FORGIVENESS AND THE FEAR OF GOD – 15 Sep 2007

Ps 130   If You, YAH, should keep track of iniquities, who could stand, O Lord?  But there is forgiveness with You, so that You may be feared.

Mk 2:5-12   Your sins are forgiven. . . . .Who can forgive sins but God alone?!

Is 33:22   YHVH is our Judge; YHVH is our Lawgiver; YHVH is our King; He will save us!

Mt 1:21   …He shall be called Yeshua, for he will save His people from their sins (iniquities).

YHVH God is our Judge, and He alone has authority to forgive our sins and transgressions and iniquities.  The Father has given all authority to His Son Yeshua/Jesus, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father (Jn 5:22-23).  Jesus has also said that even He will not judge us, but that the Word He has spoken will judge us on the last day (Jn 12:47-48).

As Israel and the Jewish people around the world observe what are called the Days of Awe from their New Year (or, Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets) through the Day of Atonements, God has given His people to consider the state of their souls (heshbon nefesh) before their fellow man and before their Creator God who alone redeems and saves His people and countless others from amongst humanity.

Forgiveness of sin is absolutely necessary in order to be in right relationship with God and with others in our lives.  Without forgiveness, there is no fellowship, no joy or freedom in that person’s presence.  Only YHVH forgives iniquities so that He may be feared and revered!  He alone is righteous, therefore He alone has been the ultimate object of sin– or, the offended Person. 

Being that YHVH is a Savior from sin in His righteous judgment and love, He also can demand of us who are His sons and daughters that have been created anew in His image must also be willing to forgive from our hearts those who have sinned against us.  Otherwise, our Father in Heaven will not forgive us either when we sin; in fact, that is the transgression:  unforgiveness.  Our Father is saying, “Why should I forgive you your sin which you are asking me to do, when you are not willing to forgive another person their sin against you?

The fear of God brings with it respect for those in authority because they have power over our lives to reward or to punish.  In other words, they are our judges.  Parents have responsibility to discipline their own children in order to instruct them in right and wrong; teachers have authority over children not in their own families to discipline them in order to maintain order in a classroom; school principals have authority over teachers and can determine whether or not they remain in their profession; government rulers can place lawbreakers into prison.  If we respect authority and those who have it, God can entrust us with authority over others.  Sin is lawlessness, which acknowledges no higher authority over it (them).  There is no fear; they feel no obligation under God, who is the Judge of all the Earth, to either ask for forgiveness or to grant forgiveness.

The one true God has spoken that the Word of God will judge every one on the last day (Heb 4:12-13).  The Lord Jesus tells us not to fear him who can kill our bodies, but to fear Him who can not only kill our bodies but also cast our souls into Hell. (Lk 12:5)

While Jewish people are still seeking their own righteousness, we who believe in God’s righteousness know that the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins has made us aware of how horrible sin is to our holy Father, and how true it is that all persons should fear God, who alone can forgive sin and change our whole life to love Him who has first loved us.  Our God is full of grace and truth.  How can we ever again turn our backs on Him again?!  Let the lovingkindness of God take deep root within our inmost being, and live in the full knowledge of Him who has brought us out of darkness into His glorious light.

Receiving forgiveness from God for previously rejecting His only way of coming back to Him is truly a ‘new year’, a new beginning where, forgetting the things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, we can press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  The fear of YHVH is the beginning of knowledge, of understanding, and of wisdom.

IN THE LOVE OF THE FATHER

Mt 6:9-13   Our FATHER, who art in Heaven. . ..  

Jesus begins to teach us about God our Father in the Sermon on the Mount.  He speaks to us as if we are to know already or to begin to realize that we are to relate to God as our Father – not a distant Master, but a close and personal Father.  The tone in which the Son of God speaks of His Father to us is of one who loves His father, and who knows that His father loves him.  “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased!”  We come to God in prayer, and we come to Him as our Father in Heaven, as His child.  

