The Unforgivable Sin

A while ago, I had prayed for a woman.  She had so much fear because as a little girl she had been told by an adult leader in a church that she had committed the unpardonable sin and would not be able to go to heaven.   What is even sadder though is both of my boys, unsuccessfully, had been taught about the unpardonable sin.  Thankfully this was after sharing my revelation of God’s great grace with both of them.  My youngest got in such a heated discussion with his “Christian studies teacher” that he had to be pulled out of the classroom.  For him he saw a God that would forgive everything and the way this teacher was explaining this scripture, in Mark 3:29-30, did not fit into how he saw and knew God.  So, today I want to bring clarity, hope, freedom and truth to this scripture that has, because of the way it has been taught for many years, hurt so many people.

Let me copy two different translations of this verse below one from the New King James Version (NKJV) and one from the Message.  My favorite is from the Message; yet many times this is taught from the NKJV.

“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter;  but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:28-30 NKJV)

“Listen to this carefully. I’m warning you. There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you persist in your slanders against God’s Holy Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives, sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.” He gave this warning because they were accusing him of being in league with Evil.” (Mark 3:28-30 MSG)

4B47B2E1-54F7-4733-87E5-EC144318724AWhat is even more interesting is the title in the NKJV which states this section is about THE UNPARDONABLE SIN.  Wow, and it looks just like that…..so this must be what it is about…..and it is….but not what we have been taught for years. (Yes, I said all that with a huge grin…because of the goodness of God).

I have written before about the importance of reading scripture in context, looking at the time period, who wrote it and whom it was written to.  It is just as important here.  At this time Jesus was healing and teaching around Galilee.  There were many people from other areas there with Him.  He had chosen His twelve disciples when all of a sudden scribes are proclaiming Jesus to have the prince of demons, Beelzebub, within Him.  Jesus teaches them in parable regarding how can a house divided against itself stand?  He then goes on to say in Mark 3:28 how ALL of the sins and blasphemes will be forgiven the sons of men.  It isn’t just a few sins but ALL; which means in Greek the totality of.  No sins left unforgiven.  It will all be accomplished, finished.  But then all of a sudden it sounds like Jesus is now retracting what He just said in the next sentences.  But He isn’t.

I looked up each word in the Greek in all three verses.  Specifically verses 28 and 29.  Here is the summation of what I looked up (to do your own research you can view the bible hub pages here: http://biblehub.com/text/mark/3-29.htm and http://biblehub.com/text/mark/3-30.htm):

Whoever refuses to acknowledge the good that has come from the union (remember Jesus is talking about Himself and the healing He has been performing by casting out unclean spirits) of the Holy Spirit, negates possession of forgiveness in this age, is legally bound or obligated eternally (both now and outside time) to sin’s results because they have concluded I possess a spirit which is adulterated(“a wrong mix’/tainted by sin). (Mark 3:29-30)

He is making it clear there is one condition that the son of man (yep, that is you and me)  must make to have ALL your sins forgiven.  The scribes had just concluded that the sinless lamb was full of sin.  So for them, unless they change their minds (yep that is repentance) and realize that Jesus is the Sinless One whom will take on all of the son of men’s sins, they are negating the ONLY way to possess forgiveness from God.

Jesus was already telling how and Who forgiveness would happen through.  How the one condition of faith in Who He is makes all the difference for the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.  It is simply the same simple message of faith, forgiveness and a Spotless Lamb that must be seen as spotless not just as a “good man”,  a “prophet” or a fake.  He was, is and will be the only real Spotless Lamb, born without sin, remained without sin for our good.

 

What Has Your Big Brother Done For You?

Maybe you don’t have a big brother in your family like me….yet I do have a Big Heavenly Brother, Jesus, and He has done a lot for all of us.

