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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Forgiveness is Not Enough!

Edward F. Lundwall Jr

Forgiveness is Not Enough! 

Part III 

The story of the healing of a paralytic man at the pool of Bethesda is an about the issue of forgiveness. After he was healed and the Jews accused him of breaking the Sabbath by carrying his pallet as Jesus had instructed him. It was the demonstration of his faith that Jesus did heal him. However, the former paralytic excused his actions claiming that he did not know Jesus’ name. In John 5:14, we read, “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” From what Jesus said, we can conclude that the man had received forgiveness for a sin that caused his lameness. He had believed and obeyed Jesus. However, Jesus told him that if he sinned again, he would experience a worse consequence.

Not all faith is saving faith. Matthew 7:21 states, “Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” According to John 1:12, receiving Christ only saves, when and if we let Him influence us to “become the sons of God.” At another time when Jesus was giving instructions to new believers, the Lord Jesus told new believers they must prove their faith and commitment: “As he spoke these words, many believed on him.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ They answered him, “We are Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how say thou, Ye shall be made free?” Jesus answered them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, whoever commits (as a lifestyle - Greek present) sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abides not in the house for ever: but the Son abides ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:30‑36).

The purpose of Jesus coming into the world is found in the name that Mary and Joseph were instructed to give him. “Thou shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Although forgiveness is involved, His coming was to gain a people that belong to Him! His methodology was to “save his people from their sins.” The original verb “save” indicates a condition of past, present and future. Through continuous faith, a person is saved from his sins, is being saved from his sins, and will be saved from his sins. Indeed as the faith continues, so does the act of being saved.

To ask God for forgiveness, and to mentally or even publically acknowledge Jesus Christ’s death to save us from our deserved damnation is not enough. A relationship of trust in Christ must be a continuous process of learning to love Him, obey his commandments, and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform you from within to be more like Him.

Related reading: Forgiveness and Restoration; God's Forgiveness Must Bring Forth Fruit

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