Some Thoughts on Forgiveness (Part 1)


Again this year I have the privilege of presenting several workshops at Screenshot 2016-03-22 05.31.56Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference held in Dubuque, Iowa, May 26-28.  My three topics are entitled: (1) “None (or at least, Fewer) Dare Call It ‘Sin’: I Timothy on Homosexual Behavior”; (2) “The Forgotten Virtue of Forgiveness (I Timothy 1)”; and (3) “Becoming Worldly Saints — An Evaluation of Michael Wittmer’s Needed Challenge.”

Let’s think a bit this morning on the topic of forgiveness.  Are Christians always to forgive?  With or without the offending person apologizing?  When Jesus cried out on the cross “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing,” was He forgiving those who crucified Him?  Was He declaring that all people everywhere without exception are already forgiven of their sins by God (as some of my universalist friends say)?  Are forgiveness and restoration the same?  How does reconciliation relate to forgiveness?  What is genuine forgiveness and why is it so important?

I Timothy (the book we are studying at the “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference), although it does not use the word “forgiveness,” provides some insight into this important Christian virtue.   As he describes his own conversion, the Apostle Paul says he was “shown mercy” (1:13) and that “the grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly.”  Mercy and grace and two elements of genuine forgiveness: mercy >> withholding judgment and grace >> expressing kindness and favor toward another.  Paul later says that he was saved in order that God “might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”  Patience is difficult to show toward those who have offended or hurt us.  Immense patience is doubly hard!

One writer said, “I don’t mind forgiving and forgetting — It’s just that I don’t want the person I forgave to forget that he has been forgiven!”  Is there someone who immediately comes to your mind that you need to think about considering maybe forgiving?  (to be continued).

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Posted by on May 6, 2016 in forgiveness


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The Joy of Unit-Reading #49 (the Book of Hosea)

There is so much in the Word of God that I don’t understand.  In unit-reading through Hosea, I am deeply impressed with God’s love for His people — but also with His hatred of their sins and idolatry.  Here are my notes:

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My takeaway from this reading: The Lord is One who can tear His people to pieces that they might return to Him. I dare not ignore His power to do what He needs to do to bring me back to Himself!

My prayer: “Lord, there is much I don’t understand about this book of Hosea. But thank You for Your abiding love — and the discipline You use in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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Posted by on May 5, 2016 in unit-reading


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My Recent “Palm Sunday” Message: Who Is This Jesus to YOU?”


I recently preached this sermon at Southbrook Church.

Even though this was a Palm Sunday message, the primary point of the sermon is “Who Is This Jesus to You?”

Comments welcome . . .

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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in salvation


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The Joy of Unit-Reading #48 (the Book of Daniel)

How’s it going with your unit-reading?  This has been an exercise over the last few months to read at one sitting (= “unit-read”) all 65 of the 66 books of the Bible (the book of Psalms is not meant to be unit-read).  Today’s book is the Old Testament prophet Daniel.  Here are some of my notes:

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There is much that I don’t understand about the 2nd half of Daniel’s book!  But here’s my one takeaway:

The true God refuses to share His glory with the “gods” of the nations!  He alone is supreme and worthy of my praise — and He honors His people when they repent and turn to Him.

My prayer for today:  “O God of Daniel, thank You for how You used him and the three Jewish young men to testify of Your greatness.  Help me to stand strong for You, regardless of circumstances!  And give me opportunities to ‘lead many to righteousness.’  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

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Posted by on May 3, 2016 in unit-reading


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Time for Some Great Pictures (cell phone)

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 7.01.43 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 7.01.34 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 7.01.25 AMWhat principles guide you in your use of your smart phone?

How do we keep such technology from ruining, rather than encouraging, relationships?

Your comments?

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Posted by on May 2, 2016 in technology


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The Joy of Unit-Reading #47 (the book of Judges)

“JUDGE NOT — LEST YE BE JUDGED!”  That’s an oft-quoted saying in our epidemically-tolerant culture.  Well, a whole book of the Bible is devoted to the judges!  Here are my notes from unit-reading this great Old Testament book:

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Some of the issues that impress me in the book of Judges:

1. Having the Lord “with” us means much more than He is omnipresent. It implies His support, encouragement, and help.
2. This must be an extremely difficult book for my pacifist friends. God uses the enemy nations to teach warfare to His people Israel.
3. The story in Judges 19 reminds us of the event in Sodom and Gomorrah, doesn’t it?
4. It is clear that the “angel of the Lord” is the Lord Himself!
5. God is a God of compassion — He could bear Israel’s misery no longer (10:16).

My takeaway: If Jesus is my King, I don’t need to live my life as I see fit, but can willingly submit to Him!

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Posted by on May 1, 2016 in Uncategorized


Time for Some Great Quotes (G.K. Chesterton on Love and Christianity)

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Posted by on April 30, 2016 in G.K. Chesterton


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