You may have been taught many times regarding the woman with the alabaster box, in Luke 7.  How she had poured out everything she had on Jesus; and while that is a beautiful teaching, as I read this story with fresh eyes the Lord woke something up in me that I want to share with you.  Let’s dig into this historical account about this nameless woman, called a sinner, whom had an interaction with Jesus which changed her life forever.
In the beginning of Luke 7, Jesus is invited to Simon’s house, a Pharisee.  Right before this invite He is talking about John the Baptist and says this: ““I tell you that among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than Yochanan the Immerser! Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he!”” ‭‭Luke ‭7:28‬ ‭(CJB)‬

What I find extremely interesting is this is exactly who Jesus ministers to…the least.  They are the people society deems less than through our human eyes.  Jesus did come to help the world see how His Father sees, among many other things He did. As Jesus traveled in those last three years of His life there is an emphasis in what He DOES which shows us just how important each individual is.  No one is higher or lower.  Everyone is on equal standing no matter wha they have done or not done and yet each of us is still uniquely made.  When we look at the historical life story of Jesus, within scripture, He healed the blind, lepers, woman and children.  Yet, to the many of the “well taught” men he was trying to heal their thinking.  He desired for them to repent, to see things differently and that had to start in the brain of these well taught “leaders” in the community.  It is the same within the story in Luke 7.  It is interesting that the least, within societies beliefs at that time, saw Jesus for Who He is; while those that would be considered greater had a much more difficult time seeing Who He is.

Let’s look at this account in Luke 7:36-50 (NASB)

“Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

Three things I took note of in this passage:

  1. “The definition in Greek of the word “love” used here is: 25-agapáo-With the believer agapáo (“to love”) means actively doing what the Lord prefers, with Him (His power and direction). True agapáo (“loving”) is always defined by God- a “discriminating affection which involves choice and selection”.  Properly, to prefer to love;….preeminently (above all) this refers to what God prefers as He “is love”.” biblehub.com
  2. Remembering faith is a gift from God.  See: It All Begins and Ends With Trust and Walk Confidently-It All Begins and Ends With Trust (Faith) (Part 2) for a greater understanding of how faith is a gift from God.
  3. What the woman did versus what she didn’t do.

As I put all three of the above things together while reading this account, I wept with the beauty and simplicity of Who God is and has been since the beginning.  In this story holds the simple yet glorious good news that Jesus had come to bring to all the people in this world He had created and loves so dearly.  The woman can be found in each one of us born from Adam; as we are born into sin (Psalm 51:1) and if you don’t believe this to be true you are deceiving yourselves (1 John 1:8).  I don’t know about you but I know I have had many sins, even after receiving God’s free gift.  Please remember we go from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). I also know that there is no way I could keep all of the Law as Jesus Christ has done for He has “upheld and upholds” the law (Torah) (1 Corinthians 9:21 and Galatians 6:2 CJB).  Because of this everyone should be able to relate to this woman, a sinner.  So what did this sinner do??  She loved (agapáo)!!!  Not just a mushy…oh I love you; but a preference, a personal selection, a free will choice showing good judgement and chose to follow IMG_1583the God given mustard seed of faith and trusted, believed in Who Jesus is.  She went and treated Him for Who she saw Him as, the King of kings.  The Pharisee, Simon, in this account did not.  Simon didn’t believe he needed much forgiveness.  He also believed He wasn’t in need of a Savior because he had the law to follow, his own performance that he relied on, and the yearly sacrifice for Israel-the Day of Atonement.  He was a Pharisee for goodness sake.  Yet, Jesus here told an important truth those that do not feel or think they have many sins love little.  Their reliance is more on themselves and their behavior and less on Him and what He desires to do for you.  Lastly, the woman did not go and beg Jesus to forgive her.  She did not speak all of her sins out and ask for forgiveness.  She actually did not utter a word to Him; she simply trusted in Who He is, and chose to believe Who He was in her heart and her actions showed her belief.  This faith is what saved her.  She boldly approached the throne of Grace, as a SINNER, and she simply from the heart believed in Who Jesus is and Jesus announced her faith (trust and belief) saved her.  Out of this faith, in Who Jesus is, came an act of agapáo (“loving”), an affection of choice and selection, a desire to love from and through Him, His strength that made her whole as Jesus said, “Your faith (belief, trust) has saved you, go in peace (wholeness).”  Her faith saved her, not her spotless record she tried to maintain but her faith.  Your faith saves you not your spotless record or your performance or your trying to act right.  Just your faith and out of this faith come these actions of agapáo.  This account happened before the Cross, before Jesus took all of the sins of the world upon Himself.  He was showing the “ones who were more influential in the world’s eyes” how their system of trying to follow the law could not be done nor would it ever bring the type of relationship that God, the Father, was desiring from the beginning: humans desiring , preferring , choosing and selecting Him out of our own free will.  He sent His Son to make the Way for us and all we have to do is agapáo- choose Him, just like the woman who walked in a sinner, broke her alabaster box and chose Jesus, believed in Who He is and walked out forgiven and whole.  There was no groveling but an active free will choice to choose Him, to believe in Who He is.

