Tag Archives: forgiveness

GRACE AND TRUTH


Author: W.P. Mackay

Let us suppose that a convict, who has just finished his term of penal servitude, wishes to lead an honest life. He comes to a man who has a large jewelry establishment, and who requires a night-watchman. He is engaged to watch this house through the quiet hours of the night, when he has everything under him, and every opportunity to rob his employer. On the first evening of his watching he meets one of his old companions, who accosts him. “What are you doing here?”

‘I’m night-watchman.’

‘Over this jewelry shop’

‘Yes.’

‘Does he know what you are?’

‘No, no, be silent; if he knew, I should be dismissed.’

‘Suppose I let it out that you are a returned convict!’

‘Oh I pray don’t, it would be my last day here, and I wish to be honest.’

‘Well, you’ll require to give me some money to keep quiet.’

‘Very well, but don’t let any one know.’ Thus the poor man would be in sad feat and trembling, lest it should come to the ears of his employer what his previous character had been. He would be in terror lest he should meet any of his old friends, and lest his resources should be exhausted in keeping them quiet.

Let us suppose, however, that instead of the employer engaging the man in ignorance of his character, he went to the convict’s cell and said, ‘Now I know you, what you are, and what you’ve done, every robbery you’ve committed, and that you are worse than you believe yourself to be.  I am about to give you a chance of becoming honest, I’ll trust you as my night-watchman over my valuable goods.’ The man is faithful at his post. He meets old companion after old companion, who threaten to inform upon him. He asks, ‘What will you tell about me?’

‘That you were the ringleader of house-breakers.’

‘Yes, but my master knows all that better than you do, he knows me better than I know myself.’

Of course this silences them for ever.

 

This latter is — GRACE AND TRUTH

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Hebrew – Scapegoat


‘azā’zēl
The origin of ‘azā’zēl (H5799) is uncertain. Some scholars think it combines the two Hebrew words ‘ēz, “goat,” and ‘āzal (not used in the OT), “to send away,” or ‘āzēl, “to go away.” Others think it comes from the Arabic ‘azāla, “to banish” or “to remove.” Whichever is correct, ‘azā’zēl is a vivid illustration of God’s forgiveness, appearing only four times in the OT, all in Leviticus 16 (Lev_16:8; Lev_16:10 [twice], Lev_16:26). (The concept of a scapegoat [short for “escape-goat”] is still used today to refer to someone taking the blame for someone else.)
On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the most sacred day in the Jewish community, the high priest selected two unblemished goats, one of which he killed and sprinkled its blood on the mercy seat. He took the other, laid his hands on it, confessed the sins of the nation, and then sent it into the wilderness.
Some scholars speculate, based on certain Jewish interpreters, that ‘azā’zēl is actually the proper name Azazel, which probably referred to a demon. Since one goat was “for God,” it is argued, the other was “released for Azazel.” Such a pagan concept, however, based on the mythology of the OT pseudepigraphal (“false writings”) Book of Enoch, is clearly unacceptable. Rather, the true picture of the scapegoat is that the sins of the people were carried away into the wilderness, never to be heard from again or held against them by God. “As far as the east is from the west,” David writes, “so far hath [God] removed our transgressions from us” (Psa_103:12).
As beautiful as that symbol was, however, it was still just that, a symbol. While it pictured taking away sin, it could not actually perform it. It would take something else to accomplish the miracle of taking away sin forever. What miracle? Isaiah alluded to it when he wrote, “And the LORD has laid on [Messiah] the iniquity of us all” (Isa_53:6). Then, John the Baptist declared it openly on the day he saw Jesus approaching: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Joh_1:29). Our Lord, therefore, was not only the perfect sacrificial lamb, but He was also the perfect scapegoat. He not only redeemed His people with His blood, but He also removed their sin forever.
Scriptures for Study: Read Isa_53:4-6; Isa_53:9-12, noting what Messiah would accomplish. What does 2Co_5:21 also declare about the Lord Jesus?

 

