The Power of Forgiveness

Most people who are about to become a parent believe that if they love their child and teach them well, the child will gladly return their love and respond positively to their dedication as a parent. For many, when their child begins to rebel against their parenting, they are hurt, puzzled, and even dismayed. Why would any parent be surprised by this? The fact is: human children rebel. God created humans with the ability to choose to obey or disobey. He did not make a mistake or plan improperly. He was not surprised that Adam and Eve would rebel against Him as their all loving and perfect parent. God is also not surprised that we, His children continue to rebel against Him as our loving God and Father.

Many would say at this point: I don’t honestly believe I am a person who rebels against God. Then there has been a misunderstanding. Any time we do our own will, we are rebelling against God~ no matter how great or small we think the action is. And we know from His Word that we: all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Humans are unable to consistently do good no matter how hard they try. So, why are we surprised and upset with ourselves when we act like the very humans that we are?

Some would say: Well, that’s no excuse for sinning or: But I should know better. First, we are not talking about excusing sin, we are talking about the facts. WE AS HUMANS WERE CREATED TO BE COMPLETELY DEPENDENT UPON OUR CREATOR. When it says in John 15 that we can do nothing apart from Him, HE REALLY MEANS IT. It is ONLY through us completely surrendering our will to Him that good can come in our lives. It is in submission to Him that we are protected from our sinful nature and the ways of the world. You might notice my passionate urgings in all those capital letters! (: It is true, I am urging you as I have in most every writing I have done: Don’t live your life doing what you believe is right in your own eyes or by how you feel, no matter how good it may seem. Ask Him to show you His will and way in everything.

Second, anyone who says: I should know better when it comes to sin, would seem to be saying that they should be getting better at not sinning. This is misguided and perhaps even prideful. Humans will never accomplish or achieve this ability. Throughout the entire Bible, and for all of history this has never worked. The best and most secure place we can possibly be is to say: I don’t know anything Lord~ I don’t know how to live this life~ but thank You almighty God that You know all things and how I can live my life in You~ help me to surrender to Your will and Your ways that I might experience Your protective love, goodness, and mercy in my life.

God created us knowing it was only through a closely intimate, loving, abiding relationship with Him that we could obey Him as a way of life~ because it is HIS POWER in us, not our own determination. Why does He want us to obey Him? He is God and He loves us and knows what is best for us. He also knows what He wants to accomplish in and through our lives.

Why would God do things this way then? Create us as humans who are bent toward self and sin, yet expecting us to obey Him. Some might even say: Was this some kind of set-up? Why would God create us as humans knowing we would rebel against Him~ and then be upset with us for being human!? Well, He’s not upset with us for being human. He loves us as the humans we are. He knew what He was doing. We are His precious creation. He created us because He loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. He did not want robots that He could push a button and control. He did not create us like animals that are basically pre-programmed. God created us with minds and hearts. Minds to be able to do what He asks of us, and hearts to be able to love Him.

God has always been after our hearts, not to force us to behave better. Obedience is the bottom line to having the wonderful life we can have in Him, but it is His love that wins a person’s heart and brings about a passion to follow Him. It is His love that brings a trust and belief that He will take care of us~ just as with a human child with their parents.

God called David a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22). He had a deep love for God and intimacy with Him. It was clear from his life that he followed God out of love, and when he had misery in his life, it was because he went his own way and did his own will. David grieved these times, not because of being preoccupied with being upset with himself about his human behavior (that would be self-absorption), but because he loved God and cared so very deeply about his relationship with Him. God was his Lord, his companion and friend~ God was everything to him. David knew that apart from God he had no good thing (from Ps. 16:2).

So it is clear, being human is not the problem. It is what happens when we try to control our own lives~ doing what we want rather than what God says. In this we are choosing rebellion against our God. We are disobeying God and choosing the world, allowing sin and evil into our lives. Adam and Eve had a perfect union with God until they chose their own way. They may have said to themselves: it’s just a piece of fruit~ (as Esau may have said to himself: <it’s just a bowl of stew) (Gen. 25:34). Adam and Eve’s perfect world fell apart as they determined to obey their own will instead of that of their God. Because He is pure and Holy He would not allow sin and rebellion in His presence as it is not in His nature.

The fall of man brought separation from God, but He continued to love His creation with all of His heart. It is clear throughout the Bible that God continued to want the humans He created for His own. He continued to want a deeply loving relationship and union with us. But it remained that sin and rebellion were the issue~ we could not come before Holy God without the removal of sin.

Listen to how God’s heart is revealed in His plan to save us from our sin:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood , the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding (Eph. 1:3-8).

What a beautiful expression of God’s love for us. He has had one plan all along~ a glorious plan! He didn’t change His plan or adjust it because of human choice. It was a plan motivated by love from before He created the world. He knew how it would all go. The Bible is the unfolding revelation of who God is and His amazing, miraculous plan for humankind. It reveals His heart and the beyond words grace and love He has for us. His sacred Word also reveals how He would bring redemption of sin through causing His only Son to suffer and die for us, so that we may be forgiven of our sins and be with Him for all eternity. His wonderful Word also reveals how He would send the Holy Spirit to live in us, so that through HIS SUPERNATURAL POWER, we can live in submission to God’s will, enjoying the abundant life promised in following Him.

Sin and the strong tendency to do our own will remain in us as humans. But it has never been about what we can do about that. It is about God. It is about His power and ability. It is about His love. What does it say about His love for us that He would watch His only Son die for us to free us from the power of sin and death. What kind of love is this where He says it was His pleasure and will to have HIs Son pay the price for our sin, and then love us as we continue to sin against Him. God is not deterred and never has been by our human weakness. He made us this way. He knows what our lives can be in Him, and cries for us when we do not receive what He is freely offering. He wants us. He wants more than anything to be with us. This kind of love is so hard for us to grasp~

God does not want us to condemn ourselves or be ashamed because we continue to sin. Jesus dying on the cross for us brought freedom from all bondage. This is about knowing God’s love: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us(Rom. 5:8b). He chose to adopt us as is and enjoys lavishing His grace upon us. He desires to keep us so close to Him that sin cannot get or keep a grip on us. For us to let Him be our God and take care of all our needs. We can truly have such intimacy with Him that we are under His mighty hand of protection as we live each day. We can experience all of the fruit of the Spirit as we abide in Him. We can live free of fear and shame. We can experience more and more deeply in our hearts all He has done for us~ through His heart filled with His all-powerful redeeming love.

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