Jesus’ agapáo was
going to the Cross for us,
God’s agapáo was sending His Son
and then placing His wraith for the sin
humanity was due on His Son
and humanity’s agapáo
is to believe in Who He is

Because see He first chose you, us, the world.  He agapáo us.
Jesus’ agapáo was going to the Cross for us, God’s agapáo was sending His Son and then placing the wraith for sin humanity was due on His Son and humanity’s agapáo is to believe in Who He is.  This is the simplicity of the Good News: fully loved, fully chosen, fully selected, fully forgiven, fully righteous, fully reborn, fully live forever with God, fully whole.  This is how I see myself daily in the facts of all Jesus did for me on the Cross.   He does not want a groveling child but a child that is confident in what their Big Brother has done for them, what their Daddy did for them…living from that place of reassurance, embraced by the Holy Spirit our Helper…why not come join me in this safe place.

A Little of What…

The Lord has been speaking to me….

Enter Into His Rest

If at anytime you are reading scripture from the starting point, ” If I will….then God will….”then you are starting from the viewpoint of the Old Covenant and trying to fulfill the law.  I used to do this all the time, but not any more, thank God.  When Jesus came, He died on the Cross and He rose again, this changed history and created a New Covenant free gift offered to all people.  This covenant is similar to what He did for Abraham, but a million times better, in that it is a covenant of faith where God did and Abraham received because Abraham simply believed in Who God is and this belief was accounted to him as RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Today, in the New Covenant, we, as believers, are under GRACE not law. So, when we read scripture it is imperative we start at the right starting point.  In the New Covenant we start with:  Jesus did it all for all time.  Jesus bore all my sin, shame, sickness, disease on the Cross.  He fully took my place and the whole worlds place on the Cross.  He took the entire bulk of punishment upon His own body for all time and for all people.  As believers in Jesus, we have the astounding privilege to be part of His family and fully understand that God, through His Son has done everything for us and all we do is receive.  There are no strings attached to this. As a believer in Christ there is absolutely nothing you could ever do to lose it (except deny Who Jesus is; but then He is chasing after you). There is absolutely nothing you have to do; but just believe in Who God is and what Jesus did for you.  As it  says in 1 John 1:5-10:

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from ALL sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” NASB‬‬

Let’s look at this through New Covenant eyes: If we declare that we are sinners, that we truly need a Savior we are immediately walking in the Light with Jesus, we are cleansed from ALL sin. We just need to confess which means: “to acknowledge belief in”.  What are we acknowledging belief in?  The fact that we were all born into sin because of Adam and we are in need of saving.  Once we acknowledge this and believe that Christ died for us to be free from this sin nature, we are forgiven and cleansed from ALL unrighteousness.  Which means we are a new creation and fully righteous in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17&21).  The New Covenant is that simple. You do not imageneed to perform for God to stay in the Kingdom of Heaven because Jesus already has performed it all.  Do you need to keep confessing your “sin” so you can stay in good terms with God???–No, because we have already acknowledged that fact when we had faith or believed in Who Jesus was and Christ’s act with our faith, acknowledgement and acceptance of that free gift is what makes us on good terms with God; because the payment was paid in full by His Son for us. All of our iniquity, transgressions, and sin was nailed to the Cross for ALL time and were are righteous in Christ Jesus.  So, I challenge you to read the scripture above with the realization: this was written for non-believers to help them enter into the Truth of Who Jesus is and all that He did for them.  Next I also challenge you to read it from the right starting point: God through His Son finished it all for you and has done everything for you…now receive the Holy Spirit and enter into His rest as Hebrews 4:10 says:

“For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” NASB.

