Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

THE MERCY SEAT

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Day 251

“For a tabernacle was prepared . . . which had the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat”
Hebrew 9:2-5

The Tabernacle in the wilderness had three areas; the outer court, the holy place and the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant was located in the Holy of Holies and was overlaid with gold. Three items were kept in it; the original stone tablets with the ten commandments, the golden pot with manna and Aaron’s rod. The three items spoke of the law, bread of life and resurrection power.

Covering the ark was a lid. The lid was the mercy seat. It covered the law that exposed sin. This is where the High Priest, once a year, placed the expiatory blood from the sacrifice at the brazen altar. It is explained in Romans 3:25; “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”

A beautiful and glorious picture is seen here. The word “propitiation,” the covering of our sins, is the same as “mercy seat.” God had made provision for us. As He placed the tablets of the law, which exposed sin, under the mercy seat, so Christ’s propitiation averts our deserved wrath for sin. Praise His Name for we are covered by His mercy.

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways
and loving toward all He has made”
Psalm 145:17

RESTRAINING GRACE

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Day 168

“He sent His word, and healed them,
and delivered them from their destructions”
Psalm 107:20

Jesus has told us that “out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” [Matthew 15:16]. Christians sin. Some continue to sin. Some backslide. Anyone who has read the Bible can easily see that God’s people struggle with sin. Some of the stories expose all of it, such as David’s lust leading to adultery and then murder. Yet, he was God’s man.

Does God love you less because you sin? Does He abandon you? Condemn you? Far from it for His love is unconditional. And love covers a multitude of sins. He Himself said we are to forgive seventy times seven. He is a jealous God and He will not permit His children to be lost. We may go the course when we sin, but God will bring us to an end. Hosea clearly outlines this.

His love causes Him to put a restraining grace on us where we can go only so far. He said to Job, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further” – He has set boundaries that we cannot cross. And His love compels Him to pursue us. In His time He will send His word and heal us and deliver us from our own self-destruction. It’s called grace (help) and mercy (covering). In the end we will glorify Him for His goodness.

“O Give thanks unto the Lord,
for He is good: for His mercy
endureth for ever”
Psalm 107:1

HIS GUIDANCE

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Day 158

“The Lord will always guide you”
Isaiah 58:11

One of the amazing characteristics about our heavenly Father is His faithfulness. Our experience tells us that if we do not perform well that we should not expect anything. If we are rebellious, choose our own ways and sin, we should expect judgement and lightening in our lives. But, the fact is that God is faithful and true to His nature in grace, mercy and compassion and He acts according to His divine purposes.

A clear example of this is the Israelites after being freed from Egypt. They grumbled, complained, rebelled and sinned. Yet, God in His kindness made provision to them. He did not fail them in any way. He continued to guide them to the Promised Land. Jonah ran away when the Lord directed him to prophesy. The Lord pursued him and he reluctantly went and did it; and then complained afterward. Yet the Lord gave him provision and spoke to him softly, guiding Him.

There are endless examples in the scriptures of those rebelling, sinning and going their own way. God continued to guide them, give provision and make a way for them. He is a gentle Father who knows just how to bring us out of rebellion and sin. Don’t ever believe for a second that God forsakes us because we go off the path. We may be alienated because of our actions, but He changes not. He is faithful.

“He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched
land and will make you strong. You will be
like a well-watered garden, like a spring
of water that never goes dry.”
Isaiah 58:11

THE RED HEIFER – PART 2

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Day 144

“The ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those
who are . . . unclean sanctify them so
they are outwardly clean”
Hebrews 9:13-14

What great provision God makes for us! Even in the days of leading His people out of Egypt He saw their need and established a Tabernacle system to deal with their sins so He could be present among them. And He not only dealt with the sins committed at the time, He made provision for the future through the red heifer offering. By this sacrifice, the people knew they could be cleansed in the future. What hope! What grace! What mercy!

The Israelites dealt with many enemies, were involved in many battles and often became unclean and defiled. We also travel in a world where we touch many things every day that influence, defile and cause us to get dirty. God has made a provision for us to be continuously cleansed through Him. Our outer man can be renewed and refreshed through Him. We’ve but to lift our hearts and mind to Him in praise and worship and He will inhabit our praises.

