Friday, March 31, 2017

Beatitude: The Persecuted

Beatitude: Blessed are the persecuted

Beatitude means being in a state if utmost bliss, according to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary. Well here is a list of utmost blissfulness from Jesus's Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5-10-11  (ESV)  The Beatitudes:

3“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
1“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Today's beatitude is on the persecuted.

I have had a love of history all my life. That was not my choice, but because I needed that to affirm my belief in Jesus Christ. Western History is all about persecution of two groups of people: Jews first, and then Christians.

Persecution is being hostile because of who people are. It can be racism, xenophobia (fear of foreigners), or theophobia (fear of religions). Of course associating hate with phobia (fear) is inaccurate. One can hate another group even though there is no fear involved, and on the other hand, people fear groups of people without hating them. Hate and fear are independent entities, but the political correctness movement has skewed that idea. For them hatefulness is anyone who disagrees with their position!

Neither is racism always based on fear or hatred. People may be overly nationalistic or ethnocentric (pride in culture). Some degree of either is normal. Therefore, another race which does not fit the stereotype of one's culture may be held at arms length. We all do that! It's our comfort zone!

By making every phobia into a hatred, minimizes hate! We must never do that. Hatred is the ultimate evil. Having prejudice is a natural thing.  Prejudice is having pre-conceived ideas or biasness about something. We all have our prejudices. For instance the most radical against racism are the most prejudiced against the Caucasian race. Those most in favor of same-sex marriage are the most prejudiced against those who favor traditional marriage. Those most pro-abortion are those who are the most prejudiced against pro-lifers. Each group of people propagate the notion that their position is the most noble. Unfortunately, even when the facts go against some groups of people, they cling to their pre-conceived notion. Those are the most prejudiced.

The Jews are God's chosen people. He promised them, if they were obedient, the entire Levant extending to the Euphrates River, from Turkey down to Egypt, and he promised them the Messiah from Jacob's (Israel's)  bloodline, who would judge and provide salvation to the world. (People hate judgment and persecute those who believe in divine justice.) God also promised the Jewish people prosperity if they were obedient to him.
Deuteronomy 14:1 "Ye are the children of the Lord your God... 2 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth."
Because the Jews are God's chosen people, throughout history other nations have been the most ant-Semitic. Since the Jews are God's chosen people, anti-semites are racists, xenophobes, and theophobes.  Ironically, the cousins of the Jews, those of the Semitic language groups include Arabs, Ethiopians, and Syrians; are the most ant-semitic. Their own race is the most hostile to them!

Most Semites are descended from Abraham - both Arab and Jew: the former by Hagar  his wife's handmaiden, and the latter by Sarah his wife. The jealousy of the Arab and Assyrian nations is because the line of Sarah was blessed more than the line of Hagar.
Genesis 21:17b "...the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad (Ishmael)where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation."
That is the line of Ismael, which is now a great nation, and holds the line of Isaac in hostility. Ever since the former has persecuted the latter: Arab against Jew. Over time, there became two groups of nations: Jew and Gentile. Gentiles are any race which is not Jewish (i.e, most of the world)! It turns out that the entire world has always persecuted the Jews because they are God's chosen people.  Many have even considered them less human than Gentiles because they indeed are a peculiar people (Deut. 14:2).  They are peculiar in the sense that they are a blessed race, a blessed religion, a blessed nation, a blessed genealogy, and a blessed promise for eternity! Every nation is jealous of them, and have always persecuted them.

On the other hand, Jews are proud of their divine blessing. They know they are blessed and have become the financial wizards of the world. Catholicism rejected usury (interest on loans), so Jews stepped in and became the financiers. Because of their ability to gain from the loss of others, they seem to always get rich while others drift toward poverty. For that reason the western world has always hated Jews, even Britain. The National Socialists used their financial position against them to persecute them to extinction. The holocaust was Hitler's final solution to the Jewish problem. The killing of Jews is called pogroms from the Russian word meaning to wreak havoc. Nearly all nations have persecuted Jews, even the tolerant Roman Empire which condoned all religions except for two: Judaism and Christianity.

Christians too are peculiar people:
1 Peter 2:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light..."
Because we Christians accepted the light that the Jews rejected, we too are now heirs of God! We are an holy nation, and a chosen people. 
Romans 8:16 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
Since we are heirs of God we inherit his riches: Jesus, prosperity, hope, faith and such,; but along with that, we must suffer with the Jews! (Let me note here that the Christians who persecuted the Jews in the Third Reich were not true Christians. They were National Socialist heretics who accepted Nazi doctrine and heiled Hitler rather than hailed Jesus!)  Society will always persecute the true Church. Even the Roman Catholics, our historical cousins, persecuted the true Church!
Matthew 5:12 "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
With Christ Jesus, Christians joined the ranks of the persecuted. Just as the prophets of Judaism were persecuted we are, and always will be. It get's worse - not better, as time goes on. Why? It's all because of the Messiah; it's all because of Christ:
John 15:20 "Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also."
Too many Christians in history have blamed the Jews for crucifying Christ. They weren't the only ones guilty. We all crucified Jesus, they merely planned his death, and the Romans pulled the trigger, so to speak. In other words, the answer to Who killed Jesus? is that we all did!  We all killed Jesus because he died for all our sins! We share the guilt. Jews got the blame, but we too suffer the consequences because we are the adopted sons of God, and a chosen people just as the Jews are!

