Posts Tagged ‘Sins


Our Motivation For Virtue

Peter wrote about a list of virtues that Christians should strive for in chapter 1, verses 5-7. He wrote about goodness and godliness, self-control and love, among others. He said that if we possess these qualities, we will be productive and effective. What if we don’t strive for them? He says:

But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. – 2 Peter 1:9 (NIV)

Motivation is key for a follower of Christ. Jesus did all of the work necessary on the cross to save us from our sins. We cannot add a thing to what He did. We must simply obey the Gospel (belief, repentance, confession and baptism) and our sins are washed away. Since Jesus washes away our sins by God’s grace, we should work toward faithfulness, service and love all the days of our lives and not forget what He has done for us. As the old hymn says: Jesus paid it all, all to Him we owe. Sin had left a crimson stain but He washed us white as snow.

Jesus’ Time

John 7:1-9 (NIV)

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.

I find it very interesting that even Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him. There has been much speculation about Jesus’ childhood. What kind of a child was He? Did He do miracles? Perhaps Jesus was a normal kid. This is pure speculation on my part, but if Jesus was adamant about His time not yet coming during His ministry, then surely He would not reveal Himself during His childhood. Could you imagine what would have happened had there been a miracle working teenager? The time was just not right for Jesus to do what His Father had called Him to do. Instead, Jesus waited for the perfect time to reveal the Father’s plan for Him. The Father’s plan was for Him to die for the sins of the world.
That’s why Jesus came. He came to die for your sins and my sins and the sins of the whole world. Our greatest problem is not one that can be solved by the teachings of a religious guru. Our greatest problem is not one that can be solved by following the example of a great man or woman. Our greatest problem cannot be solved by the words of a mere prophet. Our greatest problem is sin and that can only be solved by the shedding of the innocent blood of the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God. Put your trust in Him for salvation and forgiveness. When His time came, Jesus did what the Father sent Him to do. He makes forgiveness more than possible. He makes it a reality by His death and resurrection.
PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus to die for my sins. I praise and thank You for the free gift of Your grace. Thank You for continuing to forgive me, even when I don’t deserve it. In Jesus’ saving name, amen.

Flaws, Failures And Faults

Joshua 2

New International Version (NIV)

Rahab and the Spies

2 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”

4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

12 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.”

14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”

15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.”

17 Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. 19 If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.”

21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.”

So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

22 When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them. 23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”

The story of Rahab the prostitute from Joshua 2 is an amazing one.  She could have been a forgotten figure.  She could have been looked at with derision and could have been despised.  She was a prostitute after all!  She did the things that a prostitute does!  But she also did something that a prostitute might not typically do – she feared the one true God.  Joshua sent two spies into Canaan to scout it out, especially Jericho.  It was a major city of great importance at the time and it is still in existence today.  It carries the designation as being the oldest continuously occupied city in the world.  Its history goes back 11,000 years!  Jericho was a powerful city that had somewhere around 2,000 residents within its walls at the time as well as many who lived outside the city walls.  Yet, for all of its fortification and power, it was brought down by God all thanks to a prostitute.
One of the things I love most about God is His incredible ability to utilize the most unlikely of people to accomplish His will.
  • Jacob – the deceiver
  • Moses – the murderer
  • Balaam’s donkey – a DONKEY!
  • David – an adulterer and murderer
  • Mary – a virgin peasant girl
  • Peter – an impetuous fisherman
  • Paul – a persecutor

The list goes on and on.  God can use flawed people who fail to do great things for His glory.  What about you?  What about me?  We’re all too aware of our own faults, flaws and failures.  God knows about them, too.  But by His grace, He can use us to do incredible things for His Kingdom.  We must submit to the lordship of Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  To surrender daily to God’s will for our lives.  Then we will experience God’s power in us to overcome our weaknesses and failures and God will use us to do mighty things for Him.

PRAYER: Father, thank You for forgiving my flaws, failures and faults. I am a sinner in need of Your forgiveness and grace. I praise You and thank You for not withholding them from me. Help me to overcome my weaknesses today by the power of Your Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.



