Hi to my Forum Friends,
Today, a young lady who is a close Christian Friend and a sister in Christ wrote on Facebook, "You know what? I have decided to not let ugly, judgmental hearts get to me. The Bible tells me that when I repent of my sin, I am forgiven, and it is washed away -- I am untainted. No one can tell me otherwise.
Ezekiel 33:12-16 tells us that, if a wicked man repents, he will no longer face the condemnation of his sins. Therefore, it is unbiblical to say that a sin I have repented of -- still has active consequences, sent by God, that I will reap today."
My Friend, the difference between forgiveness of sin under the Law and forgiveness of sin under Grace - is that, under the Law, the forgiveness of sin was past and present - but, not future. But, under Grace, the precious blood of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross that "ALL who believe" shall have eternal life (John 3:16) -- covers all the sins (past, present, and future) of the believer, who is but a "forgiven sinner." Hebrews 10:11-18 explains this well -- "He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time. . ." (Hebrews 10:12) -- "For by one offering He has perfected FOR ALL TIME those who are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14). (Emphasis in caps is mine)
Although, in this life, we will always be only "forgiven sinners" -- He has paid the "full price" and purchased our pardon -- forever. When we do sin, we confess and ask His forgiveness. Why do we do this? We need to recognize our own failings, our own sins, and know where and when we have failed Him.
Is our confession for His sake -- or for ours? He knows what we have done; He knows all we have done or will ever do. Our confession is so that WE can and will recognize what we have done - so that we can ask for greater strength to help us not repeat this offense, or these offenses, in the future. But, regardless of our failures, regardless of our weaknesses -- we who are believers ARE children of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:16-17) -- and no one can snatch us from His hands (John 10:28-29).
Then, my Sister in Christ wrote, "Recently I was told that all the struggles I am facing right now are the result of a sin I committed and repented of last year -- that its a consequence of that sin."
If you have studied the book of Job -- you will find that Job's three old friends, and his young know-it-all friend, all told him the same thing, that his troubles were a consequence of unrepented sin -- even though Job was a man of God. Yes, Job lost all his material wealth, he lost all his children, and all he was left with was a nagging wife and friends who tried to dump ashes on him.
But, we read in Job 42:10, "The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold." This verse, and this lesson, have stayed in my heart for many years. I pray it speaks to you as well.
Are there consequences of our sins? Yes, there are three consequences of sin.
First, is the physical. If, in your sin, you do physical harm to your body, i.e., lose an arm, leg, an eye, etc. -- that consequence will stay with you even after God has forgiven you. You may ask God's forgiveness -- but, if this sin caused you to lose an arm -- you will be a one-armed "forgiven sinner" throughout this mortal life.
Second, is the civil consequences of our sins. No matter what sin a person has committed, no matter how contemptible -- God will forgive the person who sincerely seeks Him and His forgiveness. However, if our sin caused us to break a civil law -- we still have to "pay the piper" to civil authorities.
A fantastic example is the work of my long time dear Friend, Mommy Olga Robertson, who has spent most of her adult life ministering to those incarcerated in prisons in the Philippines. For about fifty years, Mommy Olga, brought the love of Jesus Christ to prisoners throughout the prison population -- from minor offenders to those on death row. She led many of the prisoners to Christ; even those on death row. In her book "The Men in My Life" -- she tells of men who had committed horrible crimes and were sentenced to death.
Those men who became followers of Jesus Christ went to their execution with an excitement -- KNOWING that after that short pain of the execution -- they would be in the eternal presence of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, they had to pay the civil consequences of their crimes -- but, they had the joy of knowing they were "forgiven sinners" in the most important court -- the throne room of God. They died with a smile on their faces and anticipation in their hearts.
Below are excerpts from articles which tell more about the life and work of this amazing woman of God:
Olga Robertson: Setting Prisoners Free Through Christ
Olga has not only been sharing the Gospel and training disciples and pastors these many years, she has also lived amidst prison employees and prisoners’ families on the “reservation” just outside the national penitentiary in Manila, even adopting a prisoner’s child when she was 60 years old. Shalom Nathan, who is now 22 years old, says his mother spoils the prisoners. When asked if this is a good thing, he smiles and gives the thumbs up.
Olga has countless stories to tell of hardened criminals being transformed by the love of Christ.
Not long ago, a young woman, Anna Jose, was introduced to Olga’s autobiography, The Men in My Life, in a Sunday school class. The book includes the story of the three rapists. Anna told the Sunday school teacher that she was the product of one of those rapes. When Olga was introduced to Anna, she comforted the young woman with the assurance that her father had repented of his sins and would one day be there to meet her in heaven -- where their shared history of sorrow and shame would be forever turned to joy.