This relationship and fellowship between a father and his son is the most basic of all human and divine satisfaction.  Do you remember what the apostle Philip said to Jesus as the Lord was explaining to His companions — His brethren! – that He was going back to His Father?  “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us!”  This relationship of KNOWING our Father, and of having His approval, His acceptance, meets the deepest need within every human being since the beginning of the creation, when God, as a Father, created Adam in His image and in His likeness – a son of God.  Then sin came in and people began to be sons of Man, of Adam.  It requires the new birth through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to become new creations and to have the Spirit of GOD dwell within us, by which we call God our Father.  Jesus brings us home.  

Look at how the devil and the world attack true fatherhood. . . through adultery, divorce, wives who do not respect their husbands, fathers who will not provide for their families, fathers who do not trust God and so work too much to have any personal relationship and fellowship with their children – not to mention with their wives and the mother of the children.  Leaders like Hitler and the leader of North Korea become so-called ‘fathers’ to their nations, and pervert the true image of fatherhood.  People in the church become ‘fathers’ to their disciples – their ‘children’, so that you have some who say they follow Luther, others say they follow the Pope, others who follow Darby, others who say ____.  The Lord told us to consider no one ‘Father’ is this manner, or to close ourselves off to the whole of those whom He has given to the church to build us up and to bring us to maturity.  Messiah is not divided, and we are one body with one ‘Great Teacher’ (Rabbi) and one Father, our God in Heaven.  Paul calls such divisions carnal and not spiritual; childish and not mature.  These things only bring strife within the family rather than unity and love and thankfulness to the praise of the glory of God.  

God, our perfect Father, morally disciplines us in order that we partake of His holiness, that we become more like His beloved Son, who always honored His Father and gave joy to Him through His willing obedience to His will.  There is a time when we must leave our natural father’s house and have our own personal relationship with God as our Father, so that we are led by the Spirit and not by the ‘traditions of the fathers’.  If we are led by God’s Spirit, we are called sons of God, and He will always have us honor our fathers and mothers, even as we go forward into the fullness that God has purposed for us as a mature one new man corporately in Christ.  The Holy Spirit leads us into all the truth, which requires us to continue to let Him teach us and lead us from generation to generation as He progresses in the revelation of God’s purpose.  

Rom 5:1-11   There is FULL ACCEPTANCE by God the Father for those who believe in and love His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He knows what we are like!  We rejoice in the hope of the glory of GOD.  

God is now your Father and mine; He accepts us fully, and expects us – requires us – to love one another.  If we are truly FAMILY, we will love one another for our Father’s sake, and for the sake of Christ who died for you and for me, and for the sake of the gospel so that others can see the truth of Jesus in us.  Jesus left us a memorial to remember how it is that each of us is accepted by God:  we remember that Yeshua died for our sins and God has justified us through faith in that.  What a truth that sets us free and sanctifies us when we really know it and believe it!  It is a table to which the brethren sit together in unity with deep appreciation and worship of our great God and Savior, who has shown us such love that He calls us sons and daughters!  

Our primary relationship to each other in Christ is as brothers and sisters.  This is a family which God is creating for Himself.  Jesus says that those who do His Father’s will are His mother and brothers and sisters.  It is not based on our spiritual gifts, positions of ministry within the congregation, our language or culture, our education.  It is not based on our knowledge of the Bible or of what kind of soldier or fisher or farmer we are in God’s order of things.  

Our conduct towards one another must be first and foremost based on our being in God’s family together.  We are to show respect to one another even as we want to be respected; we must love one another even as we want – need – to be loved.  For those who do have more responsibility in overseeing and in serving the church, all the more are to realize this fundamental relationship we have with each other if we are to have the peace and joy within us.  Family members sometimes – even many times – quarrel or disagree.  But if we truly love our Father and know His heart, His love, for each of us, then we will work things through, we will not allow the devil or ourselves to be causes of stumbling to others.  

Brothers and sisters, we are entering a time in which our Father is calling His elect from whatever stream they may be in to come unto Him.  Let us have the love of the Father in us so that we will demonstrate to one another that we accept each other even as He does.  Yes, He will chasten us; yes, we will have our disagreements; but we come together to please our Father and our Lord.  

Let us understand the Word of God to us and know our Father’s heart.  Be strong in the joy of Yeshua, who showed us God’s love for sinners like His disciples and like us. . .and He is not ashamed to call us brethren.  God’s banner over us is love.