philip E. Hughes, NIV Study Bible

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So, we can already see that there is some disagreement in when these lost letters of Paul were written, how many there were, and if indeed the letters in some way corresponded to the visits themselves. The Life Application Study Bible takes another stance on the issue.

“’That severe letter’ refers to the third letter (now lost) that Paul had written to the Corinthians. Apparently it had caused the people to begin to change.”Life Application Study Bible

“Paul visited Corinth on his second missionary journey and founded a church there. He later wrote several letters to the believers in Corinth, two of which are included in the Bible. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is lost.”Life Application Study Bible

The Life Application Study Bible cites that this lost letter is referenced in a passage in 1 Corinthians 5:

1 Corinthians 5:9-11, “When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.”

The Life Application Study Bible continues to explain:

“[Paul’s] second letter to them is our book of 1 Corinthians, his third letter is lost.”Life Application Study Bible

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The Life Application Study Bible cites that this additional lost letter is referenced in a passage in 2 Corinthians chapters 2 and 7:

2 Corinthians 2:6-9, “Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. 7Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. 9I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions.”

2 Corinthians 7:12, “My purpose, then, was not to write about who did the wrong or who was wronged. I wrote to you so that in sight of God you could see for yourselves how loyal you are to us.”

The Life Application Study Bible states:

“[Paul’s] fourth letter is our book of 2 Corinthians. Second Corinthians was written less than a year after 1 Corinthians.” –Life Application Study Bible

“Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to deal with divisions in the church. When his advice was not taken and their problems weren’t solved, Paul visited Corinth a second time. That visit was painful for both Paul and for the church [2 Corinthians 2:1]. He then planned a third visit but delayed it and wrote 2 Corinthians instead. After writing 2 Corinthians, Paul visited Corinth once more.” –Life Application Study Bible

Despite what one may conclude about the letters to the Corinthians and the existence or, rather, non-existence of missing letters, it is apparent that when one comes to Christ we feel sorrowful for our sin, of that which was manifest in both the old creation and the new. Sorrow can imply that we feel remorse for wronging someone, God, man, or even self, and this sorrow becomes known and abundant once our eyes are opened by Christ. For in that moment we, in our hearts, know how we were supposed to act if we were indeed obedient in the Lord. Yet, it is because of this disobedience that Christ had to be nailed unto the cross, that we may have forgiveness of our trespasses. Once this is made clear, Godly sorrow envelopes us, but for the purposes of repentance, rather than a means to drive us into despair. This is where sorrow of the world leads, despair, hopelessness and eventually death. Not of the body, for everyone goes through that, rather the death of the spirit. The true death where there is no hope.

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Despair has several like traits, but in my own personal observation, it seems to multiply burden and with an overwhelming feeling of sorrow, this makes hope in one’s life crumble into dust. In this position many slip down the well-worn worldly path towards self-destruction and/or become allied with the enemy. There is an ecclesiastical meaninglessness to life, which makes one focus on the Lord, and there is a worldly meaninglessness that makes one focus upon the self. In regards to the latter, they seek not to protect the self, but rather engage in actions of carnal gratification which eat at a person from the inside out, until they are just a shell of what they might have been, tragically spending all effort in chasing after material rather than the eternal.

Christians, of course, are not granted a lifetime without hardship when coming to the cross. In fact, there are many throughout history, also in contemporary times, that have experienced greater hardship due to their suffering which is directly related in the sharing of the message of reconciliation, that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Great persecution and martyrdom still occurs to this day, despite the gospel of “tolerance,” the world supposedly subscribes to. More on current examples of martyrdom and persecution, check out, “The Voice of The Martyrs” site.

Yet, there is a vast difference between the hardship of those in the world, and the hardships of those who belong to Jesus Christ. It’s not found in the nature of the hardship, but rather in the response. The world under hardship lacks hope, while those in Christ have it in abundance and there are several ways our hope is apparent.

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With Christ we have the hope in Him that He cares about us and our daily lives, and indeed this is truth. We pray that He will strengthen us, lift us out of such snares and the painful circumstance we may find ourselves in and put us back on our feet. Furthermore, we know that when we pass from this world, the problems that confront and confound us here, will cease to be on the other side of eternity, where we will truly live.

Godly joy stems from these things which are some of the cornerstones of the faith and experienced in all Christians, as well as the faith and love that the Spirit instills and perfects within us. Yet, Christians are not immune from breaking away from this hope and grace to chase joy and happiness in the pleasures of the flesh. I myself am guilty of this very thing.

Besides being apart from Christ, one of the problems with this strategy is that you will never come to a place of fulfillment. In fact, you may desire more and more, chasing after “new” experiences, but never realizing how similar those experiences are. Eventually you come to a point where you gain exactly the opposite of what you were looking for: despair. Trying to choke out the feeling of despair by worldly means brings one to the point of calamity, and it is only by Jesus Christ that one can be pulled back from the edge of the precipice.