As time goes on, Christians will endure more persecution. The apostles were persecuted first. All but John died for Jesus' sake, and they boiled him in oil, although he lived. As the world gets as it was in the days of Noah, the persecution will get worse. The sinners scoffed at Noah.
Matthew 24:37 "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
Before Jesus comes the second time, sin will get worse. Rather than mere scoffing, the degenerates will demand that we accept their degeneracy. We are in that phase now. In the end those who have turned to Christ after the rapture (the taking up of Christians) shall be beheaded.
Revelation 20:4b  "I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands..."
Beheading is the crescendo of persecution. Persecution will not come all of a sudden. As the instruments of sin blare louder and louder, at the end, persecution will reach its peak. Because of the Koran and our own Holy Scripture, I believe the end of time government will be socialism, the world-wide religion will be Islam, the global government a caliphate, the antichrist an Ayatolla, and the law Sharia. The line of Ishmael will grow into that great nation, and is the enemy of Jacob's line. We are the persecuted; they are they persecutors. Even western civilized societies are accepting the Islamic Nazis as a peaceful religion. According to the writings of Muhammed, that is a self-admitted lie. Christians appease themselves that they are safe by lying to themselves. Surely we won't die is still the serpent's lie!

I didn't skip over revile. That is to despise Christians. If we are hated because of Christ, that is a blessing. Right now some readers hate me. I'm glad of that! Because I write truthful statements, those who deny the truth that I write may hate me. Even many liberal Christians will hate me because they have bought into the notion of sin. Those churches who have departed from him, despise me. I expect that! Jesus identified those so-called Christians and warned them:
Matthew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
The most extreme persecutors of Christians will be the false church -  the anti-Church, the same church which went sour in the Third Reich. The liberal church is the anti-Church and they will be the greatest persecutors of Christians. They are those churches who call Islam a peaceful religion in defiance of truth. Beware the enemy; they are already among us! 

A True Disciple: Difficultt Verse 11

Difficult Verse # 11
by Pastor David Stogsdill

A True Disciple

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

A true disciple is one that esteems Christ above all. His heart will renounce its attachment to the things of this world and resign itself completely to the Lord. Everything he has will be at Christ’s feet and at His disposal. This must be a part of any successful Christian because he cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), it is impossible for the love of God and the love of the world to dominant simultaneously in the same heart. Either Christ is dearest or the things of this world are. Family, friends, finances, future or frivolous things must be cast below Christ if they are to be in their proper place. While temporal things of this world may be the easiest to cast aside, Christ demands that all be second place to Him. You cannot be a true disciple if anything including your family is before your Lord.

Pastor David Stogsdill
Grace Bible Baptist Church

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spiritually Psychopathic

People tease by calling others a psychopath. One of the main characteristics of psychopathy is the inability to have remorse. A huge percentage of criminals in prison show signs of being psychopathic. Remorse is the inability to feel guilt because of one's actions. Guilt is the necessary ingredient in civilized societies to prevent chaos and anarchy. Imagine, if you will, a society where anyone does what is right in their own eyes without remorse.

Some call guilt a tool of the devil. That is heresy because guilt is of the conscience which is a faculty endowed to us as human beings. Guilt is one of the factors that separate men from the beasts. Consider guilt as a check-valve which kicks in when the steam of wrong ensues. It keeps the pressure down to do even more wrong. Indeed, it makes people desire relief so that they can feel better. People get sick because of unresolved guilt. It's spiritual, emotional, and physical sickness.

Conscience is a measuring tool which our mind uses to judge right from wrong. Normal people have a conscience; psychopaths have either a weak or no conscious. Whether people like it or not, civil values are based on divine law. To deny the correlation is ignorance or denial:

Galatians 3:19 "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."
People have always sinned. They rationalized sin because it wasn't spelled out. In his wisdom, God spelled it out. Thus the Law was created. It provided regulations for right living. For instance, the Ten Commandments are a teaching tool, so that we can evaluate our wrongs.  Our conscience uses the Law to evaluate our spiritual condition. It's not to damn, but to save In order to bring us to rightness with God, we must feel conviction (that we are outside of the Law), and guilt, (remaining outside the Law). Conviction is God's indictment that we are guilty of offending him, and guilt is his mechanism for bringing us back to a right status. Psychopaths care little whether they are in good standing with civil law. Likewise, the reprobate care little whether they are in good standing with God.

Reprobate is refusing to accept the standards of God.  God's standard is that since all have sinned, all must seek forgiveness. In order to be forgiven, one must feel convicted and suffer guilt. The inability to bow to God's rule is reprobate. Sinners can either care little for God's standards, or care little about their eternal destination. Because of rebellion or apathy, they damn themselves to eternal hell-fire.

