Monday, June 1, 2009

Is God recording any video?

I just read an excellent post written by Steve McVey on his blog (its written for his new book -"52 Lies Taught In Church Every Sunday" ). In this particular post, he is addressing one of the many lies taught by the church over the years - that our sins are 'covered' under the blood of Jesus.

It sounded right to me that for so many years in my life I believed it. Along with that theology, I had always unconsciously believed that if my sins are covered, He could just dig it up whenever he want to condemn me. I thought, if he wouldn't dig it open in this life, he would certainly expose it one by one on the day of judgment (like it being shown in a recorded video) and accuse me about each of my sins. I was so insecure about that video he is recording. I could never live free because of it. Talk about fear, insecurity, bondage and lifelessness!

The good news is, He isn't recording. In fact, the Devil was recording for sometime, but God (in Christ) snatched it out of his hands and erased it and destroyed the tape. It will NEVER be brought back! Its a done deal. It's FINISHED!

Steve, in his post said it like this: "He has rewritten your history by taking away the sins of your past and giving you the history of Christ Himself."

Here is the entire post - Lies Taught In Church Every Sunday

45 comments:

Ike said...

There are quite a few of the saints sins "recorded" in His Word. David would be one of them. The good news is, there is no condemnation to any of us who are in Christ.

Jamie said...

Bino, I remember when I was little seeing a tract entitled "This Is Your Life" that gave the impression our lives would be displayed on a huge movie screen!! That tract gave me a horrible fear of God. What a terrible tragedy that "religion" must frighten & coerce people into the Kingdom rather than share the Good News of EVERYONE'S reconciliation through the cross!! What does NOT COUNTING men's sins AGAINST them mean to these people? JEESH! The issue is LIFE!

Love to all... :)

Joel B. said...

Indeed, God has not only given us a new future, He's given us a new past! (So to speak... sounds good, anyway)!

Oh yeah, it's true, just like David's sins, mine could be recorded or written down or talked about or whatever... but not by GOD! He's taken them and buried them at the bottom of the ocean, never to be brought up again!

Rich said...

Bino,

A couple of things here, first I remember a time when reading the scriptures the magic genie, sorry I jest, the Word spoke to my heart from this scripture..Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance' was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

I have never forgotten that close encounter of the most holy kind, many, many times He has reminded me that yes, the book of Life is a cool reality, but he has this 'book of remembrance' as well, and every time I/we bragged upon our elder brother Jesus, its recorded!

Also He has made it increasingly real to me about the work of the cross, He showed me that in the cross He crossed (canceled) out everything I rightly deserved, and also everything that had been held back from me was now mine in Christ..often I am reminded of the One who closes doors no man can open, and opens doors no man can shut...Shazzam!! :)

simplemann said...

Jamie,

I don't anything about the tract you received, but I do know that God's word states the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). It's not a bad thing. In Job 28:28 God says to man, "'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'" To understand how holy God is, and who full of sin we ourselves are, should rightly result in a reverent fear of Him.

As for religion "frightening and coercing" people into the Kingdom, I think this is not possible. Entrance into the Kingdom is a work of the Spirit, and while true conversion is accompanied with the conviction of sin (otherwise there could be no repentance of it, right?), the conviction brings with it the knowledge of our great need for an even greater Savior.

Joel B. - if you have an opportunity, check out Vodie Baucham's lecture on Brokenness from the True Church Conference this past February. He spoke about the memory of our sin, and the sordid pasts we have. To deny this or pretend something otherwise may be fanciful and appealing to the flesh, but it is dishonest and does not do justice to the work of grace God brings about in the life of the sinner.

I'm not trying to ruffle anyone's feathers here, and I know this is the minority report, but I think that way too many of us these days hold a high view of self and a low view of God. This was not so with the apostles and the early church. There was a clear recognition of their true worth and condition, and an honest humility even in their estate in Christ. So many Christians here in America act like cheerleader with a set of pom-poms, shouting "Yay! I'm on God's team" when we should be wearing sackcloth with our knees in the dirt, confessing, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Just my two cents.

Peace & Blessings,
Simple Mann

Joel B. said...

Simple Mann,

I'm bragging on my God, not promoting a low view of Him!

Sackcloth? That's not what He wants from us!!! He's made us NEW CREATIONS who are beautiful and glorious in His own eyes. He took away our sin and came to live in us!

Indeed we stand in awe and wonder of Him! Should we have a haughty view of ourselves? Of course not. But if He says such great things about us (as He does), why should we walk around as if we're unworthy worms!