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Atonement


kāpar
Woven into the very fabric of Scripture, and a key to understanding the OT concept of forgiveness of sin, is the word atonement. The Hebrew is kāpar (H3722), from which is derived kippūr (H3725), as used in the name of the well-known Jewish feast Yôm Kippūr (“day” of “atonement” in Leviticus 16).
The root kāpar, as well as its Arabic equivalent, means “to cover over or pacify,” but not in the sense of simply trying to conceal something. “It suggests the imposing of something to change its appearance or nature.” In Isa_28:18, for example, it refers to a covenant being “disannulled” (i.e., “written over”). It also appears in Gen_6:14, where it is translated “pitch,” a substance put over wood to make it waterproof, that is, to change the appearance and nature of the wood. To illustrate further, painters often paint over an existing picture they no longer want and create a new one. The old picture is still there, but has been covered over in such a way as to change its appearance.
This fundamental meaning tells us the true nature of OT atonement: It was a covering for sin not simply to conceal it but to change its appearance and nature. It didn’t remove the sin totally, as Christ’s sacrifice would do, but it did “paint over it.” As mentioned earlier, that is exactly what it means in Gen_6:14 (which actually is the very first occurrence of kāpar). While it’s rendered “pitch,” this is not the usual word for this bituminous substance. Moses’ infant basket, for example, was waterproofed with “pitch,” which is zepeṯ (H2203), what we think of today as “tar” (Exo_2:3). “Whatever the exact nature of this pitch [in Genesis],” writes Henry Morris, “(probably a resinous substance of some kind, rather than a bituminous material), it sufficed as a perfect covering for the Ark, to keep out the waters of judgment, just as the blood of the Lamb provides a perfect atonement for the soul.”
So while “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb_10:4; cf. Heb_10:10), which was only an atonement, our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross did just that. “This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb_10:12). While the OT priests never sat down, since the work of sacrifice was never complete, our Lord was the Last Lamb.
Scriptures for Study: Read the following verses, noting what Christ’s sacrifice accomplished: 1Jn_1:7; 1Jn_2:1-2; 1Jn_4:10.

 

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Betrayed with a Kiss


Matthew 26:47-50

“Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast,” Matthew 26:48.

A kiss is mainly connected with actions of endearment and in eastern countries, it is a common greeting. However, in our Scripture reading today it is a sickening sign of betrayal.
Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament explains the kiss of Judas like this: “and Judas chose that sign and actually ‘kissed him fervently’ (katephilesen, verse 49), though the compound verb sometimes in the papyri has lost its intensive force. Bruce thinks that Judas was prompted by the inconsistent motives of smoldering love and cowardice. At any rate this revolting ostentatious kiss is ‘the most terrible instance of the hekousia philemata echthrou (Prov. 27:6),’ the profuse kisses of an enemy (McNeile).”
The coward Judas went to Jesus and kissed Him, not the kiss of one who loved Him but in pretense because Judas loved his possessions and position (he kept the money bag) more than he loved Jesus. He flagrantly disregarded Jesus’ fatherly love and forgiveness for him and did not love in return.
Sadly, we, too, at times, have Judas’ tendencies. We betray Him by singing, “Oh, How I Love Jesus,” but do not do the things He asks us to do. We inconsistently attend His churches and haphazardly follow His leadership not by faith but by sight.

REFLECTION
Are you a friend or foe of Jesus? Do you honestly love Him with all your heart, soul and mind? Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Prov. 27:6).

Beverly Barnett

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Forgiveness [and] Sin Offering


sālach [and] chattā’t
Today’s first word has such deep theological significance that its forty-six occurrences speak exclusively of God’s forgiveness of man, never of men forgiving each another. As well as “to forgive,” the Hebrew sālach (H5545) means “to pardon or to spare.” Its first occurrence, in fact, demonstrates this profound importance. After Israel’s sin at Sinai, Moses interceded for the people, praying, “O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon [sālach] our iniquity and our sin” (Exo_34:9).
The deepest significance of sālach, however, lies in the very fact that almost half its occurrences are in Leviticus and Numbers, the books that most strongly emphasize the Levitical, sacrificial laws. In Lev_4:1 to Lev_5:13 (cf. Lev_6:24-30), for example, we read of the sin offering (chattā’t, H2403, a derivative of chātā’). This was a blood sacrifice—for without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (Lev_4:20; also Heb_9:22)—and was offered in the case of unintentional sin (Lev_4:2), sin committed out of weakness (in contrast to defiant, rebellious sin, for which only judgment awaited in Num_15:30-31). Sālach appears no less than six times in this Leviticus passage (Num_4:20; Num_4:26; Num_4:31; Num_4:35; Num_5:10; Num_5:13), where it is always translated “forgiven,” and underscores God’s forgiveness of sin through His mercy and grace.
What, then, is the significance of all this to the believer today? True, once-for-all forgiveness comes through Jesus Christ. Since “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins,” it was Christ alone who “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever” (Heb_10:4; Heb_10:12). The OT sin offering specifically prefigured the reality that Christ would be “made . . . sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2Co_5:21). Further, as the sin offering was taken outside the city (Lev_4:21; cf. Heb_13:11), so would the Lord Jesus be taken outside the city (Heb_13:12; cf. Joh_19:17-20).
Further still, in the very next verse in Hebrews, the believer is challenged to “go forth therefore unto [Christ] without the camp, bearing his reproach” (Heb_13:13). In other words, we are to leave behind all false religion (which Judaism had now become) and embrace our Lord totally, even suffering for Him (Php_1:29; 2Ti_3:12; 1Pe_4:12-16).
Scriptures for Study: What city does Heb_13:14 refer to (cf. 2Co_5:1)? Then, in 2Co_5:15, what kind of sacrifice do we offer God now?

