I have a confession to make. A while back, I realized I have a problem. I have a struggle with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Deep down, I haven’t really wanted forgiveness of my sins. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have asked for forgiveness again and again and again, that is, if simply saying those words counts. But I realized that while saying those words, I had not really been asking for what God really offered. Please, let me explain.
What does God’s grace look like? Consider Matthew 14:28-31.
And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’
On April 26, 2003, Aron Ralston was trapped between a rock and a hard place. Hiking and rock climbing alone in Eastern Utah, his right hand was crushed between a shifting boulder and the rock wall. Over a period of five days he made various attempts to free himself. Nothing worked. When he ran out of his water supply, he was certain of death.
I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” What does that mean? Find out in this video representation of giving thanks called “The Thanksgiving Chair.” How often do you sit in the thanksgiving chair? Who are you teaching to sit there with you?
The more I’ve worked with addicts and dealt with my own sins, the more I’ve realized that most churches are falling short in a very important area–freedom from sin. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Most churches teach freedom from sin. Most command freedom from sin. But very few are helping people become free from sin. Most of them simply tell people to quit sinning and then slap them on the wrist when they catch them sinning again or belittle and shame them for doing so. What can we do about this?
***WARNING: This is the third of three posts on this topic and I will repeat my warning. This post will be specific, factual, and even explicit. However, I will try not to be gratuitous or graphic. But if you normally let your kids read these posts, you may want to read it first. If you’re good with that, then click the “Continue Reading” link below.