Sin is a sad reality of life in a fallen world, and it has major consequences. Jesus Christ willingly gave His life for our sins. Our forgiveness came at an unimaginable price. The beauty of the Christian life is that we can forgive others in a way that God has forgiven us.
Matthew 18:15–20 gives us the pattern we should follow when someone has sinned against us, but what does it mean to forgive in the first place? For an answer, let us look to God the Father, the One who has perfectly modeled forgiveness for us. When God forgives us, He no longer holds our sins against us. He no longer condemns us. Our fellowship with Him is no longer disrupted. This is because Jesus Christ has suffered sin’s full penalty for all those who trust in Him.
We forgive others because God has forgiven us. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). Like God, to forgive someone means to no longer hold sin against the person who has sinned against you. When we forgive someone, we are once again in a positive relationship with them.
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By Walt Mueller — 2 months ago
While we have been given the responsibilities to tend, teach, and train, we cannot drag, push, or pull our kids screaming and kicking into the kingdom of God. There is no guarantee that we will see the results that we want, in the way that we want, or in the time that we want. No, “salvation belongs to the Lord” (Ps. 3:8; see also Rev. 7:10). It is only the Holy Spirit, working in His way and His time, who will call our children to faith.
My fourteen-year-old self had gone to bed at my usual 9 p.m. time. Two hours later, I woke up to use the bathroom. While walking undetected past my parents’ darkened room, I not only heard my dad whispering, but I heard him whispering my name. It was at that unforgettable moment that I learned that my parents’ bedtime routine included intercession on behalf of their three children.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. I had been blessed with parents whose only stated hope for me for as long as I can remember was that I would grow up to love, follow, and serve Jesus Christ. As Christian parents, we ought to hope the same for our children. Nothing more. Nothing less.
But challenges to passing on the faith in today’s world and seeing these good desires realized are many. Marketing, media, social media, and peer groups are among the many compelling voices that speak counter to the gospel, summoning the allegiance of our children and teens. Research from David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock in their book Faith for Exiles reveals that more and more of our kids who have grown up in the church and Christian homes are following “the course of this world” (Eph. 2:2) as only 10 percent of eighteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds who “grew up as Christians” are embracing a lifestyle of consistent discipleship.
The good news is that parents always exercise the greatest influence on the spiritual lives of their children. This should not be surprising, since God has established the home as the primary arena for spiritual nurture (Deut. 6; Eph. 6:1–4). This influence is effectively exercised as we entrust our children to God, which includes certain responsibilities that He has entrusted to us. How can we entrust our children to Him in a contemporary world full of distractions that so easily leads both children and parents away from the faithful pursuit of the chief end of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever?
First, to entrust your children to God is to tend to yourself. I love Tedd Tripp’s definition of parenting as “shepherding the hearts of your children in the ways of God’s wisdom.” It follows that the only way that we can effectively nurture our children in the ways of God’s wisdom is to be constantly nurturing ourselves.
By Ryan Biese — 10 months ago
TE LeCroy’s pair of blogposts make some outlandish insinuations regarding the GRN and other groups such as the Aquila Report, MORE in the PCA, and Presbycast. While he’s long on insinuation, Dr LeCroy is short on specifics and evidence. That’s not a way forward for peace in the PCA. I propose a different way forward for peace in the PCA. First, cease the broad brush allegations about “big money” and “rhetoric,” but rather be clear and specific about concerns.
I have no interest in sports. However in high school, I did run cross country, and for our warm up run we frequently would take a big lap around our school campus. As we ran, I was always amused by the things they put on the school sign; it was usually some proverbial soundbite or moral. One of them has stood out in my memory since that time both for its pithiness and its wisdom:
Never ruin an apology with an excuse.– Benjamin Franklin
Last week the Reverend Professor Tim Lecroy, PhD published a meandering blogpost on the SemperRef collective in which he initially seemed to be hoping for a less combative future in the PCA as he poignantly asked, “Will we have peace” as he reflected on his 25 years in the PCA and some of the controversies he has witnessed.
But the blogpost quickly abandoned its irenic façade in favor of what TE Charles Stover characterized as “Slander, for unity’s sake” in which Dr LeCroy leveled allegations, assertions, and questions aimed at the “right wing of the PCA” including the especially outrageous assertion that the GRN has a “secret council” and that the National Partnership (NP) “was never anything more than an email list and a facebook chat group that apparently enjoyed the occasional bourbon and cigar.”
I. Mea Culpa
The blogpost was exceptionally bad. As a man with a Doctor of Philosophy from Saint Louis University (one of the leading Roman Catholic research institutions in the world), he should have known better. As a professor at Covenant Theological Seminary (adjunct), we should be able to expect Dr LeCroy understands responsible research and the evidence needed to make such claims in writing. As a member of the editorial team for the SemperRef Collective, one would assume TE LeCroy would be more careful about what he puts in writing on the blog.