There is more. The red heifer offering only cleansed the outer man. In Christ the whole man is cleansed. It is not only man’s sins, but his nature of sin that is dealt with by Christ. The sacrifice of the Cross not only forgives our past sins, it forgives our present sins and makes provision for future sins. Read 1 John 1:9 in the Amplified version. He continuously cleanses us so that our nature is brought into conformity with His righteousness.

“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises)¬†and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].” 1 John 1:9 [Amplified]

THE RED HEIFER – PART 1

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Day 143

“The ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those
who are . . . unclean sanctify them so
they are outwardly clean”
Hebrews 9:13-14

The worship order of the Old Testament and the Tabernacle in the Wilderness conveyed great principles of eternal truth through outward signs and symbols. The sacrifices, in particular, demonstrated how sin was dealt with and the price that had to be paid. All the offerings used bullocks and rams, which were slaughtered and offered to God for sin-offering, the burnt offering or the peace offering. All these dealt with the sins of the people to meet the present day needs.

In the midst of these offerings there is an exception – a heifer (female cow). Numbers 19 records this unusual and different offering. The entire ceremony that surrounds the heifer offering is different. It was not offered on the Brazen Altar, or eaten by the priests. It was taken outside of the camp of Israel, killed and all of it burned to ashes. The only exception to of being burned to ashes was a little of the blood was taken by the priests and sprinkled seven times toward the front of the Tabernacle.

What was the purpose of the red heifer sacrifice? Its purpose gives us a great truth – it wasn’t for the present need, but for future needs. God made a provision that His people sins could be dealt with that day, but He knew as they traveled they would be become defiled and unclean. The red heifer was the provision for the future – it became the way for them to be cleansed. Yes, our God has made complete provision for us – today, tomorrow and eternally.

“He is faithful and just and will forgive us
our sins and purify (continuously cleanse)
us from all unrighteousness”
1 John 1:9

Forgiveness

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Day 132

“How blessed is he whose transgression
is forgiven, whose sin is covered!”
Psalm 32:1

It’s amazing to see the mind set of the world. Sin and unrighteousness is not an issue and the philosophy is ‘as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone’ it is acceptable. It is even not unusual today to see the person who commits great offenses being treated as a ‘victim.’ And repentance; forget it, there hardly is even worldly sorrow expressed.

How radical Christianity is! We are called to be mourners. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn” [Matthew 5:4]. Simply put, it means the person who mourns over their sins will be happy – happy are those who mourn. Actually, the word carries far greater depth than just ‘happy.’ ‘Blessed’ speaks of God doing something to and for man. Because we humbly recognize our sinfulness, God gives us joy and rest.

God is holy and the more mature we become in our walk with Him, the more we see our own sinfulness. Holiness does that – the light becomes powerful and we see ourselves for who we really are. We mourn over our corruption, the continuous sins we commit against our Holy God, the many offenses, and the wretchedness of our flesh. But, contrary to the world, mourning, through repentance and faith, leads to happiness and eternal comfort. We have One who represents us in the heavenly court declaring us forgiven and covered by His Blood, making us righteous in Him!

“Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance”
Psalm 32:7

HIS FORGIVENESS – PART 2

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Day 41

If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we
are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray,
and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not
in us [does not dwell in our hearts]. If we [freely]
admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He
is faithful and just (true to His own nature and
promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our
lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all
unrighteousness [everything not in conformity
to His will in purpose, thought, and action].
1 John 1:8-9 (Amplified)

Sin in a Christian’s life is a matter, not between a lawbreaker and a judge, but between a child and his father.

Before we knew Christ and became His children, we were under the law. We were lawbreakers, and ultimately would have had to face God as our Judge. We were in a state of condemnation. But all this changed when we became His children. All the sins committed under the law during our life were remitted, paid for, and put away when Jesus died on the cross. The law was satisfied because Christ paid the price it demanded.