Reprobates are the spiritually psychopathic, rejecting conviction and feeling no guilt. Before one can repent and be forgive, sinners must feel conviction and have remorse enough to repent. The reprobate sinner builds up an immunity to guilt from childhood. After success after success of enjoying the fruits of sin without penalty, the sinner's heart gets calloused, much as the palm does with hard work.
Matthew 13:15 (NIV)  "For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,  hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them."
The condition of the heart, the conscience, is so calloused that sinners are reprobate. Their state is the same as the psychological psychopath.  Those who are reprobate are spiritual psychopaths. It's a sorry state to be a psychopath, and apathy to wrong and caring not about penalty is the state of the psychopath. It's a shame that some are so spiritually calloused that God himself dying on the cross means nothing. What is worse is that some believe that, but still reject it because the pleasure of sin outweighs the gift of eternal life so much that they fail to dwell on the inevitable: That all men have sinned and deserve hell, and that Jesus Christ is the only Way to salvation!

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Beatitude: Peacemakers

Beatitude: Blessed are the peacemakers

Beatitude means being in a state of utmost bliss, according to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary. Well here is another utmost blissfulness from Jesus's Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5  (ESV)  The Beatitudes:  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God"

Today's beatitude is on the peacemakers.
Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Strong's definition of peace is the best I've seen because most are of the impression that it is the absence of war: The tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is. Essentially the peacemakers are those able to bring peace to the souls of others. This concept is validated by:
Matthew 10:33  "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."
 These two passages are of the same Greek word for peace. It would seem that one contradicts the other until it's considered for a time. The sword of the Spirit, we know, is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). God's word creates tension. As his word, some deny him before men. For those who believe, the denial of God causes contention. Spiritual warfare ensues. God's word creates variance among even those who love each other. The controversy over God is spiritual warfare. The spiritual world and the physical war:
Ephesians 6:12 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
This is spiritual warfare, and Satan's armies will never submit until they are thrown into the bottomless pit. Even rational people will fight holiness until the bitter end, being deceived by rulers of darkness. It may even be family, the schools, the government, and even the churches who we battle.

It's easy to see what that those who bring peace to the souls of others, shall be called the sons of God!  With the sword of the Spirit they bring peace to a few. The wrestling  match is over when others accept the truth of Jesus Christ.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beatitude: Pure in Heart

Beatitude: Blessed are the pure in heart

Beatitude means being in a state if utmost bliss, according to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary. Well here is a list of utmost blissfulness from Jesus's Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5  (ESV)

The Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Today's beatitude is on the pure in heart.

Heart is an abstract construct. It's the personality and disposition of an individual. The personality is a person's emotional and behavior characteristics which are peculiar to the person, while disposition is the prevailing tendencies of the person. All people are predisposed to behave in a certain way, and react to stimuli in their own manner. I'm not Freudian at all, but he identified people who were anal retentive in their disposition. He believed that their childhood potty training had much to do with their disposition. Many people do react as if they are constipated, but the biblical view is that because of iniquity they are predisposed to hostility.

Adam and Eve were born pre-disposed to pureness in heart. They were so pure that they were extremely naïve. They believed a well-presented lie on the part of Satan who used an innocent animal to deceive. (At that time, snakes were docile or Eve would not have been conversant with him).

They were designed in the image of God which is pureness in heart. Purity is without contamination. With sin they both became impure, and we are because they were. God always asked that pure gold be used for his purposes. Purity means holy.
1 Peter 1:16 "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
Holiness is simply behaving and reacting to design intent. Since mankind was designed in the pure image of God, we are called to be pure. Again, purity is without contamination, and God's disposition is pure love - love without fault.
 1 John 2:4 "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
What are we to do? Keep his commandments. That's how we show God that we love him. Purity is keeping those precepts written in stone with the intent of enduring for ever! The Ten Commandments are the metrics which measure love. Those who keep God's Commandments are the pure in heart.

Circumcision is what results in pureness of heart.
Deuteronomy 30:6 "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live."
Pure love is when the flesh is symbolically cut off from the heart. It is sin which is circumcised. Lying, stealing, irreverence, and all the things which appeases the flesh are terminated. That's presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice. That's pureness of heart! If we say that we keep his commandments, we are liars because some impurity always remains because humans are pre-disposed toward impurity. If we say that we keep the Commandments we must endeavor to keep them. That is sanctification.

Entire sanctification is when Christians become entirely pure. That will happen upon death only when the person is transformed and is glorified. Until then, all mortals are imperfect, but it's still the goal. Of course everyone will miss the mark, but God loves the aroma of people doing what is right to please him. The key phrase here is to please him. If Christians merely do things because they have to, their reward is in the doing. It is the self which gets the honor, not God. Being righteous is being pure for right reasons because wrong reasons are impure. Ironically, when a Christian believes he has become pure, then he or she is the most impure. One fragment of pride brings impurity because with self-indulgence your other god - you, still lives.

When a person's disposition is toward purity to please God then the person is pure in heart. That is to be our new personality since we are a new creation!