Micah 6:6-8 (NIV)
With what shall I come before the Lord
    and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
​How can we atone for our sin?  This is what Micah wanted to know in verses 6-7.  How could he make up for his transgressions and sin?  What could possibly make up for the myriad of sins we commit each day, week, month and year during our brief lifetimes on this planet?  We are sinful and we know it.  There’s something wrong with us of which we are fully aware.  We lie and lust and lose our tempers.  We cheat and steal and covet.  We do, think and say the most awful things to and about each other.  God could have demanded all kinds of sacrifices to make up for our sinfulness.  He could have struck us all down several billion times over for our transgressions.  But He didn’t.  
Instead of asking us to sacrifice our firstborn, God did it instead.  He sacrificed His own Son, Jesus, for our sins.  He gave up His one and only Son so that we could have our sins washed away.  Now what does He require of us?  Not sacrifices, but mercy.  Not mindless obedience, but faithful devotion.  Not fearful servitude, but doing right by others.  Not pride and arrogance at being a part of His family, but humility in the way that we live.  God’s desire is that we would love Him and love our neighbors.  When will we learn that God is less interested in us controlling our sin than He is in how we love Him and others?  He doesn’t want sacrifices of money, animals or even our children.  He wants our hearts to be sold-out in full surrender and devotion to Him.  He wants a relationship with people, not an army of mindless robots.  If only we could get it through our heads that God cares more for the inner condition of our hearts than He does for the outer expression of our religion.  When we do, we’ll find a more deeply satisfying relationship than we could ever dream of in this life.  
PRAYER: Help me, O God, to love You more this day than I did yesterday.  Help me, O God, to love my neighbors as I love myself.  Help me, O God, to live humbly before you, showing mercy and loving justice to everyone I meet.  I ask this in the name of Jesus, my Savior, amen.

Throw Away The Welcome Mat

As we continue looking at the book of Joshua, we see that Joshua was dividing up the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel.  In chapter 15, we read of how Joshua gave the inheritance specifically to the tribe of Judah.  Judah was the tribe from which the Messiah would come according to Genesis 49.

The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his. – Genesis 49:10 (NIV)

Toward the end of Joshua 15, we read the following:

Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah. – Joshua 15:63 (NIV)

One commentary I read asked the question if it was a matter of power or faith as to whether or not the people of Judah could dislodge the Jebusites.  Was it because they could not do it or that they refused to do it?  Did they want to dislodge the Jebusites and didn’t have the ability to do it?  Or did they not even want to bother with dislodging them and therefore they disobeyed God?
I have a question for you: Do you have Jebusites living in your heart?  Are there things in your heart that don’t belong there?  If you are a born again believer in Jesus, God’s Spirit lives in your heart.  He is the rightful occupant of your heart.  Have you allowed old habits and sins to live there too?  It is time to dislodge these things from our hearts!  Don’t let them continue to reside there!  Send them packing and throw away the welcome mat.  They’re not welcome there any more!

Joshua 15

New International Version (NIV)

Allotment for Judah

15 The allotment for the tribe of Judah, according to its clans, extended down to the territory of Edom, to the Desert of Zin in the extreme south.

2 Their southern boundary started from the bay at the southern end of the Dead Sea, 3 crossed south of Scorpion Pass, continued on to Zin and went over to the south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it ran past Hezron up to Addar and curved around to Karka. 4 It then passed along to Azmon and joined the Wadi of Egypt, ending at the Mediterranean Sea. This is their southern boundary.

5 The eastern boundary is the Dead Sea as far as the mouth of the Jordan.

The northern boundary started from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan, 6 went up to Beth Hoglah and continued north of Beth Arabah to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. 7 The boundary then went up to Debir from the Valley of Achor and turned north to Gilgal, which faces the Pass of Adummim south of the gorge. It continued along to the waters of En Shemesh and came out at En Rogel. 8 Then it ran up the Valley of Ben Hinnom along the southern slope of the Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem). From there it climbed to the top of the hill west of the Hinnom Valleyat the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim. 9 From the hilltop the boundary headed toward the spring of the waters of Nephtoah, came out at the towns of Mount Ephron and went down toward Baalah (that is, Kiriath Jearim). 10 Then it curved westward from Baalah to Mount Seir, ran along the northern slope of Mount Jearim (that is, Kesalon), continued down to Beth Shemesh and crossed to Timnah. 11 It went to the northern slope of Ekron, turned toward Shikkeron, passed along to Mount Baalah and reached Jabneel. The boundary ended at the sea.

12 The western boundary is the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.

These are the boundaries around the people of Judah by their clans.

13 In accordance with the Lord’s command to him, Joshua gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh a portion in Judah—Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) 14 From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites—Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, the sons of Anak. 15 From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). 16 And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Aksah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” 17 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage.

18 One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”

19 She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

20 This is the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, according to its clans:

21 The southernmost towns of the tribe of Judah in the Negev toward the boundary of Edom were:

Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22 Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23 Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24 Ziph, Telem, Bealoth, 25 Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (that is, Hazor), 26 Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27 Hazar Gaddah, Heshmon, Beth Pelet,28 Hazar Shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah, 29 Baalah, Iyim, Ezem, 30 Eltolad, Kesil, Hormah, 31 Ziklag, Madmannah,Sansannah, 32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain and Rimmon—a total of twenty-nine towns and their villages.

