Redemption and forgiveness

Redeemed

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7)”

I meditate on the Scripture above and stand in wonder once again at how awesome and loving God is to man. In Christ, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace, we  receive redemption and the forgiveness of sins! Selah!

I can still remember the day that I heard God’s voice regarding forgiving a loved one. For me, it had always been about deserving my forgiveness. The Lord taught me that this [my deserving it] is not how He had handled my need for forgiveness. The Lord also very quickly taught me that and this was a great blessing because there was no way I could ever deserve His forgiveness.

Then the Lord taught me the very important lesson that my forgiving my loved one was not my condoning or agreeing that what was done to me was right but it was my giving away my right to get even. My, my, my…there is freedom in hearing and receiving the Word of God! I can testify of God’s abounding grace and tender mercy and how He gave away His right to get even with me, drew me unto Himself, redeemed me, and reconciled me back to the Father. Great is His mercy!

I can also remember the day the Holy Spirit drew Hebrews 12:15 up off the page for me, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”  I can remember replying back to the Lord, “You are the God of grace, how can I see to it?” His reply was that He had given me (gifted me) much grace and His Spirit lives in me to empower and equip me to pass grace along. Okay…I got it, message received!

Since that day, I pray for God’s strength to abide in His Spirit, walk in grace, and to keep very short accounts, that’s what Jesus did. He forgave us…His love was so great that He gifted us forgiveness and salvation. Even at Calvary, we hear Him cry out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).” 

Ephesians 1.7

The issue of our sin – our disobedience, rebellion, and trespasses required justice and Jesus redeemed us to the Father by His blood. Selah!

“He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).”

“so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:29-31)”

Eph 1.7

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

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Now this is eternal life

John 17.3

 And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3

We are studying John in Bible study and this week’s lesson includes the verse above. Jesus prayed this verse before He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. God is using the verse to help prepare my heart for the Resurrection Celebration that is coming!

Only twenty words but enough to bring tears. As I read the verse, my heart and mind respond by saying, “this is why He came…that man [I] would know the Father and the Son [and the Holy Spirit].” Jesus desired that we would know the only True God and this is why When the days drew near for Him [Jesus] to be taken up, He set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:61).”

Jesus knew what lie ahead for Him in Jerusalem – the rejection, mocking, spitting, false trials, scourging,  nails hammered, separation from the Father, a borrowed tomb…and yet He knew what lie ahead for man and resolutely, He set His face to go, to finish the work the Father had given Him.

Why? That we would know the only true and living God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Not just know about Him, not a second-handed relationship, but know Him intimately and personally. The Amplified translates it like this:

“And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent.”  John 17:3

And we [have seen and] know [by personal experience] that the Son of God has [actually] come [to this world], and has given us understanding and insight so that we may [progressively and personally] know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true—in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

I pray that you are included with me in 1 Peter 2:10, “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” My heart is fixed and my mind made up…the Lord is worthy of all praise, honor, glory, majesty, and honor! I bow at His feet in worship and cry holy, glory to the Son of God!

See what an incredible quality of love the Father has shown to us, that we would [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are!”
1 John 3:1

Lavished Love from the heart of the Father!

1 John 3.1

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Glory, not wrath

Romans 5.9

“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Romans 5:9

I can remember the first time I heard the seasoned Deacon sing, “I’ve Got a Reason to Shout.” It so blessed my soul!

I’ve got a reason to shout.
I was in darkness but God brought me out.
I’m here to testify and tell you about my wonderful reason to shout.

Yes, I praise Jesus for He brought me out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9) by shedding His blood to cancel my guilt of not keeping the law. Yes, what a wonderful reason to shout! Jesus atoned my sins and now I am justified in God’s court of justice.

You have seen this: Justified – just as if I never sinned. The verdict is “case dismissed.” It is not that I have not sinned, but God sent a substitute who took my sentence upon Himself – Jesus, His Son and our Sacrificial Lamb who absorbed the wrath for all who trust in Him as Lord and Savior. He did this for whosoever will, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

It’s not that payment was not required. It was. Jesus absorbed the wrath that was due…love demonstrated in absolutely amazing grace and mercy! We deserve wrath but instead the True and Living God takes our sin upon Himself and calls those who trust in Him to share His glory! Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus! Certainly, this is a Selah moment and reason to shout, bow in worship, and give our all and all to Him. Selah!

God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” Romans 4:25 -26

For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. 1 Thessalonians 1:10

 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:14

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:16-18

Romans 8.18

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Hope for today: The Lord is our Help

HopeThe salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
 because they take refuge in Him. Psalm 37:39-40

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Praise the Lord, everybody!

Psalm 111Psalm 111

Praise the Lord.