By the way, it's not just us in America who feel this way. Christ has such a huge body around the world who understand and are appropriating this wonderful Christ life!

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Joel you said, "why should we walk around as if we're unworthy worms!"...

We shouldn't...

We should walk around like worms who God took and turned into butterflies...

Like I think Simpleman was saying, being forgiven of our sin doesn't mean that we lose any recollection of who we were before Christ! Just because we aware of what we were when God saved us, does not equate to continuing to live with that as our reality... Does acknowledging our sin and guilt mean that we are still in bondage to it? No...

Otherwise Paul could never have said (as a follower of Jesus):

"15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Daniel

Like a Mustard Seed said...

oops, I meant to say,

"doesn't mean that we lose ALL recollection of who we were before Christ"...

Joel B. said...

Hi Daniel!

I think where I would differ, or at least how I would word things differently would be in saying that the butterfly no longer is a worm. There are no traces of "worm" left. It's a brand new creation. The butterfly lives a brand new life that isn't based upon the idea that it's a worm that happens to have wings, but rather that it's got a whole new life that is nothing like the old life. If it goes back to thinking like a worm, it's missing the point of its new life. God didn't re-create the creature so that it would constantly think back to how it used to be, so that it would be all the more thankful for what it is now. He re-created it so that it would have and enjoy the Life that it has now!

I don't think Paul's "chief of sinners" statement was something he continually dwelled upon. I see him making bringing it up to make the resounding statement: "Look what happens when you believe on Him and have eternal life! Look how a worm ('the worst of sinners') becomes a butterfly!" And then he's over and done with the worm talk and he focuses on the life of the butterfly.

I understand the line of thinking that says something like, "we need to continually realize what sinners we are so that we can all the more appreciate God's grace," but I don't agree with it. :) I think the change from sinner to saint should change us from "woe is me" thinking to "woo hoo! is me" thinking. =D We're indwelled by the life of CHRIST! We're one spirit with Him! We've become partakers of His nature! (Exclamation points are just my passion speaking... LOL). :)

What I'm saying is that fear (awe and wonder) of God does not mean that we walk around in sackcloth and ashes. It means we celebrate His love and grace to the max. And back to the topic of this post... LOL... we understand that God is not keeping a record of our wrongs. Our sins will never be brought up again!

Jamie said...

For me: I know who died on that cross in Christ. She didn't resurrect. He did in her. Union. I'm not a resurrected dead man. Like Joel said: I'm a NEW CREATION, totally regenerated in Christ. I have been crucified, I died, was buried, quickened, raised, and seated in Christ. I choose to live from that REALITY of my heavenly position IN CHRIST. Is that worthy of AWE? Oh yes! But I don't "fear" my HUSBAND or Father in an earthly sense!! I acknowledge His incredible majesty, certainly, but perfect love casts out all fear. What have I to fear in the Beloved???

simplemann said...

Check this out and think about what this man is saying. This is Vodie Baucham speaking at the True Church Conference on the memory of sin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97t5SUGuGx0

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G3Znx1WV-s&feature=related

Very powerful and thought provoking, and I think a right perspective on this topic. I hope you will take the time to listen to what he has to say about this.

Peace & Blessings,
Simple Mann

Bino M. said...

Thank you all for the great comments and the conversation. I greatly enjoyed it!


Simplemann -

I watched parts of the video you posted. His message goes along with something you said in your comments.

you said:

I think that way too many of us these days hold a high view of self and a low view of God.

That statement itself is a true statement, but when it comes to the people who have tasted the love and grace of God, I do not believe that they develop a high view of themselves. In fat, the opposite is true. It humbles them.

Understanding the forgiveness (total forgiveness) we have in Christ, humbles me further and brings a higher exalted view of God's unconditional love into my heart. It tells me that Jesus did something I could never ever do myself. And He did it on my behalf! How can that make me prideful? It can only humble a person.

The title "a sinner saved by grace" can be appealing and it can even promote a false humility (as I see it in Christendom). But the truth is that Bible calls us "saints" or "holy ones". In almost all his epistles Apostle Paul salutes people calling them saints. Does that mean that those people had a high view of themselves and a low view of God? I doubt.

Again, I appreciate your comments. But I think, I differ on your comment about the "high view of self".

Love and Peace,
Bino.

simplemann said...