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True joy is found with Christ Jesus, who offers it freely to those who follow Him. Christ went through that feeling of despair as He was beaten and executed that we wouldn’t have to. Christ offers us a way back from the tomb of despair, that our lives may have meaning, and in that we may have joy.

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“In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” -Romans 1:27

by Kevin Tuma

Paul, in the previous verse, mentions women first as being perpetrators of grotesque sexual sin, presumably with animals, and then tells of men having relations with other men. This emphasizes the lengths of debauchery that was going on in Rome and elsewhere in Paul’s time, and, indeed, it is still with us today.

By use of the term, “likewise,” or, “in the same way” in verse 27, it indicates to us that men lusting after another man is near on par with the woman’s sexual deviance and sin against nature. Due to these sins they reserved in themselves the due penalty for their error as the scripture tells us.

In today’s society there is a push for the church to become more liberal or progressive. Some have, tragically, fallen prey to this and I know of at least one Episcopalian church that features a homosexual minister.

Numerous homosexuals tell us the bible says nothing about their actions being wrong, but in reality that viewpoint is so difficult to provide biblical evidence for that its shocking that idea is so prevalent.

Does this mean homosexuals are void of coming to Christ for repentance and forgiveness? No, they are offered salvation just as everyone, but their attempt to change doctrine has nothing to do with rationality, but rather they want all areas of life to condone and adhere to their lifestyle choices, even if its God. It is especially interesting when one considers the topic of homosexuality, for those who have, through faith, repented of homosexuality are then viciously assaulted in word and action by the homosexual community. This is a common trait in liberalism, that society should bend to accept a persons actions which make them comfortable and anyone who disagrees should be attacked mercilessly. Often in such liberalistic thinking, it is void of any rational contemplation, but rather based on emotion and the desire to alleviate the responsibility behind one’s actions.

I obviously don’t know the philosophical ideals of every Christian or liberal in the world, so my next statement should be taken as a generality. It seems reasonable to conclude that most liberals who demand tolerance, but at the same time conformity by those who disagree with their particular school of thought, indeed would consider themselves atheists. The odd thing about this is that extreme liberalism has such a hold in the world, but yet is made up of relatively few people. In fact, a Gallup poll in 2007 suggested that atheism represented only 4 percent of the American public, which supposedly, according to author Paul Copan, is the exact same percentage when a similar poll was taken in 1944. He states in his book, “Is God a Moral Monster?” –

“Rumors of God’s death have been greatly exaggerated. And when we look at the non-Western world, people are becoming Christians in record numbers. The Christian faith is the fastest-growing movement around, often accompanied by signs and wonders.”

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If this is the case, then how do we account for liberalism’s prominence in the world? Perhaps, if Gallup and Copan are correct, it may be that the liberal community has been playing a game of chess for some time, by strategically placing liberal individuals in places like politics, media and universities. It could also mean that Christians have been somewhat silent when it comes to refuting such liberal world views. It seems there is a hesitance about getting on the bad side of the liberal community due to their propensity for anger, public insults, and quarreling. Christians should realize one general truth about those angry liberals, which may play a part in our aversion in debate. Again, Copan says:

“True, they (liberals) effectively utilize a combination of emotion and verbal rhetoric, but they aren’t known for logically carrying thoughts through from beginning to end. Their arguments against God’s existence aren’t intellectually rigorous – although they want to give that impression. Yes, they’ll raise some important questions concerning, for example, the problem of evil, but again, their arguments are a collage of rhetorical barbs that don’t really form a coherent argument. I’ve observed that while these men do have expertise in certain fields (biology and evolutionary theory in the case of Dawkins and Dennett), they turn out to be fairly disappointing when arguing against God’s existence or Christian doctrine.”

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Paul Copan

We followers of Christ are called to love even the most detestable, for we know at one time, we lived under sin and the Law, and due to our vile sin, God’s wrath. Thus, we need to remind people that just because we disagree with someone’s actions, that it in no way necessarily leads or equates to hate. If they have this view, which honestly they may have no matter what, it severely hinders our ability to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is something we need to point out, as is commonly said, “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Remember that when someone responds to you in anger, its usually because you have won the argument. Intelligent debate doesn’t need to get nasty. It’s incredibly silly and against all logic and intelligence that Christians and even Christ are referred to as haters, just because of a disagreement or clashing viewpoint. Its based on ignorance of what the Bible actually tells us, and how it tells us to act. Imagine if all disagreements were treated in such a way? Would we have anyone? Would we even have Christ?


There is a vast difference between believing in Christ and believing upon Christ. Anyone can believe in Christ, that is, that the historical Christ actually existed and was a great teacher. However, the flaw with this particular school of belief is that it doesn’t necessarily include the truth which is Christ’s inherent divinity, nor does it include the perfect love that was manifest upon the cross. This approach to Christ is held by many, including one of America’s founders, Thomas Jefferson whose “Jefferson Bible” points to Christ’s wisdom, but forgoes His divine nature and the grace offered by His sacrifice. This is a belief in Christ, but not on Christ. It is tragic, but many “Christians” also can be classified as believing in Christ rather than on Him.

