Transcript: Episode 0044

This transcript:
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  2. Has not been checked for errors.
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Welcome to the Stone Choir podcast. I am Corey J. Moeller, and I'm still woe. On today's

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Stone Choir, we're going to be discussing the subject of forgiveness. Last week, we

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spent a couple hours talking about the state of young men in the world today and the state

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of the world as it relates to their future lives. We had a ton of feedback on that episode,

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and I wanted to do this episode, Corey, and I wanted to specifically address forgiveness

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because people reached some logical conclusions, some right conclusions from listening. They

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weren't necessarily the ones that we had in mind, so we wanted to talk briefly about why

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that happened, how that works, and more fundamentally how forgiveness plays out in the Christian

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life with each other. One of the things that we talked about last week was the blow-up of

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years ago in the Christian space around debt-free virgins without tattoos, and as we discussed some

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of the implications of that, at no point did Corey or I ever explicitly say that unless a girl is

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debt-free without tattoos and without a body count, she is unfit, because we don't believe that.

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That's, as we did say, that's a test that's virtually impossible for anyone today, simply

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because so much of the world, including, frankly, within the church is oriented around papering

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over or actually condoning things that can be harmful. As we were specifically addressing young

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men, we wanted to make the point that given a set of 10 girls, if you have a choice of one who

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potentially has made fewer mistakes, all the things being equal is probably a better choice.

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On the other hand, things are never always equal. There are a lot of different reasons why someone

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might go into debt, how much debt they go into, what kind of tattoos they get, where they get them.

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I have an ex who had a tattoo on the side of one of her feet that said,

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walk by faith, because it was a tribute to her father who had died, and at one point she was

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working in a company where there was a Japanese visitor who noticed the tattoo. She was wearing

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sandals that day, and he commented on it, and it wasn't really a very favorable comment. He was a

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little offended by the fact that she would have a visible tattoo in the workplace. One of the

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lovely things about the Japanese is that they're very forthright about things. If you have an East

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Asian coworker and you gain five pounds and you're showing him the face, they'll come to you and say,

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you're looking a little fat. I think that's great. There's absolutely no malice to it. There's nothing

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except for a brotherly fraternal concern that something might be wrong. I just want to let you

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know that I want to see you be the best you can be. It wasn't a mean thing for a Japanese person

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to say something. It was kind of what most Americans would take as offensive about your own

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body. She very adorably responded and said, well, this is a tribute to my ancestors. This is a tribute

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to my deceased father. He was impressed by that, and it shut him out. He was like, okay.

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So even when we say that things like tattoos are not necessarily a great idea,

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there are also different types of tattoos or different reasons for people to get them.

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It's not about, okay, you did a sin at some point in the past or something like,

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if you're $10,000 and that is that a sin, I don't think so. Is it stupid? Yeah. Did you make a

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mistake and do something stupid and now you have to dig out of it? Yes. So today we're talking about

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forgiveness because there's the aspect of how much of that is for us to forgive in another person,

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and then just how do we treat each other in general? As we said, I said there were a number

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of people who felt the other consciences were burdened by some of the things that we said,

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which was not our intent. So we wanted to begin by talking briefly about what's commonly called

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the three uses of the law. As I looked this up yesterday to make sure I was getting things right,

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I realized that as usual, the Reformed and Lutherans don't number these things the same way.

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So we're going to be using the Lutheran numbering, which is curb, mirror, and rule for the three uses

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of the law. The curb is the civic law, the law that you have on the books that says,

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if you do this, you go to prison. If you do this, you owe a fine. The curb is there to prevent evil.

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On the theology podcast, we're not talking about curbing evil with the civic law, although in

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future episodes, we're talking about governments that will be a part of it, but it's always ultimately

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still top down. It doesn't have anything to do with how we relate to each other. Then the second

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use in the Lutheran ordering is the mirror, which is to show our sin. You read what God has said,

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you listen to what God has revealed, and you realize, wow, I sinned against God and I didn't

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even know it. That's something that we find in Scripture where God is omniscient. He knows

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everything. He knows the inner workings of our hearts in ways that we never will. He knows more

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about how bad we are than we do. When we come to the realization through contrasting our lives with

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the law as revealed in Scripture, it causes us to repent. That is a godly ordered response to

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realizing I did something wrong. As I said in the group chat, after we dropped that episode,

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Corey and I threw ourselves under the bus in that episode more than most. We're not going to make

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these shows a tell-all about our personal sins, in part because a lot of them involve others,

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and we have no business involving others in any sort of personal confession,

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because that's performative and disgusting. I would never impugn someone else's privacy in such a way.

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But I will happily share things that are bad about me when it doesn't affect anyone else,

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not to make myself anything, but just as an example. I can tell you, I did something bad,

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and here is how it interacts with God's word. Scripture reveals when we have sinned against

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God, and part of the reason for the fear of the Lord episode was to talk about a rightly ordered

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response to that. If I have sinned against God, as David said in Psalm 51, against you, you only

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have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and

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blameless in your judgment. The way that we see ourselves in contrast to God's perfect will

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is brutal. It's standing in front of a mirror naked, and you realize you're worse than you thought.

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We wanted to talk today about the fact that if someone has that response as a Christian,

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that's only possible with the gift of faith. I think one of the greatest blessings of the

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Christian life is that when we're confronted with our own sin, if you're not a Christian,

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if someone particularly happens in people who have alcohol or substance abuse where it's described

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as them hitting rock bottom, they realize that the next step for them is death. They've made so

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many mistakes, they've hurt so many people, they've hurt themselves so much, they realize that they're

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at the bottom of a well. The blessing of the Christian understanding of life is that we understand

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that we're not down there alone, that God is down there with us, and that he can lift us out of that

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because he forgives us for everything that we've done to take us to that point. It's a blessing

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in the Christian life because if you don't know Christ and you realize how terrible you are,

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for some people the next step is self-murder, is suicide. If someone despairs of their sin

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and they don't see any way out, that's just utter hopelessness. When a Christian realizes the same

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thing, I'm absolutely terrible, as Paul wrote when he described his inability to strive successfully

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in all cases against his own flesh. Christians know better than most that we're awful,

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and the difference is that we know that the solution is Christ's forgiveness, first to us

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from him, and in the forgiveness of God that we extend to others. The third use of the law is

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the rule, the rule and norm of the Christian life, where we focus most of our time on Stone Choir,

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Corey Reffer still last week, and it's something we say frequently. We're talking about the

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and then of Christian life, you're a Christian and then what? You know what God wants and then

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what do you do with that. When we describe what Scripture says about what God wants all of us to

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be doing in our lives, some people in their own personal circumstances will look at their

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current circumstances or distant past or recent past and realize I did something that I shouldn't

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have done. We want to talk today about forgiveness precisely because if that was you when you heard

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something last week, you're like, man, I feel crushed by this. I should not have done those things

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and I feel terrible. We want to spend today's episode talking about forgiveness that God has

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already delivered to you on the cross and it is received by your faith, and that repentance that

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you have when you realize your sin is a demonstration of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit because you

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repent without despair. Repenting with despair isn't really repentance because you know that

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you can't turn away from your wickedness because you know it's inherent and it's only with the

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Holy Spirit inside us giving us faith and revealing to us that God sanctifies us. God makes our lives

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holy. He lets us have the ability to choose to do the very good that we cannot choose on our own.

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Someone without God cannot choose to be good in a way that's going to have any effect. It's only

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through the gift of faith that that's possible. So as we go through this today, I want to reassure

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folks who felt bad after last week's episode. We don't want you to feel bad. We don't want you

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to feel beaten down or punched. If you do briefly, that's a good thing. That's a blessing from God

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because there was something in God's word that that pricked your heart. Like, ouch, that was an

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injury that I didn't know that I had. That was a sin that I didn't realize. On the other hand,

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we don't want to trigger the sort of scrupulosity that is particularly common in more immature

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faith. I don't say that with any insult. It's just that when you're new and you're trying to figure

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things out, you want to try to get everything right. Whether it's a new marriage or it's a new

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faith, it's a new job, you show up, you want to get everything right. And when you fail, it really,

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really hurts. We don't want people to feel like, okay, here's this list of things that we should

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all be doing. If you fail on 8 out of 10, that shouldn't beat you down. That should give you an

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indication that, okay, God has given me some idea what I should be doing. Here's the stuff that I

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can improve. As we discussed in today's episode, how we extend forgiveness to each other, one thing

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I hope will come across very clearly is that our lives are better in the moment, in these hours,

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in these days, when we extend God's grace to each other. You have to be easy on people who

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feel broken. You don't clobber someone who already feels like they've made a mistake. So,

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I want to talk about this today because we don't want you to feel clobbered. If you're listening,

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you're like, oh man, I wish I hadn't done that. That should be a reason for you to

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know that God has forgiven you for whatever it is that you did. And so, by the end of this episode,

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I hope that we can make that case clearly because God's word, His law, is ultimately a source of

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comfort. On one hand, it shows that we are all sinners and that we fall short of the glory of

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God. On the other hand, God's eternal will is that Jesus died on the cross to solve all of these

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problems, to pay for everything that you know and that you didn't know. And so, on the judgment day,

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you'll stand before the throne of God and your robes will be washed white in Christ's blood.

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And so, God will have blotted out all of your sins. And we won't remember them. The evil that

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we've done will be forgotten. And forgiveness now in this life is also about a weaker,

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imperfect form of forgetting that will be eternal in the new life.

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There are a couple points there that I want to pull out and flesh out a little bit before we move on

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to the rest of the episode, the main part of the episode. But even before doing that,

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I'm going to read three verses from Psalm 139 because I hope this came to mind when it was

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mentioned that wherever you are, even if it happens to be rock bottom, God is still there.

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I won't read the whole thing. I'm actually going to recommend that you pause the episode,

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go read Psalm 139, and then come back and listen to the rest. And this is not just a trick to get

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some of you who have not done so yet to check the show notes, but it will be there. But I'll

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read three verses starting with verse eight. If I ascend to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed

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in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of

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the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me.

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But the two points that I want to draw out are

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antinomianism as a general sort of umbrella issue. And then the difference in terms of

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repentance between despairing and not despairing. I'll start with the second and then go back to

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antinomianism. But when it comes to repentance, the difference between Judas and Peter is despair.

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Judas regretted deeply what he had done and despaired. And so Judas was damned.

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Peter regretted deeply what he had done, because he had also denied Christ. He had

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betrayed Christ in denying him. But he did that without despair. And so we will one day

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get to meet Peter in paradise, because he did not despair. He repented without that despair.

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And that, of course, is a gift of God. But on the note of antinomianism,

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some Christians and Lutherans in particular historically by certain groups have been accused

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of being antinomian because we preach the gospel in its fullness, in its absolute

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fullest truest sense. We don't mix works with the gospel, for instance.

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And as should be evident, as should be very clear from the listing of the three uses of the law,

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we are very clearly not antinomians, because the third use is directly against antinomianism.

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The third use is a very clear statement that the law still applies to Christians.

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The law applied to Adam and Eve. The law applies forever because the law is God's will.

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It flows from God's nature. It is eternal. And it's not an oppressive thing.

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Yes, because of our fallen nature and our fallen flesh, we cannot fully comply with the law. We

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attempt to do so, and part of sanctification is that we get better at it as we are a Christian for

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longer and as we exercise ourself in God's word, in God's law. But we won't be perfect in this life

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because we are fallen in this life. We are partly regenerated in this life. We are fully regenerated

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in the next. And that is when the law, of course, will then not be a burden. The law remains

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because the law is God's eternal will. But you may be familiar with the phrase,

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Lex Semper Akusat. The law always accuses. It's important to note that is the law always accuses,

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not that the law only accuses. Because the law does not only accuse. Yes, it always accuses

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because of our fallen flesh. But it also guides us in our life. That is another way you can

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another term you can use for the third use is guide. And the law guides regenerate Christians.

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And so it accuses because of the fallen flesh, because we fall short of God's standard.

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But it is not only accusation. It is also a guide. It is holy good. The law is not an evil that was

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done away with on the cross. Christ did not come to abolish the law as scripture makes abundantly

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clear. He came to fulfill the law. He came to make it possible for us to please God with our even if

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incredibly imperfect attempts to obey his law to comply with what he tells us to do.

