Monday, January 14, 2013

Hard, but still must forgive & love one another

God loves us when we are yet sinners (Rom 5:8).  This obviously means that we have wronged God.  A sinner is one who has sinned – one who has sinned against God, wronged God.  Is he loveable?  When someone wronged us, and in the process hurt us, is he/she loveable?  No; we find it hard to love a person who has wronged us, and in the process, has hurt us; we do not find that person loveable. 

Naturally hard
We find it hard to forgive the person, and love the person.  It is naturally hard to do that, especially we have been conditioned increasingly by the ways of the world which was and is propagated by the Devil.  The Apostle John wrote of the world and its ways this way (1 John 2:15-17):

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Does God NOT know it, hard for us?  Yes, I believe He did and does.  But the Father God was able to do it – to forgive us when we are yet sinners; and to fulfill all righteousness or meet the demand of God’s own holiness, the Son of God was willing, as the Father was willing, to be the propitiation for our sins.  In other words, the Son of God, Jesus, was also willing to forgive men who are yet sinners.

God is able to do it
When someone wronged you, in the natural, the expectation is for that someone to provide that which would appease you; and NOT, you, the wronged party (to provide).  In the case of our offence against God, it was God who provided that which appeased Himself. Of the Triune God, Jesus, Himself, provided Himself as the propitiation for our sins, so that, it was and is possible for forgiveness to flow out to us, and the love of God be poured forth and received by us.  Are we naturally able to this - that which God did, to forgive others who wronged us, and who do NOT provide that which would appease us?

Image of God wreaked and Man got counted with the Devil
Perhaps, before the wreaking of the image of God, with which we were created (through the creation of the first Man, Adam), we were able to; at least to the extent that, image does come close to the actual.  Then, Adam was of God, NOT of the world.  After the wreaking of the image of God in us, through The Fall in the Garden of Eden by Satan, there was set into motion, the “of the world” and “of the Kingdom of God”.  Man became counted with the Devil, in the world. 

Though we read in Scripture, God did come, and has continued to come to men (scenes after The Fall pointed to that), after The Fall, over time, the separation was and is there. Immediately after The Fall, God still came looking for Man, spoke with Man, and made Man skin-covering.  Then, after Man was placed outside of the Garden of Eden, God still came to Man, and helped Adam and Eve; the first children of Man were given birth to, with the help of God (these, you can read from Scripture).  Increasingly, darkness closed in, after The Fall, with Satan propagating his ways, lies and deceptions and rebellion against God in the world, and with the involving of men, in his game-plan.

Things got so bad, and then came The Flood, and then the new beginning with Noah
There came a time, things got so very bad, with men being utterly corrupted by the ways of the world or Satan, that God had no choice but to bring forth The Flood.  Every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Gen 6:5).  After The Flood, with the God-counted righteous Noah, a new beginning was started, but because Satan was still in the world, soon enough, the world was again full of the ways of Satan.  Of course, meanwhile, God and His ways, the ways of the Kingdom (of God) did NOT and does NOT change, remain holy and righteous and just. 

Then The Law got introduced
God then introduced The Law to avoid men constantly incurring His wrath with their living out the ways of the world; and that went on, for a long, long time. Included in The Law was the call of God (to us, Man) to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (Deu 6:5), and to love our neighbours as ourselves (Lev 19:18) (although many careless preachers, today, teach as if this twin pillar of love commandments were non-existing in the OT time). 

Did all of these laws or The Law help us to incline towards the ways of God, so that, men did NOT constantly incur the wrath of God, through their sinning without regard?  Did all of these (laws), help men to forgive one another and love one another? It did; it must have (helped, though NOT the total solution), otherwise God would NOT have instituted them, yet wickedness and the moving away from God’s ways, continued to grow in the world.

One key function of The Law was to tell what was against the ways of God
The laws were instituted so as to tell what was against the ways of God; and when wicked corrupted-ness increased, more trespasses (of the laws) happened.  In Romans 5:20b, it was said, where sin increased, grace increased all the more.  It went on and on, till a time when The GRACE had to come, and that GRACE was Jesus Christ, and He came.  Yes, Jesus epitomized grace.