Bino,

Note that the Apostle calls them saints... but what does he call himself? Slave! Chief of sinners! I do not think that he ever referred to himself as a saint. In First Timothy, the Apostle Paul says:

"Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity" (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

It is an attitude of the heart which we see lived out through the life of the Apostle, just as it was in the life of the Savior, who came not to be served but to serve. Consider what Paul also wrote to the Philippians:

"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." (Philippians 2:3)

Is this not the very same attitude that the Apostle is describing in practical terms to Timothy in the epistle above, and that he lived out throughout his ministry? Paul did call *others* saints... but himself he called sinner. And not just sinner, but chief of sinners. His example of humility is worth learning from.

Though God may declare us righteous through the precious blood of His son -- though God may grant us salvation and adoption into His family as His very own children... yet we should still regard ourselves (just as Paul, James, Peter, John, and Jude did) *happily* as slaves to Christ. I am not even worthy to be called a slave of God. This is not a false humility. This I think is a right understanding of the depths of my depravity and the tremendous grace the Lord has given me through the gift of repentance and faith in His Son, the only hope that I have. It was completely undeserved, and I will never be worthy. Now don't get me wrong, I take great joy in what the Lord has done. Joy inexpressible! However, the memory of my sin and the person I was before, prevents me from taking for granted the fact that I deserve none of it.

I don't know if this helps or not, but thank you for the discussion.

Peace & Blessings,
Simple Mann

Like a Mustard Seed said...

"the memory of my sin and the person I was before, prevents me from taking for granted the fact that I deserve none of it"

Amen... It seems that some are under the misconception, that to remember what Christ saved us from, is to put ourselves back under the old bondage... But that is not so.

What do they sing in Revelation to the One who sits the Throne?

"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth."

Joel B. said...

Simplemann,

I was thinking through my response to your last comment, and I realized I'd already said what I have to say about that, especially regarding Paul's 'chief of sinners' comment. :) See above if you want to refresh your memory. I think we just disagree, and that's ok.

I don't think it's necessarily bondage humbly remember how unworthy we were before Christ saved us, but I think it's far more beneficial for the entire body that we live from who we truly are now --- saints who are accepted in the Beloved by God's grace and by His grace alone.


"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:2-4

Thank you, Lord, that I'm not who I was! But thank you so much more that I am who you have made me to be!

Joel B. said...

(Add the word "to" in front of humbly).

Like a Mustard Seed said...

"but I think it's far more beneficial for the entire body that we live from who we truly are now --- saints who are accepted in the Beloved by God's grace and by His grace alone."

Yes, but does "accepted by God's gace and by His grace alone" really mean anything, if we forget that we don't DESERVE His love or acceptance in the first place?

Doesn't "grace" itself mean getting something we don't deserve...?

So to live as "who I am now", means to live as someone who God reached out to, who God saved, who God justified... I love, because He loved me first... Right?

Who are we now? Who has God made us to be? Just people who are accepted? Loved? Yes, but more than that, we are now people who can love back! It is not all about how God sees us. It is not all one direction. The cool thing is, we are being changed inwardly, so that we actually love God back! And we love our brother, our neighbor too... And in this way actually uphold the Law, crazy as that is...

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

Jamie said...

Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.


Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Did God die so that we could uphold the law or receive His LIFE?? How we demean the cross when we focus on our old, dead nature rather than the Life of Christ that now indwells us! I am not who I used to be since His love came...

theoldadam said...

I hope not!

Leonard said...

Thanks for the People to people link Bino

It's hard to kick against the goads,,, I dont wanna be that caller no more,,, do you ?

Like a Mustard Seed said...

It grieves me that this caller, who had such valid questions and wanted real guidance, got such terrible counsel... (... hard to kick against the goads...)

The person giving the caller advice says "the bibles says, if you continue to ask (for forgiveness), in other words continue to deny the cross, the only place you have to go is hell, because it shows that you never put your faith in the cross, the burial or the resurrection... that's what the bible says, you've made a mockery, of the son of God, and treated an unholy thing the blood of the Covenant that sanctifies you..."

WHAT?

This is a blatant twisting of scripture...

What is that verse talking about? About continuing to confess our sin, and to look to Christ for forgiveness? NO! It is talking about those who continue deliberately living in sin!!!

"If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?"

What does it mean to insult the Spirit of Grace? To continue sinning the same way we did before coming face-to-face with the Risen Christ...

How did Jesus teach us to pray?

"When you pray, say:
Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation..."

Is that a "one-time only" prayer? Or is this how we are to pray continually?

Daniel

Joel B. said...

