What Does it Mean to Have Your Sins Forgiven?

What Does it Mean to Have Your Sins Forgiven?

To clearly answer this question let me establish some definitional terms. Sin is an intentional or unintentional thought or act that separates us from our relationship with God or our oneness with God. It can be generally characterized as any serious failure in thought or deed that could’ve been avoided.

At a minimum, it is a failure to live up to God’s standards starting with but not limited to just the 10 Commandments. Our level of awareness or conscience helps us know when we have sinned. It is impossible to live with out sinning. The Bible says, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That is true because all humans have inherited a sin nature and being no longer perfect they sin. (Romans 3:23)

The emotional, mental and physical burden of living one’s life under sin and it’s negative effect on us and others, without the benefit of forgiveness, is a well-documented fact of life. Everyone, at one time or another, experiences guilt, depression, anger, hate, broken relationships, greed and much more. Fortunately, God’s forgiveness will allow us to live without these burdens negatively consuming our lives. Forgiveness is both a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the moment of salvation and a continuous process for the rest of our lives. The good news of Christ Jesus is that He paid the price for our sins at the cross and now God’s grace will redeem us. When we trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, He will lift our burdens and make our lives purposeful and joyful. (Romans 5:8)

The Christian pathway to God requires faith and belief in and an experience with God beyond what is completely understandable. The traditional components of God’s forgiveness are a belief in the love of God, an acknowledgment of a sense of wrong thinking or doing (a separation from God), a confession that some thought or act caused the separation, an acknowledgment of the need for reconciliation with God, a genuine regret and request for forgiveness and acceptance of God’s grace and forgiveness and repentance or turning away from sin and following Jesus.

Just ask any of the millions upon millions of Christians who have experienced God’s grace and forgiveness. Remember, don’t forget to ask God as only God can forgive sins. When you do this you will be able to move forward in your life at peace with God and reborn into the continuing newness of life in Christ. And, you will have fellowship with Him now and forever. That’s really Good News.

If you would like to learn more about Jesus and his power to set you free from sin while offering you an opportunity to enjoy an eternity free from guilt, pain and shame, please go to our Next Steps page.

Photo Copyright: gregmack / 123RF Stock Photo

Ash Wednesday isn’t in the Bible, so why do Christians observe it?

Ash Wednesday isn’t in the Bible, so why do Christians observe it?

Since the Apostolic period of the Christian church—the years immediately following the death and resurrection of Jesus—believers have engaged in a period of focus on their sin and God’s forgiveness of that sin. This period of reflection is called Lent or Fortieth and is a period of 40 days leading up to Good Friday and Easter.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, and in many church traditions is a time when Christians gather for corporate confession and individual repentance. At the end of the service, priests, pastors, or church leaders place ashes, in the sign of the cross, on the forehead of believers while saying “from dust you have come, to dust you will return.”

This is a reminder that one’s physical body is temporal, while the spirit is eternal. Therefore, a Christian is asked to reflect on his or her relationship with God and possibly set aside a habit or a pleasure for 40 days to help one focus on Jesus, his sacrifice on our behalf, and on his commands to worship God and love and serve others.

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

How can I leave a Legacy as a Christian?

How can I leave a Legacy as a Christian?

Before we present the answer to this question, allow us to pose another for you to ponder. It may sound a little strange, but think about it for just a moment: what do you want people to say about you at your funeral? Do you want people to say that you were funny, or that you were financially successful? Do you want people to think you were generous or friendly, or a hard worker? Is that enough for you or do you want more? A legacy is about how we are remembered when we are gone. We all leave a legacy. It’s simply a question of what it will be. In fact, you are building your legacy right now. When we die, our legacy lives on. A legacy may even last forever. The Bible says three things in life last forever: God (Deuteronomy 33:27, Psalm 100:5) The Word of God (Isaiah 40:8, Psalm 119:89) The souls of people (Daniel 12:2, John 3:16, Hebrews 9:27).

If you want to leave a legacy as a Christian, you must build your life around these three eternal things. As a Christian you leave a legacy by investing your time, talent and treasure in God and in the things of God. You get to know him, love him, and serve him. You worship him regularly, and learn his ways. You do things that will give him glory. You give financially to his kingdom through churches, ministries and missionaries who are spreading his word. You listen to his Spirit as He guides and directs you throughout your life. As a Christian, you leave a legacy by knowing the Bible and speaking it to everyone all around you with your life, your words and your actions. You teach God’s word to your kids, you share with your neighbor. God’s word is your authority and source of hope in a lost and broken world. You study God’s word to allow it to inform your life. As you do this, your character changes and you become more like Jesus.

