July 21, 2014 by Joe Stowell
How do you react when you find yourself “stuck” in an unpleasant season of life? Join us as Joe Stowell shares some insights from the life of the Apostle Paul. Although imprisoned in Rome, Paul didn’t waste the opportunity to use his hardships for the glory of God. Learn how God can use you right where you are!
I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. —Isaiah 43:25
My early years as a believer in Christ were laden with foreboding. I had the impression that when Jesus comes back, all my sins will be portrayed on a giant screen for everyone to see.
I know now that God chooses not to remember against me a single one of my transgressions. Every sin has been buried in the deepest sea, never to be exhumed and examined again.
Amy Carmichael wrote, “A day or two ago I was thinking rather sadly of the past—so many sins and failures and lapses of every kind. I was reading Isaiah 43, and in verse 24 I saw myself: ‘You have wearied me with your iniquities.’ And then for the first time I noticed that there is no space between verse 24 and verse 25: ‘I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.’”
Indeed, when our Lord comes back He will “bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God” (1 Cor. 4:5). On that day our works will be tried and we may suffer loss, but we will not be judged for sin (3:11-15). God will see what Christ has done for us. He “will not remember [our] sins.” By David H. Roper
Where no far-reaching tide with its powerful sweep
May stir the dark waves of forgetfulness deep,
I have buried them there where no mortal can see!
I’ve cast all thy sins in the depths of the sea. —Anon.
When God saves us, our sins are forgiven forever.
1 Timothy 1:18-20
The apostle Paul wanted his young charge Timothy to grasp the basics of keeping the faith. So he wrote about two men who ignored their conscience at great peril. Their example shows that without an understanding of what this gift from God is, we run the risk of capsizing our faith.
Many people mistakenly think of the conscience as God’s voice instead of God’s gift. We were created with an “inner monitor” that acts as a moral compass for life; it points to a standard of right and wrong that can guide our decisions. But the conscience, like everything else in us, is fallen and in need of redemption. Depending on how it has been programmed, our conscience can nudge us in the wrong direction.
Paul himself is an illustration of this. His formal education as a Pharisee had taught him that Christians were a threat to God and the Jewish faith. His conscience had been programmed to see killing them as service to the Lord. So he passionately hunted down believers without tripping an alarm on his moral compass. Only after the risen Christ met him on the way to Damascus was his conscience transformed and his life altered.
Unless we let the Lord redeem us fully, our decisions can prove as destructive as if we ignored our “monitoring system” altogether. By understanding the divine gift of conscience, we stand a better chance of staying on course and away from trouble. What’s more, if we submit our conscience to the Holy Spirit, we will find safe harbor when storms threaten our faith or future.
“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” (Hosea 4:17)
Our God is longsuffering and full of mercy, but there is a line which must not be crossed. It is dangerous to presume that God will always continue to forgive; He can become a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).
The leaders of Ephraim (a collective term for the ten northern tribes of Israel) had passed this point of no return. They had become completely infatuated with the pantheistic polytheism of the nations, being “joined” to their symbolic models of natural forces and all the immoral practices which accompanied such nature worship. The word for “joined” means “fascinated by.” They had been brought so deeply under the occult powers behind these nature-god idols as to be irrevocably committed to them, so that it would be a waste of time and tears to try to reclaim them now.
The Scriptures contain many similar warnings. “My spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3). “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14). “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it” (1 John 5:16). “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6). Pharaoh repeatedly “hardened his heart” against God, and finally God Himself hardened Pharaoh’s heart (e.g., Exodus 8:15; 10:27). “God gave them up” (Romans 1:24, 26, 28).
These should be sobering words to anyone who is becoming enchanted with evolutionism, or occultism, or any form of pantheistic humanism. As long as such a person has any qualm of conscience, or even any doubts about the pseudo-scientific philosophy to which he is becoming addicted, there is hope that he might yet turn to the true God of creation. To continue in his present course, however, is presumptuous and deadly. The time will come, perhaps sooner than he thinks, when God will say: “Let him alone.” HMM
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:7.
I TAKE Thee for my Peace, O Lord,
My heart to keep and fill;
Thine own great calm, amid earth’s storms,
Shall keep me always still,
And as Thy Kingdom doth increase,
So shall Thine ever-deepening peace.
ANNIE W. MARSTON.
REMEMBER this, busy and burdened disciple; man or woman tried by uncertain health; immersed in secular duties; forced to a life of almost ceaseless publicity. Here is written an assurance, a guarantee, that not at holy times and welcome intervals only, not only in the dust of death, but in the dust of life, there is prepared for you the peace of God, able to keep your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus. It is no dead calm, no apathy. It is the peace of God; and God is life, and light, and love. It is found in Him, it is cultivated by intercourse with Him. It is “the secret of His presence.” Amidst the circumstances of your life, which are the expression of His will, He can maintain it; He can keep you in it. Nay, it is not passive; it “shall keep” you, alive, and loving and practical, and-ready at His call. HANLEY C. G. MOULE.
Ye are the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13
That which is not corruptible. — Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. — He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. — The children of God, being the children of the resurrection. — The uncorruptible God.
If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. — It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.
Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. — Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
1 Peter 3:4. 1 Peter 1:23. John 11:25. Luke 20:36. Romans 1:23. Romans 5:9-11. 1 Corinthians 15:42. Mark 9:50. Ephesians 4:29.
If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. John 7:37
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. — O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. — The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. —Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. — My blood is drink indeed.
Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.
Psalm 84:2. Psalm 63:1,2. Isaiah 55:1. Revelation 22:17. John 4:14. John 6:55. Song of Songs 5:1.