Daniel, I invite you to take a look at that passage from Hebrews in the context of the flow of all that's being said in the previous and following chapters. The writer is talking about the one time sacrifice of Jesus, and how there is no other sacrifice for sins. The one sacrifice for sin took care of it all. To trample the Son of God under foot is to reject that sacrifice and think that when we sin, there is any other sacrifice that can take away sin, or anything we can do to take it away ourselves. Again, begin reading around chapter 4, 5, 6, 7 or wherever, and keep on reading the following chapters, and keep in mind the overall point the writer keeps on making.

"How did Jesus teach His disciples to pray before the cross?" That might be a better Jeopardy question to the answer of "The Lord's Prayer."

In Matthew 6, it's not only in the prayer itself, but right afterward, that Jesus talks about forgiving others. He says, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

THAT is quite a standard!!! I don't really know if I know of anyone who would say they've forgiven all others of their trespasses. It that's true, then WHO is really forgiven???

But there's good news. THE good news! It came at the cross and at the resurrection! We have been forgiven, not because we've forgiven others, but because of the blood of Jesus!!! We then are exhorted to forgive others, AS we've been forgiven.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)

So many other verses about this. I know you don't like people touting their own blogs on comments... LOL Just kidding!... so I'll post a link to one of Bino's previous posts with a scripture-only look at all this.

The point is that the cross changed everything! Jesus taught both the Old and New Covenants, at different times, and it helps to 'rightly divide' the words He spoke in the contexts of the two covenants.

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Jesus taught both the Old and New Covenants?

Wow, things are getting weirder by the minute...

So everything Jesus taught before He died on the cross doesn't count? (cuz it's the old covenant?) Man.... I have heard some interesting takes on the Bible, but I have to say this is something new...

I am actually familiar with the context of the book of Hebrews, and the meaning of the Old and New Covenants...

I understand that it is only because Christ died on the cross, and first forgave us, that we are called to then forgive others... (as in the parable of the King and the man with the cancelled debt... oops, let's throw that out, cuz Jesus said that before the cross...)

Like you said, we do not forgive as some attempt to obey God and keep the Law, we forgive because we've been forgiven! But, if someone will not turn around and forgive others, refuses to forgive others, how can we say that such a person is really accepting the cross, is really accepting God's free gift? They want mercy for themself, but refuse to show mercy to others ... It is not an option. It is not a bonus. It is a simple thing that is taught throughout all of scripture, and constantly by Jesus.

I can say that I've forgiven all others of their sins against me. I honestly can. It wasn't easy, it wasn't instantaneous... I've had some people in my life that I felt so wronged by, I wanted to seek my own revenge... But I had to forgive, I had to let go. I had to let God teach me to love them. To love even my enemies... I had no other choice, after all that Christ has done for me....

Daniel

Joel B. said...

Daniel,

Oh brother. It's so hard to have a conversation with you. You take one or two things that a person has said and imply that they mean something totally other than what was said.

For example, this time around you said, "So everything Jesus taught before He died on the cross doesn't count? (cuz it's the old covenant?) Man.... I have heard some interesting takes on the Bible, but I have to say this is something new..."

That's not what I said.

And so, then each time I say something and you come back like that, I have to defend something I didn't say. Too time consuming. I don't mind taking some time to further explain myself to someone who doesn't keep coming back with "gotcha," but this is a waste of my time.

Bino M. said...

Daniel,

About the verse you quoted,

"If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment..."

Like Joel mentioned, the whole context of Hebrews is important and is necessary to interpret that verse (The whole point of Hebrews is about the superiority of Jesus and His ONE time sacrifice for all sins, which TOOK AWAY sins rather than just temporarily covering them like the OT animal sacrifices. And about the superiority of NEW covenant over the old). So in that light if you interpret that verse, it has a very different meaning than the meaning you were implying.

It says, "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth"

If you are sinning AFTER receiving the knowledge of the truth, what are you sinning against? You are sinning against the knowledge of the truth! [which is the rejection of the fact that Christ TOOK AWAY your entire sins (present, past and future) at the cross].

That is the denial of the superior sacrifice of Jesus. So the author of Hebrews says, for such people (who deny the ONE time sacrifice of Jesus), since there is no more sacrifice for sins left, the only thing they can expect is a fearful judgment. (That is the point Bob George was making in the link Leonard posted).

The only sin attributable to man is unbelief (rejection of Jesus, His cross and His resurrection). Every other sins were taken away at the cross for the entire humanity from Adam to eternity (including Hitler's!).

Bob's point (in responding to the caller) was that, if you keep on asking what you already have in Christ(total forgiveness), it not a sign of faith and it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God without faith.

