We can learn a lot about God through the Gog-Magog story. Listed are twelve attributes of God that my study of Ezekiel 38-39 has yielded.
1) God knows what is in the minds of men (Ezek. 38:10).
If you think that you are having private thoughts, you’re not. God knows what you are thinking. He knows what you are planning. He knows who you are looking at. He knows what you are saying under your breath. While God almost sounds like Santa Claus, He is not. He is God and He knows what is going on in your mind.
2) God knows ahead of time what will happen (Ezek. 38:11-16,18-23; 39:2-6).
Can you surprise God? In Ezekiel God is laying out this whole battle 2,600 plus years before it is ever going to happen. He knows what is going to happen. He also knows what is going to happen to you tomorrow. When you pray to God, “Oh, God, I have lost my job.” Or, “I don’t know where my next meal will come from.” Or, “I am having this terrible relationship with this person and it is only going to end in disaster.” Well, God knows how every situation you’re in will turn out, so take comfort that He’s in control and will provide what you need.
3) God let’s us know before He acts (Ezek. 38:1,17; 39:1).
Isn’t it interesting that God tells us before He does something big? He warns us ahead of time. Nothing just springs up on us when we read the Bible. When we study the Bible, we know what is going to happen next. No surprises!
4) God is mad at the nations (Ezek. 38:3-5,18-22; 39:1-6).
Some believe the God of the Old Testament was just an angry, cranky, old person who sat up there in Heaven with His long flowing beard, and that Jesus is the God of the New Testament who comes for hugs and everything is just yippity-do-dah-day. This just isn’t the case — they are the same God! And, He is mad at the nations because they have rebelled against Him. We continue to rebel against Him, and so He is understandably mad about our misbehavior.
5) It is God Himself who entices the Gog-Magog coalition to war and their own destruction (Ezek. 38:4,16; 39:2).
Truthfully, doesn’t that sound kind of nuts? All of Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s screaming and yelling about destroying Israel, could it be that God is fueling something in him to act this way so that he can one day be destroyed? The text is crystal clear that God is behind this anti-Semitic rage.
This can be a difficult concept, that God can be goading the destruction of the evil and the sin people have who have long turned away from Him in rebellion. Not that God is causing this rage, as it’s certainly satanic in nature, but that God is allowing a superheating of their own twisted desires to the point where they end up bringing judgment upon themselves. God theatrically loves the ironic.
v6) God can be provoked to acting on His anger (Ezek. 38:18-19; 39:7,23-24).
I’m asked this all the time, “Why isn’t God back yet? Why is He talking so long?” It comes to a point in time where God has like this cup and as He fills it up with His anger it finally reaches the top, and that is when He is ready to tip it over and pour out His wrath. That is the time when His anger will finally be released. God isn’t going to always forgive all the wrongs of this world. At some point He will act.
Now, if you’re a believer in Christ and know God’s wrath no longer lies on you (Jn. 3:36), then you are like, “Yes, finally!” But, if not then you are the one who is still subject to His wrath, which is pretty scary. Remember, God will act one day. Are you under His wrath, or under His grace?
7) God will reveal His glory in no uncertain terms (Ezek. 38:23; 39:6-7,21-24,27-28).
As believers, when Jesus comes back for us in the Rapture, we will know God’s glory. The world will also know, but unfortunately only because of the judgments He pours out on them during the Tribulation. At the Second Coming, everyone left alive who survived will see Jesus as He truly is. No matter if one is for or against Jesus, they will know of God’s glory and power.
8) God will defeat His enemies (Ezek. 39:12-20).
Now, I get e-mails from atheists now and then and one of them was really honest with me when he said that he wanted a third option. He almost pleaded, “I just want to have God leave me alone, don’t judge me, don’t bring me to Heaven, just leave me alone.” But, the old adage is true, that if you are not for God you are against Him. And so, God will surely bless his children as well as judge His enemies one day. There is no third alternative.
9) God promises to restore Israel to the land and the land from desolation to bounty (Ezek. 36:34-35; 38:8; 39:25-29).
Isn’t this neat? I’ve got to tell you I’ve been to Israel twice now, and I’m a guy who likes flowers. I know, not very manly, but I like gardening. And so, when I drove down those Israeli highways and saw along the embankments solid walls of flowers, well it was absolutely brilliant to behold.
Crops of all kinds are everywhere throughout Israel. In March one can already pull fruit from the trees. Food is just all over the place.
Who would have imagined that just a century ago Israel’s countryside was a desolate, barren wasteland. Settlers could even count the total number of trees that were there because so few trees were alive. Now there are 7,587,000 Jews back in Israel according to the Central Bureau of Statistics reporting in a Sunday April 18th report. God is fulfilling prophecy this very day, and as we read in Ezekiel, God will continue to bring every one of them back to their promised land.
10) God provides for His covenant people (Ezek. 39:9-10,25).
God provides for His covenant people. If God has made you a promise, if He has made an agreement with you, He will keep it absolutely and totally 100% of the time. Guaranteed!