This is the message of the New Covenant, the message of Grace. The true gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you want to understand more about transgression, iniquity and sin read: Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4)

We Stand In the New Covenant

We have all been hurt and may have been told to forgive, “let it go”, move on, you haven’t forgiven, forgiveness is for you not the other person, and just say you forgive and all is good now. I think we have meant well when we have said these things but I don’t think we fully understand how forgiveness actually needs to occur. I now believe there is a process in forgiving or better yet a process to healing when someone has hurt you, when these hurtful circumstances are still on going, when someone refuses to admit they were wrong and apologize, or maybe they have apologized and you still can’t seem to move past it. As I have pondered this subject with the Lord, He has led me personally to John 20:23.

It is imperative for us to begin at the right starting point. I want to begin with the correct understanding of God in regards to forgiveness. So, I must start with something that I had misunderstood and I believe many in the church community may misunderstand. I was taught over the years of my Christian walk and have many times, in the past, used the scripture found in Matthew 6:14-15:  if you do not forgive you will not be forgiven by your Father in Heaven- to convince myself and others we needed to forgive someone. It was not a choice it was mandatory otherwise God couldn’t or wouldn’t forgive me the next time I failed. I was literally so afraid. I saw God as this big mean punisher ever expecting me to fail and then laughing at me for failing. I didn’t say this is how I saw Him but in the very belief system, my core values created this outlook of Him. Not only did I believe this but I made sure to let other people believe this. God had to show me what I said about Him and what I really believed didn’t line up together. Last year when God took me away for three days in a row this subject came up between He and I. I was questioning Him and He most certainly was answering. He told me I had the wrong perception of this scripture and I was shocked. I wanted to understand and He told me it was necessary to read scripture with the understanding: is it stated before or after the Cross. This statement was made by Him before He went to the Cross. What I came to realize is really just how much the Cross changed things and brought those that choose Jesus as their Lord and Savior into a New Covenant with Him. It doesn’t make this statement any less true, but it does make it impossible. Impossible you might say. Yes, truly impossible on my own. Truly impossible for us to be able to keep the law-which was the purpose of the law. Let me explain….Maybe it is just me, but I am pretty sure since I am human there are many others that might have run into the same circumstances….

Many years ago while my husband and I were dating, he had made a promise to me. This promise was one he did not or could not keep. Many of us have made this mistake. He had been sincere at heart with the promise and the reasons why he couldn’t or didn’t are so many and varied; yet it caused a rift in our relationship to the point where we broke off our dating relationship. One year later we saw one another again, started to talk and eleven months later we were married. This broken promise and the hurt that occurred after though was impacting our marriage because of me. I said I had forgiven him and he had asked for forgiveness but still there was a deep part in me that would not trust him completely. He worked hard at regaining my trust and I wanted to trust him and yes I know that forgiveness is one thing and trust is another….but I believe both take something Divine….Okay back to my story…I forgave every time I felt like I wasn’t trusting or was scared to trust. I forgave every time this situation came up in my memory. I got really good at saying I forgive again, and again, and again. Yet, it still came forward. I told God and myself, I don’t want to live the rest of my life like this and yet it lingered and impacted my marriage and my family. I struggled to open my heart and love freely. People had taught me to just say you forgive and it is done yet my heart was saying something entirely different. I was so frustrated with my lack or inability to let this go.

I want to pause my story there for a moment and look at the importance of John Chapter 20 and what the Lord revealed to me there. When I had written Conviction vs. Condemnation I had stated how important the Holy Spirit was and is. I think for many people we know the Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost like tongues of fire and the disciples spoke in many tongues. Many of us may forget what Jesus did when He first showed Himself to His disciples before the tongues of fire at Pentecost. Here let’s read:

So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” (John 20:19-23 NASB)