Jamie said...

I think the point is...we CANNOT live up to the standard set by the LAW and were NEVER meant to! The LAW emphasized our NEED of a saviour. Jesus raised the bar on the Law by adding even more onerous demands. Not don't commit adultery, don't even think it!!

For example: Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and your neighbor as yourself.

GET REAL! We can't do that! BUT...Christ living in and through us can.

The key word here is TRYING. God NEVER intended for us to TRY. He KILLED us at the cross in His Son so that the old way of trying would be made obsolete. Through belief, we receive the Spirit that doesn't enable us to TRY BETTER OR HARDER. The Spirit is LIFE. We walk by faith in a FINISHED WORK not a work we complete. The behavior y'all seem so concerned with is a direct result of LIFE but it isn't the PURPOSE of life. LIFE IS, UNION IS. You're putting the cart before the horse. Chariots are symbols of flesh, of man's strength. We are not to walk according to what we are able to do but in what He has DONE. There is never a time that we outgrow GRACE...that ONE TIME sacrifice for ALL sins. That is what Hebrews is saying. It isn't about our ongoing acknowledgement of sin and need for forgiveness, NO! It is about our ongoing acknowledgement of GRACE, of Christ's sacrifice.

Sorry...I ramble on. :D

Ike said...

The love of God has no meaning apart from Calvary. And Calvary has no meaning apart from the holy and just wrath of God. Jesus did not die just to give us peace and a purpose in life. He died to save us from the wrath of God. He died to reconcile us to a holy God who was alienated from us because of our sin. He died to ransom us from the penalty of sin...the punishment of everlasting destruction, shut out from the presence of the Lord. He died that we, the just objects of God's wrath, should become, by His grace, heirs of God and co-heirs with Him.

How much we appreciate God's love is conditioned by how deeply we fear Him. The more we see God in His infinite majesty, holiness, and transcendent glory, the more we will gaze with wonder and amazement upon His love poured out at Calvary. But it is also true that the deeper our preception of God's love to us in Christ, the more profound our reverence and awe of Him. We must see God in the glory of all His attributes...His goodness as well as His holiness...if we are to ascribe to Him the glory and honor and reverence that is due Him. The psalmist caught this truth when he said to God, "If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness..therefore you are feared" (Psalm 130:3-4). He worshipped God with reverence and awe because of His forgiveness. In our practice of godliness, then, we must seek to grow both in the fear of God and in an ever-increasing comprehension of the love of God. These two elements together form the foundation of our devotion to God.

The awareness of God's love for us in Christ must be "personalized" in order for it to become one of the solid foundational corners of our "tiangle of devotion" to God. It is not enough to believe that God loved the world...I must be gripped by the realization that God loves "me", a specific person! It is this awareness of His individual love that draws out our hearts in devotion to Him.

Our awareness of God's love for us must also be constantly growing. As we mature in our Christian lives, we are increasingly aware of God's holiness and our sinfulness. In Paul's first letter to Timothy, he reflects upon God's mercy in appointing him to the gospel ministry. He recalls that he once was a blasphemer and a persecuter and a violent man. This description no longer applies to Paul...it is all past tense!

But as he continues to reflect upon the grace of God, he slips, almost unconsciously it seems, into the present tense of his experience. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners...of whom Im the worst." He is no loner thinking about his past as a persecuter of Christ. Now he is thinking about his present daily experience as a believer who falls short of the will of God for him. He doesn't think about other Christians, whom we know were way behind Paul in their devotion to God and their attainment of godly character. Paul never wastes time trying to feel good about himself by comparing himself favorably with less mature Christians. He compares himself with God's standard, and he consequently sees himself as the worst of sinners.

Through this present sense of his sinfulness, Paul sees God's love for him. The more he grows in his knowlege of God's perfect will, the more he sees his own sinfulness, and the more he comprends God's love in sending Christ to die for him. And the more he sees God's love, the more his heart reaches out in adoring devotion to the One who loved him so.

Joel B. said...

Ike,

Those are some great words about our "fear" (awe and reverence) of God. I like how you said, "But it is also true that the deeper our preception of God's love to us in Christ, the more profound our reverence and awe of Him." And as you said, we must be gripped not just by "God so loved the world, but we need to truly personalize it.

I have a different take than you on your first sentence. "The love of God has no meaning apart from Calvary." It's possible that I may have read you wrong. But if I read you right, I would first say that, yes, it's true that we know a great deal of God's love through the cross. And that's so very wonderful! I would add, though, that God's love has a great deal of meaning apart from the cross as well. I don't mean to nitpick your words at all. I really think this is an important thing to point out, as it makes all the difference in how we understand God's love for us.