33 In the western foothills:

Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34 Zanoah, En Gannim, Tappuah, Enam, 35 Jarmuth, Adullam, Sokoh, Azekah, 36 Shaaraim,Adithaim and Gederah (or Gederothaim)—fourteen towns and their villages.

37 Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal Gad, 38 Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel, 39 Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40 Kabbon, Lahmas, Kitlish,41 Gederoth, Beth Dagon, Naamah and Makkedah—sixteen towns and their villages.

42 Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44 Keilah, Akzib and Mareshah—nine towns and their villages.

45 Ekron, with its surrounding settlements and villages; 46 west of Ekron, all that were in the vicinity of Ashdod,together with their villages; 47 Ashdod, its surrounding settlements and villages; and Gaza, its settlements and villages, as far as the Wadi of Egypt and the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.

48 In the hill country:

Shamir, Jattir, Sokoh, 49 Dannah, Kiriath Sannah (that is, Debir), 50 Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 51 Goshen, Holon and Giloh—eleven towns and their villages.

52 Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53 Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah, 54 Humtah, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) and Zior—nine towns and their villages.

55 Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah, 56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57 Kain, Gibeah and Timnah—ten towns and their villages.

58 Halhul, Beth Zur, Gedor, 59 Maarath, Beth Anoth and Eltekon—six towns and their villages.

60 Kiriath Baal (that is, Kiriath Jearim) and Rabbah—two towns and their villages.

61 In the wilderness:

Beth Arabah, Middin, Sekakah, 62 Nibshan, the City of Salt and En Gedi—six towns and their villages.

63 Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.


Christ Is Our Life

In Colossians 3, we see a contrast between life and death.  Paul says in verse 4 that Christ is our life so we should not focus on earthly things, but on heavenly things.  Why?  Because Christ, our life, is in Heaven.  Since Christ is our life and we should focus on heavenly things, we must do away with the earthly things.  Paul says to put them to death (Colossians 3:5, NIV).  He gives a laundry list of vices that belong to the earthly nature in verses 5 and 8-9:
  • Sexual immorality, impurity and lust (any sexual behavior outside of a monogamous, heterosexual marriage relationship)
  • Evil desires
  • Greed (Paul says that this is idolatry – the worship of money)
  • Anger (harbored anger)
  • Rage (flying off the handle)
  • Malice (evil intentions)
  • Slander
  • Filthy Language
  • Lies

Well, I think that that about covers the gamut, don’t you?  These things all belong to the earthly desires of our sinful natures.  We are to do away with these things and focus on Christ.  We have to surrender to the power of Christ in our lives so that Christ, who “is all, and is in all” (Colossians 3:11, NIV), will have the rule and reign in our lives each and every day.

Remember this: you do not belong to this world.  You are a new creation.  You are being made new.  Let the Holy Spirit make you new today.  Don’t focus on your past – it is forgiven.  Don’t worry about tomorrow’s temptations and sins.  Focus on following Christ on this new day.  Focus on what He has accomplished by His atoning sacrifice.  Remember that He is your life today.
Colossians 3:1-11 (NIV)

3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality,impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 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.


All Our Sins

As we continue looking at Colossians, I want you to think about verses 13-14:

 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. – Colossians 2:13-14 (NIV)

I love the last part of verse 13:

He forgave us all our sins… – Colossians 2:13b (NIV)

What a wonderful phrase (Hakuna matata?  Nah!)!  I would like you to focus on one word in that phrase: all.  Paul says that it is while we were dead in our sin that God made us alive with Christ.  He has raised us from the spiritual grave.  It was while we were sinners, not when we were perfect.  Instead of making us clean up our acts and get everything in order, God took the first step.  He reached out to us in grace and forgiveness through the cross.  Through Jesus, all of our sins are forgiven – past, present and future!  They are gone!  They are no more!  The debt has been paid once and for all!  Stop focusing on your sin and start living in the freedom of grace.  God has washed us clean in the blood of Christ and though we were once dead, we are now alive.  Notice the difference – we are no longer dead in our sins.  We are alive with Christ!  Just as He lives, so too do we.  Because we have this wonderful gift of love, we should desire to please God.  How do we do that?  Remember what Paul said in Colossians 1:1-14 about pleasing God.  (Read this one again)  The fact is that we can live lives that please God and because of His grace and mercy and forgiveness, that is what we should strive for.

Colossians 2:6-15 (NIV)So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

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