How can I be forgiven ?

“Forgive and forget” is how the old saying goes. But is it that simple ?

A boy who was dumped by his girlfriend says, “She really hurt my feelings. How can I ever forgive her for what she did to me ?”

A girl whose father sexually abused her for years asks, “Why should I forgive him for that ?”

The drug dealer who wants to turn his life around wonders, “Will God really forgive me for all I have done ?”

How do we forgive others who have wronged us? How do we accept God’s forgiveness ?

The real need for forgiveness
God hates sin; He cannot stand to look at its ugliness. Therefore, unconfessed sinin our lives comes between us and damages our relationship with the Lord.
“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, or his ear too dull to hear, but your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that He will not hear.
(Isaiah 59:1-2)

Not only does unforgiveness come between us and God, it also breaks our relationships with others.
“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” (Proverbs 17:9)

The requirements for forgiveness
Because God hates sin, the price for forgiveness is high. Scripture gives the following requirements for forgiveness:

Sacrifice: Hebrews 9:22 says that “without the shedding of Blood, there is no forgiveness.” In the Old Testament, a sacrifice of an unblemished lamb was required to satisfy God’s wrath. Jesus, the sinless Son of God, died on the cross and became the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Jesus bought our forgiveness when he died on the cross.
“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteousfor the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” (1Peter 3:18)

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Forgiveness of others: Another requirement for forgiveness of sins in that we forgive others. 1Corinthians 13:5 says that “real love keeps no record of wrongs.” Remember that Proverbs 17:9 tells us that a real friend will forgive. God has also made forgiving others a requirement for receiving His forgiveness.
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Confession of sin: We must admit our sins to God if our relationship with Him is to be restored completely. Looking back at the real need for forgiveness, we see that unconfessed sin can separate us in our relationship with God. Confession is the way to restore that relationship with the Lord, remembering that it is for our own benefit that we confess to return to the Lord because He is faithful even when we are not (2Timothy 2:13).

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9)

Repentance: We must decide to change, to turn from our sins.

“Therefore this is what the Lord says, ‘If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me.’”
(Jeremiah 15:19a)

The results of forgiveness
The Bible promises the following benefits of God’s forgiveness:

Happiness. When we know God’s forgiveness, we are blessed (happy).
“Blessed (happy) is he whose transgressions are forgiven, who sins are covered. Blessed (happy) is the man whose sin the Lord doesn’t count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”
(Psalm 32:1-2)

God chooses not to hold our sins against us; Another result of forgiveness is that God doesn’t keep a record of our sins, He does not hold them against us. Because the blood of Christ covered our sins, God chooses to put them out of His mind.
“I, even I, am he who blotsout your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25).

God removes our sin from us.“It is possible for the Lord to look at us without seeing our sins because when he forgave us, he removed our sins as far as the east is from the west” ( Psalm 103:12)

We can forgive ourselves: When we are forgiven, we can forgive ourselves and go on with our lives.
“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 3:13,14)

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How do I know I have found true Love ?

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1Corinthians 13:4-8)

This verse describes the characteristics of true love. These qualities can certainly be found in the person of Jesus Christ, and they can be found in all truly loving relationships. The problem with trying to “find” love in our dating lives, is that too often we don’t look for these characteristics. Rather we look at physical appearance, popularity, or wealth. These are not the qualities that God looks at and neither should we.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “…The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1Samuel 16:7)

Love is best seen as devotion and action, not an emotion. Love is not exclusively based on how we feel. Certainly our emotions are involved, but they cannot be our only criteria for love. True devotion will always lead to action—true love.

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with ACTIONS and in truth.
(1John 3:18)

Christwas devoted to us enough to give his own lifefor us (Romans 5:8) even when he didn’t feel like it ( Matthew 26:39).

Sex isnot love! Our culture has taught us that sex and love are one in the same. This is a lie. Sex is a beautiful God-given activity that is wonderful when practiced within the boundaries of a Biblical marriage. Sex is the completion of the binding of two people within Biblical marriage; it is a God-given gift.

Pre-marital sex
Because premarital sex is not love, it only leads to pain and disappointment for those who are seeking that love. The Bible says that when two people are married, they become one flesh (Ephesians 5:31). Sex is consummation of that union. When two people break off their relationship after having sex, it is like ripping apart flesh. This is why two teenagerswill struggle so much and become so dependent on those they give their bodies to. In light of 1Corinthians 13:4-8 , it is easy to see that premarital sex is not patient, it is not kind, it does not protect, it is self-seeking. It is not love !

We can only identify true love and know when we have found it, based on the Word of God. When we match our relationships up to what the Bible says that love is, and we are honestly prepared to make a life-long commitmentto that person—then we can say that we are truly “in love.” The three keys to that statement are:

We have to…
1) look at the Word of God
2) be completely honestwith ourselves
3) understand the level of commitment that comes with true love

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Can Satan be saved ?

No, Satan cannot be saved. In order for him to be forgiven of his sins he must have an atonement.

