Friday, November 09, 2012

Do You Honestly Believe God?

Is your God a liar?

     If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just 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.  (1 John 1:8-10)

Do you profess to be a Christian?  Do you confess to believe in Christ as your Savior?

Is your sin big enough to need a savior?  Or do you just need a little help?  Are you just needing a push in the right direction?

Those who truly look to Christ as their Savior do not have any little sins.

For example, the sin of praying is taken very seriously by one who truly trusts in Christ.

Do you understand what this means?  Do you understand why your praying is sinful?

According to this passage from John’s letter to those whom he identifies as his little children in the faith, if you imagine that your prayers are without sin, you deceive yourself and call God a liar.

Consider when you pray.  Let’s take the prayer that the Lord Jesus gave us to pray.  When you pray the Our Father, does your mind wander?

Do you pray this prayer perfectly with absolute and undivided attention to the Lord?

If you say that you do, then don’t even bother reading any farther.

But if you answer honestly, then this passage from the Scriptures will be received with great joy and thanksgiving in your heart, soul, and mind.

If you realize that even your best efforts at prayer and worship fall short and are of their own merit nothing but idolatry, then these words recorded by St. John will be wonderful words to you.  For these words are written for real sinners, of whom Isaiah and St. Paul declare that all of our righteousnesses are as bloody rags, corrupt and to be burned forever.  If your best deeds are such, then you will hear what the Holy Spirit is revealing in this text.

Here the grace of God is declared for us all to hear, that God, the faithful and just one, will forgive us our sins when we honestly acknowledge them so that we confess them.

It is a very sad matter that this text is usually proclaimed as though it were a cause and effect scenario, as though God forgives us because we confess our sins.  Most people hear this as though we must confess our sins in order for God to be willing to forgive us.  Most preachers proclaim this as though God forgives us because we humble ourselves and confess our sins.

The truth is far more wonderful!

The truth is that we confess our sins because God forgives us.  We confess our sins because God has declared us to be forgiven in Christ.  Thus, when we hear this wonderful good news and are converted by the Holy Spirit so that we believe it, we no longer are afraid to come to God.  Instead, we now acknowledge God’s forgiveness in Christ and come to God through Christ, confessing that we need to hear His holy absolution.  We hurt because of the knowledge of our sinfulness and we confess this to God who readily and lovingly declares to us yet again, “Yes, My Son has taken your sins so that they are no longer accounted to you.  Your sins have all been forgiven you even from eternity.  Go forth in the blessedness of this forgiveness.”

The Gospel teaches us that in Christ our sins are forgiven.  When we hear this, when we truly hear this, our hearts are changed.  We are regenerated from unbelievers to believers.  When we believe God, we cannot call Him a liar.  When we believe God and His gracious declaration in connection with Christ, we want to be baptized into Christ and to be made to be partakers of this Holy Communion of God in the body of Christ.  The Gospel works this in us.  Then we see that of our own thoughts, words, and deeds, we sin against God continually.  Knowing this, we come and confess our sins so that we can hear Him say again and again and again, “I forgive you.”

We need to hear this.  This is how God sets us free.  We come to Him with hearts burdened with sin and He divorces us of our sins.  He sends our sins away from us.

As we hear the truth concerning Jesus, we believe what He has accomplished for us.  Our natural response is to confess our need for His forgiveness.  His response is to declare it to us as often as we need to hear it.

God does not demand that if we want to be forgiven we must confess our sins.  Rather, He promises that when we confess our sins we will actually hear His forgiveness.

God promises that His forgiveness is purely by grace through faith.  If we insist that we must somehow make ourselves worthy first by believing or by inviting Him into our hearts or by confessing our sins, or by examining ourselves, or by anything else, we call Him a liar.  This is the opposite of believing Him.  This cuts us off from receiving His forgiveness.  This is not because He refuses to grant it, but because we refuse to receive it as it must be received, by grace, through faith, as an absolute gift, purchased and won for us by Christ and made available to us in Christ.

This knowledge of God’s honest proclamation of grace through faith is cause for everlasting thanksgiving or Eucharisting, which in essence is the very life of the Church.

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Unknown said...


"Comfort, comfort, My people," says YHWH. ... "All flesh is grass, and all its glory like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of YHWH stands firm forever."

What a contrast between the pure Creator, whose very existence infinitely exceeds his creation, even His highest creation; yes what a contrast it is to us whose earthly life is but that of withering grass and an expended flower. However, there stands His Word, firm and eternal. His Word spans the void between our deadly existence and His lively Being. The Word of life is the Source of life for we whose words cannot prevent or even slow our sinful and cursed decay. "Comfort;" the life creating and sustaining Word from the Timeless One, directed to men whose time runs out all too soon. "Comfort;" perfectly earned by Jesus, Son of God, and Son of Man, the One Person whose existence both perfectly bore the holy expectations of the Righteous One, and completely suffered the holy hatred against the human race in its entirety. "Comfort;" personally distributed by God the Spirit with Words that stand firm forever, Words written in His Holy Bible, Words hidden in water with which He washes away sinful guilt day by day, effecting forgiveness of sin, effecting His holy rescue from death and the devil, effecting for His child and heir the gift of salvation; and Words hidden in bread and wine, right where Jesus promised His True Body and Blood to be present, to be eaten and drunk, a very personal way set apart by Him, to individually come to each individual who eats and drinks, just as He said, to bless the one whose God-given confidence is in this nurturing promise, to bestow on such trust forgivness day by day (but on those who doubt or disbelieve, there is no such blessing).

Gary Cepek

Anonymous said...

Thanksgiving Doctrine
It is to my fellow Americans I speak. By birth the blessings of this country are bestowed upon us. Our Parents having died to ensure both those, and our God given rights. Let us not give lightly the thought of our future. We are endowed with a divine hope for the future. It is but tyranny alone that seeks to squander that hope and that future. We as Americans have never given in to tyranny, nor shall we start now. The abilities of the government come from the people which are governed. None shall give consent of persecution and discrimination, yet we find ourselves there with our current government. Dictating what had previously been enjoyed as choices, to the detriment of its citizenry. When lone oligarchs push through agendas denounced by its people, it seems fit for those now under the yoke of tyranny to rise up out of their binds and grab firm the right given us to replace or form new, a government that will not trample the path to despotism. Stand fast all my brethren who long to once more be free without the cursing of a bureacracy designed to shackle nor a judiciary with its wanton seizure of power. It is by the grace of our God and the muster of our own will, that a resolution of freedom will once again blanket this land for those who champion self determination over distant bodies of power whose only interest is maintaining their own influence. We must however, remain strong against the bitter winds ahead. They will try to turn us one against another, and they will march us to the fringes to silence us. Let us come together once again as Americans with a strong and united voice declaring liberty and self determination as our only vehicle of redress. It is not war we seek, nor hatred we want or have. Merely the opportunity afforded our ancestors to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without undue burden from those with the consent to govern. Let us look back on this as a time, when those of two differing philosophies of how government should fullfil its duty, were able to allow the other its chance for itself to seek its destiny. Those seeking liberty finding themselves with the providence to enjoy it.