29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. — Acts 5:29 NKJV
In Romans and other Scriptures we are taught to obey the laws of the land. We are also taught to respect the officials and to pray for those who rule over us. In today’s military, we are taught to obey all orders that are legal and moral. There are times when we, as Christians, have to make decisions about how far we can go in obeying others. Peter and the apostles did not need time to think about or pray about their decision. They had already decided that they should obey God rather than man. With this in mind, we should have already made a predetermined decision that when laws conflict with the Holy Scriptures, we will obey God and His word. From a temporary, worldly viewpoint, this can be a costly decision. We have brothers and sisters who are being persecuted, imprisoned, beaten and murdered because they refuse to deny Jesus as their Savior and Lord. There are youths of all ages that are beaten by their own parents and kicked out of their homes because they have converted to Christianity and refuse to turn back. Let us pray for them on a daily basis. The mantra of the persecuted Christians is “It is harder to live for Christ than it is to die for Him”‘ As our society grows more evil and violent, we must come to that same conclusion now before the pressure is really on. From an eternal, spiritual viewpoint, it is an easy decision to decide for the Lord.
7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. — Romans 14:7, 8 NKJV
25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. — Isaiah 43:25 NLT
God forgives us of our sins and chooses not to remember them or hold them against us. No where in the Bible are we instructed to “forgive and forget”. Like many sayings attributed to the Bible, this one is not in there. While it is a beautiful expression and idea, I am not sure that humans are capable of forgetting those transgressions, either the ones we have committed against God or those that have been committed against us. While we may not be capable of forgetting, we are charged over and over with the responsibility of forgiving. That we can do, because it is an act of the will, it is a decision that we make. God has certainly told us that His forgiveness of our sins requires us to forgive others
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. — Eph. 4:32
There are many other verses emphasizing the fact that we must forgive. These verses also show us how our relationship with the Father is affected by a lack of forgiveness. (Matt. 6:15) They also show us how a lack of forgiveness causes us to become bitter (Hebrews 12) and how unforgiveness will cause us to lose our reward (2 John).
The “forgetting” part means that we should be so sure and certain about our decision to forigve that the transgression no longer affects our relationship with the person committing the act. It is no longer a part of any discussion we have or any decision that we make. It means that just as God has justified our standing with Him, we do the same for the transgressor. It is as if we had “forgotten” or as if that incident had never happened.
Notice in the passage from Isaiah that God said He would forgive them for His sake which indicates there are some good things that come to those who do the forgiving as well as to those who are forgiven. So, if for no other reason, we need to forgive for our own sake.
41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.” 43 So the crowd was divided in their opinion about him. 44 And some wanted him arrested, but no one touched him. 45 The Temple guards who had been sent to arrest him returned to the leading priests and Pharisees. “Why didn’t you bring him in?” they demanded. 46 “We have never heard anyone talk like this!” the guards responded..—John 7:41-46 (NLT)
Although Jesus spent a lot of time in Galilee, He had fulfilled the prophecy by being born in Bethlehem, as well as being born in the lineage of King David. While the crowd continued to discuss whether or not Jesus was the Messiah, the leaders and the Pharisees sent the temple guards to arrest Jesus. They wanted to silence Him because more and more people were beginning to believe His story. But the guards came back empty-handed. When they were questioned as to why they had not arrested Jesus, their reply was that they “had never heard anyone talk like this”. The guards had been touched by the words that Jesus spoke, so much so, that they refused to follow the orders they had been given. The Temple guards, which were the ones that the leaders and Pharisees commanded, were Jewish.They realized that this man was different from any they had heard speak. They would also have been familiar with the Old Testament and would have known about the powerful prophets, such as Moses, Elijah, Isaiah and others. Still, nothing they had heard affected them like the words of Jesus. The words were so powerful, it required them to make a difficult decision.
It is still the same today, when the name of Jesus is mentioned, we have to make a decision. It is “I accept” or it is “I reject”. There is no middle ground.
11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”–Acts 4:11, 12 (NLT)
What decision have you made? Who do you say Jesus is?
8 Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
God is waiting to show you the Way.
9 Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, 10 so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” 11 But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” 12 “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded. 13 The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. 14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” 15 Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.—-John 5:8-15 (NLT)
This amazing story gets even more amazing. Notice that this man doesn’t even know who Jesus is, he doesn’t ask Jesus to heal him, and there is no mention of faith at all. This is a real oddity, a completely different perspective from the time that Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has made you whole.” Why did Jesus choose to heal this man in this way? This is a great demonstration of God’s mercy and grace. God sent Jesus to find this man, just as He sends the Holy Spirit to find us today. This man didn’t deserve to be healed any more or less than we deserve to be saved today. Yet, God, because of His great love for us, healed and saved this man, just as He saves and heals us today. Jesus is telling us the same thing that he told this man, “stop sinning”. Our response should be the same as this man that Jesus healed, we should go and tell others how we were saved, The message is simple, yet powerful! “It was Jesus.”. The Name above all names! The Name that requires a decision every time it is spoken. “What will you do with Jesus”?
16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. 17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” —John 4:16-18 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Jesus makes a statement that leads to this woman speaking the truth about her situation. When we encounter Jesus, we are brought immediately to the point of truth. Jesus knows the truth about each of us. There is never a chance encounter with Jesus. Each one is planned to bring us face to face with the truth about ourselves. To receive salvation, each of us must admit that we have sinned and need forgiveness. Just as this woman realized that Jesus was more than a mere stranger, we must realize that Jesus is different from anyone we have ever encountered. Every meeting with Jesus requires us to make a decision. When a non-believer meets Jesus, their decision will leave them one step closer to hell or take them all the way to heaven.
45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. 47 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” 48 “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” 49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”—John 1: 45-51 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Each of us must come to Jesus for ourselves. No one else can do this for us. Parents and Grandparents, regardless of how much they love and pray, cannot make this decision for you. It is personal and it is eternal. Just as Jesus knew Nathanael before He came to Jesus, so He knew each of us before we came to Him. He knows us at our very worst, He knows our unkind thoughts. No matter how sinful or how ugly it is, Jesus knows all about it but He still loves us. He is waiting with open arms to receive us. If you haven’t truly accepted Him as your Savior and Lord, then, please, “Come and See for Yourself”. Once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you will never be alone again.
4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. 7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.–1 John 3:4-10 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
A child of God is anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. When we do that, our sins are forgiven and we become a new creation. We are filled with God’s light and where there is light, there can be no darkness. Does this mean that if we sin or fail that we are no longer God’s children? Not at all, each of us will fail at times. The question is not about a single sin, but a lifestyle of sin. If our salvation experience does not change our lifestyle then we need to question whether it was a real life-changing event or merely an emotional experience that we had. Don’t be deceived, God is faithful and just. Getting saved is a rational, logical experience. There may be emotions and feelings involved, but the true experience is a decision that we make to trust our souls and our future to Jesus. If we have done this, then there will be changes in our lifestyle. Some immediately, some as we mature in our walk with Christ. Our lives will bear the fruit of the Spirit.