This week the Nashville Statement was signed and released by Evangelical Christian leaders meeting in the city of Nashville, TN. As a Prodigal Pilgrim, I have added my signature to the document in affirmation of what is written and taught in it.
As a prodigal I sadly understand that sexual activity outside of the biblical framework of marriage is destructive and sinful. As a pilgrim the Lord has taught me afresh the beauty and joy of the marriage act.
Recently I wrote an article about self-forgiveness, Are You Supposed to Forgive Yourself?. I know that my content runs contrary to much of what is espoused in our culture of therapeutic religion. This religion promotes self above all else. If you struggle with what I wrote, I am provided some other references of Bible teachers who hold to the same view I do. Perhaps their words will help shed some more light on the subject.
It is often said that we cannot forgive if we do not forget the offense against us. This has been preached from Christian pulpits and from secular psychologists.
The question we must ask is whether this is the teaching of Scripture. I don’t think that it is. Those who proclaim this teaching usually do so from a desire to demonstrate a desirable virtue. I am not questioning their motives.
When you sin and experience guilt, are you supposed to forgive yourself?
Recently I taught a short series on Jesus and forgiveness to our Bible Study group. Along the way I compiled a list of some questions about forgiveness that arose from that study and from things I have read in other places. This issue of forgiving yourself is front and center on the whole topic of forgiveness.
You might have heard it put something like this, “You can’t begin to forgive others until you first forgive yourself.” One internet article title begins, “How I finally forgave myself.”
But the Christian must ask whether this is part of Christianity or is it really some other religion.
Recently I posted my book review of Sinclair Ferguson’s book, Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification. This work has been one that was good for my mind and soul.
Here I am sharing my ten favorite quotes from the book. The best way to read each quote is to do so slowly and give thought to what is being communicated. Each quote is in the form of tweet. If you are on Twitter, I encourage you to tweet at least one of them (more is better). If you have room use the hashtag #DevotedToGod.
Devoted to God is Sinclair Ferguson‘s contribution on the subject of the believer’s sanctification. Ferguson is a pastor-theologian. He has ability to both grasp biblical truth and to communicate that truth to the Christian community.
The author intends to provide a manual of biblical teaching on holiness. The reader is intended to learn how to glorify and enjoy God by growing in holiness. Since the Lord is holy, we are to be holy.
Do you really understand God’s mercy and grace? If some version of the following sayings cross your lips, you probably have at least a deficient view of these virtues of God.
Do you catch yourself saying, “It’s been one of those days.” Perhaps you wished that you could reset the clock and go back to the moment when your alarm clock sounded in the morning.
It is on those days that we feel like we really need God to show us mercy and grace.
Human beings have a tendency to undervalue our thoughts as compared to our actions. This is especially true when it comes to our understanding of our need for God’s mercy and grace. Often we think that if we can avoid taking a sinful action then we have a fine standing before the Lord. What is missing in this assessment? Is it not that we fail to account for the many sinful thoughts that bounce around in our minds?
Jesus taught that we are as culpable for our thoughts as for our actions.
We may cringe when we read the following words from the Pharisee’s prayer in Luke’s gospel. How could anybody pray such a prayer? But I suspect that our cringing may be based on the fact that we are familiar with the story. We know before we ever read this section of Scripture that the Pharisee is the bad guy. So we avoid offering up these kinds of prayers. However we are not so keen on avoiding comparing ourselves to others in our minds and words to others.
“God, I thank you that I am not like other men.”
On one occasion I was speaking with a church going woman about a sinful issue in her life. At first she offered a few attempts at rationalizing her sin. She soon realized that those excuses sounded much more lame out loud than they had inside her own head. Finally, she blurted out, “Well at least I’m not like (name of another person).”