11) God will again pour out His Spirit on Israel (Ezek. 39:29).
This characteristic is very important in relation to timing the Gog-Magog Battle. If God’s Holy Spirit is on the Church right now, how can it be on Israel? God has to take the Holy Spirit from the Church to move it to Israel, so that is why the Rapture will happen before the Gog-Magog Battle. The restraining work of the Holy Spirit through the Church will be gone, and the Holy Spirit can then focus on Israel.
12) God fulfills His promises (Ezek. 39:8,23-25).
What promises has God made to you? He promised that He loves you and that He will always take care of you (Jn. 10:28-29). He says he will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5). He promised if you asked Him to save you from your sins and to be your Savior that He will do just that (Rom. 10:9-10). Have you grabbed hold of these promises?
How do we overcome then? Who is it that overcomes the world? Only He who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 Jn. 5:5). And so, I ask you, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe that He has made promises to save you from your sins, to bring you to Heaven, and to save you from all that terribleness that is coming up ahead? Have you accepted that?
Now is the time if you haven’t yet accepted. You need to ask Jesus to be your Savior. He loves you. He wants you to ask for the forgiveness of your sins, and to be your Savior. That is all you have to do. It is quite simple. You just have to in your heart change from an attitude of rebellion to an attitude of love. Say, “Dear Jesus, forgive me of my sins, be my Savior.” Do that today, because we don’t know exactly when all these world shattering events are going to happen, do we. But, we read about them and know they are going to happen pretty soon, and you don’t want to live in the Tribulation. You don’t want to wait for the proof of the Rapture and so miss it. And, most of all, you don’t want to be against God and have to spend eternity separated from Him in Hell.
Today, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. Tell someone today, so they know that you have been saved.
And, if you are a believer, when Jesus comes back, what is He going to find you doing? How are you spending your time? If you know we only have days, months, weeks — what are you doing with your time? Are you living it holy? Is he going to see you reading or watching something you shouldn’t, or wasting your time. Now is the time to get out there and tell other people about Jesus Christ. Do that today — right now!
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A battle has been won but the war is still under way…
The Supreme Court intervened Monday to save a large cross on city property in southern California.
A lower court judge had ordered the city of San Diego to remove the cross or be fined $5,000 a day.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, acting for the high court, issued a stay while supporters of the cross continue their legal fight.
Some questions for you: How can God be mad at our "misbehavior" if we are not under His wrath? If He has taken away ALL our sins? If He REMEMBERS OUR SINS NO MORE?
Study Hebrews–the believer's sins are NO LONGER AN ISSUE for God! They're gone! They're history! Jesus took care of all of them 2000 years ago.
So God is not mad at us–ever. He is saddened when we sin because it hurts US, not Him! And He wants to rescue us from it, but He's never angry with His beloved children!
One of those very rare times I have to disagree with you, Laura. Most (it feels like when reading) of the Old Testament is God being angry at Israel for thier sin and disobedience. Christians, too, can know God's discipline. I believe the "remembering our sins no more" is for the eternal state.
What a GREAT post Nathan! Reading #5 made me think of Habakkuk:
(God's Response to Habakkuk's complaints)
“Look among the nations, and see;
wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told.
6 For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans,
that bitter and hasty nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth,
to seize dwellings not their own.
7 They are dreaded and fearsome;
their justice and dignity go forth from themselves.
8 Their horses are swifter than leopards,
more fierce than the evening wolves;
their horsemen press proudly on.
Their horsemen come from afar;
they fly like an eagle swift to devour.
9 They all come for violence,
all their faces forward.
They gather captives like sand.
10 At kings they scoff,
and at rulers they laugh.
They laugh at every fortress,
for they pile up earth and take it.
11 Then they sweep by like the wind and go on,
guilty men, whose own might is their god!”
Vere 6 says, "For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans,"
And you #12 was a good point!
Have a blessed day!
BTW, I have to agree with Nathan's response to Laura…
I'm not a parent, but I believe parents can be angry with their children when they do wrong. They still love them, but they still may be angered and must deal with the wrongdoing. They (should) deal with it via discipline.
I think God, as our Heavenly Father, has dealt with our sin via His Son on the cross. I completely understand how God could be angry with us for our sin, especially when we knwo better as Christians.
But I'm not clear on the discipline part. Exactly what form would the discipline take? Would it be for all sins or just chosen ones based on degree? Do we get disciplined after "x" number of sins? Weren't those sins covered by the blood of Jesus?
I think discipline is poured out on nations but I'm not sure that believing Christians have to be disciplined. I think the blood of Jesus covered them past, present and future. I think we should ask for forgiveness and repent however.
Hebrews 12:5-6 says…
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."
So again I ask…
Are we disciplined for every sin? Just some? Based on degree? And how? And what about the blood shed on the cross?
Certainly God showed anger at Israel in the O.T.–they were under the Old Covenant!
But we're not under the Old Covenant. In fact, Hebrews says that the New Covenant is not like the old one, and the new is better (Heb. 8), so we should expect God to treat us totally different from how he treated Israel under the old.