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Our good works, our which that's all good works are good works are acting in accord with God's law.

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Our good works are pleasing to God, if we are in Christ, because we are in Christ.

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Because the imperfection, the sin that taints those good works is not counted against us in

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Christ. It is only the good for which we receive credit. And we receive credit because of Christ's

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work for us, which is quite a great deal for us, a very good thing. I want to read the full first

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part of Psalm 51 that I quoted briefly before because it goes to a lot of this. Have mercy on

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me, O God, according to your steadfast love, according to your abundant mercy, blot out my

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transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin, for I know

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my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only have I sinned and done

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what is evil in your sight. So that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your

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judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and incended my mother conceived me. Behold,

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you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

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So when David speaks God's word, saying, blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from

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my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin, he's describing what Christ's propitiating sacrifice

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on the cross accomplished. When Jesus proclaimed it as finished as he died, before he died,

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in the moment of his death, that is what he was announcing, that we were cleansed from all of

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our sin in that moment. And one of the tremendous blessings that we have as Christians after the

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cross is that we no longer have to live as the Jews did for 2,000 years leading up to it, and

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as all believers did from Adam through Mary, looking forward to the promise of the Messiah.

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We have the benefit of hindsight. We have the benefit of hundreds of witnesses of these things

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who attest from firsthand knowledge and experience the miracles that they saw, what

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they witnessed with their own eyes. And so our faith in a way today is even easier than it was

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for Noah or for Jacob or for Abraham. You could go down the list of all the patriarchs.

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Their faith was in a promise not yet fulfilled, and it's God we're talking about, so we can

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absolutely trust in his promises, because as we often say on Stone Choir, the same God who can

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speak the universe into existence, if he makes a promise, it's already happened. It's a done deal.

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You don't have to doubt it. So on one hand, it's not more impressive that Abraham believed,

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and it was counted to him as righteousness. On the other hand, I think it's fair to say that we

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have it easier. We have the fullness of Scripture recorded for us today, testifying to all these

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things. And so what that has to do with forgiveness is that when the Messiah, when the Christ died

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on the cross, when God died for our sins in that moment, all of our sins for all time were washed

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away, because not only is God omniscient, he's omnipotent, he can do everything, and he did it

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in that moment for us. Everything we ever committed, everything we will commit from this day forward

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until our last, was paid for past tense on the cross. And the future-looking promise that

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they had in the Old Testament was a joy and an expectation. What we have today is the fulfillment

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of that promise in the review mirror. And that's a tremendous blessing that I think that those in

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the past would envy us, because they had to promise something that was not yet fulfilled. And

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they didn't know exactly what their hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament,

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they didn't know exactly what it was going to look like. They knew bits and pieces and they

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believed it, but prophecies are only fully understood in the review mirror. When God fulfills

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them, you look and say, yep, lines up perfectly. I wouldn't have imagined it like that, but here it

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is. And that is the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And so the forgiveness that we

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share with each other today, and the forgiveness that we take comfort in today,

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is in view of the shedding of Christ's blood on the cross. And the fact that all transgressions,

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all sins, all trespasses are wiped away in that moment by his perfect blood

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is the root of the Christian faith. In a future episode, we're going to be doing something specifically

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on the sacraments as a means of grace. That's an important part of Lutheran theology. So we're

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going to spend an episode describing how Lutherans view the sacraments relative to some of the other

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denominations to demonstrate. Here's why we believe that our approach to Scripture is consistent with

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the Lutheran view of the sacraments. The sacraments are absolutely a means of grace,

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and it's how God delivers his promises and his forgiveness in time.

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The word is too. When the word is spoken, it delivers on those promises. As we've said before,

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the superabundance of God's grace is such that there's more forgiveness than we have sin.

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He's forgiven everything, and he's given us all these different means. He knows that we're going

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to doubt. Doubt is sin, and it's going to happen anyway, because we will never be perfect until we

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die. And so the superabundance of God's grace is saying, I have the word for you. I have the

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sacraments for you. I have pointing back to the cross for you. I've surrounded you as a Christian

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in your life in this wicked world with a hedge of promises and signs of the things that I have done

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for you. And so those are given as a comfort that the forgiveness that was earned on the cross

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is real. It's actually accomplished in time. It's not a forelooking promise as it was for Mary.

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It's a revealed and realized promise that we look back and say, yep, God promised and God

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delivered. And the joy of the Christian life vertically as it relates to God is the knowledge

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that God delivered on his promises. And therefore, Christian freedom now means living free from the

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terror of our sin. And that's something that, it's part of the reason we did this episode,

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is there are some people who felt kind of beaten down by what they heard. Now they were beaten down

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by the fact that when we talked about the third use, when we talked about the rule or the,

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you know, the guide of God's perfect will in our lives today and going forward,

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when you look back over your life, you're like, ooh, I failed. I sinned. I did things I shouldn't

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have done. As I said at the beginning, if that repentance is in your heart, you should know

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that you have received forgiveness for that. You don't need to wallow in it. It's important to

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realize it. It's a fruit of the Holy Spirit that we look at our own lives and we realize, yeah,

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that was sinful. That was bad. I shouldn't have done that. And then immediately turn to God and

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say thank you for the sacrifice of your son on the cross that my wickedness that I didn't even know

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about was already forgiven. And then we go on with a joyous Christian life, knowing that that's the

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kind of God we have. We don't have a God who's sitting around hiding in the bushes, taking notes

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and being angry with us. You know, that's what Twitter censors do. That's not what God does.

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God, with his perfect knowledge of the innermost recesses of our hearts, knows those things and

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yet he still loved us so much that he sent his only begotten son to die for us. We always quote

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John 3.16, but the next verse or two is equally important in that sentiment. For God so loved the

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world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal

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life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world

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might be saved through him, whoever believes in him is not condemned. Whoever does not believe

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is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

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That's a perfect lead-in because I was actually just going to read those verses. I actually have

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them up on my screen right now because it is so vitally important to include 17 and 18 when we read

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those verses. We read that section because we take the wrong lesson if we don't read

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Scripture in context, particularly here. We need that context of verse 18 because this pulls out

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some of the theological aspects of justification that I want to go over here

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because there are two aspects of justification. You could say two justifications if you are

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so inclined, but keep in mind that you're speaking after a fashion. There is the objective and the

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subjective, and these can also be called the universal and the personal. The universal

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objective justification is what Christ accomplished on the cross, and we have that in verse 16 because

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what does it say, for God so loved, the world that's ton kosmon, cosmos being the Greek word from

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which we get cosmos that is everything. Christ reconciled everything with his death. His death

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was of infinite value. It was sufficient for the reconciliation of all things, and so does ton

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kosmon. It is not just some group of people, not some small group of people, not only human beings.

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It is all things, and that's of course the same word we get in verse 17 that is still

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cosmos there, the world. But 18 is important because 18 teaches us the personal justification

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whoever believes in him is not condemned. When it comes to human beings, there is a

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personal, a subjective justification, and that is when you believe that is faith, and so in essence

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a way to summarize this is the crucifixion of Christ was the means by which God worked

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objective justification, that being of all things. Faith is the means by which God

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subjectively justifies the sinner, and the word and the sacraments are the means by which God grants

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that faith to the aforesaid sinner. And we'll do the episode on sacramentology at some point,

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but this is the core of it here, a response to an accusation that is leveled against Lutherans

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and others who have a sacramental theology. There are those who will say, well you're defeating

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solifida, you're saying that it's not faith alone, and that's not what we're doing. We are

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giving the answer to how God gives you faith when we say that the word and the sacraments are means

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of grace, because you have to get the faith somehow. And that's the point. God gives you the faith

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through the word and the sacraments. It is a free gift. It is not something you do for yourself.

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It's not you have to believe hard enough and you'll be saved. No, God gives you faith. That faith

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justifies you. You are saved because of that faith, because of the free gift of God. It is a gift from

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beginning to end. That is vitally important to understand, because that is the gospel. The gospel

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is free justification for the sake of Christ. Not because you work hard at it and believe hard

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enough. Not because you work hard at it and collect enough good works. This is not a competition

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where you collect little merit badges. And if you get to the pearly gates and you have enough of them,

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then you get to be admitted to paradise. That's not how it works.

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God gives you faith. That justifies you because of Christ's sacrifice, because vicariously he paid

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the price for you. And so it is all free beginning to end. Now we do not deny that Christians will

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have good works. This goes back to that third use of the law. You will have good works as a

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Christian, because you are in Christ, because you have faith, and those works are good only because

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you are a Christian. If you are not a Christian, you do not have good works. This is an important

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theological point that is often glossed over or completely ignored. No matter how good before the

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eyes of the world, some particular act, some particular work happens to be. If it is done by

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someone who is not in Christ, the work is not meritorious and it is not good, it is not credited

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to that person before God in God's court, because the person has to be justified to have good works.

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And that's good news for the Christian, for those who believe that is excellent news,

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because if you are in Christ again as I stated before, the fact that your works are imperfect,

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the fact that you are still a fallen sinner, is not counted against you. Your works are considered

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meritorious and there are rewards in heaven for good works. Scripture is very clear about that,

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but they are counted only as good because of Christ, and they are counted as only good because of

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Christ. And I want to focus for just a minute here on the way that Scripture speaks about

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your sins when they are forgiven. God doesn't just say, these are not counted against you.

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He does say that, but that's not the only thing he says. God says that he forgets your sins.

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I think that we really, this is another thing, we gloss over it, we don't realize

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the fullness of what it means for God to forget. God is omniscient, God knows all things.

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If God says that he forgets something, it's gone. It's gone in a way that is total,

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in a way that is absolute. It never existed. So your sins in paradise when you are fully renewed

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are gone in the absolute fullest sense of that term. There is no way to overstate it.

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That is the good news for Christians. So once you are fully renewed in paradise,

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all of those things that happened in this life, all of the imperfections, all of the

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times that you sinned, all of the times that you could have done better, that your good works

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were imperfect because of your fallen nature, that's all gone. It is only the good that remains.

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Of course, the inverse of that is that it is not good news for those who are not in Christ,

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because none of the good for them counts. It is only the evil they did that remains,

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because they chose to keep it. And that is a vitally important point.

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Your sins will be counted against you only if you decide to keep them. If you are unwilling

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to simply lay all of that at the foot of the cross and accept the free gift of salvation

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from God on behalf of Christ, then you have declared to God,

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no, I'm going to keep my sins in their mind. And God says, fine, you get to pay the price for them

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for eternity, because the debt owed for sin, any sin, no matter how small, no matter how great,

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the debt owed for any sin is infinite. That is why it is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross

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that was necessary to atone for those sins, because his sacrifice was of infinite value.

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So, if you want to keep those sins, you get to keep them for eternity,

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because you will never be able to pay an infinite price, because you are finite. It took the Son

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of God, who is infinite God, to pay that infinite price. And that is why it is good news for Christians.

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The debt is paid, and the sins will be totally forgotten, completely erased to the point where

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they never existed. It is only the good that will remain. And this is why forgiveness of

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each other is such a vital part of the Christian life. It is a crucial part in the etymological

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sense of the word, crucial, crucifix, same thing. The forgiveness that we are commanded by God,

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that is God's law, that we extend to each other as gospel, to use the Lutheran parlance.

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It is God's command, and it is for everyone's benefit. I talked at the beginning about how

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some folks were burdened with either their own sins or feeling that they had sinned against

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someone else. And so, we want to talk, I think most of this episode, about the interpersonal part

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of this, because the theological discussion of us approaching God and us receiving God's gifts

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is vital. It is absolutely fundamental to this. It is also in some ways easier intellectually,

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or at least spiritually, than the interpersonal stuff. I want to begin as we often do in this

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show with Job. At the end of Job, in chapter 42, when God is speaking to all the men who are

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involved in that story, he has something to say about forgiveness and about us forgiving each other.

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After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz, the Temmonite,

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my anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is

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right as my servant Job has. Now therefore, take seven bowls and seven rams and go to my servant Job

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and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will

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accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly, for you have not spoken of me

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what is right as my servant Job has. So Eliphaz, the Temmonite, and Bildad, the Shuite, and Zophar,

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the Namethite went and did what the Lord had told them, and the Lord accepted Job's prayer.