Let's take a look at one example:
I made a driving error which resulted in a man getting angry. He made an obscene gesture behind my back. I slammed on my brakes at the next stoplight, got out of my Jeep and angrily approached him.
Mrs. A made a driving mistake, the man followed her and made an obscene gesture which is what sinners are inclined to do, but Mrs. A said aloud, "Lord forgive me for making that poor man sin."
My own reaction was impure, but Mrs. A's was with a pure heart. She was merciful. I was not. However, to the Lord's credit, the Comforter intervened with me, at the last moment, and I told the offending man, I'm sorry. Mrs. A had purity in heart, but even though I apologized my disposition was toward anger. The Comforter stayed near me because of my impurity of anger. Mrs. A had a pureness of heart that the Comforter had put her on auto-pilot.

Her pureness of heart was what blessed her. She was promised to see God. That is utmost bliss - to stand in front of the Creator without guilt. Now she is dead and Mrs. A sees God right now! Her name is in the Book of Life, and the other book has her sins blotted out. I admire her because she admired God enough to be pure in heart.

Hearts harden. As one sins more, the heart gets harder because impurity is appeasing one's own flesh. Appeased flesh is hardened hearts, and the disposition is for the person to sin. That hard heart can be given to God, and symbolically it is circumcised when the new person is created. Christians are to change when they come to trust in Jesus, but if the old person still walks, then they are a liar! It's not that we can't sin because we do have the liberty to sin. Pureness of heart is when the desire to sin is removed. For that pureness of heart, those Christians will see God!

Most of us should worry: it seems that we have changed little. The new creature looks just like the old. Impurity of the heart still abounds.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Animals: Going to Heaven?

People love their animals; their animals love them. They have a sort of genuine love. It's unconditional. It's too bad that people don't have the same type of relationship that masters and their servants have. I suppose I am speaking of the person as the master, and the animal as the servant, but in practice, it's the animal who masters the person!

I love most animals. Snakes and rats don't qualify! Most people's animal of choice are either dogs or cats, but my own daughter, Heather, has created a third most lovable creature. They are part human and part dog. She calls them pugs. If I refer to them as dogs, she scorns me! 

One of my friends asked of me: "You don't love dogs, do you?" Of course I do, but over there away from me." I'm a near germaphobe. Not quite, but after I'm clean, I like to stay clean. My response to her was "I love animals, but I'm not romantic with them!" Others hug and kiss them. I save that for my grandchildren as well as my wife and daughter  -  not romance, but loving. Of course Terri and I do get romantic at times, but that's another story.

My point is that dogs are family to some. They love dogs and cats just as they do their children. Even though dogs have bad hygiene and cannot even wipe their own posterior, their human friends overlook that. Even though their dental care is poor and their breath is bad, their owners don't worry about the smell. That is unconditional love.

I've had several people ask me, Do dogs go to heaven? I have seen grown girls and guys cry when their dog or cats have died. It is noble that their hearts are that tender. I wish mine was, but it's not. To be honest, I have trouble crying at anything.  I wish I could cry more. It's healthy to cry.

When my wife's dog got hit by a speeding SUV, I cried - not for the dog, but for my wife. She was hurting inside.

My daughter called the other day. She said between sobs, "Roscoe, (her pug) has cancer. I cried, but not for Roscoe. I cried for my daughter because she was hurting. I wish that I could say to Terri and Heather: Don't worry. You'll be with them in heaven. I can't say that because it would be a lie.

Animals exist for our purposes. They were made to be our friends and companions. Adam named them all. All animals were originally docile. The lamb surely laid down with the lion as they will in paradise.
Isaiah 11:6 "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."
Isaiah 65:25 "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord."
That's the nature of the animals in the Garden of Eden too. Adam ruined that. Because he sinned, that changed things. No longer was Eden a paradise, but more a Jurassic Park. His animals went from companions to adversaries. God allowed some to be tamed because of his grace. He knew that man needed companionship with animals. More than dogs, throughout history, sheep were man's best friend. Of course canines helped with the tending of the sheep. 

Animals were more than the wild creatures they are today. Even the snake spoke, and apparently so did the other animals (See my thoughts on  TALKING ANIMALS). Of course to speak, they needed cognition. Any alert person can see their dogs and cats considering what to do: Shall I lay here or in the sun? Dare I jump up and love her, or stand down? In some ways they still speak, but their thought processes are rudimentary.  However, they do know how to love and are dedicated; more than I can say for most people. Remember, my problem is not with the animals, but the germs - and with those who fail to understand my need for hygiene.

With all that said, animals will not go to heaven. There are animals already there I'm sure. My own belief is that just as New Jerusalem will come down from heaven to the restored world, the Garden of Eden was taken up sometime after Adam was removed from it. I base that on many things, but since it's now gone, that answers where it went. That narrow gate guarded by seraphim is still guarded where the river of God is now. The Tree of Life has moved to. It stands by the river of God in heaven.

Animals are in heaven; but your dog, cat, or even snake is not going to heaven. Why? Unlike mankind, they were not created in the image of God. They have a body, but lesser minds, and no soul. They don't have a capacity to understand the nature of God and his grace even if they did have a soul. The soul is man's cup for holding the Holy Spirit. Animals don't have a soul for God's Spirit to enter.