Sins still increased, The Grace had to come
This time God did NOT come with a wipe-out; after The Flood, God was greatly grieved, and He made a covenant that He would NOT do a wipe-out by flood ever again, and to remind Himself, He set the rainbow in the clouds.  This time, God tackled the increased wickedness and wide-spread sinfulness with the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the propitiation of our sins and the sins of the world (1 John 2:2, KJV). 

The time has come that God knew the efficacy of the Law ALONE was NOT and will NOT be sufficient to move men to embrace wholesomely the ways of God.  Jesus had to be sent, and the Holy Spirit to follow suit, after the death and resurrection of Jesus; this was so that, a “God factor” can be in us, to counter the “Iniquity factor” in us.  The God factor is none other than the Spirit of Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of God (all the 3 are the same).

John 3:16 said that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but to have eternal life.  Preachers commonly use this verse, John 3:16, to emphasize God’s love for us.  It is true that God loves us very, very, very much, so very much that He let His Son to be born as a man and then to die for us, through a cruel death of crucifixion, when we were yet sinners, yet there was more to it.  All of this, was and is, so that, we can be UNcounted with Satan who was and is destined to the burning fire of Hell.  Through The Fall, all men were counted with Satan, and so, to go where Satan will go, destined to Hell.

We have to continue on life, NOT going along with Satan or concurring with him and his world
The first men, Adam and Eve, they went along with Satan, concurred with Satan, instead of sticking to God’s words to them, and that was what led them, and consequently us all, to be counted with Satan.  And so, we, Christians, even when we have been UNcounted with Satan when we acknowledged or appropriated the works of Jesus on the Cross, we must live a life NOT going along with Satan or concurring with him, and so, NOT going with any ways which are of Satan (the ways of the world being taken as denoting the ways of Satan, for Satan is still in the world, and is still deceiving and “polluting”). It is simply a lie to say that after born-again, one does NOT need to live right.

God factor given upon entry into salvation
By giving of His Son to die, God NOT just love us, He loves us in a way that the insufficiency of the Law is being made up for, so that we are NOT hopeless to embrace the ways of God wholesomely, to continue to be uncounted with Satan, and so, to be "NOT rebounded" to the journey leading to where Satan is bound – Hell.  What the Law ALONE can no longer help us (NOT that the Law serve no more purpose, which many preachers, especially the overly grace ones, are saying; it is just that the Law ALONE is NOT sufficient), the “God factor”, empowers us.  As have been said, the God factor is the Spirit of Christ or the Holy Spirit.  When we become a Christian, Scripture said that God puts in us the Spirit of Jesus or the Holy Spirit.

Coming back to the same, same questions, of love and forgiveness
Can the natural fallen man love like God first loved, with the wrongs unappeased for? Can the natural fallen man forgive like God forgave, with Himself providing that which appeased?  The answer is that it was once, hard (before Fall), and then, even harder; even NOT easy for the ones under salvation!

Love Commandments NOT new, but new in how it can be achieved
The twin pillar of love (commandments) already existed in the OT, but why is it that, in one of the Gospels, “to love one another” was said to be a new command.  What is the “new” in the command?  It was NOT new as in, it was NOT there or NOT in existence, and now it is (Don’t say it that way, please).  It is new in that, now we are to love our neighbours with the love of Christ Jesus.  This, John 13:34 has it as, “…you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (ESV), “Just as I have loved you” – this was referring to how Jesus loved (and still loves). [You will realise John 13:34 is about the second (love) commandment, when you studied how Jesus talked about “love one and another” in John 15:12-13].

In Christ Jesus, similarly
What is “in Christ Jesus” that we every now and then read, in Scripture?  It means, we allowing Jesus to work through us.  I cannot heal people, but in Christ Jesus, I can heal someone of unequal leg lengths; I can pray and the Spirit of Jesus comes “through” me and makes one leg to grow longer (to match the other)!   To love as Jesus loved or doing in Christ Jesus, both have the connotation that we have to be prepared to, and be willing to allow the Lord to work through us, in forgiving, in loving or in blessing.