Under the New Covenant, ALL our sins past, present, and future (as Billy says) have been forgiven. For if they're not, then you and I could die with unforgiven sins and go to hell.
Secondly, God's discipline is not punishment or judgment for that would mean that Christ's work on the cross was insufficient. Instead, it is coaching; it is walking with us through the sin and showing us a better way!
And thirdly, God's relationship with His children is so far beyond the earthly parent-child relationship that there's really no comparison. After all, what earthly parent has sacrificed a son on behalf of his other children? None! So to say that it's true in the human parent-child relationship, thus, it must also be true of God severely limits and undermines the work of Christ on the cross!
You see, you've never had an earthly relationship with anyone that even comes close to how our God deals with us in love!
And finally, Hebrews quotes the verses about God remembering our sins no more, and so you say that they only apply in heaven? Well, in that same chapter, it calls Jesus our high priest, so is He only our high priest when we get to heaven, too, or is it true now? It also calls Jesus our mediator, so is that also only true in heaven, or is it true now? You see, you're taking these verses out of context here. They apply now! Today! And praise God for that!
Okay everyone, sometimes I know not whereof I speak (and I don't normally speak like that).
So, Rachel, after ACTUALLY READING your the chapter in the Bible you reference I get your point and STAND CORRECTED (again).
Well that was a wonderful reflection of our current state. With our eyes on Jesus & our blessed hope it is ever encouraging to know the Holy Spirit is aligning our hearts as believers with a sense of urgency.
When you dive into the word daily and search the scriptures, the state of this time in history is like a siren going off before the storm hits. I also would like to encourage as Paul to Timothy. Keep Keeping on. We have won, but we are still occupying; so with everything give Glory to God, share eternity with the hopeless. 🙂 It gives us great Joy to do so, knowing they are being snatched out of the fire. Be prayerful always, all day.
Do not be left in your lack of knowledge, read the scriptures as you are in this world. This world is an awful desert, and the word is the springs that rejuvenate. 🙂
Praise be to God as Pslam 13 points out we are not forgotten, God is always on time!
So where do I stand? I agree with Laura that all our sins are forgiven and forgotten past, present and future.
But I can also see that how it is possible that were a Christian to use that fact as an excuse (or free pass if you will) to sin freely then that could be seen an abuse of the gift of forgivenss. I can see how one who chooses to live in sinful nature instead of striving for a holy one could be subject to discipline were the anger of God to reach a point that it be needed.
Your points are good, Laura, but don't forget James 1:17 – God is changeless. Because God is immutable, He will always respond to the sin of His covenant people in the same way.
Do sinning Christians receive punishment that leads to repentance? See 1 Cor. 5:5 and 1 Tim. 1:20 as examples. Fortunately for God's covenant people, the punishment will always lead to an opportunity to repent, whereas it can be for either repentance or destruction for those not in the covenant.
The only way God could forget our current sinful condition is if we were no longer sinning, therefore that aspect of sanctification like our glorified bodies and the removal of our sin nature is yet future.
I am so thankful to have been reassured that God DOES hear our silent heart cries. Its been hard of late trying to find the right turn of phrase aimed at making sure He really knows what I mean about 'things'. I have even been asking Him 'can you really hear me, do you know what I am trying to say?'. So this has been an answer to that question.
If any one says they are without sin, they deceive themselves and the truth is not in them. ALL of us sin, its a sad fact of life. Because of Jesus we do not bear the rightful death penalty,for our sins. In order to be conformed into the image of His Son, the Lord is long-suffering toward us, but eventually He certainly repremands us in order to cause us to subject our will to His will. Not my will but thy will is our ultimate aim through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is when we SEE Him, we shall be like Him 100%.
Discipline is the perogative of sons, not strangers; very different to the punishment of sin without redemption.
For the saints there is chastisement that can be up to and include death.
"If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it." – 1 John 5:16
Paul prescribed a level of excommunication in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 for sin so outrageous that even the pagans thought it was over the top.
"1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. "
Notice in the last half of vs 5 that, rather than prejudging him as unsaved, Paul makes the assumption that he is, in fact, a believer. And this is born out in 2 Corinthians 2:6-11 where Paul advises them to take him back into fellowship.
6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
An addition to my post that should have been presented first of all, regards understanding the context of the book of Hebrews.
Unless we realise who is being addressed and why, all manner of unnecessary difficulties arise. The letter is addressed to Jewish believers who, as a result of the persecution of the Christians, were going back into the Temple and offering animal sacrifices again.
I dare not write more as I am extremely tired and as it is a mite difficult to explain, end up confusing everyone. NATHAN!
This is the best post I have read on this blog…ever!!!
Who knew? You could deliver a sermon. Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon, etc…maybe the Lord will allow those people he has enlightened the scripures to one last chance to preach the Good News in a mighty way.
The great commission until "the end of the age".