I will extol the Lord with all my heart
    in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

Great are the works of the Lord;
    they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Glorious and majestic are his deeds,Psalm 111.3
    and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
    the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever.

Psalm 111.4He has shown his people the power of his works,
    giving them the lands of other nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
    all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established for ever and ever,
    enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
He provided redemption for his people;
    he ordained his covenant forever—
    holy and awesome is his name.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
    To him belongs eternal praise.

Psalm 111.10

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Hope for today: greatness and power

HopeYours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11

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by His wounds you have been healed!

1 Peter 2.24

“He himself bore our sins” in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed.” 1 Pete 2:24

Many of us have experienced some circumstance or situation that is so devastating or horrific for someone we love, perhaps a child or a parent, that we share with them and perhaps others that if we go through it in their stead, we would. But the truth is that no matter how much we may want to, we can’t because the circumstance or situation came to our love one.

As a I meditate of the Scripture above at this moment, I am ever mindful of being born with a sin nature and zillion sins I have committed in my lifetime. How my life was one of rebellion and transgression again the Holy, Pure and Perfect God. Ephesians 2:1, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” Verse 3, “All of us also lived  gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts, that we are by nature deserving of wrath.” I hear Habakkuk questioning God in 1:13, Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

Yeah, that would be me…dead, reveling in sin that separates me from the Holy God who created me for Himself, deceived and foolish! Foolish because sin demands a wage. It must receive payment and the One created man and the world has the right to set the wage. The due punishment is death, separation from the One I rebelled against and rejected. Even in my limited mind and understanding, I understand that this payment is just.

What am I to do for Hebrews 9:22 declares that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin? Every man is in need of a perfect, spotless, blemish free lamb to offer as a sacrifice for our sins and yet, no mere man would ever qualify because of our sin. God cannot leave my sin unpunished for it would go against His just, holy, pure and perfect nature.

But God!
But God! While I as a loving parent cannot take on my child’s circumstance, cannot change my son’s situation, our God can! “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” But God loves…But God is pure, perfect, and just…But God so loved!

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life an offering for sin, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53:10

“…Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2b

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19

Heavenly Father, You are Holy, Righteous, Pure, and Perfect! There is none other like You! Truly, You are worthy of all our praise, honor, devotion, gratitude and all glory! We thank you today for giving your precious Son, Jesus, our Lord and Savior to die on our behalf so we could enjoy You as our greatest Treasure, soul satisfaction, and have eternal life in Your loving presence forever. There are not enough words to express our grateful hearts for Jesus suffering and dying as our Sacrificial Lamb so we could be made right with you and experience intimate, personal relationship. We are so very thankful that Jesus paid it all and all to Him we owe. Help us, teach us, anoint us as we meditate upon His finished work at the cross, His resurrection from the dead, and the difference it makes in our lives to love You and others, worship only You, and serve You as we serve others as oaks of righteous in a display of Your Glory!
In the Name of our Redeemer, Jesus the Christ, Amen!

2 Corinthians 5.21.jpg

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Why, oh why?

Genesis 50.20

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

Have you ever been present in a Bible Study, Sunday School class, or conversation as man tries to figure out, for certain, who is responsible for Jesus’ death? Was it the the Jews who cried out “crucify him, crucify him,” the Romans soldiers, Judas, Herod, Pilate, or the Sanhedrin?

The discussion/conversation usually ends with words that point us to the truth. The Word of God tells us and certainly His Spirit testifies to our spirit…we can have no doubt that it was human sin that caused Jesus to be on that cross. Certainly, the enemy was there and we cannot deny that man is responsible for the many horrible and sinful actions as Jesus was brutally mocked, suffered, bled and died at Calvary. I may not have been there in physical body but surely and most gratefully my sin nature and sins were present.

I am reminded that God so loved… that He gaveHis Son…for me. Jesus willingly suffered and gave His life…for the world, but for me. The intense suffering and death of Christ is called the Passion. Love so intense that what Satan meant for harm, God used for good that we would have eternal life.

I have always imagined that satan and his demons were dancing, having a party when Jesus said, “It is finished.” They thought that they had won when in reality God was saying, you meant it for harm but my purpose was for good. Peter preached it in Acts 4:

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
Acts 4:27-28

The best commentary on the Word of God is the Word of God. This truth is confirmed:

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer…(Isaiah 53:10)”

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)?”

God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith (Romans 3:25).”

This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross (Acts 2:23).”

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father (John 10:17-18).”

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).”

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16).”

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10).”

John 12.27

Absolutely amazing grace!
Selah!

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Hope for today: Beauty for ashes…

HopeTo grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified”
Isaiah 61:3

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Hope for today: NEVER alone

Hope“And behold, I Am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5b

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