As a Christian, you leave a legacy by investing in other people. People live forever, either with or without God. You share with others how they can know Jesus to ensure they will spend eternity with him. You disciple and mentor people, you love and serve and guide them. People and relationships are the most important thing to God. Jesus loved people and taught them, fed them, healed them and ultimately gave his life for that. At your funeral, what if instead of people saying that you were funny, they said, “here was a man who changed the world because he invested in eternity,” or “here is a woman who invested in God, the word of God, and other people. She is someone who left a great legacy.”

If you want to leave a legacy as a Christian, you must situate your life around these three eternal things. As a Christian you leave a legacy by investing your time, talent and treasure in God and in the things of God. You get to know him, love him, and serve him. You worship him regularly, and learn his ways. You do things that will give him glory. You give financially to his kingdom through churches, ministries and missionaries who are spreading his word. You listen to his Spirit as He guides and directs you throughout your life. As a Christian, you leave a legacy by knowing the Bible and speaking it to everyone all around you with your life, your words and your actions. You teach God’s word to your kids, you share with your neighbor. God’s word is your authority and source of hope in a lost and broken world. You study God’s word to allow it to inform your life. As you do this, your character changes and you become more like Jesus.

As a Christian, you leave a legacy by investing in other people. People live forever, either with or without God. You share with others how they can know Jesus to ensure they will spend eternity with him. You disciple and mentor people, you love and serve and guide them. People and relationships are the most important thing to God. Jesus loved people and taught them, fed them, healed them and ultimately gave his life for that. At your funeral, what if instead of people saying that you were funny, they said, “here was a man who changed the world because he invested in eternity,” or “here is a woman who invested in God, the word of God, and other people. She is someone who left a great legacy.”

Why did Jesus talk more about hell than heaven?

Why did Jesus talk more about hell than heaven?

Jesus spoke more of Hell than Heaven but we do know He spoke a lot about both.You know God tells us that He loved us so much that “… while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8). So God’s purpose for each of us is to bring us into a present and future Heavenly relationship with Him. So warning us of the consequences of not giving our hearts and lives to Christ is a further evidence of this love for us. Jesus it seems wanted to make the choice simple and obvious.
It is similar to you and your children whom you love. If you see them entering a dangerous situation don’t you immediately warn and stop them and tell them of the danger?

Christ’s persistent warnings about Hell tells us that it is a real place and He doesn’t want anyone to go there. Remember, a person’s ultimate destination at death is either Heaven or Hell. The point is that Jesus is saying that there is existence beyond physical death and there are only two possible outcomes. The fact is that God would have all come to know and trust Him and gain eternal life, but He gave everyone the free will to choose.
So, how about you? Have you come into that life-transforming personal relationship with Jesus and now know for sure where you will be for eternity?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9&10 (NIV)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9&10 (NIV)

Does the Bible claim to be the Inspired Word of God?

Does the Bible claim to be the Inspired Word of God?

First, an easy, direct answer, YES the Bible does claim to be inspired and has shown itself to be so by the hundreds of predictions exactly fulfilled in date and event hundreds of years later. This is so because God knows the entire experience of the human race as if it has already happened. The apostle Timothy wrote,

“ All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Some additional comments are worthy of note. Translations, and there are many, make the best effort to capture the intent and context of the inspired original. Hermanutics is the study of Scripture. One must go to the original language as far as possible to get the authors’ full intent, meaning, and purpose of that written. Context, that is who is writing it, when was it written, to whom was it written, what were the circumstances surrounding the passage, etc. are all relevant to gain understanding and discover the treasure of truth contained in the Bible.

It is important to remember, early languages, Hebrew in particular, had a limited vocabulary estimated at 4000 words or less compared to English today of 400,000+ words. Hence most original Hebrew text words had multiple meanings making context of the passage very important. Greek originals of the New Testament were more precise and therefore were more easily translated into modern English.

Finally, the Bible is absolutely the inspired WORD of GOD and God purposely provided it the way He did. This makes one’s study of it so much more exciting and fun. Every time one reads the Bible they discover more truths and the inspiration for living a meaningful and purposeful life. Some say that the word BIBLE is an acronym for the phrase, ‘Best Investigated Before Leaving Earth.’

