What the Presence of Christ in Us Will Mean

One of the most common ways that a Christian is persecuted today is in the scenario of a Christian who is married to a non-Christian.  Very often the unsaved spouse, the abuser, parades himself or herself as an eminent Christian, but is really only a Saul.  And at the root of the abuse is a fear of Christ, as the abuser sees that the Spirit of Christ is in the victim, and a hatred for Christ and thus for the victim.

This is vital for all churches and pastors and Christians to realize.  Not only for themselves personally, but because it will enable them to understand what is really happening to an abuse victim who is a Christian.  Listen now, and learn.

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“God Can Save Anyone” – A Common Line Used to Keep Abuse Victims in Bondage

Heb 3:18-19 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? (19) So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

You hear this all the time from pastors and professing Christians – God can save anyone. There is no one who cannot be saved.” This is an absolutely false and unbiblical statement that continues to do great harm to many. It enables evildoers. Let’s think this through.

Now, it is true that God desires all to be saved:

1Ti 2:3-4 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, (4) who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

I mean, don’t you desire all people to be saved? Of course. It should not surprise us therefore that God desires the same. But all people are not going to be saved. Many are going to hell. So why, if “God can save anyone” does hell even exist?

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Another Important Facet of True Forgiveness

1Co 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Most of you know that subjects like forgiveness, repentance, mercy, reconciliation and so on are regularly twisted and distorted into unbiblical caricatures of the real thing. And then they are used by the wicked to continue to oppress the righteous. So here in this article I need to be very clear that what I am about to say is not about accepting fakes and facades. It is not about demanding that we all must reconcile with the unrepentant or even with the repentant (a very rare creature) whose past evil was of such a nature that there cannot be reconciliation in this life.

No, what I want to talk about here is an aspect of real forgiveness that is extremely freeing. It has to do more with us being forgiven than with forgiving. And, like all truths, it is a subject that the wicked will distort and try to deny us.

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Praying for God’s Justice

Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.  (13) Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? (14) But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. (15) Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.

(16) The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. (17) O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear (18) to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. Psalm 10:12-18 ESV

Forgiveness.  Reconciliation.  Love.  Mercy.  Justice?  How does that last one fit into our Christian experience?  Jesus said we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  Maybe the prayers of Psalm 10 are Old Testament stuff, not for us today? Maybe the same applies to all of those other Psalm-prayers that we call imprecatory?

Wrong!

Because God has never changed and never will change; His justice, wrath, and judgment against the wicked still stands.  In fact, it is increasing in its intensity as evil men oppress His people.

Let me prove it with a NEW Testament imprecatory prayer –

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A Common Claim – “Only God can Judge”

1Co 5:12-13 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (13) God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

I was reading a commentary on Matthew this morning and came across the following statement by the author:

God is the one truly competent Judge, for he alone knows all things. Every human judgment is based on imperfect knowledge. We make every decision on insufficient evidence. Not so with God. He knows all that is, was, and shall be. [Matthew: Reformed Expository Commentary, Daniel Doriani]

Now, this statement is true, in part at least. God is indeed the only truly competent judge. He is the only one who knows all things. This cannot be said of any human. If perfection in judgment is the subject of discussion, yes – it is only to be found in God.

However…

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Wisdom for Pastors Series – Introduction

I have now been a pastor for nearly 36 years. There have been many times in this stretch of over 3 decades that I though I should “move on” to another career, or at least times of deep regret that I ever left my job as a police officer. I have missed the camaraderie of the uniform and to some degree still do.

I was a police officer on a Friday (after 14 years in law enforcement) and a pastor in the mountains of Montana just two days later. My family and I packed up our goods and headed out on the new adventure after I finished up my theological studies in graduate school.

I loved Montana. Hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, firewood cutting, the mountains and the lakes. Step out our door and fish in the stream. Oh sure, we didn’t have hardly any money, but this place felt like home – for a short time.

The problem wasn’t Montana. Nope. The problem was the church. Or more specifically, the majority of the people who made up that church. As I look back, I now realize that only a handful of them were genuine believers. Over the next 8 years I experienced constant friction, constant tension, repeated blowups, efforts to destroy the church by evil people, and more.

It would be the same in two more churches for the next 20 plus years.

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