Lesson 2 -- third quarter 2007
June 10, 2007
© Copyright 2007
A choice: to continue wrong or to be corrected
If you had the choice, which would you rather be: wrong or corrected? When you have done something wrong and don't realize it, do you wish to remain blissfully wrong or do you wish to be shown your wrong and be corrected? It seems so many people, including me too often, dislike and resist being corrected. Amazingly, they seem to prefer being wrong!
So what is your disposition toward sin and shortcoming in your life?
Job was very confident of his own innocence. He did not believe his suffering revealed or proved any unrighteousness in him. I would say he was understandably defensive about his integrity and guiltlessness. He resisted (and, it seems, resented) being falsely accused by his friends. Because of all that, I don't know how he meant this: "How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin" (Job 13:23). Though it could be taken as self-righteousness defensiveness, I'm inclined to believe that it actually was sincere openness. I believe Job truly wanted to learn about himself and any hidden or ignored sin or shortcoming in his life.
That's how I want to be. I want God to make show me my errors and sins. I don't want to continue being wrong; I want to be right -- even if it means being corrected. And I want that enough that I'll even accept God's correction through another.
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1).
"Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James 5:19,20).
Whom does God forgive?
I think one of the biggest struggles people face has to do with the assurance that God would forgive them for what they have done. They view themselves as unworthy (which is true enough). They may consider the nature or frequency of their sin as just too much for God to forgive. They can easily see God forgiving others, even for similar and worse misdeeds, but the truth that God would forgive them is almost more than they can accept.
Perhaps the previous paragraph describes you. Maybe not all the time, but at least once in a while. Or perhaps it describes someone you know. In either case, it will benefit both of us to refresh in our minds just who it is that God chooses to forgive.
The Sinner. You don't have to be perfect in order for God to forgive you; in fact, you don't even have to be good. God forgives those who fail. It doesn't matter if you're a pagan sinner or a Christian sinner. Whether we sin frequently or occasionally, God extends forgiveness to us. If you have sinned, God will forgive you. I know that's pretty elementary, but we easily forget it.
The Penitent. God forgives sinners, but He doesn't forgive all sinners. To qualify for forgiveness, sinners need penitence. Regardless of how awful your sin, when you repent before God and ask Him to forgive you, He will indeed forgive you! Count on it.
Why does God forgive?
We know God hates sin. We know God takes all sin personally. We know God is holy. You would think that these three facts alone would lead God to absolutely refuse to forgive anyone. Nonetheless, praise Him, He does forgive! But why would He choose to do so?
Because of Who He is. God is full of mercy and compassion. He is loving and tender. God is pure and holy. God is true and just. These attributes of His character lead Him to one response toward a repentant sinner -- forgiveness!
Because He wants to. God chooses to forgive. What a blessing to realize that God wants to forgive me! Forgiveness is not a chore or a duty for God. It is not something burdensome or tiresome to Him. God is ready, eager and anxious to forgive us. Imagine!
Because He said He would. Read these verses: Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 2:13, 1 John 2:12. God said it and that settles it. Believe it!
What about me?
So, I have been forgiven, and I am assured of further forgiveness should I need it and request it. What effect should that have on me? What should be my response to those who sin, especially against me?
"Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful" (Luke 6:36).
"And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him" (Luke 17:4).
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32).
"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye" (Colossians 3:13).
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