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Positioned for Forgiveness

Different AnointingIn my last post I started talking about the process of forgiveness. We sinned against God. In response, He purchased our forgiveness with the blood of Christ on the cross.

The big question is; how do I get in on the forgiveness of God? The Jews asked Peter this same question at Pentecost.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:38

The third step in the process is that there must be repentance. This is has to be done in order to receive forgiveness. It’s is even true for personal relationships.

Of course, we don’t like this word. It has a bad connotation to us. In the Greek, it’s the word metanoia which means to change your mind. It also means to turn around.

“I was wrong. I want to change.”

…yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10

Repentance is usually preceded by distress, sorrow, or sadness. We don’t like these feelings. We would much rather use a word like apologize.

“If you apologize, I’ll forgive you.”

The fact is you don’t really want an apology. The Greek definition of the word apology is to give the reason. In that case, you might hear something like, “I hate you and I want you to be miserable.”

What you want from the other person is repentance.

“I’m sorry over what I did.” (Godly sorrow) “If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t do it.” “I will never do that again.”

But we have to remember that with God, forgiveness is given before repentance. It then takes repentance in order to position yourself to receive forgiveness.

True repentance isn’t easy.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

Confess means to speak the same as. I must agree with God that I was wrong. That’s the hardest part.

I want to apologize. There’s a reason that I did what I did. But it doesn’t really matter; I must confess and repent.

That leads us to the final step, which is to receive forgiveness. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Acts 10:43

I hear the Word of God. It shows me my sin and my faults. I’m distressed and sorrowful over it. I’m led to repentance. But now I have a problem.

I know how I forgive. I know how others have forgiven in the past. There was not true forgiveness given. I still harbor bad feelings. Sometimes I project that image to God.

“He’s still going to remember my sin and hold it against me.”

That’s the enemy’s lie. God’s forgiveness is for everyone who BELIEVES. Receiving forgiveness requires faith. I must trust the One forgiving me.

1 John, above, tells us that He is FAITHFUL. He’s not a human who harbors evil thoughts. When He forgives, my sin is removed and He forgets.

Strive to always walk in the forgiveness of God. More than that, be quick to share this forgiveness with others.

Question: How have you exemplified God’s forgiveness to others?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on January 13, 2017 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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You Can Change Your Family

 

Jet Plane to NowhereI’m posting about Sonship and how it’s a part of God’s plan to work in His people. The Lord is leading us from glory to glory.

By the way, you may notice that I mostly use the word son, rather than sons and daughters. Check out my post, Sonship Includes Women Too, to see why I do that.

In speaking about Sonship, it’s the very reason why God has called pastors into the ministry. Our calling is to help the process of becoming like Christ. Paul speaks of this in his letter to the Ephesians. He says that the ministry gifts (of which pastoring is a part) are given…

…to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:12-13

The goal then, for every believer, is to be like Jesus. This means we’re to talk like Him, work like Him and love like Him. Jesus Himself said that we were to do His works.

It’s the work of the Holy Spirit in us to achieve this result. But, in order for that to happen, we must cooperate with Him. It’s at this point – me cooperating with the Spirit of Christ – that the life changing power of God manifests. As this takes place it becomes evident to those around that we are walking as sons of God.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
John 1:12-13

This verse should cause us to jump up and praise the Lord. The implications alone are staggering. The word right in this verse is the Greek word exusia. It literally means that we have the authority or permission to be God’s children.

If you remember, authority means that we have the right to use power. This means that because God has adopted us, we have the right to use the power of a son of God. Sonship, then, is a position of authority.

But now, notice what this entails. In order to walk in the authority associated with Sonship, we must receive Him and put our faith in His name. When we asked Christ to be our Lord and Savior we took on a new family name. We now are of the household of Christ – we are Christians.

When you’re a member of a family you always carry with you the authority and the power of your family name. This is true whether your name is Smith or Trump. We now carry the family name of He who spoke the world into existence. Yet for the most part we live in spiritual defeat. It’s time for us to rise up and be who God has destined us to be.

Question: What does the word Christian mean to you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2014 in Power of God, Sonship, The Church

 

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Saved in our Past, Present, & Future

Cross SunsetI’m posting about the salvation we share in Christ. How Christ took us from where we were and made us new in Him. Our past had no bearing on His love for us.

…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:13

This work that Christ has done in us is totally His doing. It didn’t matter how good I was. I’m just as guilty before God. It wouldn’t matter if I was a drug dealer, rapist, or terrorist. The blood of Christ is sufficient to cover all of my sins.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

The salvation of the Lord is all encompassing. But, as incredible as all this is, it’s not the end of it. Even though in one sense I have been saved, God’s work continues to have an effect upon my life. Salvation doesn’t end with the sinner’s prayer.

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:2

It should be clear from the context of this verse that being saved is an ongoing process. The word for saved in this verse implies a continual work. That’s why there’s an “if” in this section. The process of salvation can only continue if you hold firmly to the Word.

