Tag Archives: forgiveness

Death at the Hand of God.

Genesis 38

Does God lie in wait to take out evil people like an army sniper? That seems to be the case with Judah’s sons Er and Onan. Scripture is very clear: these were bad men – and God killed them.

So are we to assume this is God’s MO? That if you are bad enough He just mows you down, gives you cancer, or a bullet in your head?

Yes. And no.

God wants us to know death is a part of the curse handed down because of Adam’s sin. God causes death for every human being because all have sinned and the wages of sin is death. But common sense – and life – tells us there are some very evil people in the world living to a ripe old age.

So no, God doesn’t make it a habit of killing sinners, Aren’t you glad? We don’t know why God chose to kill Er and Onan like He did. And He doesn’t owe us an explanation. But what happened to them is not a blueprint for God’s dealing with people.

In fact, Scripture repeatedly shows us how patient God is with us sinners, how quick He is to forgive a repentant heart, how He longs to save whosoever believes. Look at how many chances God gave the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. Read in the New Testament what Jesus did for sinners when He went to the cross.

I think the lesson here in Genesis is that all of us will die at the hand of God. Some will die young, others will live to be 100 years old. Our deaths won’t have as much to do with whether or not we were good or bad, as it will have to do with God’s Sovereignty.

Death will end life on Earth for all of us unless Jesus comes back first. That is His Sovereign will.

I see Er and Onan dying in their sin, because I believe had they repented we would be reading about that. That makes me want to warn us all. Because we are going to die.

My prayer is that we will be ready to die by accepting the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus. Your death could come today. My death could come today.

The question is: are we ready?

Our Birthright

Genesis 25

How seriously do you take your birthright as a child of God, a co-heir with Jesus? We read how easily Esau gave up what was his in order to not “starve” (which I would bet was a gross exaggeration to begin with). Esau gave up the blessing in order to satisfy a physical longing, sold something eternal for something temporary. The man would get hungry again a few hours later. But the blessing was gone forever.

What does our birthright look like? Eternal life for one. Forgiveness of sin. A relationship with God. The Presence of God. His strength and power and grace and mercy.

Yet sometimes we get hungry for something else.

We know we shouldn’t encourage that friendship with a married co-worker, but “he understands me.” We know we shouldn’t look at porn – but it’s harmless. It’s not like I’d actually do those things. One drink, one compromise, one thought or dream can’t hurt. So what if I don’t read my Bible today, or if I skip church once in a while?

We shake our heads at Esau and think “What a fool he was to sell his birthright for soup.” But maybe we should spend less time looking at Esau and more time looking in the mirror.

Do you value what is yours by God’s grace and through the blood of His Son, Jesus? What does that look like in the choices you make every day? If it’s worth something you you – it’s worth protecting.

Is It A Lie?

Genesis 20:1-18

Is a half-truth a whole lie? Abraham and Sarah were brother and sister. So was it so bad that is how he introduced her to the king? Was the tiny detail about a wedding important if it meant the difference between life and death?

Abraham didn’t lie exactly. He just didn’t tell the whole story. What’s the big deal?

In our age of situational ethics, we may applaud Abraham for doing the safe thing. We may say in this instance it would have been foolish for him to admit Sarah was his wife and take the chance of being killed because of it. Besides – what is truth anyway? There are certainly no absolutes. What is true for you doesn’t have to be true for me.

Well, my friend, that kind of thinking is anti-God. Our Holy, Unchanging, Creator God has a lot to say in His Word about Truth – and nothing He says hints at situational truth – or multiple truths for that matter.

So yes. A half-truth is a whole lie as demonstrated here in Genesis. And a lie is a sin that comes with a death sentence. You may read this chapter and say that Abraham got away with it, so God must not think it was a big deal. But did he get away with it? There were consequences even though you and I might think he got off easy.

The bigger lesson here is the grace of God who can forgive your lie, too. That’s the truth.

Why The Tree?

Genesis 1-3

We can question why God placed that tree in the middle of the garden knowing it represented sin and separation from Him, when He created us to fellowship with Him. We could, as some do, accuse God of playing a sinister game with the victims of His creation.

Or we can recognize and be thankful for the fact that He created us with dignity, intelligence, the ability to choose to do the right thing. Yes – He knew given the choice, we would sin. But He didn’t leave us hanging.

He did what needed to be done so that when we do the right thing – when we choose Jesus – He looks at us through the perfection and holiness of His Son.

