Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Forgiveness

NOTE: If you are a woman reading this and have ever done something you think might have been "immoral" or had something done to you that you didn't want done to you (keeping this as kid-friendly as possible), please do continue to read and then watch the video about the Rose. I care about you and hope you get much from it.

Friends, family or whoever is reading this, please watch this video I posted below if you get a moment. STOP! The answer to your question is "No, you can't skip all I wrote and skim down to the video." You have to read this first. I have a tracking system on this blog that tells me who has skipped down to the bottom first after you clicked on the blog from your email. Okay, I lied. But it was only a WHITE LIE! Oh yeah, there are no colors of lies. I suppose if I lie, I am a liar and need forgiveness. Will you forgive me? Okay, so the video made me stop and think for a long, long moment and prompted me to type this blog entry. Put on your "oh this is about Jesus again" filter on first. You don't think I'm going to write a whole blog entry without mentioning the one I love most in my life, do you? And please, if you end up reading this whole blog entry and watching that video, post something on my blog here or email me or SOMETHING! I hate silence. All complaints can go directly into my email box. If I get nothing, I'll just assume you didn't read this. (Either that or my tracking system will kick in...)

So moving on, why is it that it seems Christians judge so much? Could it be because of what this guy in the Rose video says he heard from a pastor years ago? The final part of the clip at the bottom is THE POINT of Christianity. Don't miss it, please. Maybe this is why when I talk to people who want nothing to do with their Creator and Lord of glory who died on the cross, they think I'm talking about: "clean yourself up first." That's a false gospel, my friend. How do you think you can clean yourself up for your Creator? What could you possibly do to look good in a perfectly holy God's eyes? Really, answer the question in your head. What could you do if you stood before Him if your heart gave out right now? What would you say?

"Oh, I gave money to the poor!" And He would say, "So?"

"I stopped this or that sin recenlty!" And He would say, "that's nice, but that's not what is required to go to Heaven."

"I went to church last week!" And He would say, "And the demons go to church too. Anyone can attend church, but a building doesn't get you to Heaven."

"I stopped yelling at my kid!" And He would say, "That is good! But when a rapist stops raping a woman and tell the judge so, is he less guilty after he stopped? No."

Come on, answer it. What will you say when He asks you why He should let you into Heaven? Your answer goes here: ___________________ .
(Hint: if the sentence starts with "I" then you probably won't get in.)

No, no, no, no, no! It's not about: "clean yourself up first." It's about: "we are all unclean, messed up sinners and need God's mercy, every one of us." If people would just understand that Christianity is not "religion," but a relationship with the Savior. That Christianity is not about being a "moral" and "good" person. That it's not about doing good or doing better than you were before or even better than your neighbor, co-worker of family member, but about being FORGIVEN. Here's what the Bible says in a nutshell:
  • God is holy and just (in other words, He is without sin and keeps His word).
  • God created all things.
  • You are one of the things He created and loves.
  • God has moral laws (i.e. you shall not steal, you shall not lie, you shall not look with lust, etc.).
  • You broke those laws and that's called sin.
  • God hates sin and will not tolerate it (and you thought I was being intolerant as a Christian? God detests sin and will refuse anyone who has sinned without forgiveness. Hey, not my message!).
  • Because God is holy and just, it would be against His character to allow you to be with Him in Heaven. (for instance, if you stole something last week from a store and this week you went before a judge, that judge would be unjust and corrupt if he just let you go for no reason. Imagine if someone came in and raped your mom tonight. Would you want a judge to just let the guy go? NO! You want justice. God is thorough in His justice).
  • Nothing unclean and tainted with sin can be in His presence because He is holy. That means you and I can't go to Heaven as we are.
  • Because God is also love, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ who fulfilled the Law completely to suffer what you should suffer, that is, the full wrath of God on the cross.
  • You did the crime, Jesus paid the fine (and to think how many times we have taken Jesus' name in vain and not given Him the honor due Him!).
  • Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death (in other words, the resurrection... why Easter is celebrated).
  • Jesus requires you to repent (turn to Him with a change of mind about your ways) and trust in His good works, not yours. Period.
That is how a person gets to Heaven, by Christ's good works, not yours. You need to ask His forgiveness. He extends grace to the humble and contrite. Is that you?

Stay with me... the video clip is coming up. If you got this far without hating Jesus or rolling your eyes at me as you read or wanting me to take you off my email list, I'm already in shock and quite pleased! Keep reading...

The gospel is not:
  • Come to Jesus and He will give you a nice life, nor
  • Repent of your sin and live a sinless life, nor
  • Clean up your life first and then come to Him, nor
  • Do everything you can to be like Jesus, nor
  • Come to Christ and then you can sin however you like.
Simply put, the gospel is GOOD NEWS, that Jesus Christ was punished in the place of sinners. If you're not a sinner, you're good to go and you don't need His forgiveness, just pass "GO," collect your $200 and enter Heaven on your own good works, but refer to Revelation 21:8 before deciding that's the way to go.

If you are a sinner, then you need a Savior. Which is it? Have you lied? Stolen? Looked with lust? Hated anyone, ever? Said a cuss word? Had sex outside of marriage? Used God's name in vain? Disobeyed your parents at any time? Gossiped about anyone, ever? Or done anything else that has offended God? If so, then you are just like the rest of us and qualify for grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Christ did not die so the self-righteous would inherit eternal life. The self-righteous need to repent of their pride. He died so that those who would confess that they need His righteousness, would inherit eternal life.

The BAD NEWS is that sinners should be punished (that's called Hell in God's court... hey, I didn't make up the idea of Hell; I don't even LIKE the idea of it. I'm just telling you what the Bible says), but the GOOD NEWS is no matter how much of a broken, beat up sinner you are, no matter how much bad or wrong you have done in comparison to the people you know, He will give eternal life to those who turn from their sin (repent) to Jesus Christ and believe the gospel. Now, with that said, please watch this four minute clip:



If you think you are going to Heaven, but aren't sure, instead of looking to me as someone who is judging you, just examine yourself. I'm not your judge. You have one Judge, that is your Creator. I'm just a sinner who has been forgiven and want you to know that forgiveness and freedom too. One who is just like you, who needs a Savior. You know better than me if you have kept the most important commandment. Jesus said, "
you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30) Here are a few things to read in case you aren't absolutely sure when you die that you will have forgiveness of your sins. Just click on one blue link below or read them all:


Blessings,
Tamara Slack

7 comments:

jcdisciple said...

I love you for this!!

Tracy Wagman said...

This is great!!!

Loretta said...

wow... THIS IS TRUE.

Grace Abounds said...

Hi ladies! Glad you enjoyed the post. Not sure why I felt so compelled to write it. I saw that video and it literally just stopped me and I had tears in my eyes. I've since watched it several times... same impact. I hope it helps others too :)

Tamara

Anonymous said...

beautiful. magnificent. i read. i watched. i cried. i commented. happy now? lol ~minderella from OH (one day MO) LOL

Grace Abounds said...

Yes Mindy, I'm happy now. :) You guys think you will go to MO huh? I'm going to blog about it with pics when we get there!!!
Tamara

Grace Abounds said...

By the way, the full message is on Desiring God's website:

http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1620_shepherds_and_unregenerate_sheep

Blessings,
Tamara