Rally For Jesus Holds Evangelical Outreach In Muntinlupa, Philippines
By Dan Wooding, ASSIST News Service (ANS) – www.assistnews.net
Thursday, January 27, 2011 http://rallyforjesus.com/news
Rally for Jesus Holds Evangelical Outreach in Muntinlupa, Philippines: Event is supported by Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and Philippine Missionary "Mommie Olga" Robertson
“Mommie Olga,” who is 85 years old and is of Lebanese decent, has been a missionary to the Philippines for more than 53 years. She has sent a warm greeting to all wishing she was with them this day.
Her ministry of sharing the love of Jesus Christ within New Bilibid maximum security prison was described in her book, “The Men in My Life.” By God’s grace she has reached thousands of hardened criminals and gang members for the Gospel and tells of these criminals being transformed by the love of Christ.
My wife, Dory, and I have had the personal blessing of having Mommy Olga Robertson and her son, Shalom Nate, as our Friends for about twenty years. We have attended Bible studies and worship services with them -- and, I have treasured her book “The Men in My Life” in my personal library for many years.
About eight years ago, I gave my copy to a long time Friend to whom I had been witnessing. He had cancer, thought he was okay spiritually because he was an extremely good and warm hearted husband, father, grandfather, and friend. In other words, he trusted in his good works to give him salvation. One of the books I gave him in my attempt to share with him was Mommy Olga's book.
As much as I treasured that book; I treasured my Friend's eternal life even more. So, I gave it to him. He died about three years ago -- and when I was talking with Mommy Olga, I told her that I had given my copy of her book to him and that I prayed that her testimony in this book helped lead my dear Friend to look past his works and look to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
For now, I do not know -- but, one day when I get there -- I pray that my Friend, Bob, is there with his perpetual smile and funny one-liner jokes, standing beside Jesus Christ, to greet me.
When I told Mommy Olga that I had given away my copy of her book -- she sent me a new copy. Praise God.
If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy, I can put you in touch with Mommy Olga's daughter, Kay, who will help you.
The third consequence of our sins is the most important -- spiritual. I started to write, "When I was a non-believer. . ." -- but, that is not quite true. I cannot remember a time when I did not believe, intellectually, in God and in Jesus Christ as His Son. I believed He is God, I believed Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal salvation -- but, I stopped short of opening the door of my heart and asking Him to come in and be my Best Friend (Revelation 3:20).
For most of my life, I was standing by the door -- but, I never opened the door until I was fifty years old. And, because God gave us "free will" -- He will not open the door, He will not force His way into our hearts. But, the moment I, or anyone, will open that door, He will take our hand, dine with us, and will forevermore be our Best Friend.
In doing this, in this hesitation, I was like the people described by the apostle Paul in Hebrews 6. Paul tells us, "Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ -- let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God" (Hebrews 6:1).
I was still in "elementary school" like the people Paul was addressing in Hebrews 6 -- knowing about God, but, not personally knowing God -- always stopping short, hand on the door knob -- but, never opening the door.
Hebrews 6:4-6, "For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away. . ."
Paul is not speaking of believers who have fallen away. He is speaking of people like I was most of my life -- almost there, but never quite willing to go all the way.
Yes, that Hebrew passage describes me. Starting in my Alabama home town of Sheffield as a teenager, I had heard the Gospel, had tasted the "heavenly gift and the good Word of God" -- but, never took that final step and invited Him into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior.
Why? Because I was still a slave of the world. The world and all that it offered -- fun, good times, material wealth, pleasure -- was my god. I knew about God -- but, I did not know God. So, I spent many years of my life, wanting to know God, but, also wanting my worldly pleasures. How to reconcile the two? I know, find a church which will assure me there is no hell. If there is no hell; then, I can live like hell all week, go to church on Sunday -- and be on God's team. Wrong!
Yet, I did find a Chaplain in the Air Force, from a major liberal reform denomination, who assured me that hell was only a myth. Praise God! Now, I could have God and the world -- and not have to worry about hell.
And, that, my Friends, is the danger of the "Feel Good" churches and their skewed teachings.
So, to my dear Sister in Christ who wrote on Facebook and started me on this journey of sharing my love of Christ -- yes, there will always be physical and civil consequences of our sins that we cannot change in this mortal life. But, the most important is the spiritual -- and knowing you I am comfortable in saying to you, "God is not going to punish you, or any believer, for sins He has already forgiven. And, that includes past, present, and future sins. Personally, I have no doubt you are a child of God and I look forward to spending eternity in the presence of God with you."
If this dialogue has been helpful to you, please feel free to share it with your Friends, Relatives, Associates, and Neighbors -- all your FRANs. Let's keep sharing the love, the forgiveness, the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all the world -- until He returns.
God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,