Forgiveness Is Not Enough

Posted: May 10, 2019 in Shared Thoughts

Hey Christian, how is it you do not know that forgiveness is not enough?

I know that people will be reacting to that statement; but if you are one of them, then perhaps you’ve never truly thought appropriately about it. Or perhaps you simply never bothered to ask God why, that is, for what purpose and end did He forgive you in the first place?

The answers that people will come up with are probably limitless, but just because you might come up with one doesn’t mean it’s correct. Especially in a time where most believers are living their lives by trying to be good people and doing what is right in their own eyes. However, that alone becomes an indictment against many of them, for we are clearly admonished in God’s word not to lean to our own understanding.

In truth, our lives as Christians are be governed by God’s word and Spirit. That’s because God’s Kingdom is actually a real government that has a King; and as King He instructed His followers to pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done; here on earth just as it is done in heaven. But, just how is God’s will done in heaven, for honestly, don’t you think that is worth considering if you wish to understand how it is to be done here on earth? Haven’t you too noticed that the things people give no thought to are not exercised in their lives.

Now, I haven’t left the thought of forgiveness, I am just trying to first lay a little ground work to help clarify what is the purpose of forgiveness. What most don’t seem to appreciate is that the fundamental purpose of forgiveness is to get you immediate access into the government, or kingdom of God. By the way, as far as to how God’s will is done in heaven, it is without hesitation, reservation, and is exactly done as expressed with no adding or diminishing.

Deuteronomy 12:32 – What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

Proverbs 30:5 – Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. 6 Add not unto His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar.

Luke 4:4 – …It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

Nonetheless, if you are indeed in a predicament like that of the thief on the cross next to Jesus, and you are able to discern that Jesus is truly Lord of heaven and earth, and you ask Him with one of your final weakening breaths that are becoming more difficult with each one, let alone the difficulty of pleading prayerfully with Jesus to please remember you as He takes His place in His Kingdom; then yes, His forgiveness to you at that point would surely be enough.

However, I don’t know, nor have I met, any professing Christians in that position. Rather, most Christians I encounter seem to be more like the man who for thirty eight years had an ailment whereby he was unable to walk and thus laid by the Pool of Bethesda hoping to get into the water when it was stirred by an angel to be healed, or perhaps like the woman taken in the act of adultery and brought by her accusers before Jesus to have her fate determined: “Do we stone her?”

Now, some of you might be thinking that neither of those people sound like you. If so, then your problem may be bigger than you believe. Many Christians don’t think they were really all that bad; but all sin is incapacitating because it results in the severing of one’s righteous relationship with God. Now before you go off with me with “Grace, grace, grace,” let me put your rebuttal on hold with a passage from Galatians, and as you consider it remember that Galatians is a book where grace is presented in its proper strength and purpose which is to save men from their sins.

Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Now as you consider that passage about God not being mocked, think about what Jesus said to the lame man and the woman caught in adultery; both of who found themselves truly at the mercy of others and in need of grace. Now, I want you to also recognize that it was the Savior of the World who was there, the very grace and power of God whereby all mankind might be healed, spared wrath, set free, and granted citizenship in His everlasting kingdom, and that they did indeed receive grace and strength in their time of need.

But what did Jesus say to them? Well, to the lame man Jesus is recorded as saying, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” And to the woman taken in the act of adultery, after her accusers were put to shame because they too were sinners, Jesus asked of her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, Lord.” To which then Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

Now, I hope that no one reading this far along would be so foolish as to think these words only apply to these people. Or that the admonition to the lame man, “lest a worse thing come upon you” would not apply also to the woman given the exhortation to “sin no more,” or that you would foolishly fail to take the exhortation yourself. For clearly, having both been healed and/or forgiven, they were given a new lease on life and a fresh opportunity to “go and sin no more.” And is that not also your profession as a Christian, that Jesus Christ has given to you a new lease on life, a fresh opportunity?

Nevertheless, I can still sense the protest rising up and the urge to state “But, all sin, and nobody is perfect.” So, what does one do with Jesus’ words to that man and woman? Or what does one do with the biblical commandment to “Be you perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect?” Or why was the Apostle John under the unction of the Holy Spirit recording for our admonition, “My little children, I write these things to you so that you do not sin?”

Now I do acknowledge that John did immediately continue with “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” But please note, that by writing “And if anyone sins…” that the apostle is not showing an expectancy that they are going to sin, otherwise he wouldn’t have used the “if” word; and such is why some translations chose the word “but” instead of “and,” i.e., “But if you sin…” In fact, John is writing for the expressed and clear purpose he states, that his readers would “not sin;” just as Jesus had said to these two people.

However, back to the original point, that forgiveness is not enough, unless of course your about to die on your cross next to the Savior. Rather there is a purpose for forgiveness, and as I stated above that it is “to get you immediate access into the government, or kingdom of God.” So, if you have been forgiven and, as you ought to have done, also surrendered to the King of kings and Lord of lords, then what are you supposed to be doing?

Well, the list can be well defining; such as working out one’s salvation, perfecting holiness with fear and trembling, making your calling an election sure, going into all the world proclaiming the Gospel, and “diligently” adding to your faith the seven attributes of Christ; which are virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity.