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So this is an example of intercessory prayer. Something that the Roman Catholics often use

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in describing the saints interceding for us in heaven. I think that a much more vital

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read on intercessory prayer is what we do for each other. If someone sins against you, you are to

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intercede on their behalf to God to say, God forgive them for this, for their sin against me,

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I don't want it to be held against them. Because the bad advice that Job received from his friends

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was basically telling him to sin against God. They were saying things that weren't correct,

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and if Job had listened to them, he would have fallen into sin. And so God was angry with that

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because they were effectively being the devil's tempters in that situation. And what was God's

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solution? You guys, you need to go sacrifice. I will hear Job's intercessory prayer on your

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behalf. When Job says, forgive these men, I will forgive them for his sake, which of course is

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also for Christ's sake, because all forgiveness, as we've just laid out, is at the cross. That

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finished work, that perfect work on the cross of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ,

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paid for all these sins past, present, future. The intercessory prayer of Job for his friends

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is forgiveness. God forgave and Job forgave. The thing that we have to deal with in this life,

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the very practical matter, is one of the hardest parts of being a Christian. When you are commanded

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to forgive those who are trying to kill you, that's tough. That's, ego is involved. The notion

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that I have been slighted, that someone wants to hurt me, and I want to defend myself, and I want

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to protect my family, and I want to protect my property, and I want to obey God. And the joy

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of the Christian life is realizing that those things are not at odds. So when we're discussing

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forgiveness, we're not talking about pacifism. We're not talking about there being no temporal

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consequences for the evil actions of other men. We're talking about what God is saying here.

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These men sinned against me, and they sinned against you, Job. You intercede on their behalf.

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Ask me to forgive them, and I will. That's a promise that he makes to all of us. That's in the Lord's

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prayer. Forgive us our trespasses. Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who owe us debts,

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or who trespass against us. That's a tough part of that prayer, because if you actually

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think about it and pay attention to it, it's not calling down a curse, obviously, because it's a

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good thing, but it is the godly test for the kind of repentance that we're to have. If we say,

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Lord, Lord, forgive me, and God looks at our lives and says, well, you're not forgiving anyone around

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you, the answer will be, you're not forgiven. You don't actually seek my repentance, because

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you don't forgive anyone. You owe this infinite debt to me, and yet you won't forgive the small

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debt of this other man who owes you something. And that's the reason that forgiveness is so

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crucial in the Christian life, is that it's a hard ask. If you're not thinking about it in

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terms of obedience to God, once you actually think about it in terms of, well, God Almighty commands

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this, you should just do it. The proper response of the faithful Christian is not to argue,

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not to say, not to grumble, not to say, I don't like it. I don't think that's right.

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I don't think that's fair. Yeah, exactly. The point is that it's not fair.

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Do you want fair? When I was a little kid, I was probably about five or six.

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My mom had been complaining on a particular day about something, some injustice in her life,

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I have no idea what it was. But it made enough of an impression on me that that evening, when we

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were doing our family prayers, I said, Dear Lord, please give my mom everything that she deserves.

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And my family still laughs about it to this day, because that's such a horrifying prayer.

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Of all the nightmarish things to pray for your mother, please give her everything she deserves,

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is the most horrific curse imaginable. I was a little kid. I knew that she was crying out for

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justice and I wanted my mom to have justice. I didn't realize what I was actually calling down.

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But as mature Christians, we do understand that. If you say, give that person everything they

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deserve, that's an infinite, talish death sentence. And God's command to us is that you're not to do

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that, because that measure by which you measure others, I will measure you. That is God's promise.

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He promises to forgive our sins. But if we want to weigh out and meet out God's justice

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against other men for their slights to us, God holds that against us. He says you're not actually

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you're not forgiven because you are not forgiving. And that's, that's law. That's,

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that's the rule that God lays out for us. In Mark 11, Jesus taught, whenever you stand praying,

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forgive. If you have anything against anyone, so that your father also who is in heaven may

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forgive you your trespasses. And the Greek word that's used for trespasses means the same thing

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in English. It means if, if you're walking down the sidewalk and you step into someone's yard,

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you're trespassing. It's not necessarily a big deal, but it's a trespass. And so when the word

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trespasses is used correctly as a translation in scripture, that's what it means. It doesn't mean

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big stuff. It doesn't mean, oh, this man tried to kill me, this man tried to burn down my house.

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It means he, you know, he said something mean about me, or, you know, he looked at my dog the

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wrong way, or he stepped on my yard, whatever it is. We have to forgive the small stuff too.

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We can't let that stuff pile up in our hearts as bitterness, because it precludes us from receiving

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God's forgiveness to us. And so it's, it's a blessing to know this is a Christian. And it's,

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it's not a burden, but it's a, it's a command. God is saying, here's what I expect of you.

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And in a third use of the law as the, as the guide for the Christian life,

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it should become easy for us. As Corey was talking about sanctification earlier, it takes time as a

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Christian to get used to just obeying God and not being a whiner, because that's not, it's not our

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inherent type. It's not our personality as a human being. We want to say, no, not me, that other guy,

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don't, you know, don't hold me to those standards. We're all like that. There's no such thing as

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being so great that you never, ever have experienced that. As you develop in the Christian life, as

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you focus more on God's things, it does get easier, not because you necessarily become this super

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person, but because you've come, become completely subsumed to the will of God, like God commands

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it. Okay, that's it. And when that is our response, God commands it, Lord, let your will be done.

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When that is the, the autonomic response of the Christian, suddenly everything gets a whole

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lot easier, which is part of God's blessing. Corey and I were, we faced some very serious threats

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against ourselves a few weeks ago, and it kind of ruined my day when it happened. You know,

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I was thinking about how to handle something that was a very credible, potentially completely

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destructive threat to my life. And it wasn't until I got in bed and was, was praying that I

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realized this, you know, this stuff that we're saying to you now, I had to say to myself,

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like, what does God to say about this? Very simple, forgive him. Somebody does evil against you,

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you forgive them. And forgiveness means exactly what it meant in Job's case, and in all the other

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cases in scripture, when someone sins against you, as happened to Jesus when he was on the cross,

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and they were dividing his clothes, he said, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

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Stephen said the same thing when he was being stoned. That was his last words before he died.

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That sort of intercessory prayer from us as believers to God, on behalf of the people

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in the midst of their very most malevolent and evil acts, is God's command to us

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to say, Lord, I don't want this person to suffer the eternal price for this evil against me.

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And in all those cases, in the case of Jesus and Stephen, in the case of the threats against us,

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it is precisely because these people hate Christ that they are doing these things. And so,

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when we say, Lord, forgive them for our sake, that takes us off the board, that is saying,

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I don't want justice in my name to be visited against this man in eternity, because I don't

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want you visiting anyone else's justice against me for all the evil I've done. That's the equation.

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Please, Lord, take my name off the board on both sides of the ledger. And when we do that,

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and so far as they continue to hate and act as enemies of God, God will deal according to them

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as he sees fit. We don't need to worry about that. And I only mentioned that specific

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personal example, because I had a crap day when it happened. I woke up the next morning,

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felt fine, and I'm worried about it since. That's a blessing from God. When some evil is

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befalls you, and you obey God, and you trust in God, and the next thing you know, everything's

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fine again, that's the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding. And

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my comfort is not that, oh, I don't think anything bad is going to happen to me in the future,

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because I prayed to God and asked for his forgiveness for this person. It may happen.

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The worst, most evil things may happen. All the evil that is wished against me by our enemies

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may come to fruition if God permits it. So it's not a get out of jail free card for us to avoid

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temporal consequences for the evil of others. But I don't need to worry about it, because God

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has marked the hour of my death, and nothing will be permitted to happen to me that he doesn't

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permit. And so if something happens, I'm not going to do what Job's wife said and curse God and die.

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I'll take the good with evil, and I will praise God for it. And it's important for us as Christians

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to think through these things now when it's easy, you know, when the lights are on and you have a

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full belly, and you're not, you know, nothing particularly bad is happening to you, even if

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you're stressed out, or you're bummed out, you have lost your job, or some stress or some bad

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thing is happening. The knowledge that could get way, way worse to the point of you losing everything,

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including your life, the reconciliation that we have to each other now in these moments when

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you're like, I'm going to obey God and leave the rest to him, that habit that we form now in those

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quiet moments, you know, in bed before you go to sleep, is us being served by God in the future

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when calamity befalls, when terrible things are happening. We can look God, we can look back and

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trust that when God commanded us to do those things, and we know that he keeps his promises for those

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things, God will keep his promises to us then in the moment of horror, and in the future, even if,

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you know, if the future is that you're going to be dead in five minutes. Okay, what does God

49:27.200 --> 49:33.120
promise then? Eternal life with him. So there's no bad thing that can happen to a Christian

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that we can't receive with rejoicing, and forgiving each other for the things that we do

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comes up front. And as Corey said, it's not, we're not earning our survey and salvation,

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it has nothing to do with that. It's saying, I understand the debt that I owe to God,

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and I understand the debt that this person knows to me, and there's no comparison.

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How could I possibly demand justice for this small thing when I have a lifetime of evil piled up

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against God? I would never ask for that man to receive what he deserves, because Lord help me

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if I receive what I deserve. And with that knowledge, we then have peace from God. And that's the

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blessing of obedience, of obedience coming from faith is that everything is suddenly fine. You

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can be completely peaceful in the middle of a hurricane, because no matter what happens, you

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can trust in God's promises. And in the daily life, forgiveness is key part of it. If you're

50:32.240 --> 50:36.800
having a great week, a great month, a great year, but there's someone who's done something evil

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against you, if you're harboring that against them, it's going to eat up the whole year.

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It's going to color a dark cloud across whatever else happens until you reconcile. And maybe

50:47.520 --> 50:53.360
reconciliation in terms of coming to you forgiving them and them being reconciled to you as brothers

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in Christ is impossible. That's not even what we're saying here. We're saying that you intercede

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to God on their behalf and say, Lord, not in my name. What they do against you is between them

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and you. I'm not a party to it. I forgive them. I ask you to forgive them for Christ's sake, for my

51:10.480 --> 51:16.400
sake. And that's the end of it. That's hands off. It's Jesus take the wheel. And we can trust that

51:16.400 --> 51:22.240
God will do that and he'll do it perfectly. And with that sort of confident faith, suddenly

51:22.240 --> 51:27.600
everything else becomes easy on the good days, the bad days, the worst days, everything becomes easy

51:27.600 --> 51:32.800
when you have confidence that the promises that God keeps in these small things, he's also going to

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keep in the great things. And being reminded in our own lives by those moments when we ask someone

51:39.840 --> 51:47.120
to be forgiven for our sake. And then we wake up at peace. Is God demonstrating his love for us?

51:47.120 --> 51:51.920
That you will not be burdened by the evil of other men. The only way for them to burden you is if

51:51.920 --> 51:57.120
you permit it. And that can only happen if you don't trust in God's promises. And yes, someone will

51:57.120 --> 52:02.240
hear this and feel condemned by it. Because again, if you're sinning against God by not trusting in

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him, that's a call to repentance. And so when we say these things, it's not intended to like beat up

52:07.680 --> 52:14.480
on people's consciences. But when the word of God acts on us is going to act according to God's

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will. We don't have any control over what the Holy Spirit does with God's word and people's hearts.

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God will not return to him void. God will accomplish the task for which he sent his word forth.

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Forgiveness is something that we give to others because it's been extended to us infinitely.

52:33.200 --> 52:39.840
That's a very easy equation. And once we get used to it, you have a decent Christian peaceful life.

52:39.840 --> 52:46.000
No matter how bad things get with your neighbors, with your enemies, you can never be so beset

52:46.000 --> 52:52.560
that you won't be at peace inwardly. That's a tremendous gift from God. And so this episode

52:52.560 --> 52:56.960
is about the gifts that God gives us through us giving each other the gift of forgiveness.

52:57.600 --> 53:00.960
If we have that, we have everything that God wants for us in this life.