All the sins we commit as believers, now and in the future, were put away on a legal basis at the cross. This forgiveness comes when we place our faith in Jesus Christ. Sin becomes a personal offense; a matter of grieving the Father’s heart, instead of a legal offense. When we ask His forgiveness of our sins, He is faithful, just, and true to His own nature and promises, and will forgive our sins. He will dismiss them. The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses and removes us from all sin and guilt. He will keep us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations.

“This is My blood of the covenant, which is
poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”
Matthew 26:28

HIS FORGIVENESS – PART 1

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Day 40

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and
just and will forgive us our sins and
purify us from all unrighteousness”
1 John 1:9

There is a question that has haunted man since his beginning. It was introduced by our enemy to undermine our faith and belief in God. In fact, the question accomplished its purpose in leading Adam to challenge God’s authority, and thereby causing the fall of man. What was this question? Simply, “Did God really say . . .” The result was devastating – all are born in a state of separation from God.

Even today, Christians have a hard time believing God in all things, especially when it comes to accepting the forgiveness of sin in our lives. We can easily believe He forgives our past and maybe a sin here and there, but what about repeated offenses? How about sinful habits, judgmental attitudes, arrogance, pride, lust? What about adulterous affairs? What if you sin again and again? Will He forgive you? You believe how is it that can you come again to God and ask forgiveness?

When Moses asked to see the glory of God, part of what he heard was that He was merciful and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. And God’s history with His people has forgiveness; again, again, and again. So when Peter asked how many times we ought to forgive someone (he thought seven times), he didn’t get a quantification or legal answer, but one of mercy – seventy times seven. Seventy times seventy is has no boundaries to forgiveness.

“Who is a God like You, who pardons sins and
forgives the transgressions of the remnant
of His inheritance? You do not stay angry
forever but delight to show mercy”
Micah 7:18

THE GLORY OF THE LORD

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Day 31

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you”
Isaiah 60:1

This verse is addressing those lost in darkness, and those responsible for putting themselves in darkness. Darkness brings despair and hopelessness. Yet, it is from that place that God will bring light out of darkness. He will cause the light to shine on the very people that put themselves in darkness. He will substitute freedom for the prison in which they shut themselves. He will cause shouts of joy to come out of humiliation. The crooked way will be made straight.

Yes, our God delivers even those who put themselves into darkness! And He not only delivers, but He also restores and makes wrongs right. All tears will be wiped away. God’s people will be the delight of the Lord. And those who have been in despair, distress, debt; the broken, forsaken, rejected, and abused will be the glory of the Lord. God Himself will be glorified by what they become.

This is the hope in our hopelessness. If darkness comes in our life, even by our own hands, we will not be lost. God says that His arm is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear us. He cares for us, and Christ is the hope of our glory. His mercy covers us, and His compassion is new every morning.

“Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy”
Isaiah 60:5

FILLED WITH COMPASSION

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Day 23

“His father saw him”
Luke 15:11-32

One of the Bible’s most powerful stories is that of the lost son. The son is bold, arrogant, and rebellious. He abandons his family for himself and to follow sin. Filled with self-centeredness and destructive behavior he lived in sin until he was bankrupt.

Sin is not the focus of this story; rather, it is the revelation of the Father’s heart. The father never stopped yearning for him and looking for his return. He loved his son, and the son’s sinning did not change that love. His coming home told the whole story; he was physically and morally bankrupt. This is the heart of the Father that, when he finally saw the returning son at a distance, he ran out to meet him and prepared a feast.

Why does the Father wait and yearn for us when we are in sin? There is nothing we can do to earn His love. There are no works we can perform. There is no faith we can exercise. There is no way we can ‘make up’ for our sins, failures and faults. Our Father chooses us for only one reason, and that is His mercy and goodness. He does not choose us because of our intelligence, talents, goodness, ‘right living,’ or position of birth. No; He patiently waits and yearns for us because of who we are in Him; His chosen ones.

“The father ran, threw his arms around his son’s neck,
and kissed him fervently.”
Luke 15:20, literal

Lord, you are so good and kind, so ready to forgive,
so full of mercy for all who ask your aid.
Psalm 86:5