The Door Is Closed To The Unforgiving Spirit

A cornerstone to seeking God with honesty and integrity is that we must remove anger and resentment from our hearts. There is nothing that will keep us away from God more certainly than a failure to forgive those who have wronged us. Jesus said simply in Matthew 6:15, “If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” It is only the merciful who will receive mercy. Matthew 5:7 is proof of that when Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” James also writes about this in James 2:13, “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
There is so much more to a truly merciful spirit. A merciful spirit is not one who that will grudgingly forgive others when they come to us for mercy; in other words, there should be no resentment towards the other when we forgive. Jesus called upon us to be people of character, that we will not rest until broken relationships are mended, even if we have to be the ones who take the initiative. The circumstances do not matter, whether the relationship has been broken by our own sin, or by that of the other party, or (as is usually the case) a certain amount of wrongdoing on both sides. In all cases we are to seek the other person out and do all we can to repair what has been broken. Remember Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus preaches, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Or look at Matthew 18:15 where Jesus says, “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother..”
Paul wrote in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” The beginning of the verse tells that being merciful requires doing so much more than we think is necessary. If God had thought of nothing more than what He “had” to do, He certainly would not have given His Son’s life to repair our relationship with Him. It was, after all, we who had broken the relationship, yet His love did not complain about having to do more than was “necessary” to fix it. He willingly offered Jesus without any form of resentment.

But think about this also: quite often we are wrong in our judgment that the other person has done anything to us that needs to be forgiven. When looking at granting forgiveness on those who wrong us, we need to guard our hearts against condescension. Perhaps it is actually we who need to be forgiven. Or perhaps we have simply misjudged the other person’s actions and everything that has occurred has been a misunderstanding. Having a forgiving spirit means not only being eager to forgive, but eager to believe the best in others and being humble enough to admit it when we’ve overestimated the wrongs that others have done.

by Oren Caskey
-The Gospel Teacher (June 10, 2018)

Some Things Never Change

Nostalgia is based upon memories that bring to mind things of the past that are dear to us. We may not recall with accuracy all of the details, but we find joy in moments of yesterday that take us back to home and hearth. We might even change a few scenarios to fit our idealism and secret wishes for a better ending than the one that really transpired. However, there are some things that never change, things unchanging and unchangeable, and we need to be grateful for that. Such things include, God’s gracious love; the high cost of sin; the hope of heaven; and the integrity of the Bible. These points show the balance, challenge and heart of Christianity in the battles of life as we strive to maintain purity and contentment while in a carnal world of shameful licentiousness.
The apostle Paul wrote, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,” (Titus 2:11). Sadly, though, many fail to respond properly to such majestic mercy and infinite live. Some just will not come to the fount of blessing and redemption for cleansing and peace. Nevertheless, Rom. 10:21 informs us that God still extends outstretched arms to grant shelter to those wise enough to seek His provision.

“There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where we our savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.”

Sin cannot molest and constant rest from worldly cares does await those who lean upon the everlasting arms of our Creator. We need to change our ways in order to be blessed by God who never changes. The wages of sin has never changed either. Sin and death – separation from the Lord – have always sorrowfully gone hand in hand (Rom. 6:23). Only the power of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary could triumph over Satan’s hold on the human race (Mk. 3:27). What happened that day at Golgotha can never be changed. Hope for humanity echoes down through time in a message of unchanging beauty and glory. Sin is very persistent, powerful, popular, pitiful and personal. But Christ paid an enormous price to make it possible for us to persevere in righteousness. Paul expressed our gratitude best, I believe, in 2 Cor.9:15, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” Our tears of gladness for such monumental grace should flow freely as we partake of the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week in memory of our Savior’s death.
Scripture does not change. We shall be judged by the word of God (Jn. 12:48). The Bible cannot be broken by the changeable whims of men (Jn. 10:35). God said long ago, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isa 55:11). We do not need a new or updated message for modern times. The old Gospel, preached first on Pentecost in Jerusalem long ago, is to last until the end of the world (Matt. 28:20; Jude 3). We need to leave the ancient landmarks alone (Hos. 5:10). The integrity of the Bible and the hope of heaven belong together: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away…on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.” (Matt. 24:35; Rom. 2:16). Let us never forget that Christ is our refuge (Heb. 6:18). Therefore, let us seek to please Him in unchanging loyalty, at all times and in every way.