Ye are already supernatural if ye live out the ways of the Kingdom
I find it very hard, naturally, to forgive a person who has hurt me a lot, and I find it very difficult, naturally, to love that person whom I have NOT forgiven.  The world agrees with me, naturally; or to go with the ways of the world, is natural.  The ways of the Kingdom (of God) or the ways of God is different, if NOT, opposing to the ways of the world, for holiness and evil are opposed; and we need to go with the ways of the Kingdom to continue our journey headed to eternity in Heaven, the holy place, where God dwells!  It is difficult-right, and so, I often tell people that they are already supernatural when they live out the ways of the Kingdom, even when there is no such miracle of leg growing in length!  Is it NOT supernatural, when you exceed the nature?! 

Coming back to love and forgiveness; to love the loveable is natural, and it is easy.   A long-distance pastor friend of mine, Ps Prentis, put it this way: Jesus said that it is no big deal to love those who love you.” Matthew 5:46 (ESV) - For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

Those who do NOT love you, instead wrong you, abuse you and hurt you, they are NOT loveable.  Is it NOT difficult for you to forgive them?  Yes, in the natural.  Be supernatural; you are being supernatural when you forgive them in Christ Jesus.  Col 3:13 said it this way: Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Forgive as the God forgave
How did God forgive you? He forgave you when you were yet a sinner; and He forgave you NOT through your provision of that which appeased Him, but He Himself provided that which appeased - gave of His Son, Jesus, more than 2,000 years ago and Jesus died for you, to appease the demand of God's holiness. You got to (through yourself) welcome God to forgive those who have wronged you for the wrongs, hurts and pains they done to you.  It is NOT exactly you allow God to, but it is you want to and welcome God to forgive the person for wrong he has done to you.  That is the only way to forgive, as the "as God forgave you" – you got to take on the character of God; and you can only take on the character when you welcome Him to work through you.
At this juncture, I want to borrow a testimony from the wife of a missionary to Indonesia.  This husband and wife from England became missionaries to Indonesia soon after their marriage, and was there doing the work among the Indonesians for tens of years.  In the early days, this wife of the preacher, one day was almost raped by the locals.  While cycling, when the husband had gone ahead of her, she was confronted by the locals and forced to the ground and was nearly raped before the husband came back in a nick of time. 

She was traumatised and hurt badly, and was full of anger and resentment against the very people she and her husband were wanting to bring the Gospel to.  She shared she was NOT able to forgive, but she knew she had to, because the God factor (the Holy Spirit was prompting) and after days, she told God she wanted to do the right thing, and asked God to give her the grace to accept God’s forgiveness for the people for thing they had done to her.  And God honoured that, she recovered from her traumatisation, and God gave the missionary couple breakthroughs to reach out to the locals, and so, they continued to serve the Lord in missionary work in Indonesia for many years, and even adopted Indonesian children as their own. 

Yielded-ness and persistence, the key
We have to tap on and yield to the God factor given us, and in us – the Holy Spirit or Spirit of Christ.  Many things, including forgiving and loving the unloveables, we find it hard to do, but the Spirit of God can do all things, and we need to welcome Him to come and do it.  The only way things can get easier is through constant use, meaning, we persist in practising the ways of God (train ourselves) (Heb 5:14).  The “I can do all things, in Christ Jesus”, saying of the Apostle Paul in Phil 4:13, was said from a heart of true yielded-ness that would lead to actions in the right direction.

I also believe this
I believe this verse, John 20:23 – If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven., means this too: That when someone wronged us (NOT someone else), and we forgive them, God would honor that, and forgive them on the account that we have forgiven them (but if we do NOT forgive them, then their wrong against us, God does NOT just pretend they never happened; they are NOT forgiven, until the people, they ask God to forgive them). 

You see, you got to be willing to forgive, and willing let them have the forgiveness of God, otherwise you are behaving just like the unmerciful servant in the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matt 18:21-35) [I am aware that this is NOT the only view of John 20:23; in fact, I am aware possibly quite a number of people would NOT concur with my belief expressed here, but I believe it is possible, for if you already NOT hold it against the person who wronged you, why would God still hold it against the person, when He commands us to forgive others, regardless!]