I think that part of our problem in the modern church is our stubborn refusal to allow God to continue His work of change in our lives. We’re happy that our sins were forgiven. We look forward with joy to our home in Heaven. But right now there’s so many things that we want to do and experience in the world. The thought of God disrupting those plans for His purpose doesn’t sit well with us.

We need to see change as the natural outgrowth of our walk with God. His ongoing plan of salvation in us should never stagnate. There’s always something new to look forward to. That even applies to the return of Christ.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
Romans 5:9

Not only is the saving work of the Lord active in me today, it gives me a future hope. I know that on the Day of Judgment I have nothing to fear. Because of Christ’s work on the cross, I will be saved from the wrath of God. Death holds no fear for the Christian, only the promise of a new address in the presence of God.

Question: How is God’s ongoing work of salvation continuing to change your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Faith, The Gospel

 

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Living Saved – Past, Present & Future

GalaxyIn my last post I talked about how the work of salvation was started in your life.  But that’s not the end of it.  The Word has a greater job to do in you.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:21

James is writing to the church in this passage of Scripture.  As I’ve stated before, I believe that the book of James was the first New Testament Scripture to be written.  If that’s true, then the Word he refers to could not be the Bible, since that was unknown at this point in church history.

What James is telling us is that the Word has been planted in us and is continuing to grow in us.  It’s there to change us.  Actually, what he says in the original Greek, is that this seed has the power (dunamis) to save your soul.  James is telling us to allow the seed of the Word to do its job, the saving of our souls.

Wait a minute!  I thought that if I accepted Christ, then I’m saved already.  The answer to that is an important one.  Yes, you were saved from sin and hell.  If you died right now you would go to heaven to be with the Lord.

However, in the broadest sense, salvation is not a one time thing.  It’s ongoing.  I’m saved (from sin and hell), I’m being saved (from the effects of sin in me), and I will be saved (from my flesh).  It’s this ongoing process of salvation that James is writing about.

Salvation itself is a package deal.  It includes everything that Christ paid for on the cross.  That same Word that brought me over from death to life also works God’s health and provision in me.  But for this to work, it has to start in my soul and work its way out.

That’s why the Word is called a seed.  Much of its work is done in the unseen places, below the surface.  Then, as it continues its work, it bursts out into the sunlight to bring the work in my life to completion – the bearing of fruit.

The question may arise – where does the seed come from?  The answer is simple.  It comes from the processes of the Spirit.  The seed grows, produces the plant and then the fruit.  The fruit itself contains more seed.  That seed is then planted in new ground to produce even more – and the cycle continues.

So, in reality, the seed comes from those who at one time received the Word, allowed it to grow, and then brought forth fruit.  The seed comes from someone who accepted the Word.  According to the parables of Christ, there can be 30, 60, or even 100 times what was originally sown.  God wants an abundant harvest.  The greater the harvest, the greater the next planting will be.

Question: How much has your life changed since you first made Christ Lord of your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Word of God

 

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What is True Biblical Faith?

Many people talk about faith.  Few live it out to its full potential.  It all comes down to how you perceive it.

Is faith a single response to Scriptural teaching, or is it more than that?  The next four posts will deal with this important concept.  If you haven’t yet done so, take the time to subscribe to this blog via e-mail so that you won’t miss any of these life-changing installments.

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
Hebrews 10:39

Whether we want to admit it or not, faith is an on-going process.  In our society we like to “set it and forget it.”  That’s not the case with Biblical faith.

Faith is a walk.  It’s the path God leads us on from godlessness to perfection.  We start out our lives with no knowledge of Christ or His Word.  God takes us from where we are to as far as we’re willing to travel with Him.

What we find in this walk is that along the way there are always choices. These choices come at regular intervals – usually when we least expect them.  These points are like forks in the road ahead.

It’s then up to us whether we accept or reject truth when we see it.  Each new piece of knowledge comes with a choice.  Do I trust God and His Word, or do I continue in the old direction I was headed?

It may sound like a “no-brainer” as to which path we take, but based upon my experience, it’s a little more complicated than that.  We sometimes tend to stick with what we’re comfortable with, even though it’s wrong.

Choosing to trust God in a new way is a big step.  There are those who come to a hard decision and simply stall out.  There are others who start out trusting the Lord, but then when the going gets rough, they “shrink back.”  Why do we find it so hard to totally surrender to God’s will?

This is the problem – faith is an uphill climb on an icy slope.  When we come to a new choice and decide to stop, we begin to slide backwards, whether we intended to or not.  In the above verse, the word destroyed means ruin or loss.  Just standing still causes us to lose the ground we’ve already gained.

In our Christian walk, you have to put effort into it just to stand still.  If you want the power of God’s salvation working in you, then you have to keep moving forward.

Where are you in your walk with Christ?  What choices are you wrestling with?  If you find yourself at standstill – where did you stop, and why?  Most Christians don’t deal with these questions because think that faith is a one-time event.

Make it your goal to make the tough choices and then keep moving forward in Christ Jesus.

Question: What’s the hardest decision that you’ve ever had to trust God for?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Faith

 

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