Well it might be over a month behind, but here it is Chapter 9 of Lisa Whittle's book Behind Those Eyes. The study was hosted by Lelia over at Write From The Heart as part of the Yes to God Bible study. If you go to her and Lisa's blog you can find previous posts by both of them. Sadly I fell very behind when I got the flu in November but have promised myself and more importantly God that I would complete my study, that has challenged me and really changed my life. So after this I have one more chapter I will write on before the end of the year.
As always the Lisa's words will be highlighted.
Ephesians is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It has ministered to me throughout the last 2 1/2 years, Paul tells us how completely God loves us, not because of anything we did but because He created us. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons (and daughters (my addition)) through Jesus Christ in accordance with His pleasure and will-- to the praise of His glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace Ephesians1:4-7.
Through Jesus' death on the cross we have complete forgiveness. The slate was wiped clean, by Jesus and Jesus alone. Nothing we have ever done, or will do will secure us in the Kingdom of God, not how many payers, not what we do or say, how nice we are, how much money we give, or even going to church on Sundays, nothing but the blood of Jesus will give us complete and total forgiveness in the eyes of God. The best part is that once we embrace that truth and fall in love with Jesus, nothing can take it away. Even when we completely screw up.
Lisa says:" the truth that we women, as people and as followers of Christ are completely flawed and yet forgiven completely..... We are sinful, down to our soul" What an amazing truth. When you read it, it's a bit of a mind twister, but it's true.
In John 19: 28-30 it tells us this about the death of Jesus Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus cried out "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Jesus didn't say I'm through for now I almost fulfilled the scripture. It said seeing the scripture complete he cried out IT IS FINISHED. Jesus completed the atoning of the sins of all the world FINISHED. Lisa talks about absolute words in relation to forgiveness in the Bible, words like always, totally, fully and completely - why are they important. Because they show us the fullness of Gods love and Jesus' sacrifice and His perfection.
But there is another side to this and that's us and our complete imperfection. Even though we've been redeemed and forgiven we are still trapped in our sinfully fleshly bodies and we sin daily. From a small sin like lying to someone to get out of something you don't want to do to the biggies like that could find you a feature on the Nancy Grace show. Here's the kicker even though we have a rating scale and can justify different sins, God sees all sin equally, and Jesus' death on the cross renews our slate daily. Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Romans 4:7 NLT If we were perfect and without sin, Jesus wouldn't have had to suffer and give His life for us.
Lisa explains it in away I hadn't though about "we can't accept only the good part of this equation (that we are forgiven completely), leaving out the part we don't particularly like (that we completely flawed). It can't work that way, and here's the reason: because being completely fleshly and flawed from top to bottom and from tip to toe makes room for us to be forgiven in an entirely equal way. And Knowing that makes the beauty of the completeness of the act of forgiveness by almighty God that much more meaningful and incredible and real in our lives."
Being perfect is not our role here as believers. Our role is to share the Gospel and one way to do that is to let other people see your flaws and mistakes to His Glory. It's not until we are in God's Kingdom that we will be without our sin nature.
Sin Nature in our house we call it the fleshies. It's that part of us that is easily tempted, distracted, impatient, selfish, and is driven by our emotions and fears. It's why we are completely flawed. It's why the idea of complete and total forgiveness is a hard concept for so many of us. It's what Satan uses to try and convince us that we can't be totally forgiven, and it's what keeps us from totally forgiving others.
We are called to forgive others after all there isn't one of us that hasn't completely blown it. I know for myself learning to forgive people for the hurt I've felt has been a long road, and one I'm still traveling down for some pains. Just when I think I've forgiven completely something sparks a memory of the past pain, and boom I hit that rewind button. Then old Satan kicks in and adds his two cents. I'm getting better, now when that rewind button goes off on something I thought I forgiven someone for or myself for I start praying and praising God, and God soothes my sole as he reminds me that I am his beloved child.
Through out this study I along with the other ladies have revealed many of our flaws and struggles. Through all of the posts I was ministered to by women who are waiting on God, still hurting, but still finding comfort in God and others who have walked through a trial and are now helping others through a similar trial. God takes our times when we follow our Sin Nature and get ourselves in trouble to draw us closer to Him and reveal and rework our hearts and then take our bad choices and our reworked heart, and uses it to reveal Himself to us and to the people around us.
Father, your love that you have for me is greater that anything in my life, I've never been worthy of the sacrifice you gave by giving up your son, but my life would be nothing without it. Thank you for freeing me from the path of destruction I was on. Thank you for constantly showing me your love and grace evem when I was running the opposite way. I pray for my friends and family who don't know your love and mercy, and pray that you would speak into their hearts. In Jesus name Amen.