This is the same day Jesus rose from the dead; saw Mary Magdalene; ascended to His Father and our Father; and then came to His disciples. He speaks to them, “Peace be with you”. Yet, it was necessary for Him to show His hands and His side and then they knew Who He was and He again said Peace be with you and then reminded them their purpose had not changed from when He was on earth with them; but realize first He gave them peace (God’s gift of wholeness-to understand the fuller definition click here: How Much Do You Trust God?) then the purpose was given. The next thing He did was to breath on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” He filled them with life. This reminds me of when God, in Genesis, breathed the breath of life into Adam and Adam lived. Next Jesus states if you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven and if you retain they are retained. Wow…why that statement???  What I do need to clarify with the verb usage in this sentence is the first use of both forgive and retain are subjunctive mood verbs and the second set are indicative mood. This means the first shows a wish or a doubt where the second states a fact or asks a question. This does show the truth of the matter for ourselves personally and I believe answered a question battering around the disciples heads at that moment. Forgiveness was a large topic. The disciples asked how many times they should forgive. Jesus went and forgave people of their sins. I really think at this time the disciples wanted to be forgiven for abandoning Jesus, remember Peter said he would never abandon Jesus. They were mad at themselves and probably mad at all the people that had turned against Jesus and called out for Him to be crucified. They were probably mad at the religious elite and the government for their choice to have Jesus crucified. They may have even been mad at Jesus for leaving….And remember….Jesus had said forgive so that your Father in Heaven can forgive you…..uh oh!!! Can we do this as completely as He said we should. Will we ever know if we have done it well enough?!?!?!! OH NO!!!! First though He does something amazing He spoke peace (God’s wholeness) and then breathed the Holy Spirit into them…then He spoke about the topic of forgiveness– because Jesus always goes to the matter at hand, always in every situation we read in scripture. He knows what the disciples are in need of. Jesus knew and I am pretty sure by now the disciples also knew there was no way they could ever forgive on their own. This had been three days of hell on earth for them and Jesus knew they needed healing and they needed power that only He could give them so they could accomplish their mission. I really believe by know the disciples knew that to. They had come to the end of themselves after all that had happened the last three days. This is the New Covenant. Jesus came to them, they received Him for Who He is, they were made whole and filled with the Holy Spirit and then they are given choices knowing they have the very power they need within them to choose. So simple, yet so huge!

Now back to my story…See I had been doing this process all backwards. People had taught me, forgive, move forward then God would heal me and then I could move forward. But it was not working and I was frustrated. I don’t know if you noticed but there were a lot of “I” statements abounding in the process I had been taught as a Christian. I finally got to the end of myself. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t get it right and I was only frustrated and feeling unable to love anyone, even myself. I felt in a pickle. It wasn’t just from the one promise broken but I believe from many hurts over my life that had piled up and I would just choose to forgive and then God could/would heal me. But see we now live in the New Covenant, no longer in the Old Covenant.

In the Old Covenant it was “when I do the requirements then God will”. In the New Covenant it is “God has, is and will do in abundance and only through the power of the Holy Spirit living in me and through me can I then do”.

This truth was realized one morning, over a year ago, as I had come to the end of myself forgiving, forgiving, and forgiving. One morning I was telling Him–I want to love not because I have to but because I want to. Abba, Help me to love in all things You call me to. Then I heard a creaking noise and I asked what is that?? Immediately, I was in colorless forest with a still lake, it looked and felt like only one dimension. In this area was a door in the opening of a cave. It had rusty hinges and I was trying to open this door but I couldn’t. I simply turned to Jesus (who was smiling at me) and asked Him to help me. He came and helped me open the door. We walked through the door into what looked like a dark cave. Yet, Jesus lit up the whole cave and it was glittery inside-beautiful jewel like crystals on the walls and ceiling all different colors with Jesus lighting it up. I knew that what was inside this cave belonged outside in the forest and I said I don’t know how to get this out there, how can I get all of this out there, it needs to be out there. So, again I simply askedimg_0774 Jesus to help me and BOOM it exploded out into the black and white, one dimensional place inside me and I heard Him say, “No more hiding!”. My heart instantly felt alive and I knew He had healed me from years of pain. I knew forgiveness had occurred and years of pain were gone. In this experience I cried out for help. I knew I couldn’t open the door, I couldn’t get the color back on the outside, I couldn’t forgive, I couldn’t do anything in my own strength. But Jesus He did it all. It wasn’t the backwards way of I forgive then God…It was God did it all and then on top of doing it all He gives me the ability, strength and all that I need to choose what a daughter of the Most High God would naturally do. We can not get this backwards because it only backfires. In the New Covenant, just like when He first comes on the scene with His disciples, first Jesus does it all and we have a choice. Remember it is subjunctive mood first–if we wish or desire to forgive or retain then indicative mood second–surely as a fact the hurt will be released or held on to.

