Tag Archives: repentance

Contagions and Sin

Leviticus 13 confession.3Leviticus 13 Recently the world has become acutely aware of infection with no known cause and no known cure, and many are dying. The world has reacted first to isolate infected and then to restrict travel to and from that area thousands of miles away. Although these are physical infections, the spiritual lesson is that our infection is the problem of sin.

Like physical infections, sin permeates if left untreated because it is all a part of the fallen nature of man. Pastor Ed Rea explained it this way: “It usually begins as a thought that becomes a desire that then leads on to an act. The results of both unchecked are always devastating.”  James explains it this way:  “But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full-grown, it gives birth to death.”

In Leviticus, the priest was to examine the individual and, if necessary, quarantine him/her. Just like a physical infection, we must “quarantine” our sin. If we find that that doesn’t help us, then we must take drastic action, and repentance is the key. King David recognized the danger and why he prayed: Examine me, O God, and probe my thoughts! Test me, and know my concerns!

We have the Great Physician with the perfect treatment. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. [1Jn 1:9]


John 21 “Full Restoration…”

ImageHave you ever kept yourself busy so you don’t have to think? You find busy activities to occupy your mind so that your wayward actions do not creep in and occupy your thoughts. This is the tool of the enemy so that you are hindered from service but the Master comes to us that we may learn that although we may err, the truth is clear and undeniable: Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. [Rom 8:34]

We resonate with Peter because like him we too are impulsive, overreacting, deniers of Christ, bitterly repentant yet not fully restored. Does this describe you? The evil one, Satan, would have you rehearse, repent, rehearse, repent on and on but the Master comes in our busyness that we may be fully once and for all know that not only are our sins forgiven but know the truth of Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. That is what the Master has come to do in John 21 and through the eyes of John we not only experience this for the sake of Peter but for the sake of us in the 21st century.

Jesus had told Peter, “”Simon, Simon, behold, Satanhas demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” And now Jesus will help Peter see the fulfillment of those words and as we begin the letters he wrote later we too will be strengthened and learn. But, first Jesus will test our love quotient:

“Do you love me more than these?” Jesus asked about agape love (all giving, unselfish love) to which Peter replied, I love you (using phileo—friend love). If you say yes, my task for you is to tend my lambs; the wee ones who need nurturing. Be willing to serve the newly saved, the babies of the faith.

A second time Jesus asked Peter: “Do you love Me?” and when Peter affirms, Jesus says: “Shepherd my sheep.” Be the shepherd that I was, tenderly teaching, loving, guiding, warning, and holding them to your side, be willing to die for them.

A third time Jesus asked: “Do you love Me?” As Peter heard this same question his soul was grieved but Jesus will not let Peter remain there for Jesus seeks total restoration and a renewed focus. Affirming his love, Jesus tenderly says “Tend my sheep.” Sheep are those who tend to wander and Peter could relate. Sheep need feeding, watering, watching, protecting. That is what it means to tend these who seek to find the greener grass. Hold them close Peter. Use your crook to draw them back.

Jesus was challenging Peter and he is challenging you and me: Do we love Jesus more than life itself? If our answer is yes as Simon Peter’s was; He has a task for us: “God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. “ [2Co 5:18] Go forth Beloved, and tend the lambs, shepherd the sheep, tend the sheep. It is a full time occupation—for the fully and completely restored. How great is your love?

Photo: Courtesy of SpiritFM

Beauty Out of the Ashes

ImageHow beautifully the Spirit led Dr. Luke to record for us the witnesses regarding the Son of God. We begin our study today by seeing the subterfuge of the religious leaders and end up with the confession of the criminal. What a contrast! Only by the Spirit of God could one chapter hold so much that grabs our attention and cause us to fall upon our knees in humble adoration for the Messiah who gave all that we might worship Him alone.

As we walk through the streets of Jerusalem to the Praetorium where we meet Pilate we are jostled about by the very pilgrims who shouted Hosanna to now are shouting Crucify Him, Crucify Him!… and all being led by those who were given the privilege of treasuring and imparting the sacred scriptures. These leaders had been called, chosen, and anointed with the blood of a ram that they might be cleansed and surrendered to the will of God. And yet, it is not the outward cleansing but the cleansing of the heart that God desires. Rightly Jesus pinpointed their inner heart problem: Luk 11:39 But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” God desires instead that we Heb 10:22 draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, ….having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience..” 

Contrast this scene to the one criminal on the cross who recognized and submitted to the Son of God. Listen to his words “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we rightly so, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did, but this man has done nothing wrong…Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.” In that one brief interchange Dr. Luke transcends earth to heaven so that beauty may come from the ashes of sin and we learn of the plan of salvation. First one must revere God, Secondly, one must recognize that they are a sinner in need of repentance, Thirdly we are justly condemned for our sin; Fourthly we must seek His face and His forgiveness. We lay ourselves open to Him and He responds: “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Note the promises: it happens today not in the future. We will be with Him! We will be in paradise 2Ti 2:12 “If we endure, we will also reign with him..”

Beloved, forest fires burn off the dross so that the beauty may come forth as new vegetation and that is God’s promise. We who are weak “will be lifted from the dust, from the ash heap and seated with Him in glory” [1Sa 2]  We will be “righteous, like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” [Is 61]  Will you keep the embers burning in the fire of the “deadly d’s” or remove them one at a time and allow Jesus to take the ashes and bring beauty out of the barrenness?