The Lord God has established Israel as a nation to fulfill His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The nations however perceive the Lord God as a liar and continue to test Him and to draw His wrath upon them.
The Lord will judge all the nations concerning their treatment of Israel, for this reason will he bring them against His people, within the context of Gog/Magog as well as Armageddon. Israel is the threshing floor of all the nations.
The United States being chief among them pressuring Israel to divide the Land will be a recipient of fire from heaven during the Gog/Magog battle, because of their careless determination to call God a liar. Ezekiel 39:6 (Gog/Magog) and Joel 3:2 (Armageddon).
A couple of points to think about:
God does not change. You're absolutely right about that, Nathan. But what HAS changed is the covenant–in other words, how God deals with His children. He dealt with Israel based on the old covenant; He deals with us based on the new. It's a world of difference.
Also, let me remind you that the root word in "discipline" is "disciple." Think about how Jesus dealt with His disciples–He always responded to them in love. He was stern sometimes, yes, but always loving and guiding and walking with them and teaching them. His discipling was never harsh.
After all, even as earthly parents we are told that good parents do not "discipline" their children out of anger! Do we think God is worse at parenting than even our best earthly parents?
And Billy, please consider Romans 5:20: "The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where SIN INCREASED, GRACE ABOUNDED all the more."
We as humans don't like that idea. We scream, "Where's the justice in THAT?" But we're not God, and since this is His game, He calls the shots. He says when His children use grace as a license to sin, grace abounds to them. That just blows me away! God's love is amazing!
Nathan, it's not that God has amnesia about our sins. It's that He CHOOSES not to remember them or dwell on them. And, I'm sorry, it's for NOW when we need it most.
If you think that God is angry at you (or your behavior), you will never snuggle up and be as intimate with Him as He desires. I encourage you to study this matter with an open mind and a willingness to discard any lies you might have.
Trust me, I've been where you're at now, and knowing what I know now (that I'm clean and close to God no matter what I do) is a much MUCH better place to be. This is freedom . . . and overwhelming love, and it has caused me to fall even more in love with my Daddy.
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Oh, and the verses Nathan and NoFog use to support your belief that God is angry at Christians just do not hold water. These people were suffering EARTHLY consequences to their sins. That principle is true for all of us, but God has said He has forgiven us of all our sins and He does not hold them against us. They're gone!
Consider this: What is the only payment for sin that's acceptable to God? Death, right? So, if God was going to punish you (or these folks in the NT) for a sin, you (they) would die–and it would be a very bloody death, too.
We so think in human terms about God. But it won't work: God says, "I deal with sin in one way–through death. And the death of Jesus satisfied me. Therefore, my children do not suffer my wrath, my anger, or any other 'consequence' relationally with me from sin!"
Of course, we do suffer the earthly consequences of our sin–rob a bank = go to jail!
Well, Jill, thank you for those encouraging words!
Laura, you wouldn't find God and me snuggling. We'd both be looking down at our feet rather uncomfortably and then start talking football or something. Maybe one of those manly back-slap hugs would be ok. 🙂
Nathan, just because you live in Texas, you don't have to act all cowboy tough. It's OK. Really.
I'm boucing back and forth like a ping pong ball on this one.
Your argument about the disciples is a good one. Peter denied Jesus three times. How did Jesus respond? He later asked him 3 times if he loved Him.
I think we are forgiven of our sins and don't need to be disciplined when we sin for those sins that are covered by the blood of Jesus. After sinning, I am hurt and saddened that I went against God's wishes, I ask for forgiveness and repent and that's that. My punishment is in knowing that I hurt my relationship with God and when you think about it that is the WORST punishment I can imagine.
So I guess I've bounced back to your side Laura and think I'm staying there.
Also Laura, the danger in thinking you need to be punished for your sin tends to lean towards the Catholic style religion. That is one of having to be redeemed through personal suffering rather than the blood of Christ.
I could be wrong, but it kind of feels like after reading the comments posted, this "disagreement" is not really a disagreement at all. We all agree that Jesus' blood covered all our sins past, present and future, once and for all. I really think the disagreement is more semantics then anything. Laura, you are right in that we will never be "punished" for our sins. If we were, then we'd go to Hell, but that punishment was revoked when Jesus died on the cross. As far as I can tell, everyone is in agreement that we are "disciplined" for our sins, not punished. When I re-read the comments, Laura you said, "God's discipline is not punishment or judgment for that would mean that Christ's work on the cross was insufficient", but I'm not sure why you thought Nathan believed this because he too used the term discipline, not punishment nor judgement. In fact, the only ones that used the terms, punishment or punished, was you and Billy! It seems as if you were putting words in his mouth. I think you took Nathan's idea of God being angry when we sin and morphed it into the assumption that Nathan and others were saying that God punishes us for our sins because He is angry. No one has said that. However God feels about our sinning, doesn't change the fact that He disciplines us, not punishes.
Punishment = death and hell. Discipline = correction for our benefit.
Personally, when I think of discipline and chastening, I think of a loving parent doing it because it shows I belong to him and he cares. If he didn't love me and care, then he wouldn't waste his time on me.