I simply live out of Him which is who I really am. A new creation in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

So, to finish my story….the healing that Jesus did led to my ability to forgive or send it away, gave me the ability to trust again and love. None of my ability though was in and of myself but only through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is what makes me a new creation with the ability to act or become like a daughter of the Most High God. I was finally able to move forward and what happened in the past did not rear it’s ugly head again and again like it had before…it was finished. So much so that I can’t even remember exactly what the promise was, in the sense that before I could remember word for word what the promise was and now I can’t. Only God can do something like that, not me.

As of late, I have been given the opportunity to forgive those that have hurt me, my family and my friends. I have learned to process with friends and ask God to heal me and help me to forgive. These opportunities are situations where there has been no reconciliation, no asking for forgiveness for the hurts said and done. So there is hope here too for those that may have similar circumstances. I have asked the Lord to help me love what is in front of me and for me to be able to do that, I have to go to Him and acknowledge I can’t heal myself nor can I forgive in my own strength. Sure these things have made me angry some things more than others. Yet, I do not want to retain these things. Retaining means living in the past not the present. I know what this feels like because for years I was trying in my own strength to forgive and then hoping God would heal me. But once I started at the right starting point which is knowing I fully stand in the New Covenant, God loves me no matter what, He has already forgiven me and He has wiped my slate clean; then it becomes very easy to go to Him and receive the abundance that His Son paid dearly for. I stopped relying on my strength and ability and came to Him for everything. What I do now is ask for His healing, know He is a just God, trust Him and move forward. Does this mean I trust these people? Of course not. When there is no desire for restoration or it is not a safe situation for restoration you do your part because it is imperative for me to go to God for healing and the ability to forgive and trust Him because I desire to love what is in front of me in the here and now. Is this my ability or strength to do any of this. Definitely not! It is the Holy Spirit working in me and through me to touch this world with the Kingdom of God. Am I perfect at this, certainly not…but I am going from glory to glory….much like Paul says in Galatians 2:15-18 when he confronts Peter:

“We Jews know that we have no advantage of birth over “non-Jewish sinners.” We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good. Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?) And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was “trying to be good,” I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.”(MSG)

‭‭The New Covenant is the first thing Jesus performed or enacted on this earth when He returned from ascending to His Father-our Father. He not only spoke it, He did it. In the New Covenant God took care of everything for us through His dearly loved Son’s obedience. This is where, as believers in Who Jesus Christ is, stand, solidly, firmly, freely, equipped and dearly loved by our Father in Heaven. I am so very thankful! 💜💜💜💜

 

Grace, Mercy, Mercy-Grace, What-What!?!?!!!

I saw a meme, you know one of those pictures with a statement on it, last night on Facebook. I had not heard of the word “meme” until a friend had messaged me asking if I had seen a “meme” with a particular statement on it. You know we say things sometimes without understanding the word and its context (possibly just like me above). I may think I understand the word meem because a friend of mine messaged me using the word meem and later I saw the word used on a picture: “social meme”. So, I figured that was what a meme was. Ahhhh, now I felt hip and it is much easier to say “meme” than “a picture with a statement in it”, lol! Here is the actual definition if you are curious:

  • activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet.[1] Some notable examples include posting a photo of people lying down in public places (called “planking”) and uploading a short video of people dancing to the Harlem Shake.

So the definition of meme was actually much more than what I had originally thought. Now I am able to use the word as it can be used in the varying ways it can be used.

Another word I feel needs a little cleaning off or better understanding is Grace.  I hear people say, “Oh I will give grace to so and so”. For me it sounds as though they are superior and are looking down upon the other person by giving them grace. But can we give them grace? Are we using the correct term? Have we misused a biblical word and twisted it to make it something it really isn’t? Have we added or subtracted from the original meaning? Let me explain….

