There is something liberating about knowing as humans we are going to make mistakes. We are going to make mistakes we wish no one witnessed; some mistakes feel so bad we are going to think they are unforgivable, but is that the case? While we may know the answer is “all of sins can be forgiven”, do we truly believe it? Understanding the sacrifice of Christ can make Christians feel unworthy anytime we fall short, but does God share that feeling?
Galatians 6:1-3 (ESV): Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
In his letter to the church of Galatia, the Apostle Paul encourages Christians to combat temptation by bearing one another’s burdens. Even if a Christian catches someone in the act of falling into temptation, they are still to treat their brethren with a spirit of gentleness. As difficult as this can seem in the heat of the moment, Christians are to take a moment to consider how they would want to be treated if they were caught in a temptation. There is the temptation to speak as though another’s burden is “heavier” than our own, but Paul tells us we deceive ourselves if we believe that. As Jesus stated, we are to treat others as we want to be treated (Luke 6:31).
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV): For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
There is not a person able to boast a lifestyle that earns them God’s favor. By faith and obedience we are offered God’s grace, but that is not be confused with us earning salvation. If God did not forgive our smallest sin, we would not be able to join Him in heaven (Romans 6:23). It is a human trait that has someone believe one sin is larger than another’s. In a world where everyone sins, some are compelled to make others feel their sins are more egregious. Jesus challenges this mindset with the parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisee knew of God’s greatness and lived a life many would believe is pleasing to God; while the Tax Collector knew of God’s greatness and lived a life many would see as an abomination to the Lord. Jesus said the Tax Collector was the one that went home justified, not because he lived a “better life”; but because he was humble and those who humble themselves will be exalted and those who exalt themselves will be humbled. Let us be humble and gentle with our brethren so we may be pleasing and exalted by God.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr
There are many thoughts and considerations that pass through the mind of someone thinking about being baptized. A person could be wondering if baptism is necessary to be saved.
Mark 16:16 (ESV): Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
A person could be contemplating if they understand enough to commit to being a Christian.
Romans 10:9 (NIV): If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Do you know why God only requires us to understand Jesus is His son and that He was raised from the dead in order for us to be baptized? It primary has to do with the gift of the Holy Spirit. You receive the Holy Spirit once you are baptized and it will help you better your understanding of God.
Acts 2:38 (ESV): And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:12 (ESV): Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
Quite simply, you cannot lean on your own understanding when deciding when you know enough to be baptized. You have to trust in the Lord’s wisdom and understand that you will always be learning. There will never be a point in your Christian walk when you can confidently say, “I have it all figured out”, so don’t wait another day to be a Christian.
Proverbs 3:5-7 (ESV): Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
By Undre Griggs, Jr
Rejoice in Hope:
Your hope comes from belief in Christ Jesus and that He will return for His people. Your hope comes in knowing that Jehovah sent his only begotten Son so that you may have an opportunity at going to Heaven. Rejoice in knowing that God is in control and He will always be with His people.
Deuteronomy 31:6: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Patient in Tribulation:
1 Peter 3:14: But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled.
2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance
There is an understanding that God is patient and longsuffering, so that all should come to repentance. We should have the same patience and count ourselves blessed to endure suffering for Christ; knowing that it could save a soul.
Constant in Prayer:
Through prayer we make our requests known to God. It is our avenue of communication and one we should not close for any reason. Prayer is our most humble and powerful position.
Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Mark 11:24: Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.