Los Alamos Church of Christ

Let the Word Dwell

#36  I John 1:7

Theology of Forgiveness

 

Two weeks ago we did Memory Verse Challenge #35…

 

#35 Acts 2:38 Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

In that lesson I emphasized the last part of the verse… “You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  In that sermon I connected #34 Acts 2:17 and #35 Acts 2: 38. 

 

#34 Acts 2:17 “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.”

 

The promise made first by the prophet Joel that in the last days God would pour out his Spirit on all flesh, began on that Day of Pentecost.  And Peter goes on to say that this promise is for those who are afar off; like 2,000 years and 7,000 miles. That’s us!  In these last days, in repentance and baptism, we still get the pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh.  We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to work in our lives today!  I thought that was about as much fun as you can have while preaching.  God’s promise for the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives is wonderful!

 

But in that sermon I blew past something else that is wonderful.  In the first part of what happens when you repent and are baptized… we are forgiven!

 

#35 Acts 2:38 Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,

 

This morning I want to correct that.  I want to see how wonderful is… the forgiveness of your sins.  One of the purposes of our 40 Memory Verse Challenge is to lay out our theology.  In the 40 verses there is a core to our theology!  I believe, what we believe affects everything. Our theology connects to our everyday life; the choices we make; the priorities we have; where we spend our money; our relationships; the time we spend doing what we do all flows from how we view God.  Our understanding of how God treats us is significant!  Understanding forgiveness makes a wonderful difference in your life! 

 

So, this morning, as we focus on the wonderful forgiveness, I want to go into teaching mode.  I want to lay out my theology of forgiveness.  Let me begin by laying out the basics…

 

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Forgiveness implies a wrong.  For there to be a need for forgiveness, there is an offender and a pardoner. There are two parties involved in forgiveness… the one who has done wrong and the one who forgives. 

 

When we violate God’s commands we are the offender.  We wrong God.  We join David in saying, “Against you and you only have I sinned.”  Sin is sin because it runs against who God is.  Sin is out of step with reality.  Sin brings chaos.  Sin harms relationships… with who we are, with others and with God.  When we bring this chaos, we are the ones who offend God! 

 

In order to set things right; in order to heal relationships; in order to order the chaos; God must forgive. It is like the awkward elephant.  When there is something going on between people and they don’t talk about it, there is this huge awkward elephant standing between them.  There is this thing in the room; dwelling in the middle of us… an elephant of sin.  When God forgives, the elephant vanishes; harmony is restored; things are right; the chaos is gone; we are at peace with God.

 

We have already seen this in 3 of our 40 memory verses…

 

#9 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

 

--Christ died for/to remove the elephant barrier between us.

 

#13 Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

--By our faith in the death of Jesus, we return to harmony with God; the elephant is gone. 

 

#15 Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

--The reminders of our sins are gone.  There is never any lingering disapproval. Christ died to kill the elephant.  By our faith in his death the elephant vanishes we are friends again.  There is never ongoing distain.  

 

Adding #35 to these…

 

 

#35 Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Here are the basics…

 

We, as offender, come to God…

--With faith in the death… I bring the death of Jesus to God as a peace offering.

--In repentance… I commit to my sanctification.  Sanctification is becoming more like Jesus; purer.  I resolve to not sin to the best of my ability.  I am committed to my sanctification. 

--By being baptized… I humbly reenact the death and resurrection of Jesus in submission.

 

God, as the forgiver…

--Vanishes the elephant of sin… our past sins are gone.

--Restores peace between us… We are able to walk in the cool of the evening because the chaos is gone.

--Never brings it up again… no lingering disapproval; no fear of God changing His mind.

--Gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to work with us. Sanctification is the Spirit working sin out of us.  I am committed to joining the Spirit in the cooperative sanctification. 

 

This is the basics of forgiveness.

 

But what happens after this?  What happens when I as a Christian sin, again? 

 

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When I…

--Cave into my selfishness… to take from the weak?

--Puff up in pride condescending all over the lesser?

--In arrogance marginalize the inferior?

--Lash out in anger at all the idiots?

--Indulge the nastiness that lurks around me?

 

What happens when I resurrect the elephant? 