His love doesn't only mean a great deal to us because we were once sinners and because of His love He saved us. Again, the cross was a great expression of His love, but His love means a great deal simply because He is love. What I'm trying to say is that we don't merely view His love from the lens of sinners who He saved. And really, it's the same with His grace as well. His love is eternal, as is His grace. His love and grace isn't just a response to sin. Love and grace are who He is, whether sin had ever entered the world or not!

Again, I don't mean to nitpick, and if I've misread you, I apologize. The reason I think this is important to point out is because the inferior view (in my opinion) that God's love and grace is all about sin is one of the things that keeps people focused on sin. Our lives in God's love and grace, and our awe and reverence of Him, is not merely our response to Him saving us from our sins. In fact, now that He has taken away our sins, that's not even the issue anymore! Don't get me wrong, we still look to Him and stand in awe and reverence for how He gives us the victory over the sins we commit in our daily living. But the church has made that such a HUGE part of our lives in Christ, when really His love and grace are a celebration that, most of the time, has absolutely nothing to do with SIN!

Anyway, I hope that came through OK. I've been learning to walk on eggshells lately (not with you, Ike), and I need to get over that quickly!

Bino M. said...

Joel - Well said, brother!

As long as we are talking about sins (or behavior), I think, our focus is on us and our growth is stunt. To me, I do not see a middle ground on the issue of sins. Its either a done deal or its still an issue (between God and man). It is either finished, or it isn't. It is either paid in full, or it isn't. It is either Jesus's one time sacrifice too away the sins of the world or it took away only some of them.

My Christian life started when I settled that issue in my heart. Until then, I was a wavering, double minded man, unstable in everything I believed.

I remember, being a faithful confessor, I even figured out a way to include all my sins in my daily confession. I would pray something like like this : "Lord, pls. forgive the sins I did in my thoughts, words and actions". That covers pretty much all! :) I thought, now God has no excuse! lol! The reason I prayed like that was because, it's kind of hard to recollect all my sins efficiently at the end of the day. I had always feared that what if I leave one unconfessed...

Keeping short accounts with God is nothing but a classic example of bondage. Thank God that he freed me from it. He said, "It's Finished" and I believe it.

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Bino, Joel...

"really His love and grace are a celebration that, most of the time, has absolutely nothing to do with SIN"...

Then perhaps Jesus's understanding of love and grace were warped too....

"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"

Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.


Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." (Luke 7:41-47)

Like a Mustard Seed said...

(afterthought...) Let's remember, the Pharisees were really into the idea that God loved them. They totally embraced a love from God that had nothing to do with forgiveness of their sin.... They were totally convinced in their minds about being "accepted by God", but they had no interest in forgiveness at all...

And they weren't even trying to "earn" their salvation through following the Law either... They didn't believe they had any need for salvation in the first place! To them, the Law was just a way for them to show how righteous and special and favored by God they already were....

So weren't they just resting in God's love, and thankful for being righteous? So if what you're saying is true, why are they wrong? Shouldn't they be the example of true faith then?

But then why did Jesus constantly rebuke them?

Leonard said...

Hi guys , i read the following a while ago in wayne jacobsens " He loves me"

and it made me think of this conversation



NOT RELIGION, BUT RELATIONSHIP

There are two ways to hide from God’s love—rebellion and religion. Rebellion, illustrated in the prodigal son, defies God’s love and seeks to cover up guilt and shame through the indulgence of sensual desires. Religion, on the other hand, is far more subtle. It seeks its cover-up with good works and obligation. However, like the prodigal’s older brother, it still denies the Father’s place in our lives and leads us no closer to knowing him for who he really is.

Simply, religion is keeping score—striving for acceptance

Trying to Earn Points . . .

143

through our own performance whether it be in our good works or some ritualistic exercise. Those things squarely put the focus on us and what we can do to be accepted by God and all these are doomed to fail.

Most of Paul’s letters were written because even the earliest believers found themselves trading relationship for religion. Instead of learning to live in the security of his love they would go back to the traditions, creeds, disciplines and laws as an attempt to earn it themselves. He reminded them over and over again, that God’s love would take them further than their own efforts and achievements ever would. But his words often fell on deaf ears then, as they have in generations since.

