Let’s not insult our God, Jesus, the Spirit of Grace, by thinking that our apology is some form of sacrifice for our sins.
There no longer remains a sacrifice for sin; Jesus did it ALL and the sin issue is over.
Why would you ASK Him for forgiveness, when He’s already GIVEN it to you?
“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins . . . How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of Grace?” (Hebrews 10:26 & 29)
Wow! Huh? It’s THAT big of a deal to our God. The sin issue is OVER. Let’s move forward and move into a life of faith, and trust, and rest. Leave the sin issue behind you forever, where it belongs, at the foot of the Cross.
The meaning of the gospel, the good news, is that Jesus Christ has finished the work of forgiveness. Because of the gospel, you are a forgiven person.
We heard the gospel message and we responded with faith: we believed in, relied on and put our trust in the gospel. Immediately, we were made into a new creation. We were born again!
We have not only received a second birth, but we have also been given a new identity. Our new identity is that of a forgiven person.
It is uncommon for a believer to understand this in the beginning of their new life with Jesus. Most of us spent years wandering in the wilderness of “works” trying to get forgiven. We spent years asking Him to forgive us; we continually repented and rededicated ourselves to a life of obedience.
But hopefully, by now, you have been set free from the legalistic way of life and have been set free from a religious mindset. Hopefully you have left behind the ‘wandering in the wilderness’ and have come to lie down in the green pastures of the Promised Land of Rest.
The book of Hebrews talks about this promised rest. The author tells us that there remains a rest, a Sabbath rest, for the people of God.
“For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God."
This rest occurs when we stop trying to get forgiven. You will find rest when you let go of that cursed life of wandering in circles in the wilderness of religion, of legalism, of Churchianity, of works-righteousness, or whatever you want to call it!
We enter His rest when we come to understand the true meaning of the gospel: that we are forgiven people.
Trust that Jesus has finished His work through His death, His burial and His resurrection: through the gospel. The work is finished, and He is RESTING!
Since God is resting, we may enter His rest as well.
For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
P.S.: for more on this topic of forgiveness, please listen to this excellent audio series by Aaron Budjen of Living God Ministries.
Forgive me, Father, I have sinned; it has been four months since my last blog post.
Just kidding! . . . About the asking for forgiveness part. Not kidding that it’s been four months since I’ve written anything here. My personal life has been overwhelming and consuming and causing much anxiety — a ‘down-cast heart.’ I have simply not had the energy to blog.
But God is active and living and He is ever-present, dwelling in my innermost being, as I live through the storms of life. Though the world may slay me, yet will I praise Him.
So, getting to the point, must faith be accompanied by works? . . . Of course not! We are saved by grace through faith, and we are sustained each and every day by His grace through our faith; through our trust in Him; our resting in the work He has already accomplished.
But what about the book of James?
But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? (James 2:20, NASB)
No, sorry. He got that part wrong. Faith is it. Sola fide. We are justified by faith alone.
(Am I the only one who just gets pissed off when they read the book of James?)
The five chapters of the book of James are filled with things we must do. There is not one mention of the death or resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. No mention of the divinity of Jesus. No mention of our forgiveness or justification by faith. James believes we are justified by works.
You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24, NASB)
Did you know that the book of James was ABSENT from the first list of New Testament books known as the Muratorian Fragment. James’ epistle was not confirmed as a book of the Bible, included in the canon of the New Testament, until the fourth century A.D.! James was added to the Bible in AD 367, after the creation of Roman Catholicism!
Yet there is an excellent argument to be made concerning the fact that including the book of James in the Bible is important because it illustrates the differences between Paul and James, between a life of faith and a life of works. (Click here for a Bible Study by Living God Ministries on that topic.)
Sure James makes some good points, such as “if you stumble at one part of the Law of Moses, you are guilty of the entire thing.” But, mainly, when I read the book of James, I think, “Man, he’s a raging legalist!”
I’m thankful that I have been set free from a life of works. I am thankful to live a life of freedom in Christ Jesus; a life where I am free to walk in the Spirit, and live each day according to the Law of the Spirit of Life, and not according to the Law of Sin and death.
. . . I’m also thankful that I had the self control to NOT title this blog, “You know, James really pisses me off!!!” (And that, instead, all you got was an angry cat photo.)