Laura, you said, "And thirdly, God's relationship with His children is so far beyond the earthly parent-child relationship that there's really no comparison. After all, what earthly parent has sacrificed a son on behalf of his other children? None! So to say that it's true in the human parent-child relationship, thus, it must also be true of God severely limits and undermines the work of Christ on the cross!"
God makes analogies in the Bible all the time to put His thoughts into terms we could understand…called parables. So it's not out of line to associate His discipline of His children to that of a earthly parent-child relationship. Just because that analogy is made, doesn't mean we are limiting God by any means 🙂
Anyway, I honestly believe we are all on the same page but because of semantics, it's causing the appearance of disagreement. But I digress 🙂
Actually, I think the point of contention was in regards to whether God becomes angry with believers for disobedience or not. I do believe that God disciplines his children, but do not believe he is angered by our transgressions.
and hi Nathan,
I have to ask you a couple of questions based on a few of your responses.
You wrote: "The only way God could forget our current sinful condition is if we were no longer sinning, therefore that aspect of sanctification like our glorified bodies and the removal of our sin nature is yet future."
But, Nathan, where in the bible does it say that God only remembers our sins no more if we are no longer sinning or have our sinful natures removed?
"Therefore, there is NOW no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," Romans 8:1
If God only chooses to forget our sins when we receive sanctified bodies, then we would all currently be receiving condemnation/disapproval/punishmentfrom God, which I think the bible clearly says that we are not.
Also, I was shocked when you said that God always deals with the sin of his covenant people in the same way. If that is so, then what was the point of having Jesus die on the cross!
Sorry to continue to harp on these points, but they are pretty important to me as a christian.
I do look forward to reading your very informative and well thought out blog posts every day Nathan:)
Maybe you're right Katie. I took it as a contention between discipline vs. punishment. When I re-read Laura's first post, I can see the original question posed was about God being angry/mad and then it seemed to switch tracks quickly to the discipline/punishment issue. It can definitely be tricky to discuss such things via typed word and decipher people's thoughts and heart!
Sorry one more thing. Yes Rachel, Nathan did explain that he believes that God does punish us in order to lead us to repentance. See his post from wednesday april 28th.
Billy and Laura agreeing?! Isn't that one of the 7 signs of the Apocalypse or something =0
Very well put!
I have no reason to doubt that our Heavenly Father’s emotions run much the same as earthly parents and that includes anger. Indignation, a sense of betrayal, grief over the foolish actions of our children etc. Satan is the accuser of the brethren and likes nothing better to ‘put the boot in’ to stir up discontent in God’s family.
I am experiencing a gamut of emotions presently with my sons; which sometimes flares up into anger from sheer frustration. We are told to ‘be angry, but sin not’; anger is an understandable reaction to an offence, but becomes sin when dwelt upon and nurtured into a ‘root of bitterness’.
I think I am going to give my lads a good piece of my mind and squash them flat with well some chosen words; it is something I am very capable of unfortunately. Usually it is a glimpse of the back of their neck that dissolves my intent, or a certain look in their eyes, despite a stubborn set of the jaw, that makes my heart tender toward them again.
With our Heavenly Father, his anger is soon quenched when His Son steps forward, reaches out His hands to expose the nail prints received to quench God’s anger against us, because Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us. When Satan accuses us, Jesus is our Advocate that pleads our case before the Judge. Because of Jesus, God’s anger toward His erring children is quenched.
Sorry for the confusion, Ladies. I thought we were talking about whether God forgets our sins or not and when.
My position from my study of the Bible is that Christians still sin while in earthly bodies. God disciplines those He loves so that they come to repentance. If He forgot our sins before or while they happened He couldn't discipline us. We'd be living in a blind spot for God. We are obviously disciplined, therefore He obviously recognizes our sin.
True forgetting of sin by God cannot happen until we receive our glorified bodies, as we will no longer have the sin nature and so will no longer sin. In the everlasting God makes everything new, and the old is remembered no more (Isa. 65:17).
Great discussion here, and we don't all agree which is perfectly okay. Heck, sometimes I don't even agree with myself (meaning I'm still learning and growing in my faith)!
I think these discussions are good for us. We all (self included) tend to be set in our way of thinking, but maturing in the faith means discarding long-held beliefs and accepting new ones. I can tell you that that has happened to me A LOT in the last few years.
Billy, a question for you: Does sin really hurt our relationship with God? If it does, then that would be a negative consequence of sin that Jesus' death did not take care of (in other words, His death was insufficient). I know people base this whole broken relationship idea on 1 John 1:9. First of all, it's always a very BAD idea to base theology on 1 verse–and a verse that is contradicted by other verses in the NT that say we are completely and totally forgiven! Secondly, John was writing to a mixed group of people–Christians and agnostics. Some things agnostics believed was that they were without sin and that Jesus did not come in the flesh. If you look at 1 John, you see John talking about seeing, touching, hearing Jesus and that He was REAL. How many true believers do you know who need to "believe" that? Hmmm, maybe none? So the real questions are: 1) Who was 1 John 1:9 written to, Christians or agnostics? 2) And if it was to agnostics, then why, as believers, are we applying this verse to ourselves to "get right" with God on a daily basis?