Why do so many enjoy striving for God’s acceptance, even after he went to such lengths to prove it was already ours? Perhaps people feel more secure if they can control the relationship. Perhaps they’re afraid that if they no longer have to earn his acceptance they’ll find themselves using grace as an excuse to pursue their selfish desires. Perhaps they don’t want a relationship with him at all, simply his help in time of need and that coveted "Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free Card."

Religion offers us the illusion of earning acceptance, but it is only a cheap substitute for the reality of life in him. God’s desire is to engage us in a life-changing relationship. He knew the ‘life-changing’ would come only out of the relationship. Thus he demonstrated his love for us before we did anything to make ourselves worthy of it. By doing so, he wanted us to stop trying to earn it and just live in light of it.

What would you do today if you knew God absolutely loved you? God knows the answer to that question will lead you further into his life than the strivings of religion ever can. The key to living a productive Christian life is not waking up every day trying to be loved by God, but waking up in the awareness that you are already his beloved.

Bino M. said...

Daniel -

The parable you pointed out about the moneylender is a parable Jesus taught before he died on the cross, where he took our sins away. Yes, sin was a big deal and it kept people away from God. But, God (in Christ) re-reconciled the whole world unto himself through His one time sacrifice. Bible says, while we were yet enemies, he loved us and died for us.

It wasn't your love what lead him to the cross, it was HIS love what lead him to the cross. When he went to the cross, you and I were His enemies. But regardless of our state enmity, He decided to forgive us.

He prayed, "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing". Did any of those people ask forgiveness? Did any of them (who were beating Jesus) love Him? But He still forgave them. That is agape love.

After the cross (after settling the issue of sin for ever), God do not deal with us on the basis of sins. He deals with us on the basis of LIFE, our identity in Him, our new nature.

Why are we still hanging on to the issue of sins when He says "It's finished"? Let's move on and explore the blessings we already have in Him as new creations...

Jesus, during his earthly ministry amplified the law to show us, we could never keep it and reach upto the standard (holiness) of God. By raising the bar, he lead us to the end of our own ropes. It was necessary to point out our sole need of Him and His sacrifice.

Jesus said, "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect". Wow! Can you really do that? Pharisees got angry because they thought they were already perfect in the sight of God because they thought they were obeying the law. But Jesus called them "white-washed tombs". In other words, Jesus always went under the skin. He did it to make them realize that it not about what they do or don't do. They have to receive the gift of righteousness.

Bino M. said...

Leonard -

Thanks for sharing that piece of writing. I think it's well written and makes the point.

He is asking:

Why do so many enjoy striving for God’s acceptance, even after he went to such lengths to prove it was already ours?

I think it's because our focus is still on us and what we do. We love to keep the focus on us!

Rich said...

Bino

Rich said...

Bino and Leonard, I so appraciate what you've both shared here, the darkness of lies keeps trying to keep His sons focused on that vs the Real of whay IS!

Bino M. said...

Rich - I appreciate you stopping by and I am glad you liked the discussion here.

Bino.

Leonard said...

Heres a free copy of that "He loves me", book... if you'd like to take a look...

Like a Mustard Seed said...

"God’s desire is to engage us in a life-changing relationship. He knew the ‘life-changing’ would come only out of the relationship. Thus he demonstrated his love for us before we did anything to make ourselves worthy of it. By doing so, he wanted us to stop trying to earn it and just live in light of it."

Exactly.

It's not about "earning it", but it IS about a "life-changing relationship"!

All I have been trying to stress in all this is the part about "living in light of it"...

It seems that it can be an easy mistep for us to come to a place where we joyfully embrace the fact that we don't have to try and earn God's approval (because that would be impossible...), BUT, we can forget that we are then called to turn and live in light of what Christ has done for us...

That is why your earlier comment Bino (forget where it was, I think on FB...) that basically said "go ahead and cheat on wife, God won't care, because He loves you..." was really confusing. Because if I were to do that, I would most certainly NOT be living in light of God's love... In essence, I would be rejecting His love, and using His grace as an excuse to gratify the sinful nature...

While Christ's work on the cross was complete, and did atone for all the sin in history, that does not mean that we are now given the go-ahead to live however we please? We have access to the Throne, was have been given Life, but that Life is not simply a matter of understanding how God loves me, it is also a matter of learning how God loves EVERYONE!

So, if my life is shaped by God's love, not just for myself, but for all humanity, then my life will begin to reflect that, no? And in that regard, what we do or don't do has great importance, does it not? If I say, "I know God, and His love", but treat my neighbor like garbage, do I really understand God's love?