His sins are against God. Therefore, it is God who is offended. It is the same with us. Our sins have offended God and we need a way to undo the offense. We need to have a way to make amends.

Biblically, this is done through atonement, where a death is involved ( Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22) to undo the death that is due us. God tells us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and that sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2).

For us, the atonement is the offering of Jesus on the cross (1Peter 2:24). But what is important to understand is that Jesus has two natures: divine and human. In other words, in the one person of Jesus are two natures, God and man. As God the Son, Jesus can offer a sacrifice that can appease God the Father. As a man, he can offer sacrifice on behalf of men. This is why we are able to be saved, because the atonement of Christ is offered on our behalf.

However, there is no atonement for the angelic realm.

Heb. 2.16-17, “For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.
17.Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Therefore, since the Bible tells us there is no help for angels, which means there is no atonement for them, then fallen angels, the devil included, cannot be saved.

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How Can There Be a Trinity, a Three-In-One God?

The Trinity is one of the great theological mysteries.

There are some who think that because we believe in monotheism, one God, we cannot accept the concept of the Trinity. Yet the Bible teaches that the Godhead consists of three divine Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each fully God, each showing fully the divine nature (Matthew 3:16-17).

The Father is the fountainhead of the Trinity, the Creator, the first cause. He is the primary thought, the concept of all that has been and will be created. Jesus said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17).

The Son is the “Logos” or expression of God – the “only begotten” of the Father. If you want to know what the Father is like, look at the Son. In John 14:9, Jesus said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” The Son of God is the agent of creation and our redeemer.

The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, proceeds from the Father and is worshiped and glorified together with the Father and the Son.

The Father, as prime mover, brings forth the creative thought. The Son, as agent of creation, expresses that thought. The Spirit activates the creative word and relates it to that which is created. He inspired the Scriptures and empowers God’s people. He takes the things of Jesus and brings them to our remembrance. John 16:8 tells us that He convicts the world “of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

All three Persons of the Godhead are eternal. The Father exists and has existed forever. With Him always existed His expression, the Son. Always the Father loved the Son, and the Son loved and served the Father. From that relationship of love arose the Spirit of God, who is eternal and has existed forever. There was, therefore, not a time when there was only the Father, then later the Son, and still later the Spirit. They all three have existed from before there was anything that could begin – three distinct Persons all functioning as One.

There are trinities in nature:
Light can be divided into three primary colors; yet light is one. A prism will reveal the individual colors separately that are unique yet unified. An example of a trinity in nature which is sometimes given erroneously to explain the Trinity is the transformation of water to steam or to ice. The problem with this illustration is that water becomes either steam or ice, but does not at the same time remain water. This type of thinking leads to a heresy called modalistic monarchianism, which maintains that the Father changes into the Son or into the Spirit – different modes of the same being but never the three beings at one time.

Upon the occasion of Jesus’ baptism, however, all three persons in the Trinity were present and active. The Father spoke from heaven, the Son was fulfilling all righteousness, and the Spirit descended upon the Son like a dove (Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22).

The existence of the Trinity is a mystery that one day we will understand clearly. For now, we know that the Bible teaches it and Jesus revealed it, and the Christian church from the beginning has confessed and safeguarded this precious truth.

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Jesus: was He a prophet ?

Prophets are presented in the Bible as having several functions.

First, prophets are spokesmen for God. When the people of Israel asked the prophet Samuel for a king, God told Samuel, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king”(1 Samuel 8:7). Samuel was responsible to relay the Word of God to the people of Israel, and God states that He was the source of Samuel’s authority and words. Thus, Samuel the prophet was God’s representative.

Many other passages in the Old Testament have statements such as “the word of the Lord came to. . .” indicating that the source of the message was God and not the prophet (2 Samuel 7:4; 2 Kings 20:4; Jeremiah 1:4; Ezekiel 3:16; opening verses of Hosea, Joel, Micah, Jonah, and Zephaniah).

Similarly, Jesus taught a heavenly message: “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me” (John 7:16). He also stated that He spoke “just what the Father has taught me” (John 8:28). In Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, He says, “I gave them the words you gave me” (John 17:8). Thus, Jesus clearly fulfilled the role of a prophet, as He was a spokesman for God.

The second primary function of a prophet in the Bible is what people commonly think of when they hear the term prophecy, and that is foretelling or predicting future events through divine revelation. Foretelling, though not the prophets’ most common task, is another form of their primary role. In speaking on God’s behalf, sometimes the message would include predicting the future. Jesus predicted the future when He told His disciples “that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matthew 16:21). This prophecy is recorded as fulfilled in all four Gospel accounts (Matthew 27-28; Mark 15-16; Luke 22-24; and John 18-20). Jesus also predicted that, shortly after His ascension, the disciples would receive power at the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Acts 2 records the fulfillment of the prophecy: the apostles received the Holy Spirit and spoke in languages they did not know to proclaim the gospel to at least fifteen different language groups present in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Thus, Jesus clearly fulfilled the role of a prophet, as He spoke predictively.