Notice that the verse is conditional: If we confess = God forgives us and cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness.
So, as a believer, if you DON'T confess, are you, therefore, unclean and unrighteous? Cause if you are (unclean and unrighteous) and you die, well, uh, sorry, but you're hell-bound. Oh, and what about all those sins you haven't remembered to confess? What happens to those? Some say, "Well, God doesn't worry about the sins you can't remember." Really? So then, the real fix to this problem is for all of us to get amnesia!
Sorry, I don't buy that because it doesn't even make sense. It's either/or–either our sins are gone OR there's something else you and I as believers need to do to "make it right" with God. Since I believe Jesus' death was sufficient, I'm going with the idea that "NOTHING can separate me" from God and God's relationship with me is not effected one iota by sin in my life. Therefore, I can STOP being sin-conscious (which is self-centered) and start being God-conscious!
Oh, and by the way, the phrase "ask for forgiveness" is not found anywhere in the Bible. Also, there's nothing at all wrong with confession. Confession means "to agree with God." In fact, let's agree with God about everything: "Yes, God, You are love! Yes, God, You have made me holy and righteous and blameless! Yes, God, I agree with You: All my sins are GONE!"
EI: We often think of God as the angry Father and Jesus His Son as the placater; however, that idea got blown out of the water for me when I took a good, hard look at this verse: 2 Cor. 5:19 "that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
God is never angry with His children. He is the perfect parent–and He's so unlike any earthly parent that there's no comparison!
So God angry at old testament but never angry at new testament faithful??? Parents always angry at kids when thy are bad. No fear of God when no fear of disipline.
Whoops! I meant "Gnostics" not "agnostics"! Those "agies" came along later right before the Industrial Revolution and the start of Texas AM. I'm joking about that last part! So don't jump on me, okay?
"Great discussion here, and we don't all agree which is perfectly okay. Heck, sometimes I don't even agree with myself (meaning I'm still learning and growing in my faith)!
I think these discussions are good for us. We all (self included) tend to be set in our way of thinking, but maturing in the faith means discarding long-held beliefs and accepting new ones. I can tell you that that has happened to me A LOT in the last few years."
I can agree to that 🙂 We will be learning until the day we're called home! I think it's important that while discussing things, we always do so with love and patience and encourage one another. I think one of the dangers of discussion is pride and legalism. We really have to pray for humility and discernment 🙂
I think everyone has made good points and some points I don't, at this time, agree with 🙂 I'm always open to God changing my heart!
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…1 John 1:8. Yeshua also provided and example when dealing with the accusers of an adultress, "He that is among you that is without sin, let him cast the first stone". The truth is why are embroiled in a constant war between the desires of the flesh and that of the Spirit. If we believe that Yeshua took our sins upon himself at the cross, then are we made free from the bondage of sin. In addition if we also believe and join in the resurrection of Yeshua, then are we also overcomers, being heirs to salvation and eternal life.
The truth is we are embroiled…
Man, is it late.
If anyone is still checking this…
Thunder…ROFL re: Laura & I in agreement!!!
How do I feel my relationship with God is hurt when I sin?
It hurts it because it puts me in a bad place where I don't want to be. I hate it when I did something that I know was wrong and opposite to how God wants me to live.
That's the context.
As for "ask for forgiveness" not in the Bible…that may be so but I still tell God I'm sorry and ask for forgiveness. It's part of the way I repent and demonstrate I know I did wrong – though that act is not what I believe forgives my sin – I know it's covered by the blood of Jesus.
The dictionary.com definition of discipline includes the following:
"PUNISHMENT inflicted by way of correction and training"
So we are into semantics here.
Nathan said "My position from my study of the Bible is that Christians still sin while in earthly bodies. God disciplines those He loves so that they come to repentance. If He forgot our sins before or while they happened He couldn't discipline us. We'd be living in a blind spot for God. We are obviously disciplined, therefore He obviously recognizes our sin."
Again, can ANYONE tell me the following…
EXACTLY what form does this discipline take? (We get fired? We get sick? Our dog runs away?)
Are we disciplined for all our sins EACH AND EVERY TIME? Wouldn't we be in a near constant state of discipline?
And what response to this discipline would make us right again in the eyes of God? It couldn't be any action on our part so wouldn't it have to be the blood of Christ? And haven't we already done that so why do we need to be disciplined?
I'm not trying to make light of this…I AM SERIOUS.
I don't understand this discipline concept and looking for answers.