We urge you and everyone to diligently, take time, and read and study His Word. We encourage you to make it a daily habit. It’s one you will never regret. It will lead you to Jesus who is the only way to Heaven. (John 14:6)

What does the Bible say about conflict resolution?

What does the Bible say about conflict resolution?

This life is tough and the hardest things are relationships, especially when they aren’t healthy.

For the most part, we can control ourselves and our actions; we can’t (or shouldn’t) control others. People offend us and we will get hurt. There’s no hiding from that. Sometimes, it’s intentional and other times it’s not; sometimes they aren’t aware of how and when they have hurt us.

The Bible tells us to forgive in all things, though sometimes, we need to confront the other person (in love) (Matt. 18:15-17). Ultimately, Jesus died for all of our sins. God’s grace and mercy extends to all, and should be passed through you to others. He forgave us even before we even asked for forgiveness, and we will never deserve forgiveness, just as other might never deserve it, Jesus even told us He would forgive us our sins, as we forgive others (Matt. 6:14-15). It is a hard thing to do to forgive, but it is required to have true peace. God’s Holy Spirit inside of believers enables us to forgive.

Ask God for the power, wisdom and make the choice to forgive today; the feelings will come later.

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

So far as we know, humans are the only beings that feel the need for a power beyond themselves and then define that power from their own perspective. We makes images and fashions theologies to negotiate and “cut’ deals with God developing rituals which often misrepresent God.

Christianity draws on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s son who came to earth to teach us how to live and to serve as the sacrifice for our sins. Christianity represents God as all-powerful, all-knowing, and present everywhere. This God, whose nature is Love, redeems and empowers those who accept and trust God’s Grace. (i.e. salvation in Jesus Christ)

In short, world religions are man made. Christianity is God Inspired. (For additional perspective, read the answer posted on November 4, 2020)

If you would like to learn more about Jesus and his power to set you free from sin while offering you an opportunity to enjoy an eternity free from guilt, pain and shame, please go to our Next Steps page.

How can I know that Christianity is true?

How can I know that Christianity is true?

That depends on who is defining Christianity. Basic Christianity is the understanding that a person cannot do anything, including good works or good deeds, to win a place in heaven. Christianity alone teaches that forgiveness of individual sin and the promise of eternal life with God are gifts offered to an individual by God. To receive these gifts of both forgiveness and eternal life, one only has to accept the gift by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So the question becomes, is Jesus true? Is what he says about himself truthful?

Jesus, the first century teacher, is documented in the Bible and by historians of that period, Josephus and Tacitus. His teachings are among the best preserved words from antiquity. His birth, life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection were all prophesied more than 500 years before he was born. Only God, who exists beyond both time and space, could know the future. Jesus’ miracles demonstrated his divine power. In his three and a half years of ministry, thousands were healed of all sorts of diseases and these events had many witnesses to testify to their authenticity. His death and resurrection are documented historical facts. The raised-from-the-dead-Jesus was seen by more than 500 people, including the eleven apostles, during the 40 days he stayed on earth after his resurrection.

Jesus’ ascension back into heaven had many witnesses proving again he was the Son of God. In addition, there are thousands of verified reports of Jesus appearing to people throughout the world, even to Muslims, who are accepting in great numbers the truth of Jesus as the human manifestation of God. They are recognizing that Jesus is the only path to an eternal relationship with God, the creator of the universe–the only entity who can bring true peace to the human soul and to the world.

Throughout history, many people have tried to hijack Christianity, to use the religion to advance their personal agendas. They have distorted the teachings of Jesus. They have killed and bullied and destroyed in the name of Jesus. However, even a casual reading of the Bible clearly demonstrates that Christians are called to love their enemies, to serve the poor, care for widows and orphans, and to reflect the love of Jesus in all they do. They are called into a life of service on behalf of God, not because God demands it, but because they are so thankful for what he has already done for them. This is the truth of Christianity.

By contrast, all other religious systems are either unverifiable or irrational, thereby disqualifying them as being true. For these reasons alone you can know for certain that Christianity is true, but the question is, ‘Do you believe it?’ Every individual has the free will to receive God’s gift of salvation or reject it and pursue their own self-centered life. Heaven and Hell hang in the balance of this decision. All other religions propose a path to God. Unfortunately, the fact is these are all dead ends leading to eternal destruction. There is no path. There is only the Way of Jesus Christ because he is the Truth and he is God. (John 14:6)

Does God have an answer for broken relationships?