To believe on Christ we must have a relationship with Him. Not some figure in the past whose mere teachings we love or agree with, but rather a still living, resurrected, ever present Lord whom we love, admonish, and worship. It is in a relationship such as this that obedience to the Lord’s teachings become manifest. To worship Christ’s teaching without a relationship with Him, is much like worshipping the Law which only condemns us. Christ’s teachings, like the Law, can show us how we fall short and our strong need for grace.

It is by Christ’s true Godly nature, His death and resurrection, that we receive forgiveness for our trespasses. Without this relationship, one cannot come into the forgiveness that is offered through love and grace. Though men may try to follow the Law, or teachings of Christ alone, there is no forgiveness offered, only condemnation. Yet, to have a relationship on Christ, based in love and in which forgiveness is offered, obedience becomes apparent and we do it not to free ourselves of the Lord’s statutes, but to please Him.

Finally, by and through this relationship, the Holy Spirit is giving unto us. It is by God’s love and grace that we receive the Spirit, who according to Ephesians 1:13 is, “a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are in God’s possession.” Thus, if we are granted the Holy Spirit by our love of Christ and the Lord’s love for us, we can have complete confidence in our salvation, which is necessary for us to fully participate in Christ’s great commission (Matthew 28:18-20).


“Greater love has no one that this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” -John 15:13


I doubt that any mere mortal who has ever existed hasn’t pondered at least once the question of what love is and what it consists of. Indeed the question has been raised and pondered by theologians and philosophers alike and has resulted in some profound conclusions as well as some very strange ones.


For us Christians though, we know where we must go to seek the answers of such questions, and that is the Scriptures where the wisdom contained within transcends the numerological extent of the pages. This verse is important for another reason besides the insight on love and that is Christ, by His words, foretells of His quickly approaching death upon the cross. Yet, we can also carefully examine this verse, and by some quiet reflection and prayer we can begin to gain perspective on what some of the traits of such a great love as He displayed are.


First, a trait of a perfect love concerns the depths of protection one feels for another party. In a perfect love, represented and personified in Christ Jesus, to protect another or free them of calamity, one willfully lays down there life for another.


Second, a perfect love is humble and forgoes the self even unto the point of death. Christ’s love was so great that He, for a season, became lower and more scorned than all man, that through this unequivocal display of humility we may be saved.


Third, a perfect love is never faulty. This may be obvious by my inclusion of the word “perfect,” but regardless it’s a important thing to consider that no matter what relationship God has blessed you with and however far the love extends, which I pray is very far indeed, but realize it pales in comparison to the perfect love of Christ. This isn’t to belittle the love human beings are capable of, but though we may grow in love, we cannot approach the perfection of Christ due to our already present imperfection. Even things as momentary like mean spirited thoughts towards another, negate the perfection of that love, which was only manifest in fullness in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Fourth, perfect love does not concern the self. We must distinguish the love I am referring to in Christ, from the love that is represented in say a husband/wife relationship, though it can certainly be said in truth that the husband/wife relationship is representational of our relationship with the Lord. Yet, we also know that the love of Christ is not dependent on another party. Rather, Christ’s love was perfect in that it focused entirely on others.


Fifth, a perfect love doesn’t take count of one’s misdeeds towards us. The truth on this statement is evident in Christ’s sacrifice for those who, in a temporal sense, had came before and those that would come after, bearing even more sin upon His tortured form.


Sixth, a perfect love is free of bitterness. Christ wasn’t bitter at those who crucified Him, but rather He actually prayed for them. The though just comes to mind that if someone keyed my truck some night, I don’t think the thought to pray for the culprit would even occur to me, to my shame. Yet, these men brutally tortured and tore into Christ’s flesh, and He was still concerned for them and expressed it in prayer.


Seventh, a perfect love has a desire to protect those in the scope of such love, the scope itself being perfection. We see that Jesus wasn’t immune to being angry, for though Christ was perfect in love, He also had, what I will call perfect anger. In His perfect humility Christ didn’t focus on self, but Rather his friends, which He goes on to call us in the following two chapters, and more importantly God. When we see Christ get angry, a prime example being when He knocked over the tables of the money changers in the temple (Matthew 21:12), it’s usually because God the Father is being disrespected or misrepresented.


Thus, we come to our last trait though I concede there are probably many more. A pure love has its origins and focus on the Lord. For the word tells us in 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” (See my note, “On Love’s First Cause”) If we, the children of God, truly want to strive to experience love in its fullness, we need only look to Christ and what He did for us. If we wish to love others the way Christ does, then we must develop a relationship with Him, so that His perfect love will be represented in us and bestowed onto others by our albeit, faulty nature. However, we take hope for the love manifest in us is not of the world and yet is readily seen by those who have opened their eyes and hearts to recognize the truth, salvation and perfect love offered to them by the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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