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Personally, I've made a little bit of this easier for myself by taking a page out of God's book

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and simply forgetting many of the slights against myself. I suspect there may be some

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mechanical differences there in God's case. But when we speak of fairness versus mercy,

53:21.920 --> 53:28.880
I would hope that Matthew 18 comes to mind. And I'll read the section that I have in mind

53:29.120 --> 53:33.440
that many of you undoubtedly know which one. But before I get to that,

53:35.120 --> 53:42.640
I want to draw out two terms and further define them so that we're abundantly clear about what

53:42.640 --> 53:48.640
we mean and what we're saying and what we are not saying. The first term is suffering.

53:51.280 --> 53:56.560
And when it comes to suffering, there are two kinds we should distinguish. There's suffering

53:56.560 --> 54:03.360
that is simply part of this life, whether it is caused by others, by the natural world or any other

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source. And then there is suffering for Christ. When Christians speak of bearing suffering,

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when the scriptures speak of that, it is bearing suffering on account of Christ, on account of

54:16.320 --> 54:20.960
your faith. If someone comes up to you in the streets and punches you in the face and says,

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I hate your shoes, you're allowed to defend yourself. If you don't defend yourself,

54:26.400 --> 54:32.080
that's not suffering for Christ, that's being a pacifist. Christians are not called to be pacifist,

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Christians are prohibited from being pacifists. If on the other hand, you are dragged before

54:39.120 --> 54:45.040
the secular authorities and you are told to renounce some part of scripture, then you are

54:45.120 --> 54:51.280
required to affirm what scripture teaches and bear whatever suffering may come, because that is for

54:51.280 --> 55:01.360
Christ. And the second term that I want to highlight is the term enemy. And the reason we need to

55:02.160 --> 55:09.040
further define this term is because English and really, insofar as I'm aware, all Germanic languages

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have the same, not problem, but distinction between them and languages like Greek or Latin.

55:18.000 --> 55:24.640
And that is that the term enemy is vague. It is ambiguous in a way that it's not

55:24.640 --> 55:30.000
necessarily so in these other languages, because it has a wider range, a wider scope of meaning.

55:30.720 --> 55:36.320
If I tell you that someone is my enemy, you don't know if that's a personal enemy

55:36.400 --> 55:42.080
or a public enemy. So for instance, if you are, if your nation is at war with another nation,

55:43.760 --> 55:46.960
the citizens of that other nation, the soldiers of that other nation,

55:46.960 --> 55:53.680
are not your personal enemies. They are public enemies. That's not what's in view here in scripture

55:53.680 --> 55:59.360
when we're forgiving our enemies and praying for them. Yes, you should still pray for those people

55:59.360 --> 56:04.320
to come to faith if they are pagans, if they are atheists. That's a separate matter from what we

56:04.320 --> 56:11.600
are discussing here. But the distinction in Latin would be inimicus and hostice. Inimicus is a

56:11.600 --> 56:18.240
personal enemy, which is what's in view here. Hostice is a public enemy, what's not in view here.

56:20.080 --> 56:26.800
And so you have to keep that in mind. When you read these passages of scripture that deal with

56:26.800 --> 56:32.880
enemies, you are called to forgive your personal enemies, to pray for your personal enemies,

56:32.880 --> 56:39.440
not to hold these things against them. That is not saying that a nation cannot have enemies,

56:39.440 --> 56:43.920
that a nation cannot act against those enemies, that a prince cannot wield the sword, because of

56:43.920 --> 56:48.720
course the prince does not wield the sword in vain. That is a separate matter. So those who accuse

56:48.720 --> 56:55.600
Christians of being pacifists are using this ambiguity in this term in a certain subset of

56:55.600 --> 57:04.000
languages to try and push false doctrine. Do not let false teachers befuddle you in this particular

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way. Scripture does not teach, again, just to make sure this is abundantly clear, Scripture does not

57:10.640 --> 57:16.000
teach that Christians must be pacifists. In fact, it teaches the opposite that a good Christian,

57:16.000 --> 57:24.000
particularly a good Christian man, cannot be a pacifist. But to return to the issue, as I said,

57:24.000 --> 57:31.040
I would, of fairness versus mercy. You should of course think of the parable, of the unforgiving,

57:32.160 --> 57:36.640
or whatever adjective it happens to be, if you have headers in your Bible. It's not in the

57:36.640 --> 57:39.520
original text, so it doesn't matter. But the unforgiving servant.

57:42.080 --> 57:46.560
Then Peter came up and said to him, Lord, how often will my brother sin against me,

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and I forgive him, as many as seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you seven times,

57:52.960 --> 57:59.040
but seventy-seven times. Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to

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settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him

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ten thousand talents, and since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife

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and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring

58:15.920 --> 58:21.760
him, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything. And out of pity for him, the master

58:21.760 --> 58:27.680
of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out,

58:27.680 --> 58:32.960
he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to

58:32.960 --> 58:38.400
choke him, saying, pay what you owe, so his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him,

58:38.400 --> 58:43.760
have patience with me, and I will pay you. He refused and went and put him in prison,

58:43.760 --> 58:48.400
until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were

58:48.400 --> 58:52.880
greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.

58:53.680 --> 58:59.120
Then his master summoned him and said to him, You wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt,

58:59.120 --> 59:03.680
because you pleaded with me, and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant,

59:03.680 --> 59:09.600
as I had mercy on you. And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay

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all his debt. So also my heavenly father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive

59:15.440 --> 59:23.760
your brother from your heart. And so we see initially, when the master is dealing with

59:23.760 --> 59:29.680
the unforgiving servant, the ungrateful servant, we see mercy. Because he forgives them this

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massive debt, and for those who don't know how large of a sum ten thousand talents is,

59:34.800 --> 59:39.120
it may as well be infinite. It is not something that you are ever repaying if you are simply a

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laborer. That's the sum of gold that a king would have in his stores. The average person

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will never possess that, will never be able to repay that. He was forgiven in infinite debt,

59:50.480 --> 59:56.800
and so of course that is typologically us as sinners, forgiven the infinite debt of sin

59:56.800 --> 01:00:04.400
against God, on behalf of Christ. And then we see later when the master deals with him again,

01:00:05.040 --> 01:00:10.640
he's treated with fairness. Fairness is you have to repay the debt. You cannot repay the debt,

01:00:10.640 --> 01:00:14.880
you will never repay the debt. But it is fair to demand of you that the debt be repaid.

01:00:16.080 --> 01:00:19.840
And so in light of the fact that we are forgiven the infinite debt of sin,

01:00:20.400 --> 01:00:25.280
we are to forgive our fellow servants, our fellow Christians, our fellow man,

01:00:26.240 --> 01:00:35.360
his sins against us. Because those sins are minor. Here it's a number of denarius. Denarius is the

01:00:35.360 --> 01:00:43.040
day's wage for a hired hand for the average laborer. So it's not a trivial sum. It's a hundred days

01:00:43.040 --> 01:00:51.120
worth of labor, but it is nothing compared to 10,000 talents. It is a finite sum compared to an

01:00:51.120 --> 01:00:59.520
infinite sum. And so we are called to forgive these minor debts of our fellow servants in light of

01:00:59.520 --> 01:01:07.440
what Christ has forgiven us, what God has forgiven us on Christ's behalf. We are not called to be

01:01:07.440 --> 01:01:15.120
the wicked servant who fails to forgive his fellow servants, because that is rejecting Christ. That

01:01:15.120 --> 01:01:22.480
is rejecting faith. That is saying, no, I'm worthy of this, and it is my works that have done this for

01:01:22.480 --> 01:01:29.760
me. That is to be an apostate. That's what we see here. The wicked servant is a apostate, and that

01:01:29.760 --> 01:01:34.480
is why, of course, he is delivered over to the jailers until he should repay the debt, which,

01:01:34.480 --> 01:01:42.480
again, he cannot do, because this is sin. It is an infinite debt. And I just want to reiterate the

01:01:42.480 --> 01:01:50.960
import of the way God describes the forgiveness that he extends to us and the extent of the

01:01:50.960 --> 01:01:58.320
forgiveness that he expects us to try to deliver to each other. Obviously, God's completion of these

01:01:58.320 --> 01:02:04.400
things is utterly perfect, and ours is always utterly imperfect. Nevertheless, when God demonstrates

01:02:04.400 --> 01:02:10.480
the amount of indegree of forgiveness he extends to us, that's an example. Here is what perfect

01:02:10.480 --> 01:02:17.280
forgiveness looks like. You should contrast your forgiveness with this. And when we say things like

01:02:17.280 --> 01:02:23.840
this, again, it's not intended as condemnation for however you're forgiving people. It's a reminder

01:02:23.840 --> 01:02:32.000
that make sure you're actually forgiving them for one thing. If I've said in the past, if someone

01:02:32.000 --> 01:02:39.360
says, I'm sorry, say I forgive you. Don't worry about it, or it's no big deal. Say I forgive you.

01:02:39.360 --> 01:02:45.680
Announce forgiveness to them, because, frankly, you're doing something harmful if you won't announce

01:02:45.680 --> 01:02:51.360
their forgiveness. If someone is contrite, if they're repentant, and they know that they need

01:02:51.360 --> 01:02:57.280
forgiveness and they come to you, you have an obligation to deliver it in clear terms. And

01:02:57.280 --> 01:03:03.840
it's one of these things that we try to downplay socially by saying, I don't worry about it's no

01:03:03.840 --> 01:03:10.400
big deal. And that may be true, but that's the downplaying and that moment is far less important

01:03:10.480 --> 01:03:16.480
than them hearing from your lips, I forgive you. And frankly, that's equally important to you,

01:03:16.480 --> 01:03:21.520
because if you say to them, I don't worry about it's no big deal. Maybe later on, you think about

01:03:21.520 --> 01:03:26.400
it, you think, well, you know, maybe it's kind of a bigger deal than I thought it was. You know,

01:03:26.400 --> 01:03:31.120
looking back at what they did it, you know, I would forgive them, but I kind of have a problem

01:03:31.120 --> 01:03:37.120
with the way they did it. If you announce their forgiveness, that's also binding on you.

01:03:37.920 --> 01:03:43.360
And it makes it very simple. If you're thinking about it later, and they said, please forgive me,

01:03:43.360 --> 01:03:48.240
and you say, I forgive you. When you look back, that's bookended. That's the beginning and end

01:03:48.240 --> 01:03:55.840
of the thing. You have foreclosed on yourself dwelling on the past transgressions by announcing

01:03:55.840 --> 01:04:01.600
that forgiveness. Because instinctively, we know, well, okay, it's settled. It's over. And it's over

01:04:01.600 --> 01:04:07.040
in a way that's not over when you say that's no big deal. Don't worry about it. And Isaiah 43

01:04:07.120 --> 01:04:13.360
God says, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my sake, and I will not remember your sins.

01:04:14.240 --> 01:04:19.920
As Corey said earlier, this is God to His infinite and omniscient, who knows all things,

01:04:19.920 --> 01:04:24.240
saying I will not remember. We don't know how that works, and we don't need to worry about it.

01:04:24.240 --> 01:04:30.240
All we need to do is trust in that promise. He says something very similar in Psalm 103.

01:04:31.200 --> 01:04:36.560
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known in his ways to

01:04:36.560 --> 01:04:41.840
Moses, he acts for the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger,

01:04:41.840 --> 01:04:47.440
and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide nor will he keep his anger forever.

01:04:47.440 --> 01:04:52.880
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our inequities. For as

01:04:52.880 --> 01:04:58.320
high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.

01:04:58.400 --> 01:05:03.840
As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

01:05:03.840 --> 01:05:08.880
As the Father shows compassion for his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear

01:05:08.880 --> 01:05:17.440
him. For he knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust. When God says that his steadfast love

01:05:18.000 --> 01:05:22.000
for us separates our sin as far as the east is from the west,

01:05:22.720 --> 01:05:31.840
that's him describing in vaguely comprehensible human terms. There's an infinite distance between

01:05:31.840 --> 01:05:36.800
you and the penalty for the thing that you've done. Spiritually, that should be what we offer to

01:05:36.800 --> 01:05:44.800
each other. Now, we're talking about forgiveness in particular. We're talking about it in general,

01:05:44.800 --> 01:05:49.440
but we're doing it in view of last week's conversation also where we were discussing

01:05:49.440 --> 01:05:54.960
interpersonal relationships. When you're in a relationship, particularly a marriage,

01:05:56.080 --> 01:05:59.600
you're obviously going to remember the dumb crap that you did to each other in the past.

