Our theology regarding justification is often revealed by how we embrace God’s forgiveness when we sin. On the one hand, we may say that we heartily affirm the orthodox doctrine of justification by faith (i.e. that we are accepted as perfectly righteous before God by our trust in Christ, without the aid of good works), but on the other hand, when we fall into sin and subsequently call out to God in repentance, we often feel as though God’s forgiveness cannot be fully experienced until we have performed some act of penance or have done enough “time” in some kind of spiritual detention. It is important to recognize that God’s forgiveness initially granted to adopted spiritual newborns as well as to failing spiritual teenagers is granted on the same exact basis - the finished work of Christ on the cross! While there may be some human restitution to be made there is not a single ounce of relational atonement or spiritual reparation to be made to God. Christ has done it all. He paid for the sins he knew you would commit after your conversion and they have been covered by the sufferings of Christ. You cannot “earn” God’s forgiveness as a Christian any more than a non-Christian can earn it. Forgiveness is a gift of divine grace! It is embraced by penitent people solely on the basis of faith. So don’t doubt it. Embrace it, praising God that Jesus paid it all.
-- Pastor Mike
When the storms of life sweep in and we become tossed about by things like cancer, unemployment, divorce, or foreclosure, it is absolutely vital we have something strong and reliable to grasp onto. In these critical moments we need alifeline.
As a pastor who comforts and counsels people through difficult times, I have seen a number of these turbulent storms. And I have also weathered a few myself. I’ll never forget the day the doctors informed my wife and me that our unborn daughter Stephanie had a congenital disorder called Spina Bifida. That day would mark the beginning of a whirlwind of emotions, questions, surgeries, tough decisions, and close calls.
The reality is we all go through difficult times and I recently wrote a book on this topic titled Lifelines for Tough Times: God’s Presence and Help When We Hurt. In this brand new release, I share my own story of the difficult months and years following Stephanie’s diagnosis, and more importantly, I examine the biblical lifelines we can cling to in any storm we face. I truly hope you will read this book and be encouraged. For a limited time, you can request Lifelines for Tough Times when you give a donation of any amount in support of Focal Point.
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