 

This leads to some more theology.  This leads us to Memory Verse #36.

 

#36 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

 

 

 

 

 

Tree List – #36 the muddy squirt gun

 

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Let’s place our memory verse in context.

 

ESV 1 John 1:5-9 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

(Insert by verse)

5--God is light.  God destroyed the chaos.  God is purity. God is holiness. 

5--If we are to walk with God in the cool of the evening, we cannot continue to live in chaos. 

6--We cannot continue to live the lie.  We cannot ride the elephant while claiming we are walking with God. 

7--If we are living in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit; if we are doing our best to live in repentance; if we have not given up and given ourselves over to the darkness…

7--Then, we have fellowship with each other. This is not a sidebar.  The fellowship with each other is for our sanctification.  We help each other to live right.  We correct each other.  We insulate each other from the chaos.  We protect each other from the darkness.  Within the body is light!

7--If we are walking in the sanctification of the Spirit and the holiness of the body then… we get the continual cleansing of our sins.  Our sins are ezaperated as they occur.  What?  E- Zap-Er- Ated constantly! 

8--On the other side, if claim no sin… it doesn’t work.  If we deny that we sin or walk in the darkness the ezaperation does not work. 

9--But if we confess our sins… they are ezaperated; the elephant never even pops up! 

 

Let me give an example…

 

Let’s suppose I am a Christian.  I have faith in the death.  I have repented of my sins. I was baptized on October 20, 1965. (my 50 anniversary was last week) Let’s further suppose that at that point I was forgiven and received the gift of the Holy Spirit to work on my sanctification.  I am attempting to do right now for 50 years.

 

Let’s suppose I am driving down Diamond Drive and someone flies past me cuts me off and slams on their brakes in front of me causing me to swerve to miss them, in the process my car crashes through the  fence down into the canyon.  On the way down, my anger explodes, my arrogance erupts; my condescension overwhelms me and I call the person who cut me off an idiot as I smash into the bottom and die.

 

That last words on my lips was “You idiot”.  I die with that sin not repented of; I did not confess it; that sin was not prayed for.  What happens to me?  Was that sin forgiven?  Did I miss out on the resurrection because of that one unrepented sin?

 

No, my sin was constantly forgiven even as I sinned because in the light I am in constant contact with the blood of Jesus. 

 

#36 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses (forgives, ezaperates) us from all sin.

 

Now, let’s take this another step.  Let’s run the opposite scenario, just to be clear.

 

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Let’s suppose the same scenario as before.  I was baptized 50 years ago.  But somewhere along the line I indulged my self-righteousness.  Let’s suppose that I quit attempting to work on a part of my sanctification.  Let’s suppose I allowed Satan a foothold of bitterness.  Someone done me wrong and I wallowed in it.  I did not let the correction of the Spirit or the fellowship of the body work this bitterness out of me.  Satan got into me and obsessed me.  So much so, that I walked in the darkness of revenge.  I ride the elephant of animosity.  I replay my hurt, constantly.  I fantasize in the harm of this person.  I allowed my hurt to become anger and that anger to become obsession.  That obsession becomes all involving.  I no longer walked in the light but instead walked in the darkness of hatred.

 

Same scene as before.  I am driving down Diamond Drive and I see the one with whom I am obsessed.  He speeds past and cuts me off.  I attempt to ram him and miss and die at the bottom of the canyon.  What happens to me?  Remember verse 6…

 

ESV 1 John 1:6  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

 

There is no forgiveness.  We ride the elephant to our doom.  For our God is a consuming fire. 

 

Satan is real.  Satan is a real danger.  Satan is out to pervert our sanctification. Next week we will talk more about Satan.  Here’s a teaser…  The one in us is greater than the one of the world. 

 

But for this morning, here is my summary of forgiveness…

 

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Forgiveness…

Comes in faith of the death of Jesus for my sins.

Happens when we repent in commitment to sanctification.

Occurs in being baptized into the death.

Is continual as we walk in the forgiveness of the light.

Remains as we stay in the sanctification of the Spirit.

 

Forgiveness is wonderful! 

 

Say it with me…

 

#36 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

 

 

Tim Stidham

October 25, 2015

Los Alamos Church of Christ