01:06:01.520 --> 01:06:08.160
That's not sinful. Humans are not capable of completely forgetting. We are, however,

01:06:08.160 --> 01:06:17.040
completely capable of reframing past events that at the time were horrible and caused tears and

01:06:17.040 --> 01:06:22.640
anger and distance where there should be no distance between two people who love each other.

01:06:23.920 --> 01:06:29.440
When forgiveness is announced and received, when forgiveness exists in that relationship,

01:06:30.240 --> 01:06:34.160
the fact of the separation, the fact of the pain between you,

01:06:36.320 --> 01:06:41.680
honestly, in most cases, it usually becomes laughable. That's going to depend on the personality.

01:06:41.680 --> 01:06:45.840
It's certainly going to be the case more. For example, in American relationships,

01:06:45.840 --> 01:06:51.760
then a Russian relationship where Eastern Europeans aren't as jovial as we are about things,

01:06:52.400 --> 01:06:58.880
but certainly within the West, old married couples laugh about the stupid stuff. They don't

01:06:58.880 --> 01:07:04.960
dwell on it, but if something comes to mind, all that's left in view of the forgiveness that you

01:07:04.960 --> 01:07:09.840
extend to each other for Christ's sake is how humorously stupid it was that you were ever mad

01:07:09.840 --> 01:07:13.840
in the first place, or that you ever did something so stupid that required forgiveness.

01:07:14.560 --> 01:07:20.160
And so the silliness in the evil, we're not minimizing the evil of it,

01:07:20.160 --> 01:07:26.480
but I think the fact that in retrospect, after forgiveness, we just see the absurdity of our

01:07:26.480 --> 01:07:33.200
own human folly shows the power of God's forgiveness. There's something that was truly

01:07:33.200 --> 01:07:37.840
evil that would have destroyed a relationship between a man and a woman, between a man and God,

01:07:38.800 --> 01:07:45.840
with forgiveness. All the bad has taken away, and all that's left is the stupidity and the

01:07:45.840 --> 01:07:49.920
absurdity that we would have done something against God or against someone we love in the

01:07:49.920 --> 01:07:58.240
first place. And it's for us in these times, before the judgment thrown, before we get to that point,

01:07:58.880 --> 01:08:02.880
it's okay to laugh. It's okay to forget too, like you're blessed if you completely forget

01:08:02.880 --> 01:08:08.160
about that stuff. But if you remember, remember and laugh and say, that was just silly. I'm so

01:08:08.160 --> 01:08:14.240
sorry, I was dumb. Can you believe we did this? I will never do that thing again. That's repentance,

01:08:14.240 --> 01:08:21.680
and it's the joyful Christian life to say, yeah, I sinned. And another crucial part, point that

01:08:21.680 --> 01:08:28.720
we wanted to make in today's episode is paying attention to when a sin occurs and when forgiveness

01:08:28.720 --> 01:08:35.760
is delivered, as it relates to us interacting with each other. What I mean by this is, if you're a

01:08:35.760 --> 01:08:41.520
young man, and you're looking for a wife, and you find someone, and she's not completely perfect,

01:08:41.520 --> 01:08:45.840
just as you're not completely perfect, A, congratulations, you found a human being,

01:08:45.840 --> 01:08:54.640
she's going to be great, B, if she has sins in her past, and then you come to her and you say,

01:08:54.640 --> 01:08:59.920
I want you to be my wife. There's no forgiveness there for you even to extend her, but she didn't

01:08:59.920 --> 01:09:06.400
do anything against you. If she sinned in her past, you should not ever make her feel like she needs

01:09:06.400 --> 01:09:13.280
to apologize to you. Now, if she's a good girl, if she's repentant, she will look back and say,

01:09:13.280 --> 01:09:18.080
yeah, it's not me anymore. I wish that I hadn't done that. I can't undo it. I'm a completely

01:09:18.160 --> 01:09:25.280
different person now. You take her as she is, and you love her as she is, and whatever regret

01:09:25.280 --> 01:09:32.880
she has for her past sins that she's repented of and left behind, you should be like God.

01:09:32.880 --> 01:09:38.560
You should forget about those things and never think that that colors who she is, because we're

01:09:38.560 --> 01:09:43.040
not talking about sins within a relationship. We're talking about you had no idea this other

01:09:43.040 --> 01:09:51.360
person existed, and then you decide if she's for you or not. If she is, you have nothing

01:09:52.160 --> 01:09:56.240
that you can hold against her, even apart from the fact that you should forgive anything that you

01:09:56.240 --> 01:10:00.800
did. What we're saying is that there's a case to be made that you shouldn't even be thinking about

01:10:00.800 --> 01:10:04.480
all I need to forgive her for what she did, because she didn't do it to you. She did it

01:10:04.960 --> 01:10:11.120
to God, or he did it to God. You're not just picking on girls here. We're all sinners.

01:10:13.120 --> 01:10:16.560
When someone comes to you and you create a relationship with another human being

01:10:16.560 --> 01:10:24.000
who is a fallen sinful creature, there's a clean slate in that relationship,

01:10:24.000 --> 01:10:28.880
and you try to make sure that you keep that slate clean every day. By forgiving whatever

01:10:28.880 --> 01:10:33.600
sins occur within the relationship, you're going to have a lifetime to do stupid stuff to each other

01:10:33.680 --> 01:10:40.000
you have to forgive in both directions. For the young girls who are listening,

01:10:41.200 --> 01:10:48.000
you should not be burdened by things that you've already repented for. The comfort of the gospel,

01:10:48.000 --> 01:10:52.480
when we commit sins against God, when we do these things, we realize they're terrible.

01:10:53.040 --> 01:10:59.360
We need to trust in God's promises about how far he separates us from our sins. When he talks about

01:10:59.360 --> 01:11:05.280
blotting and covering and removing and forgetting, we need to trust that God has done that for us.

01:11:07.280 --> 01:11:10.880
As we talked about last week, when you're talking about someone you can create a life with,

01:11:10.880 --> 01:11:17.120
it's not about a perfect person. It's about someone who is going to be able to fulfill

01:11:18.480 --> 01:11:24.800
the duties of a good spouse who's not going to have the kind of baggage that will become insurmountable.

01:11:24.800 --> 01:11:30.320
There are cases where that's simply the case, but the fact that anyone has ever done something

01:11:30.320 --> 01:11:36.560
wrong in their past, you shouldn't assume that it's baggage. It's a case by case thing. Someone

01:11:36.560 --> 01:11:42.240
did something and they regret it and they're absolved and it's behind them. That's the end of it.

01:11:42.960 --> 01:11:48.960
Frankly, it's going to depend on circumstances, but I would say in general, if you're already the

01:11:49.040 --> 01:11:55.680
point that you love someone and you want to have a life with them, all the things being equal,

01:11:55.680 --> 01:12:00.800
I think the default should be to say, there's nothing here for me to even see. I'm going to say

01:12:00.800 --> 01:12:05.040
you should forgive them because the point I was just trying to make is that you shouldn't feel

01:12:05.040 --> 01:12:08.880
like you have to forgive them for anything because it's none of your business. You can decide,

01:12:09.520 --> 01:12:13.360
do I want this person to be a part of my life? When you get to that point and you say yes,

01:12:14.080 --> 01:12:20.080
that's it. To become one flesh and it's effectively a new person. The new couple

01:12:20.080 --> 01:12:25.600
is a new thing and you're starting from scratch. Try not to pile up too many more mistakes with

01:12:25.600 --> 01:12:31.040
each other. Don't make the past mistakes and try to avoid making future mistakes. When you do,

01:12:31.600 --> 01:12:36.320
forgive quickly and easily and get to the point that you can laugh about it. You'll have a very

01:12:36.320 --> 01:12:42.000
long and happy and successful marriage. If you're willing to extend the grace to each other,

01:12:42.080 --> 01:12:49.200
the God extends to you. Part of that is keeping an eye on what God commands and trying. If you're

01:12:49.200 --> 01:12:53.920
thinking day by day about I want to serve God faithfully, I want to be a good wife, I want to

01:12:53.920 --> 01:12:59.440
be a good husband. If you have that in view, when you sin, it's not going to be huge stuff.

01:13:00.000 --> 01:13:03.840
You're not going to sin catastrophically. You're going to sin in smaller,

01:13:03.840 --> 01:13:08.960
stupid ways. You're not going to fall into the big ticket traps that occur when you're not paying

01:13:08.960 --> 01:13:15.040
any attention. That's the reason that the rule of the third use of the law is so vital. The reason

01:13:15.040 --> 01:13:21.040
it's worth talking about is not to burden consciences. It's to say, hey, here's a way not to have a

01:13:21.040 --> 01:13:27.360
burdened conscience in the first place. Obey God, fear Him, love Him, treasure His precepts,

01:13:27.360 --> 01:13:32.480
and you won't have a situation in your relationship where you have this terrible stuff to forgive.

01:13:33.200 --> 01:13:37.760
The ideal relationship is one where you don't accumulate those mistakes, those sins,

01:13:37.760 --> 01:13:42.320
and you don't have a bunch of baggage in the relationship to carry around

01:13:42.320 --> 01:13:49.600
until you forgive. You forgive quickly and freely, and you trust that God's promise that He will

01:13:49.600 --> 01:13:54.560
blot those sins out for that person holds within your relationship as it does between them and God.

01:13:56.240 --> 01:14:03.200
Typology is a great gift from God to the Christian and to the church. Little foreshadowing

01:14:03.200 --> 01:14:12.080
for the Sacramentology episode, but marriage is used throughout Scripture as a type for the

01:14:12.080 --> 01:14:19.040
antitype that is Christ's sacrifice for the church. Marriage is used as the type for the

01:14:19.040 --> 01:14:24.160
antitype that is Christ's relationship to and with the church, with believers.

01:14:26.720 --> 01:14:32.960
This is a helpful way to look at how you should approach marriage, and this goes for both young

01:14:32.960 --> 01:14:37.760
men and young women or middle-aged if you happen to be getting married older.

01:14:40.880 --> 01:14:47.840
Who you were before you became a Christian is in large part irrelevant

01:14:49.680 --> 01:14:56.800
from God's perspective. All of those sins do not carry over after the altar.

01:14:57.520 --> 01:15:02.960
That is the dividing line for the Christian. The dividing line is Christ's sacrifice.

01:15:04.560 --> 01:15:07.920
When you become a Christian, when you are given that free gift of faith,

01:15:09.120 --> 01:15:15.440
those sins are gone there in the past. Yes, there's this tension of now but not yet for

01:15:15.440 --> 01:15:21.120
the Christian because we still live in a sinful fallen world, in sinful fallen flesh,

01:15:21.920 --> 01:15:28.480
but we have the beginnings of these eternal things. We have the beginnings of paradise.

01:15:28.480 --> 01:15:33.440
We have the beginning of sanctification that grows as we progress in the Christian life,

01:15:33.440 --> 01:15:40.160
and yes, there is progress in the Christian life. But that altar on which Christ died,

01:15:41.200 --> 01:15:47.680
that's the true dividing line because the sins are in the past with reference to that point in time,

01:15:47.840 --> 01:15:54.800
and the new you is the future. You should think of marriage in the same way.

01:15:56.480 --> 01:16:01.920
Those things that happened in your past or her past or your past and his past,

01:16:03.680 --> 01:16:09.200
you are leaving those in the past. The marriage altar is the dividing line.

01:16:10.880 --> 01:16:17.280
The two shall become one flesh. That is a new person. That is a new creation by God.

01:16:18.560 --> 01:16:24.800
So leave what happened in the past, in the past. Yes, there may be consequences with which you have

01:16:24.800 --> 01:16:32.080
to deal in this life because that is the reality of the fallen flesh. Handle those things as necessary,

01:16:32.960 --> 01:16:39.120
but do not bring up those things from the past. Absolutely never use them as a weapon against

01:16:39.120 --> 01:16:45.520
the other person. These are not things that you get to hold over the other person that give you

01:16:45.600 --> 01:16:51.120
power to wield to manipulate or to force some sort of action out of your spouse.

01:16:52.320 --> 01:16:57.920
That is exactly what you should not be doing. That makes you the wicked servant, in fact.

