The question is not: Do we need forgiveness? The answer to that question is obvious to any objective person. We have all sinned. The question that pricks our hearts is: Will God forgive us? This question is pondered by believers as well as non-believers. Here’s the good news. Everyone can be forgiven – everyone.
The Israelis recognized that the intervention of God had taken place on their behalf on numerous occasions but only after the intervention, not before. They never learned to trust God in the present moment. Their testimony of God’s power is best described as a hind-sight testimony, never an up-to-the moment testimony. Thus, they endured 40 years of suffering in the wilderness. The same thing can happen today to nations, churches, and individuals. Make sure you’re not among them.
Guilt is the biggest problem for many believers. In reality, all of us suffer or have suffered in the midst of a great company of people who share our secret, but painful dilemmas. The issue is that of overcoming the miserable grind produced by a formidable sense of guilt. Yet, how does that happen? Relief is only a few minutes away!
Our culture violently wrestles to free itself from every vestige of guilt, not by means of forgiveness but by means of escape. Believe it or not, James had to address this very issue as do we. Perhaps, they and we had/have become like those described by psychiatrist M. Scott Peck as people of the lie
The writer penned this letter to a first century church comprised of Jews who had surrendered their lives to Christ but did not expect that following Him would result in persecution as well as the loss of property, and perhaps, the loss of life in the near future. Consequently, they stood on the precipice of exiting Christianity. How can such believers be encouraged to stay the course in spite of the hardship? The answer just might encourage you in the midst of your greatest adversity.
The rifle-shot of 1 Samuel 8 is found in God’s instruction to Samuel in verse 9: Warn them strongly and tell them of the practice of the king who will reign over them. God wanted to place in full view the tendencies of human government. What are those tendencies? To Take and to Dominate. Get ready to be astounded!