The simplest way I can explain how I personally know God's discipline is that my peace is disrupted and my conscience is pricked. To date, I haven't done anything the world would arrest me for, but I sense vividly when The Holy Spirit is grieved by my actions. I know my fellowship is broken and if I do not 'sort it' with recognising my fault, in time my sin will quench the Holy Spirit until I change my attitude (repent) from my fault. When we are ‘out of sync’ with God, ‘things’ become hard to cope with and we may make wrong decisions, which may have a ‘knock on’ effect causing other difficulties. Essentially God gives us over to ourselves until we come back to Him. It can become a pretty miserable time.
I had a very angry, earthly dad, and lived in perpetual fear of it, even into married life. It took me a long time to realise my Heavenly Father was not like that.
However, it does not mean that God does not know anger with His children. Anger is NOT negative; it is a natural response to a grievous situation; it is not a sin to feel anger, it can BECOME sin by how we respond to it.
Why would God’s Word say it is alright for us to be angry, if He does not get angry Himself? The fruit of the Holy Spirit are attributes of God, therefore God is self controlled and does not ‘lose it’ with His children, as an earthly father may do; so instead of lashing out in His anger, He disciplines us righteously in perfect control of His emotions.
Ephesians 4:6.Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Matt.5:22Whoever is angry with his brother WITHOUT CAUSE —.
Titus “…be not SOON angry…”
John 4:2 “…for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, SLOW to ANGER.
Because God is ‘slow to anger’; then He obviously does get angry. If a Christian loses their temper and beats a child causing physical, emotional and mental hurt to a little one; their ‘angels’ are quickest to lay the charge before God. So if we feel a surge of anger at child abuse; then why not God; even toward a believer?
*The Hebrew for anger is ‘aph’ and denotes hard breathing through the nose (flaring nostrils).
I completely understand what you said. I don't see that as direct discipline from God but (as I explained to Laura) rather as "hurting" my relationship with Him.
I don't think we are disciplined for scarlet red sin made snow white pure by the blood of Christ.
No one has directly answered my inquiries to clarify it further so I'm letting it go at this poin.
Don't give up just yet. Some of us are still in the game. I had an extremely busy weekend where I only turned the PC on to check the weather, and then there was a busy day at work yesterday. But here I am!
I think you ask some great questions about discipline:
"EXACTLY what form does this discipline take? (We get fired? We get sick? Our dog runs away?)
Me: I think we sometimes THINK this is discipline, but your next statements say it ain't so!
"Are we disciplined for all our sins EACH AND EVERY TIME? Wouldn't we be in a near constant state of discipline?"
Me: Yup, you're absolutely right. We'd be so disciplined, we couldn't think straight if this were true.
"And what response to this discipline would make us right again in the eyes of God? It couldn't be any action on our part so wouldn't it have to be the blood of Christ? And haven't we already done that so why do we need to be disciplined?"
Me: ABSOLUTELY! And that's my point. Christ's work on the cross is sufficient–for all our sins! So discipline has to be more like coaching us with love and patience. Have you ever noticed that sometimes God lets you just stew in your sin until you get thoroughly sick of it? He allows us to realize that it doesn't satisfy us, and then He comes in and says, "How about trying something different this time?" That's a loving Father coaching His child out of the grime! Where's the punishment in that? It's just not there because all that punishment fell on Jesus!
The bottom line, as you so rightly point out, Billy, is this: Either the cross of Christ is sufficient, period. Or it's not. You can't have it both ways.
And my word verification is: "floggies"! Hee hee! No "floggings" or "floggies" for me. Jesus took it all away!
I'm sorry to hear that you had a father who was hard on you. That can certainly skew our understanding of God the Father, can't it?
My father is a great one, but my view of Abba has been (is) skewed, too. That's when I have to go back and remember that JESUS showed us the Father. Was Jesus angry and mad at people who were sinning (tax collectors, harlots, etc.)? No, He loved them in amazing ways!
There's certainly nothing wrong with admitting to God when we screw up. That's healthy and natural; however, thinking that we've somehow "messed up" our relationship with God is just not true. We've been taught that we will "feel better" after we apologize, but that's our human tendency and has nothing to do with relating to God. There's a tremendous freedom in realizing that NOTHING we do can harm our relationship with God.
I say: Go ahead and 'fess up! But have you ever noticed that God does not dwell on your relationship with Him when you confess? Every time I confess, God says, "Go make it right with that person you just hurt!" Is that true for you, too?
Discipline from God can come in the form of letting us suffer the consequences of our sins, but He also kicks the supports out of under us until we have no way to turn but to Him. Our lives fall apart.
The purpose is as always – to come back to God in repentance and dependence alone on Him (2 Cor. 7:9-10). It's how we grow. If He didn't discpline us, we wouldn't grow as well, no matter how loved or forgiven we are.
The thing is, Jesus DID get angry! He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and beat their them with a rope, while using a few well chosen words.
The Scribes and the Pharisees He called a 'brood of snakes'.
Non the less, He loved them enough to give His Life for them.
Jesus knew God's anger and bore it upon Himself for the whole world on Calvary, so that we do not have to face the same PUNISHMENT of the death penalty for sin.
Annanias and Saphira knew the ultimate discipline of a 'sin unto death' when The Holy Spirit took their physical lives from them for lying to Him. It still happens!