Is God's love something that only applies to me? Do I live in a vaccum? Am I the only one He loves? Of course not... So doesn't our understanding of God's love then affect how we live, and what we do? Not because we're trying to earn God's approval, but because as we start to see the world and people the way He does, we then naturally turn towards serving and esteeming others, instead of only serving ourselves? (and isn't that essentially what sin is all about, serving ourselves?)

Isn't that what we are to move onto? Beyond the issue of just ourself and God, but how we live in a world full of other people (who God loves too!)? ? ?

Daniel

Bino M. said...

Daniel -

It's kind of unfortunate that you are failing to see the 'spirit' of what I am saying...

When did I say "go ahead and cheat on wife, God won't care, because He loves you..."?

When did I say, the fact that our sins are forgiven is "the go-ahead to live however we please"?

When did I say, it's ok to "treat my neighbor like garbage"?

I am having a hard time communicating. I am not saying it's your problem. I may not be a good communicator after all. But pls. don't accuse me for what I did NOT say...

Rich said...

Daniel,

For the life of me, I'm stumped trying to understand how you're reading into this conversation what you are?

It is really such a ridiculous thing, anyone who imbibes in trying to have a sin feast after becoming His, unless of course, its been nothing more than a religious experience some have had??!!

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Bino, (okay, I found the comment from FB...)

you said...

"Daniel - We are free to do any sin under grace. No matter what you do, if you are a child of God, you are still accepted by God...

I am not making this up. Apostle paul said it like this:

"Everything is permissible" - 1 Corinthians 10:23

You are totally free from the law.

(Ok. Don't freak out! :) )

But Paul did not stop there. He said:

"but not everything is beneficial".

Again, you are free to cheat on your wife. Even if you do it, God still accepts you. The question is, is it beneficial for you? Is it beneficial for your relationship with your wife?"


So, when someone says, "No matter what you do, if you are a child of God, you are still accepted by God..." how else can one interpret that?

When you say "Again, you are free to cheat on your wife. Even if you do it, God still accepts you." What else could that mean, other than we are free to sin as much as we want?

I must confess that my stomach turned when reading that last statement... It makes it sound like you see something like cheating on one's wife as simply being a question of pragmatic benefit...

All I can say is that to us, the scriptures are clear, that if I, or anyone else who calls themself a follower of Jesus, were to embrace, (that is, engage in it indefinitely, without ever repententing of it) something like adultery, as something that God would completely overlook, simply because of the cross, than I would NOT be a true follower of Christ. Though God does love me, and He died for my sin, if I were to refuse to repent of such a thing, if I were to refuse to let Him correct and discipline me, I would in effect be totally rejecting Him, and His gift of grace, if I were to turn around and blatantly continue living in such a way...

I would be a fake. Period.

So am I reading into things? I sincerely hope so... But at this stage I do not see how that could be...

Bino M. said...

Daniel -

:)

There is a huge difference between the statement "go ahead and cheat on wife, God won't care" and the statement "you are free to cheat on your wife. Even if you do it, God still accepts you."

Also, it is interesting that you missed to highlight my next sentence : "The question is, is it beneficial for you? Is it beneficial for your relationship with your wife?"

I never said God don't care about what we do. Of course He does! We are His children! The point is, our actions/behavior (good or bad), has nothing to do with our righteous stand with Him, His love towards us, His acceptance, His forgiveness or our salvation.

God do care about our actions because of the fact that our actions have (earthly) consequences. You are free to jump from the 5th floor. After you breaking your legs, God still loves you the same way he loved you before you broke your leg due to your foolish action. But His heart grieves now that His precious child is in pain.

Matthew Campbell said...

This is why I think focusing on our actions, not as our grounds for acceptance, but for proof of our acceptance is totally wrong for a Christian as well.

What if a Christian does fall into the sin of adultery? According to Jesus, adultery isn't just physically sleeping with someone, it is also looking and desiring. Are they not truly Christ's because they slept with someone else while married? What of those who were getting drunk at the Lord's supper, eating all the food and leaving nothing for the brothers and sisters who had nothing? Were they not true believers in Christ because they sinned?

Focusing on our actions for salvation or proof of salvation is a never-ending cycle of evaluation and we never arrive to any assurance. I've been around that mountain of Sinai a thousand times. The Law, no matter how you try and use it, cannot help you. It only has the power to condemn sinful men - and rightfully so.

Bino M. said...

Matthew - Amen!

Focusing on our actions for salvation or proof of salvation is a never-ending cycle of evaluation and we never arrive to any assurance.

How true!