Maybe they are more blessed than mankind. They may not go to heaven, but neither do they go to hell. Most of mankind will take the broad path, and go to eternal damnation. By the grace of God even the wily snake nor the vicious lion will taste eternal death. They will die only once whereas unpardoned sinners will die a second death - for eternity. God's grace extended to the animal kingdom. They will feel the sting of death, but not the pain of hell-fire. That should comfort us because even some of our loved ones will die eternally with no chance of reprieve.

On the sit-com King of Queens, Doug's healthy dog which he had as a child, always came to him for a little attention. Doug loved that dog so much that he never questioned it's longevity. He was 34 years old and his dog had always been there for him. Unknown to Doug, this was dog number five. Doug loved his dog even though it was only like his dog. Perhaps God, with his grace, will have a duplicate dog for you when you get there, if you do.  Doug may have dog number six, and love him just the same. Perhaps your immortal duplicate will be there to welcome you!

I hope that comforts those who ask: Will animals go to heaven?  Don't let your dog wonder about you!

Lay Ministers: Royal Priesthood

1 Peter 1:1 "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."
1 Peter 2:5 "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light..."
Peter wrote this letter to the elect Gentiles: Those who had received the grace of Jesus Christ (i.e., Christians). Jesus is the cornerstone (1 Peter 2:7), and these Christians are the lively stones. Figuratively, this is Jesus at the corner of the Church and alive Christians which is the Church.

The alive stones, the members of the Church, build up the spiritual house, and those members are an holy priesthood. Peter refers to them as the royal priesthood. These kingly priests - Christians job assignment is clear: (1) offer up spiritual sacrifices, and (2) profess to everyone praises of Jesus. Essentially, as royal priests we too are assigned the Great Commission:
Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost..."
The holy nation is to teach all nations.  We are bring the message of Christ to those who are not of Christ. As priests we not only present the word, but offer up spiritual sacrifices. Doing that the royal priesthood are both preachers and ministers.

Evangelical churches make a fuss about being called to preach. I submit that that is extraneous, because all Christians are called to preach and minister... and throw into that, to teach:
2 Timothy 2:2 "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
Is the call that we be ministers not yet clear enough? Read on:
 1 Timothy 4:6 "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained."
We are all called to be good ministers of Jesus Christ. Note that this is all the elect - all Christians, not just those who feel the pull, for we all should. When we desire to share the word, and do so, we are ministering to others, as royal priests. Well, what then is a bishop? They are those appointed by the church. In other words, there is no call to be bishop, he is selected from among the elect -  those in the royal priesthood. In other words, bishops or ordained ministers are not called beyond what anyone Christian is, but appointed.

They (bishops) devote their lives to Christ, but we all are called to do that. Modern preachers have selected their vocation to be what we all are called to be. They now get paid for what we all should be doing for free!

Now to be pragmatic, because the early Baptist church originally did not pay preachers, they must make a living. Somebody has to feed my gray mare, said Elder Elijah Barnes to the Baptist Association in the infant church of Kentucky. Hence, what we are all called to do became a paid vocation as it was in the Catholic Church since early times.

Since we're all minsters, any Christian can preach. Lay preachers are any Christian who has not been ordained by the church. Ordination are for those Christians who are set apart to preach in the local church. That becomes their job, but it's everyone's call to preach. Lay ministers are of the royal priesthood, and make the Church alive.

Just to preach does not require a uniform. Indeed we are to carry only the staff of Jesus: the empty cross with his blood on it. John the Baptist was more effective in camel hair than preachers in their fancy robes or even pristine suits. I actually believe that preacher garb distracts, as it discourages those with less. The Church is not about wealth, but meekness.

Any person can preach. Any can present the elements at communion. It doesn't take ordination to serve because service is for all. My how far away we have come from service to the Lord!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Beatitude: The Merciful

Beatitude: Blessed are the merciful
Beatitude means being in a state if utmost bliss, according to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary. Well here is a list of utmost blissfulness from Jesus's Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5  (ESV)

The Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Today's beatitude is on the merciful.

Let us first look at the blessing: they shall receive mercy. There is a distinction between mercy and grace. Mercy is showing compassion for someone when one has the ability and authority to harm. Grace is giving assistance to someone who doesn't deserve it. Therefore, mercy is unconditional love and grace is bestowing that love.
Romans 3:23 (KJV) "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God..."
John 3:16 (KJV) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
All have sinned in the first verse is the world and whosoever in the second verse.  Let's rewrite the second passage:
For God so loved all who have sinned, that he gave his only begotten Son, that all who have sinned and believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
By applying all who have sinned to John 3:16 is mercy. God has compassion for whosoever who deserves punishment. His grace is the reason: for God so loved the world.

Thus far we have seen the pre-conditions for God bestowing mercy: Those who believeth in him. It appears that God loves everybody enough to be merciful. That is his grace. However, the qualifier for mercy is belief. The transliteration belief came from the Greek pisteuo which is to say faith. Hence, belief is more than believing, it is trusting Jesus. That belief is accepting God's gift of grace.

