I think there are going to be two posts today-one this morning and one later this evening. The other day a good friend expressed a concern to me....and I just wanted to clarify, not necessarily (wow! try spelling that word right---took me four tries!) because I am worried about what you are all thinking, but rather to be sure that something is really understood and that we are all on the same page, because
I want to communicate clearly and avoid confusing you also.
My friend said that she was concerned that maybe I was struggling with forgiving myself yet for things I had done, because she often saw me saying the words, "I am sorry," in my previous internet posts.
I had the opportunity to explain to her something that I want to let people know and that is that, THE BEAUTY OF ALL OF THIS IS THAT I FINALLY KNOW THAT I HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN by Jesus Christ because of what He did for me, AND THEREFORE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO FORGIVE MYSELF. THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION FOR ME---CONSEQUENCES FOR SIN--YES-- ABSOLUTELY. BUT EVEN IN THOSE CONSEQUENCES GOD WANTS TO MAKE IT GOOD AND MAKE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL OUT OF THEM BECAUSE OF ONE GREAT REASON--HIS NEVER-ENDING PERFECT LOVE FOR ME!! (and He longs to do the same for you....and loves you just like He loves me!)
So then, when I say "I am so sorry," What am I really saying?, and Why am I saying it? When I say it, I am REALLY SAYING and MEANING that "I AM TRULY sorry," in a sense of godly sorrow. Well why would I say that? It isn't an "I am sorry" of "oh my goodness, I just can't forgive myself." It is none other than an "I am sorry" of true repentance--and maybe saying "I am sorry" is one of the only ways I know how to express it right now, so therefore, the "I am sorry's" exist at different places in previous posts.
OK, my guess is that a few of you may be reading that two or three times to figure out what I am saying.
How can I write the way I do with such frank honesty when I never would have done so before? Same reason.....the past is "water under the bridge" to me, because it is truly UNDER JESUS CHRIST'S BLOOD. There is an honesty that occurs when you realize you REALLY ARE FORGIVEN....AND THAT NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE THAT!!!!!
I must say that the title of this post is credited to a Founder's Week speaker,e name was BRUCE FONG we had at Moody, for the Spring of 2002 Founder's Week Conference. So I'd like to take his words from his phrase, "Freely, Finally, Fully, Forgiven...Forever," and rip them apart a little bit, reflecting on those different aspects with some verses from the Word of God, and some thoughts as well. Hopefully Bruce Fong doesn't mind. I haven't been able to ask Him personaly for permission to do this.
"FREELY" Yes----we can come freely---We can come at no cost because it cost Jesus Christ everything--He GAVE UP his life willingly for us because He loved us!! INCREDIBLE LOVE!!! There are SO MANY DIFFERENT VERSES I COULD PUT HERE, but chose this. Isaiah 55:1-12 (First time reading this since I got saved too---just about ready to cry! (tears of joy that is!) "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what DOES NOT SATISFY? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor." Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, FOR HE WILL FREELY PARDON. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
It is good that God's ways are not like ours--if they were He would have "given up on me and ALL of us" a LONG TIME AGO!! Praise God that He isn't like us!!!
"FINALLY AND FULLY"---two words that seem to carry the same idea yet maybe a slight difference. I think of finally as "completeness." What Jesus Christ did for us was COMPLETE--THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN ADD OR TAKE AWAY FROM THAT SACRIFICE THAT HE MADE ON OUR BEHALF!! And that is where the Word "FULLY" comes into my mind-saying the same word in a different way-the sacrifice paid in full the debt that we owed. If Jesus Christ's death for us had not been a full and complete payment for our sin, it would have rendered HIS death worthless---because it would not have been enough or sufficient to cover our sin. Here are some verses:
Romans 6:9-11 "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
Hebrews 7:26-28 "Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever." WOW THAT IS SO AWESOME!!!!!!
Hebrews 9:11-14 "When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! AWESOME!!!!
Hebrews 9:22-28 "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."