 

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Confession and Forgiveness


“For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 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,” Psalm 51: 3, 4.

Nathan confronted David using the analogy of the poor man’s single little lamb and the insensitive rich man (2 Sam. 12:1-24). David was ready to pass judgment upon the rich man until Nathan pointed out to David—you are the man. In a moment, David went from anger to humility, the moment when the truth pierced his heart.
As long as no one confronts our sins, we are content to let them remain hidden, but they are never hidden from God. Because God loves us so much and wants to bless us, He does not want our sins to be unconfessed and forsaken. The best we can do is to confess our faults, failures and sins to God and ask for His forgiveness.
Every day the Holy Spirit performs a confrontational intervention on all believers. He confronts our sins, bringing them to the forefront of our minds so that we might confess them before God and ask for His forgiveness. In accepting this intervention, we prevent much heartache and trouble that results from the consequences of unacknowledged and unforsaken sin. Will you accept this intervention?

Reflection
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Beverly Barnett

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Blessed Forgiveness


Romans 4:5-8
“Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered,” Romans 4:7.

What a wonderful God we serve! Even though we are prone to sin, He has made it possible for us to receive forgiveness each time we confess it to Him. This should cause us to love Him even more, especially, when we know that the righteous, loving, Heavenly Father is fully aware of our shortcomings, failures, faults and our most secret sins. He forgives us because of Jesus.
When God looks at saved sinners, He sees the blood of Christ. (Rev. 1:5). On Calvary, Jesus shed His blood and later sprinkled it on the mercy seat in Heaven. For this reason alone we should be eternally grateful. We are the blessed benefactors of that forgiveness. Our sins, which are many, are covered by His cleansing blood (1 John 1:7). No false god offered to bleed and die for its people much less forgive the guiltiest of them, but the God of all gods and the King of kings did that for you and me!
The awesomeness of this sacrifice brings into view a few questions each person must answer. Have you been forgiven? Where will you spend eternity? In Heaven, as a blessed, redeemed child of the King or in hell forever knowing you will never go to Heaven?

Reflection
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin (Rom. 4:8).
Beverly Barnett

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Confession and Forgiveness


1 John 1:8-10
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9.

Denial of sin poses a great hindrance to a close walk with the Lord, and it does not change the truth that we do, indeed, sin.
To God, sin looks much like the little boy who was covered in mud after he played in the mud puddle. Later, when his mother asked him had he played in the mud, he said he had not even gone near the puddle. His mother could clearly see the truth. Even though we may appear to others like a godly person, God sees our hearts. He sees the blackness of sin and its interference with the fellowship He wants with every believer.
Some of the Holy Spirit’s jobs are to make us uncomfortable with sin, to point them out if we are unaware of the sin(s) and help us turn from sin(s). However, before one’s fellowship can be fully restored, we must humbly confess our sin(s) to God. Then, He is faithful and willing to forgive us.
At last, the muddy little lad confessed to his mom that he, indeed, had played in the puddle. She forgave him, but because he lied, he could not enjoy the fresh warm cookies his mother had baked. Oh, the consequences of sin but that is another lesson.

REFLECTION
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 1:10).
Beverly Barnett

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WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT THE FREENESS OF SALVATION


The blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel of Christ. The cost of salvation is all on God’s side. That cost includes the sufferings of Jesus, who “tasted death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (I Corinthians 1:30).

The Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20, demands a belief that all can be saved.

I.   LET IT FIRST BE UNDERSTOOD THAT ALL MEN NEED GOD’S SALVATION.
    
To believe otherwise is to charge God with foolishness.

     How else can the suffering of Jesus and the death of the cross be explained? (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

II.  GOD OFFERS SALVATION TO ALL MEN -none are excluded.
    
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

     “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37).

     “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money         and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).

     “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21 and Acts 17:30).

III. IT IS THE DUTY OF MAN TO ACCEPT THE BLESSINGS OF THE GOSPEL OF FAITH.
    
1. Jesus is a provisional Saviour to all men, and a special Saviour to all them that believe (I Timothy 4:10).
     2. God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11).
     3. Jesus is the only satisfier of Divine justice for men. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2; Romans 3:26).
     4. Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and rejection of the Gospel of Christ (John 5:40).

IV.  WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
    
The Gospel is not the Word of God. The Word of God sets forth the Gospel. I Corinthians 15:1-4 tells what the Gospel is.

V.   WHAT IS FAITH IN JESUS?
     1. It is not an historical faith. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble” (James 2:19).
     2. It is a trusting faith (Ephesians 1:11-14).
     3. It is a receiving of Jesus Christ for what He is (John 1:11,12).
     4. It is a matter of the heart turning to God (Romans 10:9-13; II Corinthians 3:15,16; John 3:16).Technorati Tags: , , ,

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