Posts Tagged pardon

Pardoned

Micah 7: 18

Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.

I pray this revelation will fill the earth, and the church. God isn’t angry. He does not retain His anger but rather lets it go in favor of unchanging love. Yahoo! And just consider that this is a passage out of the Old Testament. Frankly, there are lots of New Testament believers who think God is angry now. Some folks are willing to concede that God is now a God of love but they think He was an angry God before. The truth is that God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13: 8). If we take a position that God was angry, revengeful, and wrathful our hearts convict us. We cannot truly believe in a God who is love and live in that love if we believe this same “person” is the one who tortures us and is angry with us. We have to choose – is God an angry deity or is He love?

So do you want another little bite of truth? God sent Jesus to the earth in the Old Covenant, not the New. Even the New Testament begins with Jesus’ birth, yes? So, that means that when God sent him, it was still the Old Testament. Are you following along with me? That would mean that this vengeful, evil, mean, wrathful GOD sent His beloved son to die for us. That makes absolutely no sense at all. Look at today’s Old Testament verse. God chose way back in the day to pardon iniquity and to pass over our rebellious acts. What is that about? Then He chose not to be angry because His very nature is love. He chose to love us rather than to hold onto His anger. He has chosen to put His love for us above our sin.

Here is the bottom line. God chose love over sin. He chose to focus on His love for us rather than on our stinking iniquity. His love has overcome our sin. He put sin under the mercy seat and under the blood. He isn’t writing your name in a book and inscribing beside it every sin you have ever committed. No, your name only has one word written beside it, “Forgiven” and it is written in crimson. You’ve just got to get happy about that. You are forgiven.
Just one side point. I like that God takes His own advice. He has told us not to hold onto our anger. In fact, He said to let not the sun go down on our anger (Ephesians 4: 26). It’s good to see that He has let go of His anger too.

Free from Judgment

Romans 2: 1

Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

First, I am not sending you this for the purpose of condemnation. It just struck me so hard and so loudly that I needed to write about it. If this is not for you, then just read it for the other people in your life that may need light in this area. However, having said that, I find that most of us have little pockets of judgment left in us. I wish I was clean of all judgment but if I said that you would know I was lying.  

The great Apostle Paul wrote this. I was first struck by how strongly he addressed his followers. It does not seem that he was in the least concerned with offending his followers. He did not even seem to consider how this counsel might affect his offerings. I could wish that all ministers had the courage to tell us what we need to hear but that is not an easy thing to do. You never want to offend people or hurt their feelings but at some level there is a time when the truth must be told. I believe Paul was more concerned about his flock’s eternal souls than their overly tender feelings.

Paul understood how large a stumbling block judgment really is. Jesus said if you judge you will be judged (Matthew 7: 1). Well, for my part, I do not want to be judged by Jesus. I want our beloved Father to look at me and see the blood of Jesus rather than my stupidity. I do not wish to enter into a theological debate about salvation and the blood but it seems clear to me that Paul picked up on the revelation of Jesus as it regards judgmental attitudes and behaviors and that those judgments we make have a detrimental effect on us rather than on the object of our judgment.

How far does this non-judgment go? In order to answer that please allow me to show you how the Father taught me about judgment. I knew someone involved in adultery. Now, of all the “sins” the sin of adultery is about as clear as any sin can be. It is black and white, no gray area at all. Well, I was struggling with loving the one involved in this sin and being supportive of their needs. What they were doing was just WRONG and they were confessing Christians. Where was I to stand? I wanted to stand with the Bible and on the side of right. Dad drew me up short on this though. He said it wasn’t my job to judge them. I didn’t think I was, frankly. The Bible judges them, the Word judges them. Their behaviors, quite honestly, were none of my business, as it turns out. Their actions were a private matter between them and God even as my own are between me and God and for no one else to judge. You don’t have to ratify actions or encourage actions that the Bible prohibits but it is not our job to judge other people’s souls. If the truth were to be told, we each have our hands full with our own missteps.

Since that situation Father has taught me a lot about judging others. Whether you think a thing is right or wrong is completely irrelevant. Isn’t that something? Even if the Bible says that a thing is a sin, it still is not our place to judge people as right or wrong, sinful or saints. None of us have been appointed as Lord High Judge. “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5: 22). Even Jesus does not judge for he said, “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world ” (Matthew 7: 1). If Jesus set aside judgment, why do we so revel in it? Consider the woman caught in adultery in the eighth chapter of John who the Pharisees brought before Jesus. He had the most brilliant response to them. They wanted her judged, condemned and punished. They knew, however, that Jesus went around preaching love and grace. They had him trapped, sure enough. You probably recall the story, Jesus challenged the accusers saying, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7). Well, that is the point isn’t it? Who among us is without sin? Let the one without sin judge others. When Jesus looked up, all of the woman’s accusers were gone. Why? They had the stain of guilt and sin on them. They were not qualified to judge anyone.

Isn’t it clever that these legalistic, holier than thou, Pharisees chose an adulterous situation to confront Jesus with? That was the very situation Father used to confront me. Jesus knew that our Father does not want us to engage in adultery. He knew every word of scripture. None the less, he did not judge the woman. Whatsmore, by his handling of the confrontation from the Pharisees, he prevented her being judged and stoned. Jesus, the sinless, Jesus the holy allowed a sinner to escape judgment. Howbeit that we, the sin stained, are so righteous that we would enforce judgment, condemnation and death on the accused?

Jesus did not agree with sin nor encourage it. So many times we think that unless we wave a red flag at someone else’s sin it is the same as encouraging sin but it is we who need the revelation. Then we will be able to help others. Jesus showed grace to the woman. He extended the Father’s love but he did not encourage sin. You will see in the closing verses of this story that Jesus said to the woman, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” When she confirmed that not one person condemned her he said, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more”  (v. 10 – 11).

Paul understood what Jesus taught when he was in the earth. Our judgments of other people do more damage to us than they do anyone else. Judgments are very like unforgiveness. They each deal out enormous damage but the damage is reflective. In other words, they hurt us. “And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned” (Luke 6: 38). Surely Jesus understood the things of the Spirit. He is trying to reveal to us that we are our own worst enemies. Paul wrote that those who judge others condemn themselves. That is exactly what Jesus said.

I realize today’s devotional is long but it is important. We are condemning ourselves through our determinations about other people’s lives. So let us all do ourselves a favor. Free yourself from condemnation. Leave judgments of others to the Lord. It’s not your job. It’s not your business. Get free and save yourself.