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Think On These Things, Issue #006
July 15, 2014
Think On These Things
A Bimonthly E-Zine of Bible Studies With Chris
Table of Contents
What's NewSince the last mailing, things have been extremely busy. This is what has been happening with appliedchristianstudies.com
Forgive and Forget
They say that a good memory is to be treasured, but the ability to forget is truly remarkable. Although the term “forgive and forget” is not found in the Bible, Christians are commanded to forgive one another “as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4.32). How does God forgive? “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jer. 31.34; cf. Heb. 8.12; 10.17).
When one receives forgiveness through the blood of Christ, God does not erase them from His memory, but regards him as if those sins had never been committed. He will still be able to recall his iniquities, but He will never again hold those sins against him and make him accountable to them. In a similar way, Paul wrote of himself, “…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead…” (Phil. 3.13). Paul still remembered his past (1 Tim. 1.12,13). He merely did not allow the past to hinder his pursuit of the crown of life.
As God no longer holds one accountable for sins previously forgiven, He also forgets about the good that one does if he goes back and sins. To Ezekiel God says, in Ezekiel 18.24: “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity…All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered…” Therefore one can never conclude that he can be pleasing to God if he does more good than evil. One cannot outweigh his sins by doing more good. Instead, salvation comes by the grace of God and through obedience to His will (Eph. 2.8-10).
Sadly, some Christians have reached a point where they have forgotten that they have been cleansed from their old sins (2 Pet. 1.9). Some have forgotten that they have a new lease on their spiritual life and now ought to grow in the Lord and mature in their faith (2 Pet. 1.5-8; Heb. 5.12). Others have been overwhelmed with trials and tribulations that they become discouraged having forgotten the joy and privilege of being in Christ (Phil. 4.4-8).
Christians are the most blessed of all people having a God who forgives and forgets. We always ought to be mindful of the forgetfulness of God that we may also forgive and forget. For forgiveness is received only when given (Matt. 6.14,15).
Taking the Time
It seems as though it is ever changing. Sometimes it drags on when we are anxiously awaiting for some future event. Other times it passes in a flash and we wonder where the time went. Yet time is a constant. The ticking of the clock does not speed up or slow down. The years do not linger when we are young and rush by when we are older. It is our perception that changes.
The Psalmist observed that man’s lifespan extends to seventy years and if he is in good health it may extend to eighty (Ps. 90.10). If we were to take all the people who died in the last hundred years it would indeed average somewhere between seventy and eighty. However, the fact remains that no one knows how many years they will have on earth. Some lives may extend into triple digits while others may leave this earth at sixty, forty, or even while still a child.
All this emphasizes one simple point. We need to live our lives to the fullest. We ought always to take advantage of every opportunity to do the good that comes our way “redeeming the time” (Eph. 5.16; Col. 4.5). Everyone of us is given the same twenty-four hours in a day, but not everyone uses those hours to their fullest potential. Some are productive squeezing every moment he can to accomplish some good, while others squander their lives accomplishing nothing. Methuselah was the oldest man to ever live leaving this earth at 969 years old (Gen. 5.27), yet the inspired text does not record a single good thing that he ever did.
But what can I do? There is never a time when one does not have something that he can do. No one should ever be at a loss of what to do, for opportunities are all around. The question lies not in the lack of opportunities, but in the lack of desire to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves, or the desire to do something else. Paul writes, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all especially to those of the household of faith” (Gasl. 6.10). Even when there is no opportunity to do good to another there is always an opportunity to do good. Spend time with the family. Spend time in prayer. Spend time reading the Bible. Spend time in quiet meditation.
There is time. But that time will not always be available. Take the time to do good before your time is up.
It is Foolish to Boast
The Corinthian congregation had been infiltrated with false teachers. These were wolves in sheep’s clothing. These were followers of the devil who transformed themselves into ministers of light (2 Cor. 11.13-15). They were smooth talkers and dynamic speakers (2 Cor. 10.7-10). And the brethren were fooled (2 Cor. 11.3).
Paul tried to warn them, but they thought that they were too smart and wise to be fooled. They thought that they knew better than Paul, so they ignored his warning (2 Cor. 11.19-21). These false teachers did much boasting and impressed the Corinthians (2 Cor. 5.12; 11.12). Thus Paul decided to engage in a little boasting himself.
Before Paul began to boast, the Corinthians needed to understand two critical points. First, Paul was only boasting in order to demonstrate the foolishness of it (2 Cor. 11.16). Second, Paul was not speaking by the authority of God. Lest it be concluded that Paul had God’s approval in boasting, he makes it clear that he is speaking on his own (2 Cor. 11.17).
The same boasting that these false apostles engaged, Paul could say the same. Just as they were Hebrews, so was Paul. Just as they were Israelites of the seed of Abraham, so was Paul (2 Cor. 11.22). Furthermore, of the things in which they boasted, Paul could claim superior (2 Cor. 11.23-29). However, in all the things in which Paul boasted, it would do him no profit, for boasting in oneself is of no value (2 Cor. 12.1).
The foolishness of boasting is that one exalts himself and considers himself self-sufficient without the need of God. However, If one is going to boast, it is better to boast in infirmities. (2 Cor. 11.30; 12.7-10). For in one’s infirmities, he is more apt and wiling to depend on the strength of God and not lean upon himself. 2 CORINTHIANS 12.9: “And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Boasting of oneself is foolish, for when we boast in our accomplishments, we are blind to our dependence on God and fail to see, that “by the grace of God, I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15.10). Let us always glory, but only in the Lord.
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