Monday, May 14, 2012

He's Alive and I'm forgiven.... A Resurrection Sunday Post

My favourite Easter Sunday song is a wonderful one called, "He's Alive!" Check out as we celebrate Jesus' resurrection today! This song was penned by Don Francisco taken from the perspective of Peter.

Do you know what happened to Peter? He was one of the disciples of Jesus Christ. On the night Jesus was giving His disciples symbols to remember what He was about to know...the bread that represents Christ's body broken for us and the wine, His blood shed for us for the remission of our sins.

Mat 26:26-29 NASB - While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."

That very night when Jesus told His disciples what was to happen and He specifically told Peter that Satan had asked to sift Peter like wheat. (read Job for another similar situation) Jesus said He had prayed that his faith wouldn't fail. Peter reacts to Jesus' words with a declaration that he would basically do anything for Him. As you can read from Scripture, this would not be the case...

Luk 22:31-34 NASB - "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." But he said to Him, "Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!" And He said, "I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me."

When Peter did what Jesus said he would do and the rooster crowed, the truth of what he did, hit him hard, of course it would. We can imagine the depths of despair he would have fell into. You commit to your friend, you promise you will never let them down, that you would even die for them...then the true test comes... your friend is being rejected and beaten, if you show that you know them, they will turn on you too. Instead of proudly defending that friend, you cower and deny that you know them. To make it worse, your friend told you that you would do that, but they had prayed for you. Instead of accepting their words and heeding their warning, our backs go up and we defend our self (always an act that stems from pride) insisting they are wrong. Then you do the very thing you vowed to never do.

In my early walk with Christ I would often reflect on followers like Peter and King David. I don't know about you, but sinning and stumbling weighs me down. It's been about twenty four years since my walk in Him first began and since then, I have learned that when/if we sin, God will convict our heart but that yucky ongoing condemning feeling comes from God's/our enemy, Satan and his minions. For me it was a struggle to receive and accept God's forgiveness and continue walking in that forgiveness. 

In fact, in my early days as a believer, I didn't know the fundamentals of what life in Christ means so I would invite Jesus into my heart every time I watched a tele-evangelist give an altar call. The weight would lift and I would "feel good" for about thirty minutes, until I blew it again. Thankfully, God knows what and who we need to help us grow up in our faith and within months at my new church (about 24 years ago) a sweet young lady approached me. She had approached me at an earlier time with her phone number, but I was too chicken to call her. Thankfully, she did not give up and came up to me and asked me point blank, "If you died today, do you know you would go to Heaven?" My response, was "No." From that point forward she has been my "big sister" in Christ. My dear sister Sue, was sent by God to help me know what so many new believers and even older believers do not seem to know. The number one thing that so many struggle with is that because of Christ's finished work, we are forgiven. There is nothing we can do to earn that forgiveness. 

Here are some key fundamentals that I have been learning for the past twenty some years...

1. We all sin and as believers are not to sin, but if we do:
1John 1:8-10 NASB - If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Isa 1:18 NASB - "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.

2. We have assurance of Salvation. We can know for sure that we will spend eternity in Heaven.

 1 John 5:11-13 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 
He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 
The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. 
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

3. New life begins the minute we believe in Him and we become a new creation. 

2Cr 5:17 NASB - Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Gal 2:20 NASB - "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

4. We are to trust in God, He knows all things and He will give us all we need to walk the way He wants us to. 
Pro 3:5-6 NASB - Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 55:8-9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. 

Be encouraged!