First, I wanted to understand why I and maybe others could so easily confuse mercy and grace. I found it interesting that part of the “archaic” definition of grace is mercy or pardon. If you want to see the definition of grace click here: Merriam Webster dictionary. Archaically in the English language mercy was a part of grace. This combination though is only one way. When you look up mercy you do not find an archaic meaning of grace. Yet, in Greek and Hebrew there are definitely two different words conveying a specific meaning for each. I believe many times when people say we need to give grace to someone they are really meaning mercy. Here is the definition of mercy from Merriam-Webster:

1 a : compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power; also : lenient or compassionate treatment <begged for mercy> b : imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder

2 a : a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion  b : a fortunate circumstance <it was a mercy they found her before she froze>
3 : compassionate treatment of those in distress <works of mercy among the poor>
— mercy adjective — at the mercy of: wholly in the power of : with no way to protect oneself against.

Mercy is the Hebrew word chamai which means to spare.

Second, I wanted to know what is GRACE?! If you clicked on the link above you can see in entirety the definition of grace. Short version: it is about saying a prayer before a meal, behavior, polite, good manners, or the ability to move beautifully. We also have the archaic definition I mentioned above. Here is the Divine definition:

  • Unmerited, divine assistance given to humans for their sanctification and regeneration; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification coming from God.

Okay, I am in no way capable of this kind of grace giving. I am not Divine. God is. Note the words: regeneration, sanctification, and virtue coming from God.  Let’s look at some of my notes I have from bible hub.com regarding the word Grace in Greek and Hebrew:

Grace= xaris (Greek)= ‘extension towards’, ‘free gift’ undeserved favor. The core idea is God’s extension towards man, a favor or freely extending Himself to give Himself away to people. The idea is His favor/Grace is extending towards people because He is inclining/reaching because He is disposed to bless them.  This Greek word is closest to the Hebrew word kana=favor, grace, elegance, charming, pleases. Xarisma is where we get the word charisma. Xarisma means “Grace-gift”, the ability to carry out or Divine empowerment (hence the -ma suffix) to carry out God’s plans here on earth. The plural form xaristmata literally means ‘Grace endowments‘.

Please note I bolded disposed and endowments. These words stood out to me and I want to look closer at them. Disposed means “to give a tendency to”. Endowments are “free and natural provision”. The scripture the Lord has had me remembering is this one:

  • “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:13‬ ‭NASB‬‬

imageGrace (xaris)is multifaceted. It is bigger than what we have defined it as. It is the root of xarisma and xarismata. Meaning it contains so much more. We try to box Grace like we have tried to box God and since God is not boxable neither is the term Grace in the New Covenant. Grace is the New Covenant; Grace is what Jesus did at the Cross for us in the complete exchange; Grace is what we walk in right now in this moment knowing that the sacrifice Jesus made at the Cross was completed; Grace is the understanding that I am a new creation; Grace is free-I can’t do anything to earn it I just receive it; Grace is freedom; Grace is Jesus in me; Grace is me in Jesus; Grace is who I am now in Christ; Grace is all of His benefits; Grace is so difficult to define and fully understand that it has taken an entire New Testament to write about. We can narrow it down to just the gifts of the Spirit or just to Christ wiping away sin.

Yet, it is multicolored, multifaceted and we need to bring it out of the box and live in it.

Because of God’s Grace we are able to give favor, mercy, compassion, forgiveness which are wrapped up in the term Grace. The ability for us to do those things listed above comes because of God’s Grace.  Grace, the root word, comes from our Father in heaven through His Son Jesus which then births all the rest of the facets through and in us. Here is what the Lord brought to my attention that I didn’t know before that might illustrate this for you as it did for me:

The term “Eucharist” means: gratitude, from eucharistos grateful, from eu- + charizesthai to show favor, from charis favor, grace, gratitude; akin to Greek chairein to rejoice.

