You Are Forgiven

You Are Forgiven Devo

Daily Reading: (Ephesians 4:32):

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Your ability to forgive someone else begins by receiving your forgiveness in Christ. One of the

There are two statements in the Bible that have led to some confusion for people because they seem to contradict each other but they only are confusing when you are confused about the Covenant that you are living in.

1.  “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
2.   “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

Do you see the difference between these two statements? The first statement says that forgiveness starts with us. The second statement says forgiveness begins with God.

Which is it? Both of these statements are reconciled in Jesus Christ. He satisfied the condition for forgiveness when He went to the cross. But a better explanation came from Jesus Himself when He told the story of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:23).

Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. One servant had a huge debt he could not pay. To satisfy the debt the king planned to sell the servant, his family and all his possessions. The servant begged for mercy, the king took pity and cancelled the debt.

Now try and put yourself in the place of that servant. You are on the verge of being sold into slavery. Your wife is going to be sold as well. She is about to become the property of another man. Your kids will also be sold into slavery. You will likely never see them again. There is not a thing you can do to avoid this. You have no legal recourse.

And then, at a command from the king, your debt is instantly canceled and everything you hold dear is restored to you.

Wouldn’t you go from that place singing the praises of your king? Wouldn’t you shout from the rooftops that the king is good? Wouldn’t you go home and hug your wife, and enjoy your kids, knowing that, because of the mercy of the king, you now have a future together?

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

The shocking plot twist is that this is not what the man in the story did. He walked out of the king’s presence unchanged. In the very next verse, he found someone who owed him a small amount of money and he demanded payment. When that man couldn’t pay, the unmerciful servant had him thrown into prison. Later, when the king heard about this, he reversed his merciful judgment and delivered the “wicked servant” to the tormenters.

Most people think that the story of the ungrateful servant is a tale about morality. But Jesus said it’s a description of the Kingdom of Heaven. Each of us had a debt we could not pay and God, in His mercy, paid the debt on our behalf. The debtor’s law that stood opposed to us was fully satisfied.

There are only two possible responses to God’s generosity. One response is to say, thank you Jesus! What amazing grace! I will be forever grateful and I will tell others what you have done so they may ask for mercy too. The other response is that of the servant in the story. It is to remain unrepentant and unchanged by the goodness of God.

The forgiveness that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 4:32 is supernatural.

“Be kind and compassionate” in the Greek word it is talking about the ability to become kind and compassionate to those who need our forgiveness, to those who have done us great harm. It is only possible to act in kindness and compassion and forgiveness to someone who has greatly wounded us as we remember how greatly forgiven in Christ we are.

How forgiven are you and I in Christ? Do we have to ask for forgiveness in order for Christ to forgive us?  No, because we are already forgiven. Christ forgave you. It is a done deal.  It is forgiveness in the past, forgiveness in the present, and forgiveness in your future.  You are forgiven in Jesus.  Now, that you know that and we see how greatly forgiven you are enabled to forgive even if they don’t deserve it, even if they don’t ask for it. It is for your good that you forgive and you cast your cares on God. Not only are we enabled to forgive but we can in Christ also be kind and compassionate to those who need forgiveness. 

But when the topic of forgiveness comes up some will point to a verse in the Gospel of Mark 11:25- “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25). This doesn’t mean what you might think. We are forgiven because of one reason. 1 John 2:12: “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.”

Are we forgiven because of Jesus or are we forgiven because we have perfectly forgiven everyone else?

To answer this question that is raised in Mark 11:25 one must look at who is Jesus talking to in Mark 11? Jesus is taking to those living under the Law. The message is clear, if you want to try and earn salvation, you will find that it is impossible. One of the requirements to perfect law-based living would be the perfect forgiveness of all who wronged you.

Jesus came and fulfilled this requirement for us perfectly. When we go to the scene of the crucifixion people were mocking Jesus, they were spitting on Him, hurling insults at Him, and casting lots for His clothes. He was crucified for our sins and yet the people who rejected Him hung a sign over His head, ‘This is the king of the Jews.’ He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” How did Jesus respond? His response is kindness and compassion. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

When Jesus said this statement, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins” people were still living under the Law, if you think the Law offers you salvation then you better do it perfectly all the time including always forgiving everyone all the time.

But since we have already been forgiven, we can read Jesus’ statement through the lens of grace. As an exhortation to walk in the grace of a Father who has already forgiven you in Christ. Try shifting your glance away from the one who hurt you and setting your eyes on the one who has saved you. 

Advertisement

Acts of the Flesh

Acts of the Flesh 

Daily Reading: (Galatians 5:16-21):

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

“Freedom in Christ” is the main point of Galatians chapter five. When we reach verse sixteen we have are introduced into the sub-header: “life by the Spirit”. So we have freedom in Christ expressed through life by the spirit.

Which what Paul is saying is “do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” The question really becomes, “how are we to walk by the Spirit and what does it mean to walk after the flesh?” Most people actually read this verse the other way around. “Do your best not to fulfill the desires or lust of your flesh, and then you’ll walk in the Spirit.” That is not what Scripture says or teaches us here. The Scripture teaches this not in the negative but in the positive. “walk by the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” As you walk by the Spirit you won’t have to worry about the lust of the flesh.” Our focus has to be on walking in the Spirit. If you are focused on trying not to fulfill the desires of the flesh that is living your life under the Law. And if you live this way you’ll end up walking after the flesh. Walking after the flesh is an attempt to meet any of your needs apart from God.Romans 8:13 tells us this is a disastrous way to live.