Right form the start God began painting a picture of His plan to redeem us. He placed a tree in the center of the garden. Then He very clearly said that tree was the difference between life and death. Choose wisely, He warned.

There is another tree in the center of your life. God very clearly tells us it’s the difference between life and death. I’m sure you know that tree is the cross of Jesus. And I want you to hear God’s clear warning:

Choose wisely.

Today is the first day of 2022. I hope you know Jesus as your Savior and have made Him the Lord of your life. But if you haven’t, today would be a great day to do that. Begin this year with a clean slate, a pure heart, forgiven and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ who died on a cross to save you.

That’s why the tree. Choose wisely.

(The Book of Luke) Meet Your Savior

What does it mean to me that Jesus rose from the grave, that he died, was buried, and lived again? What does it say that many people who witnessed his very public death, watched his body placed in a tomb, then days later sat and talked with him, touched his flesh, saw the nail prints in His hands?

To me, it’s the difference between holding to a belief system, and holding to the Truth. If Jesus died and rose again, I can only bow to His power and proclaim, “He is God.” If He can do that, I can know His Words are true, said with authority no one else has.

I don’t have to hope I know the Truth. He is the Truth. If I see Him through eyes of faith, I see the Father. If I confess my sin He is faithful to forgive. If He tells me He’s preparing a place for me in eternity, I can know that’s exactly what He’s doing.

If you have doubt about the God/man Jesus, I challenge you to read Luke’s Gospel with the determination to hear the Truth. If you read it hoping to reenforce your skepticism, you’ll miss what God wants you to know. Put your doubt aside. Read it assuming it’s true, rather than assuming it’s false.

And meet your Savior.

(Mark 14-16) Remove All Doubt

The Roman soldier recognized that Jesus was truly the Son of God when he watched Jesus die on the cross. The cross removed all doubt that soldier might have had about Jesus..

Have you taken a good look at the cross? Have you really seen the One who endured such abuse, such unrelenting torment in order to take the punishment you deserve? Look at Him. That’s how much He loves you.

“Truly this man was the Son of God,” who gave His life so your sins can be forgiven, so you can live forever with Him. I pray that today you’ll take a good look, then lay your sins at the foot of the cross and let His blood wash them all away.

Take a good look at the one and only Son of God, and let Him remove all your doubt, too. But don’t just stop there. Take the next step, and accept what He died to give you – forgiveness! He’s waiting. And I’m praying.

(Matthew 12:30-32) Unforgivable

Is there an unforgivable sin? According to Jesus there is. But what is it? And what if I’ve already committed it? Is there no hope for me?

Well, first of all, rest assured that while I’m still breathing and my heart is still beating, there is hope. Scripture is very clear that “whosoever believes” will be saved, that to humble ourselves and repent of sin is salvation at the cross. Those who go to Jesus in Truth, He will in nowise cast out.

So what is this unforgivable sin? These verses are confusing at first glance because Jesus makes a distinction between Himself and His Spirit. We know, according to Scripture they are one and the same. So what is blasphemy against Jesus and blasphemy against the Spirit, and why is one more serious than the other?

I don’t know.

But I can tell you my opinion according to what I see in God’s Word. If you want to know what I think, read on.

There were all kinds of blasphemous actions against Jesus. Think of what kinds of things He endured in His three years of ministry on Earth. He was called a glutton, a friend of sinners, Satan himself. He was hated by many. His last day on Earth included beatings, hearing lies said about Him, ridicule, and His painful death on the cross where the abuse continued. Yet, some of His last words from the cross were: Father forgive them!

This tells me the abuse Jesus endured was not the unforgivable sin. He was rejected, despised, and murdered. Yet He was willing to forgive it all.

Rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit is another matter. The work of the Spirit is to woo, to convict, to penetrate the hearts of all people. Rejecting Him is unforgivable. God cannot and will not forgive someone who doesn’t want His forgiveness.

The good news is, the Holy Spirit isn’t one and done. He doesn’t give just one chance for anyone to accept what He offers. He doesn’t just give up after one rejection.

Take Paul for instance. While he was known as Saul he rejected Jesus in a very public way. But do you think the first time the Holy Spirit convicted him of his sin was there on the road to Damascus? I don’t. It was, however, the first time Saul, later Paul, humbled himself and submitted to the Spirit. Paul’s acceptance of Jesus as his Savior in obedience to the Spirit, saw his sins forgiven. All of them.

