Greetings Brothers and Sisters! Today I would like to write about something a little more on the positive side. While it is important to address the problem of sin, I feel it is also important to discuss the area of forgiveness and true redemption in Jesus.
I think that one of the struggles new believers have a tough time with is the belief that they are forgiven for past sins once they accept Jesus Christ into their hearts. Myself, as well as everyone I know, struggled with faith in the very beginning when it came to being cleansed of their old sins. It’s really only because we don’t fully understand in the beginning how it happens and it can lead to frustration. It’s not because we didn’t believe in Jesus as our savior, but rather because we didn’t see or feel anything happening right away. But what you don’t notice is something IS happening at the very moment you made the choice to believe the Good News and sought that purification that can only come from Christ Jesus. It was His blood that was shed to wash away our sins. That is the spirit of repentance and the spirit of redemption that brings about the change in you. That is the beginning of faith and you are not saved by the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.
First and foremost, know that if you believe the testimony of Jesus, you are already saved as that is faith established within you when you accept the testimony of Christ. Jesus performs a spiritual circumcision in your heart and that is the start of the change. If you haven’t done so, I would highly recommend checking out the post I did for resurrection Sunday titled ‘My Love for You. In this entry, I wrote about the testimony of Jesus’ love for us when He shed His blood on the cross and was risen from the dead and ascended into heaven. I wrote about His calling on us as His disciples and that we are directed to live by His decrees of love and peace for one another and turn away from any teachings, behaviors and lifestyles that are not of Him.
I mentioned the spiritual circumcision performed by the spirit of Christ and what that pertains to is a changing within us to do right because He establishes within our hearts. When we examine the verses contained in Ephesians, it is written by the apostle Paul, that we are saved by the blood of Christ when we throw off our old sinful nature. We do not do this on our own although it does take us to call on the name of the Lord to begin the process of healing within our body as we belong to Christ and we are all part of His body.
We further learn in 1 Thessalonians 1: 4-6 that we are called upon as His people and that although our flesh suffers at first as this transformation takes place, there is great joy that comes from the Holy Spirit. What needs to be understood is that this suffering is our sins being put to death because we are learning live by what the Spirit of Christ desires us to do, not by what our flesh wants to dictate.
I have often shared my own experiences and testimonies because I believe this is the real way to be a testimony to those who struggle. Those of us who do this do not do so because we are proud of the sin in our past but rather to demonstrate the glory of Jesus Christ and how He rescued us from the worst depths in our lives and did a transformation by way of a new heart within us. By these testimonies alone, they serve as a testimony to win souls for the Kingdom of God and give Him all the glory.
This very reason we do so is written 1 Thessalonians 2: 4, 6 and 8 (see below). All of us who have been called to live a life of faith in Jesus are told (see 1 Peter 3: 15-16) that we should always be ready to explain our hope faith in Jesus as testimony by way of the very reason He suffered and died for our sins that we may be forgiven. We also do this in living by example for others so they can see Christ living within us and understand the testimony of the salvation He offers to sinners.
I recently wrote about and did a podcast on division in the church that is caused by sin in the body of Christ. In order to follow up and contrast between what is wrong and right, we further go on to study Ephesians 4 and 5 in proper ways of living for Jesus.
Further, when we look at 1 Corinthians 6, note that the Word says in verse 11 ‘Some of you were once like that.’ What this means is because you sought redemption in the blood of Christ, these sins were washed clean. Everything has begun a new. You have embraced the Lord’s calling and turned away from these things. That is the spirit of repentance. That is the beginning of all things begun anew in the eternal life of Jesus that He gives to all of us. All we need to do is call on Him and He establishes in our heart. The sins are washed clean and because we have been given a new heart, we no longer desire the sinful pleasures the world offers. Nobody is perfect, everyone has strayed at a time in their life. Anyone that tells you different, not to sound judgmental, is lying. For the Word in Romans 3:10 says not one is righteous, not one and that everyone has fallen short.
1 John 1:8 also says we deceive ourselves if we say we are without sin, but not to be taken out of context, verse 9 shows us the hope of our faith and says if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. So you see, this is where the spirit of repentance comes into faith which is what I spend a lot of time addressing due to the lateness of the hour where the Lord is calling all sinners to turn away from that which is wrong and live our lives for Him no matter what we have done for there are many that still need to be saved.
Friends, if the Word of God says it, then it is promised to those who believe the Word as it is written as the bible is the Lord’s handbook to live by. We want to eliminate as much of the sin as we are able and we do that by the Lord’s calling as I explained above. We are called to live Holy lives by these very rules so that we may be forgiven and stand blameless before Him as written in 1 Thess. 4:8 for we are warned that anyone who is not is rejecting God. It doesn’t mean we are perfect but we strive to do improve continuously. It is important to understand this because the Lord will not hear our prayers if we are not living in His ways and this was part of what I talked about when I discussed the division in the body/church and what the Word says about the division in the body of Christ.
I also write this to contrast that the Lord is giving His people time to turn to the righteous way of living that He desires of us before He is revealed to the whole world later on in Revelation. It is certainly important to understand this in the times we are entering and what’s scary is that there aren’t many churches anymore preaching or teaching this message, but it is in the Word and can be found in John 9:31.
I circle back around to redemption however and how I began my writing and giving you hope that if you have called on Jesus Christ and accepted Him as your Lord and savior, by your belief you can and will be made well if you remain steadfast in your faith and continue to seek Him.
My friends, it is my prayer that this writing has taught you something you may have previously overlooked and that it gives you the wisdom to know that you have already taken the first step to call on the Lord for forgiveness and the good news in that doing so you have escaped death! It begins there and it ends with eternal life in Jesus Christ in a world full of darkness which we all seek to escape and we will.
Faith is believing that your sins are cleansed by the blood of Christ, that He ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the father and will come again to judge the living and the dead. Faith is proper living as the Body. Faith is unity in the Body. Faith is love. Faith is forgiveness. Faith is mercy. Faith is peace. Faith is true redemption.
Jesus Bless you. Thank you for reading.
Verses as they pertain to the above;
Ephesians 2: 1-10, 12-13 (NLT)
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 4: 14-31 (NLT)
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 5: 2-14 (NLT)
2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do. 8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”
Living by the Spirit’s Power
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 (NLT)
9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Isaiah 53:6 (NLT)
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.
1 Thessalonians 1: 4-6 (NLT)
4 We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. 5 For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you. 6 So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 2: 4, 6, 8, 12 (NLT)
4 For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
6 As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.
8 We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.
12 We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians 3: 12-13 (NLT)
12 And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. 13 May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 4: 7-8 (NLT)
7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
1 Timothy 1: 9-11, 15-17 (NLT)
9 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching 11 that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.
15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.
1 Timothy 2: 3-6 (NLT)
3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For,
There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.
This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.
1 Timothy 3: 14-16 (NLT)
14 I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, 15 so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.
16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:
Christ was revealed in a human body
and vindicated by the Spirit.
He was seen by angels
and announced to the nations.
He was believed in throughout the world
and taken to heaven in glory.
1 Timothy 4: 7-12 (NLT)
7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 9 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.
11 Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
1 Peter 3: 15-16 (NLT)
15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
Romans 3:10 (NLT)
10 As the Scriptures say,
“No one is righteous—
not even one.
1 John 1:8-9 (NLT)
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
John 9:31 (NLT)
31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will.