So, how do we walk by the spirit or what is walking by the spirit? John Piper says, “It is “being led by the Spirit” and it is “bearing the fruit of the Spirit. You allow the Spirit to control you by keeping your heart happy in God. Or to put it another way, you walk by the Spirit when your heart is resting in the promises of God.” [1]

George Müller learned the secret of walking by the Spirit: meditate on the precious truths of the word of God until your heart is happy in God, resting in his promises.[2]

“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” You will have victory over temptation and know the guidance of the Lord if you keep your heart happy in God by resting in his promises.

We get a better understanding in the Greek for the word “walk” (peripateō) which means to be led around. This brings us to Psalm 23:3, “He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” This is what it means to walk by the Spirit.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Habits of the flesh will all fall off as we walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

The Spirit of the Lord will move you to a place of rest and refreshment where you cast your cares on Him. Troubles and stresses will come, but walk by the Spirit to the place of lying down in green pastures. Enjoy the feast God prepares for you in the presence of those plaguing enemies that have risen up against you. 

“Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:11 WEB)

 Rest is not inactivity—it is Spirit-directed activity. The opposite of being in God’s rest is being in unbelief.

“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.” They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. I wanted to point out that the fight is not between you and the flesh, the fight is between the flesh and the Spirit.

Here is the good news: you are not under the Law any longer because we have freedom in Christ, freedom to live by the Spirit that He has placed inside us. Live as the new creation we have become. Live out of our new God-given nature that reflects His glory. Galatians 5:16 promises victory over the desires of the flesh, not that there won’t be a war, but that the winner of that war will be the Spirit.


[1] John Piper. The War Within: Flesh Versus Spirit. June 19, 1983. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-war-within-flesh-versus-spirit

[2] George Müller. Autobiography 152–154.

If the Son…

Daily Reading: John 8:31-36:

” To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

John 8 shows how Jesus satisfied the if condition of my life, with all covenantal conditions met, curses are gone and blessings remain.

Some Jews believed and so became children of God which shows salvation is not about ethnicity (John 8:31). What you might not know is John’s Gospel is unique from the other three. It is written completely different and the audience John is writing to is the church. Matthew writes to the Jew, Mark to the Romans, and Luke to the Greeks. That is why John will make statements such as: “whoever believes is a child of God” because his audience is the church.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

You might have a Pontius Pilate moment (John 18:38) “What is truth?” Pilate asked.

Unfortunately at this time, it still exists today the worldview that truth is subjective.  Pilate’s statement was based on a belief that truth is subjective.

Subjective: characteristic of or belonging to reality as perceived rather than as independent of mind.

Pilate believed truth is whatever he perceives it to be.

Vs.

Objective:

independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers: having reality independent of the mind.

Jesus Christ claimed to be objective truth, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

Pilate’s question “what is truth?” was prompted by Jesus’ words: “For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice” (John 18:37).

“Testify to the truth” is a statement that truth is objective and can be known (John 18:37) which in turn prompted Pilate’s worldview to come forth about truth being subjective, “what is truth”?

32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” You will know that Jesus is Messiah and this will set you free. Whether or not a person believes Jesus is the Truth doesn’t change the reality that He is in the truth.

Now verse 33 is case in point the religious Jews who did not believe in the truth and where not set free.

33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Their argument is that they are not in physical slavery so what is it that they need to be set free from (John 8:33). This is very problematic on many levels. They are using their perception of their reality as the basis for their truth, we are not in bondage and do not need to be set free. Remember their history they had come out of slavery, they already were physically set free so they forget that spiritual speaking they are in a worse bondage.

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Your master is sin. It rules over your life because you have not been purchased from this slave master to a life of spiritual freedom, because you do not believe in the Truth and therefore have no received sonship John 8:34-36).

35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So, until you receive the ransom price for your redemption, or the grace through faith, you do not belong to God’s family because you have rejected the Son.

36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I love this statement so much. It is subtle- if the Old Testament Law was full of conditional statements but there is one only one condition for your spiritual freedom. All of the other if’s of the Old Testament Law were fulfilled on your behalf and only one if remains. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.

The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” This is also evident in what Paul wrote to the Romans: So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God Romans 10:17.  John identifies Jesus as the Word of God (John 1) the Word of God is speaking to the Jews but why is there no faith to be found? They do not hear. Akouō: to understand, perceive the sense of what is said. They cannot even perceive or comprehend that the Messiah is before them offering them what they need, spiritual freedom from the slavemasters of sin and death.

Check out our church planting micro church opportunity of Acts 433 Church.

# Set Free

Daily Reading: Acts 26:1-3

“Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.”

Freedom isn’t determined by our situation but by our position and our spiritual birthright.

The blessing of all of Paul’s legal trouble- is that he got to give his testimony to the whole Jewish Sanhedrin, just like Jesus said he would—”they will arrest you and this will be a time for testimony” (Luke 21:12). The persecution sets up the time for the testimony. God has gospel purposes in all the trials of our lives. Put on those gospel shoes of peace (Ephesians 6:15) with the readiness to move with the gospel wherever God leads you.

“I consider myself fortunate” (Hēgeomai)- think (Makarios)- happy blessed.  The way we recognize our freedom is to think about how truly blessed we are in Christ (Acts 26:2).

We change our mind for the better [Acts 26:20] (repent/ metanoia) as we walk away from sin because we are captivated by Someone, infinitely better. The revelation that Jesus is lovely and God is good and He thinks we’re special, causes the things of this world to grow strangely dim.

The world may look at your situation and feel sorry for you (Acts 26:32), but sometimes the persecution you face is the exact thing that leads you to present the Gospel and share your freedom story.