If you notice the word Grace is in the middle of the imageword Eucharist. Eucharist is another term for the Lord’s Supper when Jesus told His disciples that His body is the bread and His blood is the wine of the New Covenant (Matthew 26:26-29). We eat the bread and drink the juice/wine which represents His body and blood. We consume Him in remembrance of Him (1 Cor 11:25). He is Divine Grace in its fullness. His promises internally becoming one with us. What we do physically represents what He has done spiritually. We are to stand in the rememberance of ALL that He has done for us and in us. It is as real as the bread and juice we take in. It is the binding contract of Grace and salvation eternal that He performed all by Himself for us. Here is what biblehub.com states: this new covenant binds men to exercise Faith in Christ, and God promises them Grace and salvation eternal. This covenant Christ set up was ratified by undergoing death.

Grace is the New Covenant. Jesus brought Grace through His death and He brought eternal life through His resurrection=The New Covenant. Grace is what we believers walk in daily. We fully have received all of Christ and He fully took ALL of our sin at the Cross. It was a full exchange, period only done by faith. So we can walk in full assurance of who we are in Him. Again it is nothing we did to receive this beautiful multifaceted gift that abounds towards us, works in us and works through is in so many positive ways. But only because of Christ and all we do is believe, have faith in who He is, the Son of God, my Savior. Grab hold of all He did, trust Him, walk in all He did and as we simply keep moving forward in our relationship in Christ we naturally grow more like Christ as we understand more and more of Who He truly is. (Romans 5:1-11 read below)

IMG_0621When someone says they are giving grace to someone I believe it is really more mercy they are giving because it encompasses: compassion, forebearance, treatment of those in distress, need, in a bad spot, struggling etc; or maybe what they are trying to say is that they are forgiving freely (Greek-charizomai=Forgive freely-related to xaris). Either way mercy or forgiveness both come out of the root word Grace (xaris), which always points back to the Grace Jesus brought.

  • “By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!” ‭Romans‬ ‭5:1-11‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Have We Sold Indulgences, in Modern Times? (Part 1)

I absolutely love talking with fellow believers. I had a few conversations this weekend that have prompted some questions that I have laid before the Lord. When I do tackle writing out what I am currently processing with God, His Word, my husband and my close friends this once again is going to hit a chord within the “church community”. Yet, this is all to bring freedom to His Bride who He loves so dearly. Freedom to walk in who they are in Him.

The area I want to start out with (this subject that I will tackle will take a few blogs) is how we as people naturally take a word and put on extra meanings to it.  This is done by teaching the word to mean something it was never intended to mean. The definition becomes tainted or twisted and no longer means what it really means. Take for example the word repentance. This for me became taught as something it didn’t really mean yet the Lord uncovered the true meaning of it for me. I believe this has happened with other words and the new one that a good friend got me started on is the word “offense”.

Today, in this blog, all I am going to do is define the word offense according to Merriam-Webster dictionary:

1 a obsolete : an act of stumbling

b archaic : a cause or occasion of sin : stumbling block

2 : something that outrages the moral or physical senses

3 a : the act of attacking : assault

b : the means or method of attacking or of attempting to score

c : the offensive team or members of a team playing offensive positions

d : scoring ability

4 a : the act of displeasing or affronting

b : the state of being insulted or morally outraged <takes offense at the slightest criticism>

5 a : a breach of a moral or social code : sin, misdeed

b : an infraction of law; especially : misdemeanor

Friday night I went to sleep asking the Lord to help me understand this word, what does He want us to know and when I woke up the next morning, He said to me:

Darlene when you have “stood in the gap” to apologize for someone else’s behavior to “help or get someone” to forgive the offender is like when the Pope was selling indulgences to the people to free their family members from purgatory. He told me that it can not be done. The person that has done the offense must apologize.  In my heart, I repented (turned and saw things God’s way). I said Father I have done this so often and in my heart I was grieved and Jesus said, Darlene I’ve got this and reparations were already made when I said, ” It is Finished!”  And thus began a whole new way of seeing things that I have to convey in the next few blogs.

IMG_0585I understand if you look at this blog and say where are you going with these two terms: offense and forgiveness. This is just the start of my journey into what this means and what it looks like and how we will be better able to understand who we are in Christ. This subject will take a while to articulate as I have only begun to talk about it out loud. As I become better able to articulate it, I will be blogging about this subject. So come on this journey with me…..😊