Love … as yourself
The Father God first loved, to the extent that He Himself provided that which appeased.  He gave His one and only begotten Son to be that which appeased – to be born as a man and to die for us.  For this kind of love, you got to be supernatural – to take on the character of God; and to take on the character of God, is in fact letting God to live through us.  Jesus said there is no greater love one has than this, that he lay down his life for a friend (John 15:13).  Jesus did that – He laid down His life for us all.  Jesus loved to the extent that He Himself provided that which appeased.  He gave His own sinless life for our sinful lives.  For that kind of love, we got to be supernatural – to take on the character of Christ Jesus; and to take on the character of Christ Jesus, is in fact letting Jesus to live through us.

To love is to sacrifice
Jesus loved the Father God to the extent that He Himself willing to sacrifice His glory in Heaven and came down to earth to be born as man and to die for sinful men.  What manner of love was that? Such sacrificial love!  He embraced the true meaning of “to love”: to love is to sacrifice.  Jesus made great sacrifice to love the Father God.  In His sacrifice, He would do whatever the Father asked of Him; He obeyed absolutely (He kept saying He was only to do His Father’s will, and to finish His Father’s will) in His sacrifices. 

To love is also to obey God
From it too, we can see, “to love God” is also to be obey God.  It is hard to sacrifice; and it is hard to obey; they don’t come naturally.  You, as a Christian, has the God factor, the Spirit of Christ Jesus (or the Holy Spirit) in you; you can be supernatural, you can embrace the character of Jesus, and so, allowing Him to come through you, to love sacrificially or love with giving up of your rights.

We are NOT God but are BEING restored or redeemed
We are NOT God, but we, as Christians, are being restored (the works of Jesus is ……. redemptive or redemption!) back to the image of God, and we can make it because we have been given the counter, and that counter against the “Iniquity factor” is the indwelling Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Christ.  To be an overcomer, overcoming inability to forgive, and inability to love, there is no other way than to go “IN CHRIST JESUS”.  Indeed, Gal 2:20 is what we must embrace if we really mean Jesus is Lord.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal 2:20 NIV).

It is an on-going thing; it is a resolution and commitment on our part
It is an on-going thing or daily thing; don’t let any overly grace preacher fool you.  Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23). Matt 16:24 said this: Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” 

We have made the commitment and so, we need to be resolute, on-going to be supernatural – take on the character of God or the Lord; to be in Christ Jesus; to be allowing the Spirit of Christ or the Holy Spirit to work through us, including first of all, to forgive and love our neighbours. 

Oops! Who is our Father?
When we do not love one another, men we have seen, we are not loving God, and when we still insisted that we love God whom we have not seen, God said we are liars (1 John 4:20).  And when we are liars, our father is NOT God, but Satan.  All believers profess they love God.  Any believers NOT loving God; be careful, you are on the edge of cross back into the territory of Satan!  You say you love God; God says, you are a liar when He sees you NOT loving fellow men.

In a discourse with the Jews of His time, Jesus said this concerning the Devil and those who are the Devil’s: John 8:38 - I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you {referring to the Jews He was speaking to} do what you have heard from your father.” Verse 41b – The Jews protested: “The only Father we have is God himself.” Verse 44 – Jesus said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Resolve today to forgive and love one another as God has forgiven and loved you (and still does)
1 John 4:7-8 - 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Some people see there is contradiction in the 2 Love Commandments of God. To me, there is no oxymoron in the Love commandments, of firstly, to love God with our ALL, and secondly, to love one another or our neighbours, as ourselves, for we are to love God with our ALL; the love with which we love one another is to be the love coming from God.  In other words, when we love God with our all, we yieldingly be the instruments of God’s love to other men.  Therefore, if you love NOT, and the love here, is NOT referring to your love in the flesh, but God’s love coming through you, you know NOT God, said verse 8 above, for God is love, and can only be wanting to love (men unto righteousness).

Anthony Chia, high.expressions 
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1 comment:

  1. Forgiveness may just be the litmus test of the believer. Forgiveness is at the core of salvation. Forgiveness is at the core of Christian living. Forgiveness is a must if grace is to be known and to be experienced in the life of the person granting forgiveness. Yet, I find people who will not realize the power of God to forgive through them. That cannot be! We must forgive if we have been forgiven by Jesus.
    Thanks for your incredible blogs.


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