01:16:59.280 --> 01:17:02.560
All of that stuff is left. That altar is the dividing line.

01:17:04.720 --> 01:17:11.280
So bear that typological relationship in mind with regard to marriage. That is one of the things

01:17:11.280 --> 01:17:16.320
that we can take out of Scripture when Scripture uses marriage as a type.

01:17:18.480 --> 01:17:24.560
But keep in mind that tension in the Christian life of now but not yet,

01:17:26.320 --> 01:17:32.960
because that is true. It flows through all of this. The sins still exist because we remember them,

01:17:33.440 --> 01:17:36.480
as David says in the Psalms.

01:17:38.400 --> 01:17:43.040
Your sins are ever before you. You remember the things you have done against God, the things

01:17:43.040 --> 01:17:48.320
you should not have done, and of course you regret them. You feel shame for them. That's proper.

01:17:50.240 --> 01:17:57.680
But also remember that you have been forgiven for those. So use that memory insofar as you

01:17:57.680 --> 01:18:01.760
still have it. Maybe God has blessed you with forgetting some of them. Undoubtedly he has

01:18:01.760 --> 01:18:04.880
blessed you with forgetting some of them. No human being has perfect memory.

01:18:06.320 --> 01:18:13.280
But use what you remember of those sins to drive you into God's word,

01:18:13.280 --> 01:18:18.400
into that forgiveness, into the Christian life. That is part of what it means to be a Christian.

01:18:19.680 --> 01:18:27.760
You seek that sanctification. You seek to do better. And a quote comes to mind from

01:18:27.760 --> 01:18:30.880
Saint John Chrysostom that is an excellent one for this point.

01:18:31.760 --> 01:18:38.560
Do not be ashamed when you repent. It is a medicine for sin. It's phrased various ways.

01:18:39.120 --> 01:18:41.920
Do not be ashamed when you repent, but when you sin.

01:18:44.560 --> 01:18:49.840
That's the point. When you sin, immediately turn to God.

01:18:51.040 --> 01:18:56.560
Don't feel that because you've sinned, now you've separated yourself from God and there's a chasm,

01:18:56.560 --> 01:18:59.840
and you have to do X, Y and Z before you can approach God.

01:19:01.040 --> 01:19:05.840
That is the voice of Satan telling you that you need to separate yourself from God.

01:19:07.360 --> 01:19:13.120
That is the absolute worst thing you can do at that moment. What you should do is immediately

01:19:13.120 --> 01:19:19.200
turn to God and repent. Turn away from that sin. That is what God commands you to do. That is what

01:19:19.200 --> 01:19:26.400
God wants you to do. Because if you hold on to that sin, which is exactly what you're doing,

01:19:26.720 --> 01:19:31.840
if instead of repenting you say that I need to do these things before I turn to God,

01:19:31.840 --> 01:19:35.920
you're holding on to that sin. Don't keep your sin.

01:19:37.120 --> 01:19:42.640
Christ paid for that sin on the cross. He paid for not only every sin you have ever committed,

01:19:43.280 --> 01:19:46.880
any sin you are committing now if you are committing a sin while listening to this.

01:19:47.680 --> 01:19:54.880
He also paid for every sin you will commit. From the perspective of God, there's no real

01:19:54.880 --> 01:19:59.360
difference between the sins you committed when you were five years old and the sins you committed

01:19:59.360 --> 01:20:06.800
when you were, are, or will be 50 years old. It's the same from God's perspective. They were all

01:20:06.800 --> 01:20:16.080
forgiven. All of your sins were forgiven on the cross. So turn to God immediately when you sin.

01:20:17.520 --> 01:20:21.760
Don't hold on to those sins. Don't keep them for yourself. That's what Satan wants you to do,

01:20:22.640 --> 01:20:28.480
because that's what he's doing. That's what every single person who will spend eternity

01:20:28.480 --> 01:20:33.920
in his kingdom is doing, holding on to those sins instead of handing them off to Christ.

01:20:35.040 --> 01:20:40.080
That's the miraculous or the wonderful exchange of which Luther speaks in his writing.

01:20:40.880 --> 01:20:46.080
We get to hand Christ all of our sins, and he hands us his righteousness.

01:20:47.040 --> 01:20:51.520
That's the gospel. You are righteous on account of Christ's work on the cross,

01:20:51.520 --> 01:20:56.880
not because of anything you do, and he has taken all of your sins, forgiven them,

01:20:56.880 --> 01:21:05.120
and God will forget them. And so in this life, part of the Christian life is forgiving others

01:21:05.120 --> 01:21:12.560
in the way insofar as we are capable that God has forgiven us. So forgive others their trespasses

01:21:12.560 --> 01:21:18.240
against you, and forget them if possible. If you don't think about them, you will eventually

01:21:18.240 --> 01:21:22.800
forget them. That's how it works. That's how human memory works. That is a blessing from

01:21:22.800 --> 01:21:28.560
God that we can forget these things. And that is particularly true in marriage.

01:21:30.160 --> 01:21:34.720
You are creating a new life with someone. You are a new creation. You are one flesh.

01:21:36.000 --> 01:21:40.000
That is what God has joined together, and so let not man separate. That includes you,

01:21:40.000 --> 01:21:45.920
incidentally, you are still man. Do not hold on to those things from the past.

01:21:47.520 --> 01:21:51.760
That will do you and your spouse no good. It can only work evil.

01:21:53.120 --> 01:21:58.080
So leave that all before you approach the altar and start your new life.

01:21:59.600 --> 01:22:06.160
Yes, what we spoke of in the previous episode is, of course, important. It matters to this life.

01:22:07.120 --> 01:22:17.520
But as Christians, as forgiven human beings, yes still sinful, yes still fallen, yes still living

01:22:17.520 --> 01:22:25.760
in this world, we are called to forgive others because we have been forgiven. And that is not

01:22:25.760 --> 01:22:31.280
just because we've been forgiven. It is also because God wants to pour out his blessings on us.

01:22:31.600 --> 01:22:39.200
And as was mentioned at the beginning of the episode, when you obey God, there are blessings

01:22:39.200 --> 01:22:44.240
attendant that obedience. Some of them flow naturally from the obedience. So for instance,

01:22:44.240 --> 01:22:50.320
if you do not practice birth control in your marriage, or likely than not,

01:22:50.320 --> 01:22:54.560
children will be a natural consequence of that. Children are a blessing from God,

01:22:55.280 --> 01:22:59.360
particularly the children of one's youth, as the Psalms very clearly say.

01:23:01.760 --> 01:23:07.760
But the inverse of that, of course, is that if you ignore the blessings of God, do not seek

01:23:07.760 --> 01:23:16.640
the blessings of God, often they will not flow. So part of being a Christian is seeking those

01:23:16.720 --> 01:23:26.080
blessings from God, and you seek those blessings by obeying God. God is the good Father. You ask

01:23:26.080 --> 01:23:31.600
for a fish, he's going to give you a fish, not a serpent. So seek these things from God. Repent,

01:23:31.600 --> 01:23:38.480
turn to God. God will bless you. This isn't a prosperity gospel. This isn't a therapeutic

01:23:38.480 --> 01:23:44.960
gospel. This is simply the word of Scripture. God says they will bless you. All things work

01:23:44.960 --> 01:23:50.160
together for good, for those who are called according to His purposes, for Christians,

01:23:50.720 --> 01:23:57.440
for those to whom He has given the free gift of faith. Now we don't know, in our limited

01:23:57.440 --> 01:24:03.680
understanding, how everything works together. Undoubtedly God will help us to see that after

01:24:03.680 --> 01:24:08.800
the fact in paradise. We'll see how everything works together to bring us to where we're standing

01:24:08.800 --> 01:24:12.640
when we finally understand. But even if we don't understand in this life,

01:24:13.600 --> 01:24:20.080
we can know for certain that God is absolutely trustworthy, that everything He has ever said

01:24:20.080 --> 01:24:25.760
is absolutely true, and He has told us that all things work together for the good, and that He

01:24:25.760 --> 01:24:34.720
intends to bless us. And so what the Christian does is very simple. We believe. I think the

01:24:34.720 --> 01:24:41.360
discussion of Christian forgiveness provides a very interesting contrast with the discussion of

01:24:41.440 --> 01:24:50.400
the conduct of doxing. When someone's dox is published and it shows years of past transgressions,

01:24:50.400 --> 01:24:56.480
particularly for someone who is in the church, who is receiving Confession on Absolution Weekly,

01:24:56.480 --> 01:25:04.480
who is receiving Communion, who has been publicly announced by the pastor in God's voice to be

01:25:04.480 --> 01:25:12.960
forgiven for those sins, when a doxer comes along with a dossier, with years of past transgressions

01:25:12.960 --> 01:25:18.880
and says, aha, look what I found. I have called out this evil man, and here is

01:25:18.880 --> 01:25:27.040
all of his secret wickedness. One of two things is occurring. Either the man who's being doxed,

01:25:27.120 --> 01:25:35.920
who's being accused, is leading a completely two-faced life, where whatever is in the dox

01:25:35.920 --> 01:25:45.360
is their true nature, and then their public life was a lie. Or the doxer is doing something that is

01:25:45.360 --> 01:25:55.360
the purest essence of Satan himself. When Satan was before the counsel of God accusing Job as

01:25:55.360 --> 01:26:04.880
he accuses all men, when the dox or the satanic accuser lays out, here's all this stuff. The

01:26:04.880 --> 01:26:12.640
other possibility is that those things that the dox victim has done in the past are sins for which

01:26:12.640 --> 01:26:19.520
he's been forgiven, things that he's repented of, that he is sorry for, that he's turned away from,

01:26:19.520 --> 01:26:26.160
and been forgiven publicly by God for those things. And when someone comes along and says,

01:26:26.160 --> 01:26:33.360
but here is all these accusations, it is the purest form of what Satan seeks to do to all of us.

01:26:34.000 --> 01:26:40.000
It's how he tries to burden our consciences with past sins. When we're Christians, when we're living

01:26:40.880 --> 01:26:46.160
sanctified lives, where we're receiving confession and absolution, where forgiveness is being

01:26:46.160 --> 01:26:51.520
announced, where we know it when we read the Word of God that announces our forgiveness

01:26:51.520 --> 01:26:57.200
through the very pages of Scripture in God's own voice. Satan wants to say, no, you're not really

01:26:57.200 --> 01:27:02.000
forgiven. Don't believe that packalize in church. Don't believe that crap you're reading in the Bible.

01:27:02.000 --> 01:27:05.280
You did something wrong in the past, and I'm going to destroy you for it.

01:27:07.040 --> 01:27:12.800
Someone who does not have confident faith can be torn down by that. And it's what he does in all of

01:27:12.800 --> 01:27:18.720
our lives. Satan's always trying to dox all of us personally, using malformed consciences,

01:27:19.520 --> 01:27:24.080
saying, here's this stuff you did a long time ago, or here's that one thing you did recently

01:27:24.080 --> 01:27:32.720
that you knew better, and look how disgusting you are. The Christian response to the disgusting

01:27:32.720 --> 01:27:39.440
sins that we commit is to repent, to say, yeah, that's disgusting. I hate that too. I never wanted

01:27:39.520 --> 01:27:44.160
anything to do with that. I found a sin. I turn away from it. I ask God for forgiveness.

01:27:45.040 --> 01:27:50.320
A Christian within his own Christian life who conducts himself in that way is free from the

01:27:50.320 --> 01:27:54.480
guilt for those sins, because those sins have been laid at the foot of the cross. And there's no

01:27:54.480 --> 01:27:59.600
purchase for Satan. When he comes along with your secret dox or your public dox, whatever it is,

01:27:59.600 --> 01:28:04.320
there's a litany of accusations. If you're already forgiven by God because you're repentant for

01:28:04.320 --> 01:28:09.280
anything that's actually sinful in there, it may not be because, of course, Satan is the ultimate

01:28:09.280 --> 01:28:15.360
liar. He will lie and twist anything that he uses to try to get you to reject your faith.

01:28:16.800 --> 01:28:23.280
It's a tricky thing, and it's one of the weak spots that we have in an immature faith,

01:28:23.280 --> 01:28:30.640
is to not be able to distinguish between, my heart is accused by the words of God in Scripture.

