Category Archives: forgiveness

UNFORGIVENESS — “One of the Best Weapons in My Arsenal!” (Satan) (2 Cor. 2:5-11)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now working our way through 2 Corinthians. Here’s my outline for several verses in chapter two:

UNFORGIVENESS — “One of the Best Weapons in My Arsenal!” (Satan) (2 Cor. 2:5-11)

What does it look like to be outwitted by Satan? When we make choices for our happiness that ruin our holiness, he wins. When we follow our own priorities and lose our passion for Christ, he wins. When we immerse ourselves in everything but God’s Word, he wins. When we live for our own comfort and choose not to risk anything for the gospel, he wins. When we settle only for what we can provide for ourselves and forget to pray, he wins. When we fudge the facts, turn away from honesty, and engage in lies black or white, he wins. When we are determined to keep a grudge going, to steadfastly refuse to forgive another, he wins.

In our passage this morning, the context is UNFORGIVENESS. The Corinthians had a lot to forgive, didn’t they? This man who was sleeping with his mother-in-law disgraced them. Now they needed to forgive him.

When we choose not to forgive, we have been outwitted by the Devil himself! He is somehow invested and involved in our conflicts — and unforgiveness is his primary goal. When unforgiveness is the result, love dies — and he wins.

Today’s challenge: Anyone you need to forgive? We are to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us (Col. 3:13). For the sake of God’s people, in the sight of Christ, choose to forgive that other person. Today. Right now.

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Posted by on May 24, 2020 in forgiveness


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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 5)

Colossians 3 presents the challenge that we should GET BUSY GETTING GODLY. Let’s look at the next two specific commands about the Christian life in this very aggressive chapter:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Today the two challenges are:
(1) Bear with one another, and
(2) Forgive one another.

How we get along with fellow believers is really critical. The world watches our relationships with one another. And how we treat one another affects our walk with the Lord. How can I be in intimate fellowship with Him if I am at odds with other believers? The idea that I can have a meaningful and productive walk with the Lord and internally or externally be fighting with others in the faith is greatly challenged by I John (see how often that book substitutes “the people of God” or “one another” for “Jesus” or “God.” Quite an interesting study).

Bearing with one another seems like the very least we can do, but requires a great deal of patience and strength from the Lord. The second command of forgiving is qualified as “forgive as the Lord forgave you.” That’s a lot more difficult than simply putting up with someone else!

HOW has the Lord forgiven you? Show that same forgiveness to another brother or sister in Christ today!



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Posted by on June 10, 2019 in forgiveness


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Some Thoughts on Forgiveness (Part 3)

We are thinking about the topic of forgiveness.  One of the workshops I will be Screenshot 2016-03-22 05.31.56giving at Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference (May 26-28) is entitled “The Forgotten Virtue of Forgiveness.”

One of the many texts that have impacted me concerning forgiveness is found in Acts 26.  There we read:

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Let’s notice a couple of truths in this passage:
(1)  God promises to appoint Saul as a servant and witness for Him (v. 16).
(2) God promises to rescue Saul from his own people and the Gentiles (v. 17).
(3) God commissions Saul to go to the lost
      (a) to open their eyes and
      (b) to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God! (v. 18).
(4) God’s purpose in sending Saul is “so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (v. 18).
Now Saul’s call was unique, although all believers are commissioned to go into all the world and preach the gospel, right?  When we share the Good News about Jesus, we are seeking to open eyes and to turn others from darkness to light.  Why?  So they may receive forgiveness!
The pastor John MacArthur tells about how he is sometimes asked on airplanes Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 6.31.30 AMwhat he does.  He says,”I tell people how they can get their sins forgiven — are you interested?”
My prayer:  “Lord, help me to keep in focus my commission of rescuing others by Your grace.  Thank You for opening my eyes and forgiving me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”
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Posted by on May 10, 2016 in forgiveness


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Some Further Thoughts on Forgiveness (Part 2)

I am preparing several workshops for Screenshot 2016-03-22 05.31.56Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference which will be 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”; and (3) “Becoming Worldly Saints — An Evaluation of Michael Wittmer’s Needed Challenge.”

Let’s continue to consider the topic of forgiveness. I’ve gone through the various uses of the word forgiveness and forgive in the Scriptures.  Here are three truths that I have seen:

(1) Forgiveness is not a virtue — It is a commandment!  Forgiving others is not a good idea — God tells us to!  You might want to look up the following texts: Mt. 6:12, 14-15; 18:21, 35; Mk. 11:25;  Lk. 6:37; Lk. 11:4; Col. 3:13.  God’s forgiving us is intimately connected with whether or not we forgive others!

(2) Forgiveness from God is possible — We belong to a pardoning God! “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” (Micah 7).  Ps. 130:4- “With you there is forgiveness.”

(3) Forgiveness is not cheap!  It cost the Son of God His blood to procure forgiveness for us!   (Mt. 26:28; Heb. 9:22).  The Apostle tells us that “redemption is through His blood.”   And that expression is equated to the forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14).

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Posted by on May 8, 2016 in forgiveness


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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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Not Taking SIN Seriously!

Dr. John MacArthur tells the following story about someone he met on a flight.

How would you have responded to this man he sat next to?


1.  What, if anything, would you have done or said differently if you had been on that plane next to the Muslim man?FirefoxScreenSnapz503

2.  Would you ever use that line, “I tell people God will forgive their sins.  Are you interested?”?  Why or why not?

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Posted by on June 1, 2014 in forgiveness


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