Do you not know the warning given by the Apostle Peter, that if we are indeed lacking these attributes, it is simply because we are willfully near-sightedly blind and do not look afar off into eternity? Furthermore, he attests that those who are actively doing these things, and in whom these attributes are being established, that they are not failing to be “barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ;” and it is such that possess the promise that they need never stumble or fall, and “so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

But who can do all those things? Not I. But then again, even Jesus stated that “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do. For whatever things He does, these also the Son does likewise.” Likewise, Jesus told us as well that “Without Me you can do nothing.” Therefore, as a Christian, one must “abide” in Him as He is the vine and you are but a branch, entirely dependent upon Him for your life and fruitfulness. One more thing, never forget that a true Christian’s profession is supposed to be “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Now, clearly, we cannot be fruitful Christians without Christ and His spirit dwelling in us. However, in the passage below there are three aspects in it that should help you understand my train of thought. First, we see our duty to God and, secondly, the only means whereby we can fulfill it, and thirdly, the end to which God is to be glorified in us.

1 Peter 1:22 – Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

We have the duty as citizens of God’s kingdom to be purifying our souls by obeying His truth. However, this is a work no one can do unless they have been forgiven and are working out their salvation by co-laboring with the Spirit of God in them, which was point two. Lastly, if we have fervent love one for another, having allowed His spirit to help us discern and obey the truth, then we can truly achieve a unity of faith, love and spirit. Is this not what Jesus prayed for?

John 17:19 – “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. 20  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Fortunately for us, we can read where Jesus reasoned with His disciples, saying that if our earthly fathers know how to give to their children the things they need when they ask for them, then “how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? But you need to know that God’s spirit will not come into an unclean vessel, thus one must first be forgiven. Because forgiveness is the starting point with God; a point that required His giving us His “only begotten Son” that we might be adopted into His family and kingdom.

But, like I said in the beginning, forgiveness is not enough. Perhaps, the best scriptural evidences can be found in Matthew 12 and Luke 11; the latter being where Jesus assures His disciples that their “heavenly Father gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.” For there, Luke then shares how Jesus cast a demon out of an individual and gave everyone there a warning, as we see below.

Luke 11:13 – “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” 14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled… [Jesus said to the people] 24 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 “And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. 26 “Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”

Now, there is a lot in this passage, as I jumped from verse 14 to 24. But clearly, when someone has a demon cast out of them, then the legal grounds for the demon being there has to be terminated. The only way for that to happen would be the same way the lame man was healed and the woman caught in adultery had her life spared; they had their sins forgiven. Both were told to go and sin no more, the man with the admonition “Lest a worse thing come upon you.” That means they were being required to now walk as faithful citizens of the Kingdom of God which would require their “obeying the truth through the Spirit.”

Please do not fail to understand what Jesus revealed to us in Matthew 12 and Luke 11. For Jesus shows how a demon, which had its lawful access to possession of a person in which they were abiding revoked (because they were forgiven), that when the demon returns to check (and they always do), that should they find the individual “empty, swept, and garnished,” then the same demon knows the person has fallen in sin by not keeping the truth; by not seeking the indwelling of God’s Spirit within. Thus, the demon goes and gets seven worse and they all return to take up a legal occupation once again. The latter end and fate of the person is worse than the beginning. Professing Christians need to give heed to the Apostle Peter –

2nd Peter 2:20 – For if, after they have clean escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

But who did Jesus say would have the greater damnation; was it the thieves, drunkards, fornicators, and murders? No, it was the religious hypocrites given to their spiritual pride, people who had false confidence in who they were because of their strong delusion; a judgment which God Himself said He would send to those who refuse to receive a love for the truth that they might truly be saved.

Don’t you think that both the lame man and the woman who was caught in adultery would have gladly received such grace from Jesus; the love or ability to commit their lives to Him as The Truth? Yet, many religious people will claim no accountability or responsibility for their salvation, rather boastfully assert that they are simply “saved by grace” and were forgiven for their sins. Such have no clue what grace truly is.

However, they are not heeding all the other commandments which Jesus and His apostles gave to the church; such as working out one’s salvation, perfecting holiness with fear and trembling, making your calling an election sure, going into all the world proclaiming the Gospel, adding to your faith the seven attributes of Christ.” In short, or perhaps, falling short, they are simply not obeying the Gospel.

Hebrews 4:1 –  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith [or obedience] in them that heard it.

All would do well to take heed here, for in both Matthew 12 and Luke 11, Jesus is seen stating to everyone, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” That is something we are told to “make” or do. Because, as Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” And “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters,” for “blessed are those who hear the word of God and keeps it!”

Saving faith works by love and gratitude. Such faith works to please God because it compels one to come to God; whereby, He can then “save” the sinner from their sins, or sin nature. This God begins to do through the initial workings of His grace; by forgiving the sinner of their sins in order that He might then indwell them via His spirit to empower them to become partakers of His divine nature. This He can do, and will do, when one actively pursues those attributes of Christ and the fruits of the Spirit so they can be fully developed in them. For you must understand that when Jesus Christ comes, He is coming for a wife that has purposefully “made herself ready,” which Christians can do because He gave Himself for our sins that He might forgive us, fill us, and so empower us. All this that “He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Faith works by love, just as our faithful Savior out of love for the Father and us gave His life a ransom so He could forgive us, indwell us, and wholly sanctify us by the truth; spirit, soul, mind, and body.

My friends, I was halted from going to bed and obediently stayed; for I too have written this post for the same reason the Apostle John wrote his first Epistles,  to encourage you “that you sin not.” For forgiveness is not enough; you must go on to love and live for the King.

Comments
  1. cindybythesea says:

    Thanks William. A subject seldom preached on these days. A meaty subject that most will not pick up a knife and fork for. I’ll be thinking if the things you shared and how it applies to myself.

    Like

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