Does God have an answer for broken relationships?

This life is tough and the hardest things are relationships, especially when they aren’t healthy. For the most part, we can control ourselves and our actions; we can’t (or shouldn’t) control others. People offend us and we will get hurt. There’s no hiding from that. Sometimes, it’s intentional and other times it’s not; sometimes others aren’t aware of how and when they have hurt us.

God understands broken relationships better than we can imagine. After all, He created the perfect relationship between mankind and himself and we broke it. The first man, Adam, disobeyed God and broke that perfect relationship. God’s response to this rejection was to send his son, Jesus, to bring about reconciliation. It cost Jesus his life on the cross to atone for all the hurt that men and woman have caused throughout the ages. Now we have a pattern for dealing with broken relationships in our lives.

The Bible tells us to forgive in all things. Forgiveness can be hard, and while it may not heal a relationship, it helps lift the burden of the brokeness from the forgiver. When relationships are fractured, confronting the other person who you perceive to be the one doing the breaking may be appropriate, but it must be done in love. Jesus provided a pattern for confrontation. First you try to resolve the issue one-on-one. When that fails to work, take a friend and try again. If that fails, then you are to bring the situation before the congregation of believers with whom you worship. (Matt. 18:15-17). But you must understand that some broken relationships will not be resolved to your satisfaction, but once you offer forgiveness and allow yourself to grieve the loss, God will help you move forward.

God’s solution to the ultimate broken relationship was to love mankind so completely that he allowed Jesus to die for our sins. God’s grace and mercy extend to all, and should be passed through you to others. He forgave us even before we even asked for forgiveness. Jesus told us He would forgive our sins, as we forgive others (Matt. 6:14-15). It is a hard thing to forgive somone who has hurt you, but that forgiveness is what opens the doorfor God to grant you the peace you seek. God’s Holy Spirit inside of believers enables us to forgive. Ask God for the power, wisdom and make the choice to forgive today and watch the healing begin.

Image by AD_Images from Pixabay

Who were the three kings from the Orient who visited baby Jesus?

Who were the three kings from the Orient who visited baby Jesus?

The popular Christmas carol, “We Three Kings of Orient Are” is most likely inaccurate for two reasons: the visitors probably weren’t rulers of nations, nor are they likely to have come from what we think of as the Orient, western Asia.

The Kings or “Magi” were most probably Zoroastrian astrologers who were advisers to the rulers of the Parthian Empire (Iran and Iraq), Rome’s rival to the east at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. These highly educated men believed in a cosmic struggle of Good and Evil and that a savior would eventually come to restore the world by getting rid of the evil one. Their founder, Zoroaster, may have been a contemporary of Daniel and the other Jewish scholars who were held in captivity in Babylon, almost 600 years earlier.  Zoroaster, and his followers in succeeding centuries, would have known about Judaism and would have studied its sacred texts.

Therefore, when an alignment of stars led them to believe that they were seeing a sign that indicated the birth of a Jewish King, some (we don’t know how many) traveled to Jerusalem to pay tribute to the newborn royalty. Since Herod, the current King didn’t have a baby, and was very worried that a usurper was in his land, he asked his own priests about a future King of the Jews and learned that the scriptures said he would was to be been born in Bethlehem, a town six miles from the palace in Jerusalem.

Rather than stir up trouble with his Iranian guests, Herod sent them to Bethlehem to find the “baby king” and report back to him, ostensibly to go and worship this child. When the Magi didn’t return, Herod, who had nearly lost his life and family to Parthians 30 years earlier, did not pursue the Magi and demand the information he wanted. He didn’t order their capture and punishment for their disobedience despite his proclivity for killing anyone who challenged his authority. He took it upon himself to handle the “problem” of having a new king in his land.

Herod ordered the murder of all the baby boys under two years of age, who lived in and around Bethlehem. Since Jesus and his parents must have still been in Bethlehem when the decree was announced because they were warned by an angel to immediately leave for Egypt. There they remained refugees for months or maybe years before returning to Joseph’s home town of Nazareth, almost 100 miles north of Bethlehem.

We read nothing more of the “kings” from Parthia, but will never forget their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the King of Kings.