Yes, but the only people Jesus got mad at were the so-called "religious" people of the day. Why only them? Because they were bent on a works-based "religion" that left no room for Jesus. In other words, they weren't His followers. God's wrath still falls on works-based, religious people–the unbelievers. But we are sons and daughters of God, and He does not get angry at His children. Otherwise, Jesus sacrifice was not enough.
As for Ananias and Sapphira, it does not say that God killed them. It says they died!
I do not accept that being angry denies in any way that the cross was not enough? God changes not, He was, is and always will be the same; and that also applies to His anger because anger is not a sin, it is a valid emotion felt by a PERSON.
Our Salvation is past, present and future. We are saved (Justified) we are being saved (Sanctified) and we will be saved (Glorified). Sanctification is a part of God’s remedy against the actions of our ‘old man’. The ‘new man’ born of God does not, cannot sin; but unchecked, the ‘old man’ will dominate a believer’s life and spoil his walk with The Lord; it is the flesh life that needs discipline, it is that which may anger God.
As for Ananias and Sapphira, in lying to the Holy Spirit they committed the sin unto death. 1John 5:16-17.
The Lord gives (life) and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.
However it was they died (heart attack, stroke – ?) it was directly as a result of their deception and pride against The Holy Spirit. Their lives as believers were hid in Christ, and their early physical death will result in a loss of rewards given at the Bema seat, not the loss of Salvation.
1John 5:16,17 tells us to pray for believers when they sin, but we are told NOT to pray for them if they are committing the sin that is unto death.
There is also Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 11:30,31 not to eat unworthily at the Lord’s table. Paul warns that as a result, some have become weak and some die. Better for us to discipline our own flesh life than The Lord discipline us.
Essentially this couple behaved as Achan did in Joshua 7; when the death penalty ensued. These deaths resulted in great fear and trembling, it was a warning to their peers to honour and respect God in future.
With respect Laura, I was just wondering if you follow the teaching of Arminius?
God bless you.
I've been to the bottom because of besetting sins, and it was PRECISELY God's forgiveness and love that rescued me. When I learned about the totality of my forgiveness and God's personal, practical love (both of which are bound up in the cross and resurrection), I began to fall more and more in love with God, and sin's hold on me slipped away.
Think of it like this: Let's say you have a child who has come to depend on an old, dirty, ragged teddy bear. He really needs to give it up, but you can't just take the stuffed animal away from him. That will crush him. So, instead, you give him a puppy–something he can love and interact with. Suddenly, the filthy teddy bear is forgotten!
You see, that's how God's discipline is: He overwhelms us with Himself–which is to say, He overwhelms us with love. And because we are, by nature, responders, we respond to that love, dropping the inconsequential things (i.e., sins that so easily entangle us) along the way!
So, I beg to differ: It is nothing more and nothing less than God's love and an understanding of His total forgiveness that 1) leaves us in a mess until we realize we need help and 2) rescues us from that mess by showing us His amazing grace!
Well, let us agree to disagree, shall we?
It's either/or for me: Either the cross of Christ does away with all the anger, punishment, condemnation etc. of God OR it doesn't and there's something more for us to do (i.e., toe the line; ask for forgiveness daily; keep our own list of rules–our own version of "the Law", etc.).
I'll take the cross as being all sufficient, which means that God will never be angry with me.
Arminius who? No, I follow what God teaches in the NT, most obviously through Paul but through the other NT writers as well.
For me it all boils down to what you wrote…
"Either the cross of Christ is sufficient, period. Or it's not. You can't have it both ways."
"Have you ever noticed that sometimes God lets you just stew in your sin until you get thoroughly sick of it? He allows us to realize that it doesn't satisfy us, and then He comes in and says, "How about trying something different this time?"
This is how it works for me…I get sick of this "sinful stewing" and rush back into the loving and FORGIVING arms of our Lord.
Re your post "Have you ever noticed that sometimes God lets you just stew…and then He comes in and says, "How about trying something different this time?"
Of course…the prodigal son! God lets us make our choices. When they are not the correct ones it leads to a life of misery. But we are always loved and welcomed back and forgiven by the Lord.
And I'm sure while we're off in our bad choices Jesus is working on bringing us back in the fold as in the image of a loving Shepherd leaving his flock to search out and rescue the one sheep that has strayed off then rejoicing when He finds it.
Both the prodigal son and the shepherd searching for and rescuing his sheep have at last answered my questions.
Thanks for your posts. They helped a lot!
Yes its best that we do!:) After my post, I re-read the thread and realised I was repeating myself and others.
My question was to help me get a handle on what you base your interpretation – nothing more than to better understand where you are coming from.
Just to add that as far as I have seen here, we all do as you do and follow all N.T. teaching; and I have seen no reason to doubt anyone posting here are not acting out of love for Jesus, the brethren and the lost just as you do. It is the method of interpretation we use, that causes us to disagree over our understanding of Scripture.imo.
NEITHER HAVE I.