A third function of some of the prophets was healing and miracles. Moses performed many miracles, including parting the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21–22). Elijah performed a miracle when he called fire down from heaven to burn up a sacrifice (1 Kings 18:36–38). Elisha performed a miracle when he made the ax head float in the water (2 Kings 6:6).
All four Gospel accounts record Jesus performing many miracles and healings (Matthew 8:14–15; Mark 1:40–45; Luke 8:42–48; and John 6:16–21).

The title “prophet” is used many times in the Gospels when other people refer to Jesus (Matthew 21:11; Luke 7:16; John 4:19). Jesus also alluded to Himself as a prophet in Mark 6:4.
God had told Moses that someday He would send another prophet to Israel, “and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him” (Deuteronomy 18:18). Jesus was the prophet who fulfilled that prophecy (see Acts 3:22; 7:37). Jesus fulfills all the requirements for a prophet in title, word, and deed.

He is the ultimate prophet in that He is the very Word of God Himself (John 1:1).

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Is it right for a husband and wife to attend separate churches ?

A husband and a wife attending separate churches is a situation that is more common than one might think. It’s also common for the children of such a couple to be divided between the two churches, thereby creating a rift in the family that is never healthy.
In order to determine whether or not it is “wrong” for a husband and wife to attend separate churches, we must first look at marriage as a relationship instituted by God.

Genesis 2:24 tells us God created man and woman to become “one flesh” when they marry, not two separate beings who go their own separate ways. There is a unity in marriage which is unique and holy. Moreover, marriage is the picture of Christ and His church (believers) as described in Ephesians 5:31-32. The marriage covenant between a man and a woman is symbolic of the covenant between Christ and those for whom He died. It is an everlasting covenant and one that is holy and sacred, just as marriage is to be holy, sacred and unbroken. This unity of two people into one reaches its most sacred in the spiritual realm, where the two are to be of one mind regarding the basic doctrines of Christianity – God, Christ, sin, salvation, heaven/hell, etc. This unity of understanding through the ministry of the Holy Spirit unites a husband and wife in a bond unlike any other on earth.
While it’s possible for a husband and wife to have differing tastes as far as music, preaching or worship styles, children’s programs, etc., none of these things are significant enough to break up the family into two parts so they can attend different churches based on tastes. It is clear that if both churches are Bible-based and Christ-honoring, there is no reason why one spouse can’t bend a little and put his/her personal preferences aside. An even better alternative is for the couple to join together to seek a church where the Word of God is preached as the only guide for faith and practice, where the entire family can learn the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and where the family can fellowship with like-minded believers.
In this, the husband, as the spiritual head of the family, should take the lead and make the final decision, lovingly taking his wife’s input into consideration.

Sadly, the two-church family most often crops up in marriages where one spouse was raised Catholic and the other was raised in a Protestant denomination. In situations such as these, it would have been wise for the couple not to marry. Read article on: Should Christians of different denominations date or marry ?
If a marriage has already taken place, the couple should strive for spiritual unity. Two people entrenched in their different doctrinal positions often find it very difficult to compromise and reconcile, but with God, all things are possible. A couple in such a situation may be forced to attend different churches, especially if one or both spouses consider the other spouse’s beliefs to be unbiblical. In such a situation, both spouses should commit to praying that truth be revealed and spiritual unity be achieved.
These doctrinal conflicts must be resolved in a family before true unity can be achieved. A couple attending different churches must be willing to hold everything they are taught up to the light of Scripture and be ready to discard anything that is contradicted by the Bible. They must “test all things and hold fast to that which is true” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

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Marriage: what does the Bible say ?

The Bible records the creation of marriage in Genesis 2:23–24: “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

God created man and then made woman to complement him. In the Bible marriage is God’s “fix” for the fact that “it is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).
As the Bible describes the first marriage, it uses the word helper to identify Eve (Genesis 2:20). To “help” in this context means “to surround, to protect or aid.” God created Eve to come alongside Adam as his “other half,” to be his aid and his helper. The Bible says that marriage causes a man and woman to become “one flesh.” This oneness is manifested most fully in the physical union of sexual intimacy.

The New Testament adds a warning regarding this oneness: “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate”(Matthew 19:6).
Several of Paul’s epistles refer to marriage and how believers are to operate within the marriage relationship. One such passage is Ephesians 5:22–33. Studying this passage provides some key truths concerning what the Bible says marriage should be.

The Bible, in Ephesians 5, says a successful biblical marriage involves both the husband and the wife fulfilling certain roles: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior” (Ephesians 5:22–23). “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” ( Ephesians 5:25). “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:28–29). “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31).

When a believing husband and wife institute God’s principles of marriage in the Bible, a solid, healthy marriage results. A biblically based marriage keeps Christ as the head of the man and the wife together. The biblical concept of marriage involves a oneness between a husband and wife that pictures the oneness of Christ with His church.

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