That is God's mercy. The beatitude says, blessed are the merciful. In order to receive God's mercy, those to be blessed must show the same mercy.

When we sin against God, he is merciful. He loves us even in our sin. His love is not based on conditions. That much is his grace. When sinners repent, he accepts the penance, and pardons all our sins. Even though we all have wronged him, he forgives, forgets, and remains friends as he still loves us. He continues to commune with us daily even though we sin against him. He even tolerates more sin after he forgives. He could condemn us, but he is merciful and pardons.

Everyone sins against God (Romans 3:23). Trespassing is sinning.
Matthew 6:14 (KJV) "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
In essence, this passage says: God is merciful with you; then you be merciful with others. His mercy is contingent upon your mercy. It is God doing unto you as you would do unto others, or the Golden Rule between you and God.

It's easy to be merciful to those who are closest to you, but how about those enemies? Just as sinners are God's enemies, those who trespass against us are our enemies - We hold the trespass over their heads. Being merciful unto them is loving them just the same - just as they are. It's loving them enough to grant them the same mercy that God grants us. It is forgiving, forgetting and being friends. It is continuing on in love as if they never trespassed.

Many say: I'll forgive, but I'll never forget! That is unmerciful. We are to be merciful as God is merciful. Forgiving and holding the trespass over one's head is not true forgiveness because it is not merciful. Ironically, the one who fails to forget (hold against) the trespass of others have a trespass which is not forgotten of God! We are to love our enemies.
Matthew 5:44 (KJV) "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you..."
Christians don't even love their friends, let alone their enemies. I have had some who harbored a grudge for years against me. I'm sure you have too! Years ago one Christian friend was even brazen enough to say, I'll forgive you, but won't be your friend. I'll just treat you cordially.  What if Jesus showed that kind of mercy? It wouldn't be merciful at all! Mere cordiality is a confession of hate, and an unmerciful act.

Since mercy is a beatitude which is utmost bliss and can only be received in Glory, then it seems that those who are not merciful are in danger of hell fire. Hate cannot exist in heaven, and hell is the place of haters. The atmosphere in heaven is love. Haters can't breath love because it is not their atmosphere.

Fire of Contention: Difficult Verse 10

Difficult Verse #10
The Fire of Contention
by Pastor David Stogsdill

Luke 12:49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
The Gospel always brings contention because our own flesh is contrary to God’s Word. There is a dissension between good and evil and the trouble that follows the Gospel is authored by the Devil, himself. Christ uses this contention as a fire for good to put a burning within the souls of men. Fire is passion and sometimes it is violent, it is always consuming and it will grow, given a chance. The fuel that Christ uses for the fire He sends is that of a good profession of the godly. If we as Christians are already living the godly life, then when Christ begins to burden a lost soul in our midst, the fire is already kindled and the spark of the Gospel fire will ignite a flame that will burn the sin and light the spirit.
In order for any of this to happen though, Jesus would have to first suffer on the Cross. His reference to baptism here is one of an overwhelming of suffering upon the cruel Cross. Baptism by definition is a dipping, washing over or overwhelming flood, and so our Lord was facing not water baptism, or a flood of the Spirit upon Him. Those were already accomplished, but rather a final baptism of death. He was fixed upon it, He had a straight line to it and it would be accomplished. We ought to be ready to suffer the persecution that follows service to the Lord, and be straightened to it.

Pastor David Stogsdill
Grace Bible Baptist Church

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Beatitude: Hunger and Thirst

Beatitude: Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Beatitude means being in a state if utmost bliss, according to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary. Well here is a list of utmost blissfulness from Jesus's Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5  (ESV)

The Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Today's beatitude is on those who hunger and thirst for righteousness sake.

There are five key words in this beatitude. (1) Blessed are those who will live with God in heaven. (2) hunger, and (3) thirst - we all know what those are. (4) Righteousness, and (5) satisfied. We shall discuss the latter two more fully.

Let's address satisfied first. When are hunger has subsided because of nourishment we are satisfied. Our craving for food no longer exists because the need has been met. In fact when we are satisfied with food, the desire for more is in the past.

It's much the same way of drink. Water, next to air, is the most needed thing we need for life, and even air must contain moisture to breath healthily. In fact, the bodies of men are about 60% water. Water is part of us. If we dehydrate, we get sick. Only water satisfies that craving for liquid nourishment. (Don't drink the Kool-Aid though because something in it makes it unsatisfying - false teaching).  When we drink water until we're full, our thirst has long before that been quenched.

Satisfied is when our focus is no longer on food and water because we have had a sufficient amount. On the other hand, hunger and thirst for righteousness sake is can be satisfied only by two things, neither of which is self-induced: the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
John 6:35 (KJV)  "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
The bread of life satisfies both hunger and thirst because Jesus' body contains water.
 John 4:10 (KJV)  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."
The thirst for righteousness sake is satisfied by Jesus's living water. That is the blood he shed for the sins of mankind. Only his water completely satisfies, all else is Kool-Aid.