01:28:30.640 --> 01:28:34.560
My heart is accused when I hear someone preaching or speaking otherwise

01:28:35.120 --> 01:28:40.560
about the things of God, because I know that I have done something against God.

01:28:42.720 --> 01:28:46.640
God, through the Holy Spirit, desires an outcome of repentance

01:28:46.640 --> 01:28:52.240
and to deliver forgiveness to you. Satan desires the opposite. He doesn't want you to repent.

01:28:52.240 --> 01:28:56.640
He wants you to despair. He doesn't want you to be Peter. He wants you to be Judas.

01:28:57.360 --> 01:29:03.360
And so every time any of us confronts our own past sins, those are the two directions.

01:29:04.080 --> 01:29:12.400
Either God condemning the sin and saying, I died for this sin. I forgive you. Or Satan saying,

01:29:12.400 --> 01:29:16.320
there's no possible hope for you. You've done something too terrible. There's never going

01:29:16.320 --> 01:29:21.840
to be any forgiveness. I will accuse and accuse and accuse until you take your own life and seal

01:29:21.840 --> 01:29:27.760
your fate. It's two completely different responses to exactly the same fact pattern.

01:29:27.760 --> 01:29:34.160
And so that's part of what makes this important to actually discuss among believers, because

01:29:36.240 --> 01:29:40.400
the vast majority of people who are listening to stone choir, who listened to anything that

01:29:40.400 --> 01:29:45.360
they hear that's going to have something from God, almost no one ever gives any feedback,

01:29:45.360 --> 01:29:50.480
because it's a one-way thing. And that's fine. That's a normal part of listening versus speaking.

01:29:52.000 --> 01:29:57.120
When you hear something and it convicts your conscience, the important thing is that your

01:29:57.120 --> 01:30:04.640
conscience is not malformed and that you take a response that is itself guided by the very

01:30:04.640 --> 01:30:10.480
scripture that condemned whatever act it was. So if you did something in your past and you fail

01:30:10.480 --> 01:30:15.600
one or more of the tests that perhaps we lay out for what a perfect life would look like,

01:30:16.000 --> 01:30:22.240
that is never intended by us to heap condemnation on you, to heap burning coals on your head.

01:30:22.240 --> 01:30:29.120
The intent is to say, here's what God wants for us. When we do this, we are blessed. Not saving

01:30:29.120 --> 01:30:33.840
ourselves, as we said earlier on. This is not about, I'm going to do really good and I'm going to

01:30:33.840 --> 01:30:39.200
save myself. No, that's completely out of the question from the beginning. That's the very

01:30:39.200 --> 01:30:44.000
first thing that Christian needs to learn. He can't save himself. Satan wants you to think,

01:30:44.560 --> 01:30:49.760
you can't save yourself and God can't save you either. And that's the distinction. When you

01:30:50.480 --> 01:30:56.480
are confronted with your sin, you realize, I can't save myself from this. Listen to God

01:30:56.480 --> 01:31:01.360
and know that he has forgiven that sin, that he has paid the price for it, and that you have

01:31:01.360 --> 01:31:07.520
already received that forgiveness by believing that the sacrifice was given for you. Do not

01:31:07.520 --> 01:31:13.120
listen to Satan who continues to accuse you and whisper and pester in your ear and bring up

01:31:13.120 --> 01:31:18.240
things from years ago that you've long since repented of, or that were never sins in the

01:31:18.240 --> 01:31:23.280
first place and he's trying to trick you into thinking they were evil. He's a deceiver and

01:31:23.280 --> 01:31:29.840
he's an accuser. That's not what the law does. God's law, God's perfect will, never deceives.

01:31:30.400 --> 01:31:36.400
And it doesn't accuse in the same way that Satan accuses, because Satan's accusation is hopeless.

01:31:37.280 --> 01:31:44.560
When the word of God, when God's law accuses us of our sin, it is narrow in saying,

01:31:44.560 --> 01:31:51.120
this is contrary to my will, repent, receive forgiveness. There's always an out.

01:31:52.640 --> 01:31:55.760
I don't mean to say that in the sense that you can continue just do stuff and

01:31:57.280 --> 01:32:01.440
knowingly sin and say, well, yeah, God's got this covered. I don't need to worry about it.

01:32:02.080 --> 01:32:05.200
You will drive out the Holy Spirit if you continuously do that,

01:32:05.200 --> 01:32:09.520
but it'll take a while. It's not instantaneous. It's something else Satan wants you to think,

01:32:09.520 --> 01:32:16.640
oh, you did it once, that's too big. That's how all these little, these sins are small when we're

01:32:16.640 --> 01:32:21.120
looking at them. Like, oh, I want to, I'm going to do that. It seems like a good idea. The moment you

01:32:21.120 --> 01:32:27.600
do it, Satan's like, oh, no, that was a huge sin, actually, and you will never ever be able to reconcile

01:32:27.600 --> 01:32:32.560
to God for that. Scripture says the opposite. Scripture says that all sin has been paid for

01:32:32.560 --> 01:32:40.000
on the cross. It's done. It is finished. When faithful preaching announces it, when Scripture

01:32:40.000 --> 01:32:44.720
announces it, when you hear someone just discussing it, and the Holy Spirit works through your heart

01:32:44.720 --> 01:32:51.280
to say, I screwed up. I need to repent. You already have. That is repentance. With a Christian,

01:32:51.280 --> 01:32:56.400
the repentance receives that forgiveness immediately. The reason that we have the

01:32:56.400 --> 01:33:02.240
absolution in church, and the reason that we are to forgive each other face to face,

01:33:02.240 --> 01:33:06.560
is we were just talking about a minute ago. If your spouse, if your future spouse,

01:33:06.560 --> 01:33:12.720
sins against you, forgive them immediately. Say, I forgive you. This is gone. It does not exist

01:33:12.720 --> 01:33:17.520
between us. We do that so that there's no purchase for Satan to come along and say,

01:33:17.520 --> 01:33:23.440
but look at this. I got this laundry list of stuff. Are you serious? Are you really going to

01:33:23.440 --> 01:33:28.080
love this person? Do you really think God's going to love you? No. There's absolutely no room for

01:33:28.080 --> 01:33:36.480
that in the Christian life. Christian discussions can speak frankly about evil without it being

01:33:38.000 --> 01:33:43.520
something that beats someone down. You may momentarily feel beaten down, and that's

01:33:43.520 --> 01:33:48.880
you realizing, I'm a bigger sinner than I thought. That's a good thing, because that's God working

01:33:48.880 --> 01:33:57.040
within you. But the very next beat is, I repent of this, God forgive me, and to believe and to

01:33:57.040 --> 01:34:01.440
know with certainty that you have received that forgiveness, because the price has already been

01:34:01.440 --> 01:34:07.280
paid. That's the reason that we sometimes talk about fixing our eyes on the crucifix,

01:34:07.280 --> 01:34:12.560
on the cross with Jesus' body on it. Because as long as you're pointed at that, and that is your

01:34:12.560 --> 01:34:19.520
focus, you will not get distracted by, oh, I don't know if God loves me enough for this one.

01:34:19.520 --> 01:34:24.400
Really? Look at the cross. Look who's up there. Look what's happening. When you look at that,

01:34:24.400 --> 01:34:28.400
you can't possibly think that God doesn't love you enough to forgive whatever it is you did.

01:34:29.120 --> 01:34:32.560
And that's why we're to forgive each other for the same reason, because whatever

01:34:32.560 --> 01:34:36.720
someone else did to you isn't nearly as bad as the things that we have done to God.

01:34:36.720 --> 01:34:40.160
And this isn't relativism. And we've talked in the past about saying, well, you know,

01:34:41.120 --> 01:34:44.720
we particularly called out the thing saying, pedophilia is a speck in your neighbor's eye.

01:34:45.920 --> 01:34:51.120
I'm not saying anything like that. I'm saying that the accumulation of a lifetime of sin

01:34:51.840 --> 01:35:00.560
is itself incalculable by human standards. God can calculate it, he knows. But the individual thing

01:35:00.560 --> 01:35:07.040
that someone does to harm you doesn't stack up. And so when we forgive each other, it's because

01:35:07.040 --> 01:35:13.040
we don't want to receive what we know we deserve. And that's a cause for joy and not despair.

01:35:13.040 --> 01:35:16.320
Ultimately, all these things, even when it's a momentary pause, you're like, man,

01:35:16.960 --> 01:35:22.320
that's unbelievable. That's what Corey was saying. Most of the time, we can't forget most things.

01:35:22.320 --> 01:35:26.720
And we look back at them, we should be like, it's astonishing. How stupid and evil. And it's

01:35:26.720 --> 01:35:35.280
unbelievable. And part of that just astonishment at our own past evil is a way of reinforcing.

01:35:35.280 --> 01:35:40.240
That's not me anymore. That's not who I am in Christ. Even if you're a Christian at the time,

01:35:40.240 --> 01:35:45.440
you're like, what was I thinking? It was evil. It was wrong. I shouldn't have done it. And so

01:35:45.440 --> 01:35:52.080
your future life is guided by saying that there's no room in my life for perhaps my past life.

01:35:52.640 --> 01:35:57.040
That is true repentance. And that is a life that is filled with God's forgiveness,

01:35:57.040 --> 01:36:01.280
because you will sin in the future, but you won't commit the same types and degrees of sin,

01:36:02.080 --> 01:36:08.400
at least with the same volume and frequency, simply because you will spend more time being

01:36:08.400 --> 01:36:12.160
hemmed in by all the good things that God provides where there's just less and less room

01:36:12.720 --> 01:36:17.520
for stepping too far out of line and getting further away to the point that Satan can start

01:36:17.520 --> 01:36:21.520
whispering and saying, yeah, there's there's no hope for you. You're your way too far gone.

01:36:22.080 --> 01:36:26.000
That's the rock bottom that someone who's a substance abuser or something else

01:36:26.560 --> 01:36:34.000
hits and without God, they're just stuck in that pit until they die. Christianity is saying that

01:36:34.800 --> 01:36:39.120
the forgiveness will lift you out of that pit. God will lift you out of that pit. You can't do it

01:36:39.120 --> 01:36:45.280
yourself, but the work has been done. And when you believe it, you receive it. And that comfort

01:36:45.280 --> 01:36:50.880
that we receive as Christians in the perfect forgiveness from God, when we extend it to others,

01:36:50.880 --> 01:36:55.680
we are blessed with a peaceful life as much as we can and have in this life.

01:36:56.880 --> 01:37:03.360
A key part of the Christian life is sanctification. And part of sanctification

01:37:04.480 --> 01:37:10.560
is that the Holy Spirit will lead you to recognize sins in your life.

01:37:12.320 --> 01:37:16.800
And as you deal with those sins in your life, because that is part of sanctification,

01:37:17.440 --> 01:37:23.520
there'll be a sin, you'll focus on that sin, you'll get over that sin, or you'll at least

01:37:23.520 --> 01:37:29.760
mitigate that sin, you'll be less prone to it as part of this process of sanctification.

01:37:31.120 --> 01:37:37.120
But as soon as you've done that, the Holy Spirit will identify another area in your life where

01:37:37.120 --> 01:37:44.000
you're sinning. This will continue for the entirety of your Christian life on this earth.

01:37:44.800 --> 01:37:50.320
Now for the immature Christian, that at first seems terrible. You mean there will always be

01:37:50.320 --> 01:37:57.120
more problems? Yes, there will always be more problems. That is part of life, part of this life.

01:37:59.440 --> 01:38:04.240
But that's not bad news. And I notably don't mean immature as a pejorative,

01:38:04.960 --> 01:38:09.680
simply an objective assessment. It is great news for the Christian

01:38:10.640 --> 01:38:16.720
that the Spirit will lead you to recognize these things. Because that is preparing you for and

01:38:16.720 --> 01:38:22.480
leading you into a better life, ultimately preparing you for the next life.

01:38:24.000 --> 01:38:29.280
That is the process of sanctification. That is the Christian life. That is great news for the

01:38:29.280 --> 01:38:36.720
Christian. You are turning to God, walking toward God, getting rid of these things that

01:38:36.720 --> 01:38:41.040
are dragging you down. These things that are making your life objectively worse.

