Unit 5: How to find God’s love and forgiveness
HOW TO FIND GOD’S LOVE AND FORGIVENESS
OBJECTS OF FAITH
What is faith?
Faith is another word for trust. Faith must have an object. The Christian’s object of faith is God and His Word. And His Word tells us that we need not continue to be defeated, carnal, fruitless and impotent Christians. We can be fruitful witnesses for Christ, and that is what He has called us to be (John 15:16).
The Lord Jesus made the incredible but reliable promise that if we believe on Him, we will be able to do greater works than He did (John 14:12). He assured us that whatsoever we ask in His name, He will do it (John 14:14). No Christian need continue to be a carnal man.
It is important that we recognize that it is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the object of our faith, who has both the power and the willingness to deliver us from carnality.
We do not have faith in faith itself. For example, a person could have great faith that the ice on a lake would be thick enough to support his weight. Through his faith, he may walk boldly out on this ice and get very wet. On the other hand, a person who may have a very weak faith, may move slowly out onto a lake covered with a very thick layer of ice. As he walks on the ice and realizes its ability to support his weight, his faith grows.
So, it is in the Christian life. We place our faith, even a faith that may be very weak, in a trustworthy God and His Word. The better we know God, the more we can trust Him, and the more we trust Him, the more we experience the reality of His love and grace and power. Faith is like a muscle—it grows with exercise.
The meal comes with the ticket
A man booked passage on a ship with just enough money to buy a ticket, a block of cheese and some crackers for a long voyage. The first few days at sea the crackers and cheese tasted good, but eventually they became stale. As he watched the porters carry large steaks, lobsters, chicken, beautiful salads and many other delicious foods to the other guests, he became so hungry that he finally stopped one of the porters. “I’II do anything to get one of those steaks,” he said. “I’II wash dishes, clean rooms, even mop the deck.” The porter replied, “You bought a ticket, didn’t you? The meals come with the ticket.”
Too many people today are, ignorantly, cheese and cracker Christians—missing out on all of God’s steak dinners.
Christian as Practical Atheist
It is tragically true that the average Christian is a practical atheist who professes to believe in God yet acts as though God either does not exist or is unwilling to help him. All the resources of God are available to him, yet he lives in self-imposed spiritual poverty on a roller coaster of emotions. He fails to act as a child of the King or live as one who has been adopted into royalty from a state of poverty and illiteracy. How can the carnal man get off, and stay off, this emotional, roller coaster-type of existence and overcome his inconsistent way of life?
Consider the victorious fact stated by Paul in Colossians 1:13, 14: “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
These verses, along with the message of Hebrews chapter 10, assure us: When we enter God’s kingdom by receiving His Son, then we can experience, moment-by-moment, the inner peace and freedom of His merciful forgiveness!
“Spiritual breathing” is a principle which enables the believer to live a consistent Christian life. Just as we exhale and inhale physically, so we can also exhale and inhale spiritually.
We “exhale” when we confess our sins, and we “inhale” when we appropriate the fullness of God’s Spirit by faith.
The Bible promises, according to I John 1.9, “if we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Confession (homologeo in the Greek) suggests agreement with God concerning our sins. Such agreement involves at least three considerations.
First, I acknowledge or agree with God that my sin or sins, which should be named specifically, are wrong and therefore are grievous to Him.
Second, I acknowledge or agree with God that He has already forgiven my sins—past, present and future—because of Christ’s death on the cross. It is essential to realize that there is nothing that I can do that will add anything to what He has already done for me. Third, I repent, which means that I change my attitude toward my sins. Through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, this will result in a change in my conduct. Instead of doing what my old sinful nature wants me to do, I now do what God wants me to do.