Oh I wish you could all but experience--yes experience---the joy that I am feeling by reading by reading these passages for the first time--it is indescribable---the gratitude FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE!!!! I could write and write and write forever and it would never fully express the gratitude that is there in my heart towards Him. I know we as Christians especially in the "more conservative" circles (and that is fine because in many ways I am a part of that) tend to freak out because of experience and emotion and all of that. So I AM NOT SAYING THIS TO STEP ON THE TOES OF EITHER 'SIDE--Per-say." BUT LET ME JUST SAY TRUTHFULLY THAT A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IS YES, ABSOLUTELY THE TRUTH OF THE WORD AND APPLYING THAT CORRECTLY TO OUR LIVES, BEING VERY CAREFUL HOW WE DO THAT. BUT A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IS ALSO AN EXPERIENCE AND THERE IS NO NEED TO BE AFRAID OF THAT WHEN IT IS IN A TRUE AND RIGHT SENSE. And let me lovingly say to both "sides" that if you are TRULY a believer in Christ, (and that is the key-TRULY), I love you regardless of which "side" you are on, if we want to so term it that---I am honestly not sure if "side" is the right word. Yes there may be things we don't agree on, but i still love you. (And let me just clarify-I am by NO MEANS SAYING SOME WISHY-WASHY UNBIBLICAL ECCUMENICAL "let's all get together regardless of what We believe thing." Give me the toilet-I will go throw up----I mean, I am ONLY talking about TRUE BELIEVERS HERE!!
Now, all of that said, let me lovingly add something else. It might be a shocker for some of us. Let me lovingly say that first off, none of us-NOT EVEN ONE OF US-no matter how much we have studied or whatever, FULLY UNDERSTANDS GOD. And let me add, in love, that I fully and totally include myself in this by saying, that ALL OF US, NO MATTER HOW CAREFUL WE TRY TO BE, HAVE THINGS IN OUR DOCTRINE THAT MIGHT NOT BE 100% correct and all of us have some degree of error, because we have not yet seen Him or completely known Him (Jesus Christ) as He is known by the Father.
Does that mean we seek to stay in our error? NOPE-absolutely not!!!! WE ALL NEED TO SEEK WHOLE HEARTIDLY TO RIGHTLY DIVIDE THE WORD OF TRUTH, and it is again one of those really personal things between you and God-and me and God--let's not leave a thousand comments on the end of this post panicking or fighting with each other. (not that anyone has left a thousand comments yet, but you get my drift, I hope.)
So back to my actual topic of the blog post, I just have to say the next word is "FORGIVEN." And Hebrews 9:22 says it so nicely "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." IT WAS JESUS' BLOOD SHED ON OUR BEHALF ALONE THAT FORGAVE US OUR SIN. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE THAT COULD DO THAT FOR US. Acts 13:27-39 "But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses." Ephesians 1:3-8 quoted this the other day, will do it again, in order to give some context. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." GOOD STUFF!! THERE IS ONLY ONE THING THAT MAN TRULY NEEDS AND WANTS!! AND THAT ONE THING IS THE FORGIVENESS OF HIS SINS!!!
"FOREVER" Yep, I think I've covered that by the other verse--for were forgiven once and for all FOREVER by Jesus Christ and all He asks us to do in order to receive it is to respond to that gift of love----the greatest gift of LOVE THERE HAS OR EVER WILL BE!!!
Why these longs posts day after day? Why all the joy? Why all of the STATING AND RE-STATING OF THINGS? I guess it must partially be my way of processing things, but really there is only one real reason......
ONE GLORIOUS REASON----AND IT ALONE IS ENOUGH EVEN IF EVERYTHING ELSE SHOULD CRUMBLE AND FALL APART---JESUS CHRIST HAS FREELY, FINALLY, FULLY, FORGIVEN ME, a once wretched sinner, FOREVER!!!!
And I am "NOT SORRY" for posting this!!! :) That was suppose to TOTALLY be the truth because it is!!! but also a joke for saying "I am sorry" so many times in this post!
IT IS AWESOME TO TRULY UNDERSTAND THE MEANING BEHIND BRUCE FONG'S WORDS AND HAVE A TRUE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!!