01:38:41.760 --> 01:38:44.160
And so it is great whenever you can get rid of any of them.

01:38:45.680 --> 01:38:52.880
So sanctification is an ongoing process for the Christian. That is why we have the Holy Spirit.

01:38:52.880 --> 01:38:57.680
That is why we have God's Word. We have, of course, the Holy Spirit to help us understand

01:38:57.680 --> 01:39:03.360
God's Word. Without the Spirit, we could not understand the Word. But this is part of the

01:39:03.360 --> 01:39:08.880
Christian life. It is a progressive sanctifying of the Christian.

01:39:10.560 --> 01:39:15.280
Because as we have mentioned in previous episodes, you are either heading toward God or away from

01:39:15.280 --> 01:39:21.760
God. There is no such thing as standing still when it comes to the Christian life, when it comes to

01:39:22.480 --> 01:39:26.160
being a human being. Because if you're not a Christian, you're walking away from God.

01:39:27.280 --> 01:39:30.240
You are walking toward God or you are walking away from God.

01:39:31.200 --> 01:39:37.280
Sanctification is walking toward God. That is the Christian life. That is the purpose

01:39:37.280 --> 01:39:44.400
of the law. That's the third use of the law. It aids you in knowing what God wants you to do,

01:39:45.280 --> 01:39:51.840
because that is, again, God's will. And so you are walking God Word. That is what it means

01:39:51.840 --> 01:39:57.120
to be leading a Christian life. You know you're forgiven for your sins already,

01:39:58.080 --> 01:40:03.920
but you're being sanctified. You're becoming the person God always wanted you to be, the person

01:40:04.480 --> 01:40:10.880
God will make you in the next life. Because that is when the fullness of your sanctification

01:40:11.680 --> 01:40:16.720
will occur. This is something that Jesus describes in the parable in Luke 18.

01:40:18.160 --> 01:40:23.120
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated

01:40:23.200 --> 01:40:29.040
others with contempt. Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a

01:40:29.040 --> 01:40:34.560
tax collector. The Pharisee standing by himself prayed thus, God I thank you that I am not like

01:40:34.560 --> 01:40:41.520
other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week,

01:40:41.520 --> 01:40:46.640
I give tithes of all that I get, but the tax collector standing far off would not even lift

01:40:46.640 --> 01:40:52.160
up his eyes to heaven, but be his breast saying, God be merciful to me as sinner. I tell you this

01:40:52.160 --> 01:40:57.280
man went down to his house justified rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself

01:40:57.280 --> 01:41:04.320
will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. So if you hear something in

01:41:04.320 --> 01:41:13.120
scripture that you feel condemns you, you are the tax collector in this parable. You are the man who

01:41:13.120 --> 01:41:20.000
has sin, who has done something, and you know it. And God says that you are justified for his sake

01:41:20.960 --> 01:41:28.640
by receiving the forgiveness through faith that was delivered at the cross. The man who is haughty,

01:41:28.640 --> 01:41:34.000
who sits around keeping track of other people's sins and announcing them and saying,

01:41:34.000 --> 01:41:38.720
look at the contrast between me and these other people, I'm so much better. That man is the man

01:41:38.720 --> 01:41:46.160
who's in spiritual trouble. The man who is momentarily troubled by his current sins or his past

01:41:46.160 --> 01:41:52.240
sins is in better shape than the man who's like, no, I got this figured out. So if you feel like,

01:41:52.240 --> 01:42:00.000
man, I'm not as good as I thought I was. Yeah, that's A, it's true. And B, that's good news.

01:42:00.000 --> 01:42:05.680
It means that the Holy Spirit is working within you and you are, frankly, you're more Christian

01:42:05.680 --> 01:42:11.040
than you were yesterday. You're more Christian than when you didn't realize the depths of your sin.

01:42:11.680 --> 01:42:18.800
Because once we realize that we can't fix it, that only God can fix it, it becomes very simple.

01:42:19.680 --> 01:42:27.600
And so I just, again, I want to reiterate, Satan wants to dox you every moment of every day of your

01:42:27.600 --> 01:42:34.720
life to broadcast whatever evil you've done to the whole world to expose you and to make you feel

01:42:34.800 --> 01:42:41.120
like you have no hope in Christ. God wants the opposite. God wants to blot out and to

01:42:41.120 --> 01:42:46.560
forget your sins and to separate them as far as the east is from the west. And he accomplishes

01:42:46.560 --> 01:42:53.360
that through his word and through the sacraments. And Christians know and believe that. We know

01:42:54.080 --> 01:42:59.520
that the evil that we have done is blotted out by God because it's what he promised. It's not

01:42:59.520 --> 01:43:04.880
what we deserve. We're not saying a prayer, Lord, give me everything I deserve. We're saying,

01:43:04.880 --> 01:43:09.280
Lord, have mercy on me, a poor, miserable sinner. And God will answer that prayer.

01:43:11.840 --> 01:43:18.560
Undoubtedly, some who are listening to this episode will have called to mind the unforgivable sin.

01:43:19.760 --> 01:43:25.600
We're not deliberately ignoring the unforgivable sin. I'm going to address it right now. However,

01:43:26.560 --> 01:43:31.440
if you are still listening to this episode, I can confidently say you have not committed the

01:43:31.440 --> 01:43:37.920
unforgivable sin. Another standard by which the unforgivable sin, whether or not it has

01:43:37.920 --> 01:43:44.240
been committed, can be judged is if you can worry about it. If you can worry about the unforgivable

01:43:44.240 --> 01:43:52.800
sin, you have not committed the unforgivable sin. And this ties into something that Woe said about

01:43:52.880 --> 01:43:58.640
a sin being too big, which, of course, is a favorite accusation of Satan. I want to read

01:43:59.440 --> 01:44:06.480
just a short quote from CFW Volter. You are not rightly distinguishing law and gospel in the word

01:44:06.480 --> 01:44:12.240
of God if you claim the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven

01:44:12.800 --> 01:44:20.000
because of its magnitude. This is a vitally important point. Any time Satan tells you

01:44:20.080 --> 01:44:23.280
that you have committed a sin that is too big, he's lying.

01:44:25.360 --> 01:44:32.160
He is a wicked, vile liar. There is no such thing as a sin that is too big,

01:44:32.880 --> 01:44:36.400
as a sin that has a magnitude that is too great to be forgiven.

01:44:37.840 --> 01:44:47.040
The unforgivable sin is unforgivable because of its nature. It is impenitence. It is apostasy.

01:44:47.040 --> 01:44:53.040
It is the refusal to believe. It is the rejection of the free gift of salvation, of justification.

01:44:54.320 --> 01:45:01.120
It is not unforgivable because of its magnitude. And so when Satan says, well, that sin was too big,

01:45:01.760 --> 01:45:06.160
you always know that he's lying. You never have to worry about the sin being too big.

01:45:08.000 --> 01:45:14.720
Because all of your sins, every sin, everything was forgiven in Christ on the cross.

01:45:17.840 --> 01:45:26.400
Because Christ's sacrifice was of infinite value. That is the thing to keep in mind. Keep that in

01:45:26.400 --> 01:45:33.600
sight. Focus on the infinite value of Christ's sacrifice. Don't focus on the magnitude of your

01:45:33.600 --> 01:45:41.840
sins. Yes, until you have repented, you will focus on your sins. Those will drive you to

01:45:41.840 --> 01:45:47.840
repentance. That is, of course, the mirror, the second use of the law. But once that has

01:45:47.840 --> 01:45:54.080
driven you to repentance, focus on Christ. Focus on the word and the sacraments. Focus on the way

01:45:54.080 --> 01:46:00.800
that God brings his gifts to you. Because that infinite value of Christ's sacrifice on the cross

01:46:01.360 --> 01:46:06.720
covers any of the sins you have committed. So Satan is lying because, of course, he is the

01:46:06.720 --> 01:46:12.320
father of lies. He's always lying. So do not listen when he says, ah, that sin is too big.

01:46:12.320 --> 01:46:23.040
There's no such thing. Because our God is true and merciful. Our God is the ruler from Matthew 18,

01:46:23.040 --> 01:46:31.200
who forgives that infinite debt of his servant. That is the nature of our God. That is the nature

01:46:31.200 --> 01:46:39.680
of the gift of salvation that he has given us. Our debt is infinite. But so is Christ's sacrifice.

01:46:39.680 --> 01:46:45.040
So is God's mercy. So is God's grace. And so no matter how great your sins are,

01:46:45.920 --> 01:46:49.600
they have been forgiven. And you can absolutely rely on that.

01:46:51.920 --> 01:46:58.640
When we say, ah, men, we should keep in mind what it is we've said. It means truly,

01:46:58.640 --> 01:47:04.240
means let it be so. It means a number of things. But the full sense of it, when we say, ah, men,

01:47:04.240 --> 01:47:08.160
does something in Scripture, when we say, ah, men, does something God has promised,

01:47:09.280 --> 01:47:14.640
is we're affirming it's already happened. It is already so. Because God is so reliable

01:47:14.640 --> 01:47:20.320
that even if it is something in the distant future, it is so certain as to have already happened.

01:47:21.200 --> 01:47:26.640
That is the sense of what we're saying. And we should bear that in mind when we use that word.

01:47:29.120 --> 01:47:34.960
And so I'd like to read another passage from Hebrews to draw out some of these points we've

01:47:34.960 --> 01:47:43.040
gone over in this episode from Hebrews 10. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time

01:47:43.040 --> 01:47:48.400
those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us for after saying,

01:47:49.120 --> 01:47:53.520
this is the covenant that I will make with them. After those days declares the Lord,

01:47:54.000 --> 01:47:58.960
I will put my laws on their hearts and write them on their minds. Then he adds,

01:47:59.520 --> 01:48:05.440
I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more. Where there is forgiveness of sins,

01:48:05.440 --> 01:48:12.560
there is no longer any offering for sin. In this passage really contains

01:48:13.680 --> 01:48:19.040
the summary of everything we have gone over in this episode, all of the points we were making,

01:48:20.000 --> 01:48:21.120
that we hope to make.

01:48:23.360 --> 01:48:29.280
The single offering is Christ. That single offering was of infinite value,

01:48:29.280 --> 01:48:34.480
so there is no longer any offering for sin, because once for all, Christ offered what was

01:48:34.480 --> 01:48:42.240
necessary and all sufficient on the cross. God promises he will remember our sins no more.

01:48:43.200 --> 01:48:48.320
That is the greatest promise we can possibly hear. Because what God forgets,

01:48:49.200 --> 01:48:55.680
no longer exists, never existed. Our sins will be absolutely gone,

01:48:56.720 --> 01:49:02.160
to the point where they cannot even be recalled by God, because he promises to forget them,

01:49:02.160 --> 01:49:07.520
and his promises are always true. And that writing of the law on your heart,

01:49:08.480 --> 01:49:14.960
that's the third use. That's the spirit guiding you into a sanctified life. That is the process

01:49:14.960 --> 01:49:21.280
of sanctification that makes you a better Christian, makes you a better person. Because yes,

01:49:21.280 --> 01:49:25.600
being a Christian will make you a better person. That is part of the Christian life,

01:49:25.600 --> 01:49:29.840
that is the third use of the law, that is God's eternal will.

01:49:29.840 --> 01:49:38.720
Yes, the law accuses your fallen flesh, but the law is also turning your fallen flesh

01:49:38.720 --> 01:49:42.640
into something greater, preparing you for the glory of the next life.

01:49:43.600 --> 01:49:48.800
And that is good news for the Christian. And that is God's covenant with those who believe.

01:49:52.080 --> 01:49:56.800
And so all that remains now is to end with one more reading from Scripture.

01:49:57.760 --> 01:50:03.840
To close out this episode, where we hope that we have pointed out to you, highlighted for you,

01:50:04.400 --> 01:50:08.240
the fullness of what it means that God has forgiven your sins.

01:50:10.480 --> 01:50:17.120
Because that is the gospel, that is the good news, that is the greatest news in the history of the

01:50:17.120 --> 01:50:21.200
world. Because of course, that's what gospel means. It's good news.

01:50:21.200 --> 01:50:29.920
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

01:50:30.480 --> 01:50:37.120
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen.

01:51:21.200 --> 01:51:22.660