Sunday, February 9, 2014

Belonging to a Church: Part 4

Remorse! This is next to the hardest. Love is harder, but that's comes later.  Remorse is sincere regret for past wrongs. It's having sorrow for being rebellious against those who love you most. In terms of Christianity, before one is saved they must be just as the honest drug-user in group therapy the first time, "Hi, my name is Larry and I'm a sinner!" People can't be sorry for doing wrong unless that person admits wrong.

Admitting wrong is the problem of mankind. We love ourselves more than God!

Ephesians 5:28 "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it..."

Yes, psychobabble aside, we all love ourselves, even in desperation where we wish for death! A degree of self-love is healthy. We should cherish what God has created. However, narcissistic love stands in the way of accurate self-perception. We value ourselves with more intrinsic wealth than we're worth. Without God, we have little more value than the quanitity of fertilizer our remains will make: 200 pounds x 20% solids  = 40 pounds or about $15-$20!   This fact demands meekness! Therefore, our worth is almost entirely spiritual and with God we're precious!

2 Corinthians 7:9 (NIV) "...yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter."

Proposal #6: A person must have sorrow because sorrow leads to repentance.

Most skip this aspect of salvation! We aren't sorry we sinned, but sorry that by sinning we're going to hell. True sorrow is feeling empathy for Jesus and what he did in our place! Just what did he do?

Romans 8:3 (NIV) "For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."
Jesus bore the sins of all mankind! He made the ultimate sacrifice. Rather than by the blood of animals each year, Jesus made a onetime blood sacrifice for all time! He, being God, hurt for us, bled for us, grieved for us, felt all alone at his death and then died instead of us. He was innocent of any wrong deed because he was without sin, but he loved us so much he suffered instead of us!
Ephesians 5:2 "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."
Proposal #7: A person must understand that Jesus died instead of those who are guilty so that we don't have to suffer eternal death, and that he did that out of love! That sacrificial love is called grace.
Romans 5:15 "But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification."
Here comes the big word "justification". It does NOT mean "just as you had never sinned". That's just an easy to remember definition, but it's not true! "Justification" is the sacrifice of Jesus who paid the price to change our guilt into righteousness.  Yes, our sins are cleansed by justification, but we still did them and we always need to remember from what we were saved! Jesus paid the price for the guilt and we must never forget that we are guilty! Yes, remember that we've all sinned.
Romans 3:25 "Whom (Jesus) God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God..."
Proposal #8: A Christian must accept Christ's payment for the penalty he deserves as a sinner. We must realize that nothing short of our beleief in the power of Jesus's blood sacrifice made us righteous.
Next we'll examine more on being a Christian. It all sounds complicated, but we don't have to know the big words and definitions. It's time now to put everything in perspective before the believer becomes discouraged. We are only to believe and be sincere in our sorrow and faith:
Matthew 18:3 "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
How are "little children"? They have faith without question. They are accepting at face value. They don't philosophize. They have tender hearts, They are loving. They cry and are sorrowful when they realize they've done wrong. They don't judge others. They are loving! That's how we're to be and all the "big word" descriptions will take care of themselves!

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