TE LeCroy giving a report at the 49th General Assembly of the PCA.
Late last week, Dr LeCroy issued a followup blogpost, Mea Culpa, in which he called a personal foul on himself. He tried to explain what a “personal foul” is using basketball. He stated he was just being “sarcastic” in asserting the GRN has a secret council, since people have used that word to describe him and his friends. So LeCroy doesn’t believe the GRN has a secret council; he was being sarcastic.
Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!” (Prov. 26:18–19)
Dr LeCroy insists:
Let me be clear: I do not believe that the GRN has a secret council. I also apologize for insinuating. My insinuations were based on my own experience, anecdotal evidence told to me, and my own hunches, but they were insinuations nonetheless. I shouldn’t have put them in print.
Well now I’m not clear. Does Professor LeCroy believe the GRN has a secret council or not? He said his insinuations are based on his own experience, anecdotal evidence, and his hunches. What does this mean?
This is an interesting way to apologize; to retract one’s assertion and then assert he has evidence and hunches to support his insinuation.
II. The Show Me State
TE LeCroy does not have the benefit of having been born in Missouri as I have. But TE LeCroy has ministered in the Show Me State long enough to understand how we Missourians don’t accept claims without evidence. What “experience” and “anecdotal evidence” does Dr LeCroy have to support his claims?
I asked publicly on Twitter for this evidence and I received a (now deleted) sarcastic reply from an anonymous user of the SemperRef twitter account:
The user of the SemperRef Twitter account later identified himself as someone called “Travis” and apologized for his sarcasm.
Few people appreciate sarcasm more than I do. Sometimes I tell my wife, “sarcasm is my love language.” So I am indeed feeling the love from our brothers at SemperRef.
SemperRef describes itself as an organization that aims to:
Provide content that upholds our calling to speak the truth in love and which honors the fullest understanding of the responsibilities embodied in the ninth commandment.
I find it an odd response that when asked for evidence of the claims made in one of their articles, they demanded I provide the emails to disprove what was “insinuated” in the article and seems to be oddly-reiterated in the oddly-named “Mea Culpa” followup.
That is not the way evidence works; one does not have to prove a negative or prove the non-existence of what another “insinuates.”
By Josh Kubler — 1 year ago
He chose to bear our sin, to become our sin, so that we may receive mercy. His nail-scarred hands and blood-stained brow testify that our penalty was not simply erased but was paid in full. Because of that payment, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Without his sacrifice, mercy would be unattainable, but because of it, we may now confidently approach the throne of grace, appealing for mercy on the merit of his work rather than our own.
There are moments in life that remain with you long after they’ve passed. These are benchmarks. Life-altering events that you could never forget, like the birth of a child or the loss of a loved one. Other times, they happen in your car on a normal Thursday on your way to work.
I can vividly remember pulling out of my driveway a few years ago, angry and frustrated. I’d lost my patience with my children, spoken too harshly to them, but I wasn’t upset with them in that moment. I was the problem. I would repent and apologize, as I had so often done in the past (and have plenty of times since). I was frustrated that I had once again succumbed to my flesh. I was beyond conviction, and had begun settling in the territory of shame. I didn’t feel as though I deserved my children’s forgiveness, much less God’s. But as I drove on, my hands wringing the steering wheel, the Lord began to call to mind my recent study of the life of David, a man who had faced more than his share of life-changing experiences.
There have been few people in history more admired than King David. He was the answer to his people’s prayers and the object of their admiration. He’d slayed the giant as a shepherd with nothing but stones. He’d evaded death at the hands of Saul with little more than cunning. He’d ruled over Israel with heartfelt compassion. And he’d worshiped his God with a humble heart.
But David was still a man, and as with all mankind, a war raged within him. Temptation crouched at his doorstep, and in weakness, he welcomed it in. Sin begets sin, and David’s adultery led to murder and lies and attempted cover-ups. Finally, after being confronted by the prophet Nathan, he bears his soul to God.
Have mercy on me, O God,according to your steadfast love;according to your abundant mercyblot out my transgressions. (Ps. 51:1)
The king goes on to confess the severity of his sin while appealing to God as the only source of deliverance, and that appeal is rooted in God’s abundant mercy. Of God’s magnificent attributes, there may be none more astonishing than his mercy toward sinners.
We tend to have a poor understanding of mercy, because it’s so difficult for our finite minds to grasp why an infinitely holy God would withhold punishment where it is justly due. Our propensity is to appreciate and even demand justice until our own case appears on the docket. My own impatience and anger are rooted in pride, a sinful response to recognizing I don’t have the control I so desperately desire. I can forgive myself the first time, but the fifth? The fifteenth? The hundredth? God, of course, is not like us. His very character, while perfectly just, is also exceedingly patient, gracious, and loving.