“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” -Isaiah 43:25-26
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” -Colossians 3:13
Why does God forgive us? He can forgive us because of the sacrifice of Jesus. But he chooses to forgive us because he is love and because he loves us.
Why should we forgive others? We can forgive others because of the sacrifice of Jesus. And we should choose to forgive because to be God’s child is to reflect his loving image. If we don’t forgive others their sins, then God will not forgive ours because this proves we have not become his children through grace (Matthew 6:14).
A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD. -Proverbs 19:3
So what does the Bible say about personal responsibility?
Throughout the Bible, the real problem was not the Philistines, Egyptians, Syrians, or Romans. It was not the Red Sea, the lack of water, or the absence of food for the people. Nothing could hinder God’s purpose for his people other than the people themselves.
2 Corinthians 3:17
Everyone wants to change in some way or the other. Whether it’s an addiction problem, a chronic rage issue, or a character flaw that is ruining your most significant relationships, there are areas in our lives we want to change but struggle to do so.
And more than this, the Bible makes clear we must change from sinful to holy if we hope to have a true relationship with God. So how can we do this? Certainly we can’t do this in our own power. True change comes only through the power of the gospel of grace. And to be ultra specific, when it comes to actually changing real, tangible things in our lives, the Bible makes clear that only the Holy Spirit can change us.
The Father appoints what he wants done. The Son accomplishes the work of the Father. And the Holy Spirit applies the works of the Son to people. But what specifically does the Holy Spirit change about us? Why should we seek to be filled with the Spirit throughout our whole lives?
Here are seven ways the Holy Spirit changes us.
I find it interesting that humility is not one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. I think this is probably because it is one of those qualities that works its way into all of the fruits of the Spirit. All of the good qualities Christians are to posses have an element of humility within them. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control … you can’t have any of these things without humility.
Throughout the book of Proverbs, it seems every chapter has nuggets of truth regarding humility and pride. They seem to play role in everything good or bad described in Proverbs. Humility helps your relationship with God, with people, with your finances. And so rather than zero in on one of these elements, I’d like to take a bigger view this morning and ask the question, “How can we be humble and not proud?”
As soon as my son was born, I wanted nothing else than to be a great dad. As all parents quickly realize, the pressure to raise our kids to the best of our ability can be immense. No one has kids with the hope of ruining them. We want them to grow up happy, healthy, and totally in love with Christ.
And so as new parents, my wife I made the subtle mistake most new parents make – we began to prioritize our parenting over our marriage. This seems like a natural, loving thing to do when you have kids. Ironically, however, as we realized the hard way, when we placed our parenting over our marriage, our parenting and our marriage both suffered.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.-Hebrews 11:3
There is a common desire in people for a plot. Everyone seeks to find the rhythm to the pages their life is written upon. We all seek to understand the themes of life, whose who in the character list, and what part are we to play in the show unfolding before us.
1 Peter 5:10, Psalm 34:19
Life is painful. With every increase of joy and happiness comes a greater and greater likelihood of experiencing loss. The more important something becomes to you, the more it hurts when it’s taken away. And so if you allow your heart to be open to anything good at all, you also are opening your heart to a very real possibility of being wounded deeply.
So what should we do? It feels like life is one big unwinnable catch-22. We want to experience happiness in this life, and yet to open ourselves up to the possibility of happiness is to make ourselves vulnerable to pain. And yet if we stay closed off to the possibility of pleasure in relationships, careers, churches, and in all the other areas which culminate to make a full, rich life, we may go unscathed but we also will go on living a boring, safe life where our need for safety is also steeling our need for joy.
One AGW reader wrote in to ask a question about helping a friend who is living in sin. Below is our conversation. What advice would you share with Emily? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
9 Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise,
in the LORD, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?- Psalm 56:8-11 (ESV)
Life can make even the most faithful Christian question, “Doe God still care about me?” If we are to survive on this brutal planet, it will be essential to remember that despite how often life cuts you, God still cares.
“Some wandered in desert wastelands . . . .
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress. (vs4-6)
Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom . . .
for they had rebelled against the words of God . . .
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress. (vs10-14)
Some became fools through their rebellious ways . . .
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress. (vs17-19)
Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
and consider the great love of the LORD. (vs43)