In the Old Testament it was by these two things which satisfied.
John 6:58 (KJV) "This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever."
 Nehemiah 9:14 (KJV) "And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant: 15 And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them. 16 But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments..."
The bread which came from heaven didn't satisfy because that gift was rejected by those who tired of it (John 6:58).  It kept them alive, but wasn't the substance for eternal life, albeit it was symbolic of Jesus. Even with the bread of life who satisfies, some still reject him.

Moses struck the rock twice and waters flowed forth to satisfy the thirst of the Hebrew people. This free water was tied to obedience to the commands of God. Even Moses struck the rock twice in an effort to deliver the water on his own terms. God told Moses to strike the rock once, but he did twice. That which flowed was not living water because it came forth by disobedience. It quenched the thirsts of the people, but it could not satisfy them. Even Moses wasn't allowed into the promised land because he had it his way (ala Burger King), not God's way.

In the wilderness, people hungered and thirsted, but not for righteousness sake, but for their own sakes!

This brings up the fourth word in the beatitude: righteousness sake. Doing things for wrong reasons doesn't please God, and when he isn't pleased, what is his isn't satisfying for those who do things for their own sakes.
1 John 2:29 (KJV) "If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him." 
 1 John 3:7 (KJV) "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous."
The test for righteousness is what we do after we are born of Jesus  or born-again. From the last passage, it is clear that being righteous is being like Jesus. What was Jesus noted for? His love! He loved us so much that he died in our place, and as such we are to love him that much. He expects that! Righteousness is being as much like Jesus as is humanly possible, and that it loving him and others as we do our own self. The love of self diminishes, as the Bread and Water replenishes.

Being righteous means changing from the old creature to the new. That is the evidence that someone is born-again. That condition is the ultimate and final satisfaction. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness sake are completely satisfied by the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

One must hunger and thirst for righteousness to be ultimately satisfied. Unfortunately, among even Christians that hunger and thirst appears to be satisfied with the blessings that we have here on earth. Many live their unchanged lives without ever hungering and thirsting for true manna from heaven and living waters from the rock. They may have fire-insurance so to speak, but their hearts are not even on fire. Go for the water of life. It will quench the fire which should be there. It is not of ourselves as it was for Moses, but is a free gift, which Moses didn't accept. He didn't get satisfied with entry into the promised land as he expected.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Beatitude: The Meek

Beatitude: The Meek
Beatitude means being in a state if utmost bliss, according to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary. Well here is a list of utmost blissfulness from Jesus's Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5  (ESV)

The Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Today's beatitude is on blessed are the meek.

Meekness is being kind and gentle. As such they are inclined toward focusing on others. Such is love! Since we are not by nature kind and gentle, it follows that we are born with a streak of meanness. Our very human nature is the opposite of meekness.

You might be thinking: Babies are born kind and gentle, but they are not; they are demanding and self-serving. Childhood is all about them, and being nourished. When mother fails to provide, tantrums ensue! Sure, nearly everyone is kind at times and even a little gentle, but occasionally the child in us pops out.

That inborn nature is because if original sin, We are not by nature kind and gentle because Adam and Eve did what was right in their own eyes, neglecting the only command that God gave them: Don't eat of that stinkin' tree or you'll die. They ate and they spiritually died, and thereafter everyone else has been born spiritually dead and mortal. The serpent knew their hearts: They both wanted to be as gods.

The desire for self-satisfaction is the opposite of meekness. A very close antonym is pride. Rather than being into others, prideful people are into selves. Pride in this context is elevating our own status higher than our station in life. We are not gods... we were born to serve God. Our very occupation is tending God's Garden (Genesis 2:15). Symbolically, since the Tree of Life was in the midst of the Garden, dressing and keeping the Garden was tending God. The other trees in the Garden were symbolically what was his, eventually other people. Meek people, by submission to God focus on God and others, and not on theirself. Christians are to be Christ-centered, not self-centered.

There is another religion in competition with Christianity. It is the god or goddess of self-esteem. (For complete commentary on that please read CHRIST ESTEEM V. SELF-ESTEEM on "Herrin Daily Thoughts").

Meekness essentially is following the Greatest Commandment:
Matthew 22:37 "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
For a complete commentary on the Greatest Commandment see "Herrin Daily Thought":  GREATEST COMMANDMENT). Those who are meek serve God and others, that love which is the personality of the new creature.
2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
New creatures are those born-again.   The old selfish child is sacrificed to God, and is replaced by a meek creature, one who is born to serve others.
Matthew 20:26 "... but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
New creatures are no better than the Creator. God served himself as a ransom for everyone else, and a reasonable service is to serve him. That service is our living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1).  Meek people are those who have presented themselves a living sacrifice to God. The new creatures are willing to do that! If the reader has failed to change since being born-again, perhaps self-examination is in order. Did that person really and truly circumcise the heart of it's hardened flesh (Romans 2:29).