The unforgivable was forgiven. And that’s a miracle!

Those who reject the continued working of the Holy Spirit who convicts, who reveals Jesus, who speaks Truth, will not – cannot – be forgiven. If you are rejecting the Biblical Truth of God, you have no hope of forgiveness. That opportunity is good only while you are alive on Earth. If you reject it, you will face God on your own, unforgiven.

It’s not too late. If you are reading this post, the Holy Spirit is working in your life. Don’t ignore Him. Don’t reject Him. Open your heart and let Him give you what Jesus died to provide.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past. None of it is unforgivable. Only rejecting God’s offer of forgiveness is unforgivable.

I’m praying for you.

(Hosea 4-8) I Want That, Too

Sometimes I can almost feel God’s heart breaking. Even as He spells out the judgment to come, even as He expresses His anger over the continued disobedience of His children, He says, “I want to redeem them.”

If only they would repent. If only they would obey. If only they would let Him, He would save them. He wanted to redeem them. But because they’d rather hold on to their idols, He couldn’t.

God threw out a lifeline, but they were still drowning because they couldn’t let go of their sin. And it broke His heart.

I don’t think I can fully understand the extent of His pain because I can’t fully understand the depth of His love. But as I read God’s message to us through Hosea, I know I don’t want any part of adding to His pain.

I want to repent of sin the moment God reveals it to me. I want to resist temptation, and obey Him with every breath I take. I want only to bring Him joy. My redemption cost Jesus so much. I don’t want to waste a single drop of the blood He shed paying the death penalty for my sin.

There isn’t an idol, a sin, that’s worth a fraction of the cross. I hear God say, “I want to redeem Connie.” And I want that, too.

(Daniel 1-3) Do You Believe In God?

King Nebuchadnezzar believed that the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was God above all gods. How else could it be explained that the three men were thrown into a blazing fire which killed some soldiers, that four men were seen taking a walk inside the fiery furnace, and that the three came out of the fire unharmed? They didn’t even smell like smoke!

Nebuchadnezzar shouted praises to God, and made it a law that no one could say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Saying anything offensive against God resulted in a death sentence, according to the King’s new law.

I think Nebuchadnezzar really believed. But Scripture tells us even demons believe. And believing God is who He IS, has demons shaking in their boots! (James 2:19)

Acknowledging God is God, believing Jesus God’s Son died on a cross and rose again, just isn’t enough. What you do with that knowledge has everything to do with salvation, with eternity. Without surrendering to God, your knowledge of Him has no more to do with the forgiveness of your sins than believing the earth is round, or that Thursday follows Wednesday.

King Nebuchadnezzar makes me sad. But my heart breaks at the thought that some of my family and friends are satisfied with the fact they believe in God. It’s not enough.

Hear Jesus’ own words:

Except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Do you believe in God? I hope so. Now, what are you going to do about that?

(Ezekiel 15-17) Jesus In Ezekiel

The parables Ezekiel used to convey God’s message point to Jesus in every way. Yes, the physical Old Testament nation of Israel was going to face judgment at the hands of their enemies. They were going to be punished by God because of their blatant rejection of Him. But God wove a thread of redemption throughout the narrative that has everything to do with you and me.

I read 16:62-63 as for the first time today:

I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord, so that when I make atonement for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed… (emphasis mine)

He had said in verse 60:

But I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, AND I WILL ESTABLISH A PERMANENT COVENANT with you. (emphasis mine)

Then, in the prophetic song of verses 22-24 He talks about the sprig that becomes a majestic cedar, bearing fruit and sheltering birds of every kind! It’s all about Jesus!

And it has everything to do with what Jesus did on the cross when He atoned for – paid the death penalty for – my sin and yours. It has everything to do with the New Covenant.

Rejoice! Our sins are forgiven!

If you place your faith in Jesus, His blood will be applied to you, and you will find shelter in the shade of His “branches.” Don’t squander what Jesus died to give you.

That New Covenant assures that whosoever believes will have eternal life (John 3:16), that if you call on Jesus you will be saved (Romans 10:13), that if you confess your sin you will be forgiven (I John 1:9). There is no maybe here. That’s God’s sure promise to you. That’s the permanent New Covenant.

It’s a covenant sealed with the blood of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Doesn’t get more permanent than that.