Tag Archives: condemnation

April 8 – God’s Heart And Soul

I Samuel 1-2

Do you want the good news first, or the bad news? For Eli, there wasn’t much news that could be considered all that good. His sons were worthless. Their sins had angered God to the point God was going to kill them. Even Eli could expect God’s wrath because Eli knew what his sons were doing and, “he did not rebuke them.”

Eli knew he was guilty. His response to the bad news concerning his sons was: “It is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him.”

But God did tell Eli a bit of good news. God was going to raise up a faithful priest, one who would act according to God’s heart and soul, and God would build an enduring house. This faithful priest would walk before God’s anointed always. (2:35)

My mind is whirling with all kinds of scenarios. Is Samuel the faithful priest God spoke about? Or is God looking ahead to Jesus, our forever priest? And as I sat here all caught up in those details, God seemed to nudge me to look outside the box.

The big picture here is that God hates sin, judges sin, and condemns sinners to death, sending them to hell. My NASV says the Lord “desired” to put Eli’s sons to death because of their sin and refusal to repent.

But these chapters also tell me God honors obedience. Whether it’s talking about Samuel or Jesus – or me as part of God’s Kingdom of Priests, God blesses those who obey Him.

What I learned today is that I want to “do according to what is in (God’s) heart and in (His ) soul.” I would love to be able to be described in that manner. I think God deserves it.

The Choice

I was reading in Psalm 90 this morning and heard the author remind me that our life spans maybe 80 years if we are strong. In light of eternity, our days on earth are but a blink. Yet these hours on earth determine our eternity. What we do with our lives is the difference between life and death.

Paul says in Romans 5 that there are only two results of a life: condemnation or¬†justification. Jesus died for all mankind. We can be justified before God simply by accepting it. It’s an intentional act of will.

I go to God, admit I am a sinner, humble myself and recognize my need of a Savior. Then I ask God to forgive me, and to BE my Savior. That act, that confession, opens the door of heaven to me.

We are justified by faith. And there is no one anywhere who cannot be saved if they accept Jesus’ gift of grace, the forgiveness of sins bought by Jesus’ blood shed at Calvary.

But be warned. There is only condemnation for those who refuse what Jesus offers. And condemnation brings with it eternal separation from God, a hell more painful than we can imagine.

There is no Plan B. God made it plain and simple: justification or condemnation. Jesus or no Jesus. Yes or No.

I choose Jesus. I pray you do, too.

Guilty?

Every time I read what happened after Jacob’s death it makes me sad. His sons panicked. So they lied to Joseph about their father’s wishes.

“Dad said you should forgive us for being so mean to you when you were a kid. Don’t hurt us now that he’s gone. Dad wouldn’t like that.”

The Bible’s account of Joseph’s reunion with his brothers in Genesis 45 is a beautiful picture of forgiveness. Joseph brought his brothers and their families to Egypt, gave them the best land for grazing their livestock, and took care of them during the famine. How much more could Joseph have done to demonstrate the fact that all was forgiven?

But after all these years since they had been forgiven, Joseph’s brothers must have lived with guilt. It wasn’t Joseph’s forgiveness they needed. It was their own.

When I confess my sin God is faithful and just to forgive me and wash me clean. He promises never to remember my sin or use it against me – ever! But sometimes I live as though I am still guilty. It’s at those times I need to forgive myself. Denying that forgiveness doesn’t honor God. And it’s Satan’s weapon to hold me hostage to that sin.

But, you ask, don’t I deserve to feel guilty for the horrible things I’ve done, the people I have hurt? The answer is, “NO”! Oh, you deserved to feel those feelings before you confessed them to God and received his forgiveness But once you’ve done that you deserve what Jesus died to give you. A fresh start, clean and forgiven.¬†

I don’t believe we should forgive ourselves before we allow God to wash the sin away. But once we have repented and have been forgiven by God himself, we need to forgive ourselves and live our lives free from the burden of guilt. Think of it.

If you are living with guilt, I would encourage you to lay that heavy burden down at Jesus’ feet and walk away, free from it’s hold. Forgive yourself. Jesus did.¬†

Dear God, I pray that your people will see the lengths to which you went to forgive us. You died on the cross, you went to hell then rose again. You paid what we could not pay, then handed us a clean slate just for the asking. Forgive us when we think we need to punish ourselves for past sins that you have already forgiven and forgotten. Father, may each of us sinners repent of sin, accept your forgiveness, forgive ourselves as we have been forgiven, and live lives free of the chains of guilt. And may we, with each breath, honor you with obedience and allow you to fill us with your joy.