For those who are meek, there came a promise: they shall inherit the earth! The servant will become the master. The slave will become king, not in ownership, but inheritance. It won't be the present earth, but they will be honored in heaven. The first crown is the crown of life (James 1:2), which is eternal life! Running the race to the finish, meekness, is rewarded with the prize: an incorruptible crown -  immortality (1 Corinthians 9:24-26). What earth is it that the meek shall inherit? The new heaven and the new earth:
2 Peter 3:13 "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
Their inheritance will be the New Jerusalem right here on earth after it is washed by fire to cleanse it. That is the earth the meek shall inherit. To exchange citizenship from the old earth to the new requires meekness: Self-esteem is be put away and replaced with Christ-esteem, which is the process of becoming a new creature in Christ. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017


This is a big word for a simple concept. Theologians' jobs are to make simple things complex. Big words do just that! In order to simplify the big words itinerant preachers oversimplify. Many times I have heard from the pulpit: "Justification means just as if you never sinned." That is far from what it means.

The dictionary definition is much the same as absolution: to set one free from the consequences of sin. Some call that acquittal: the person is guilty, but is set free when payment is made somehow. With sin the payment is the blood of Jesus, and the judge's authority to grant the reprieve is called grace.

Note that nowhere does any of the definition deny the guilt of the sinner, nor even cancels out the sin. The sin is just paid for by Jesus. It is not just as if you've never sinned, but that you have sinned and Jesus paid for your sin by his own blood and life.
Romans 3:23 (ESV)  "... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
Propitiation of Jesus' blood was to appease God who we owe big time for our sins.  As such Jesus paid for our sins by bleeding on the cross as an innocent person in the place of the guilty ones - everybody else. Jesus' blood instead of ours was because of his grace, and dying in our place was a gift to mankind! It wasn't a cheap gift; it was costly because life is valuable. As such, we must never forget God's own sacrifice of his son in our place.

The justification was when God passed over our former sins. Only past sins have been passed over, and any future sins must be presented to God for forgiveness. Contrition and repentance is how we continue to appease God. His grace has already paid for the present and future sins, but they must be presented to him for absolution. Only God can absolve so forget the priest. His only purpose is to point toward God.

Because God is fair or just, hence God justifies by providing the sacrifice.
Genesis 22:8  (ESV) "Abraham said, 'God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.'”
Many theologians would say that God provided the ram for the sacrifice, but that's not spiritually what happened.
Hebrews 11:17 (ESV) "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, 'Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.'”
This should be obvious, but it's not. It's not even a biblical parallel. It was not the ram which was the sacrificed in Isaac's place, it was Jesus Christ himself, the lamb of God (John 1:29)  who paid for that past sin hundreds of years later. God even acknowledged that by pointing toward Jesus who was through Isaac's offspring.

Abraham's works were acknowledged as great faith. (Hebrews 11:17). His faith is what saved Isaac, and himself for that matter. The ram was a temporary blood sacrifice awaiting the real one by Jesus. The Voice of God who was to be called Jesus, spoke to Abraham that day on the mountain, and many years later, the Voice who had become flesh, died for Isaac's sins on that very same spot! Abraham knew of that future sacrifice, and it's efficacy to appease God!

David, the man after God's own heart, confessed his numerous and great sins:
Psalm 51:3 (ESV) "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me... 14  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips,  and my mouth will declare your praise."
It was not just as David had never sinned; it was that David sinned and was forgiven. His sin was always before him, although God delivered him from his bloodguiltiness.  In other words God justified him because of his repentance, and as a result David praised him. If it was not just as if he never sinned, then he would have no reason for thanksgiving; it was as if he sinned and God forgave him. David would never acted as if his sins never happened.

God blotted them out though. That is what justification is! Because God is appeased with repentance, he totally forgives.
Acts 3:18 (ESV)  "But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,..."
God worked the same way with the prophets (and David) as he does with us. Because of repentance he blotted out their sins and ours, and on top of that, it was always be the blood of Jesus, not of animals!
Hebrews 10:4  (ESV) "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."
With Abraham and David, justification was never by the blood of those animals which were sacrificed, but they only pointed toward the blood of Jesus, the only effective sacrifice. The animal was only a demonstration of faith in the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ! When those animals died, the prophets saw Jesus! Those past sins mentioned in Romans were also for the sins of the prophets and other patriarchs.

All those sins of the patriarchs are mentioned in the New Testament; they are not as if they never happened. It's as if they did happen, but were forgiven and no longer on the account in the book of life. Even in days past God kept a ledger.
Exodus 32:32 (ESV) "'But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.' 33 But the Lord said to Moses, 'Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book.'"
The book spoken of here is the Book of Sins in the New Testament. It's the record of all our sins. When each sin occurs it is written in God's book. When those sins are forgiven by appeasing God with our confession, God blots them out of the Book of Sins. As such God forgets them because he no longer holds them before you, but there is no place in scripture that says that you should forget them! We should put them behind us by not dwelling on them, but to act as if they never happened is to minimize God's grace.

Acting as if you never sinned devalues God's gift as cheap grace. We must never act as if our sins never happened, even though God blots them out. The blood (ink) which covered them in the book can still be seen, and it is as if the sins did happen, but were forgiven,