11-21-2020 True Forgiveness
Watched ‘Touched by an Angel’ episode 6 of the eighth season titled “Famous Lasts Words”. The story of a man on death row for killing his step-father. He discovers the truth about the relationship with his mother and his abusive step-father. He finds forgiveness for himself, gives forgiveness to his mother and then asks forgiveness from his step-father’s mother.
When we truly repent, God can truly forgive all things we may have done wrong, especially those which we are confessing. Now remember, this is a TV show so all the words may not be said exactly to our liking, but the Spirit is evident.
I thought about Father’s true forgiveness for a while, then I thought about my own experience (TY HG).
My wife to be and I were counselling for marriage in the pastor’s office. Now the pastor had some funny ideas about marriage – he felt that if Jesus wasn’t there, the marriage would be most difficult at best. So, of course, he challenged both my wife and I. My wife said yes and I said that I had grown up in this church (though under a previous pastor). I said that I also attended an occasional Sunday evening and the Wednesday night youth study. The pastor looked at me and said “That’s not what I asked you. I asked you if you have ever received Jesus into your heart.” I looked back at the pastor thinking that he was a little crazy. I thought that what I said was sufficient to secure my spot in eternity. As I was looking at him, the Holy Ghost jumped into my heart and convicted me that my honest answer was ’no’. So, being a good Southern Baptist preacher, he asked me if I wanted to make sure. I said yes and prayed to let Jesus in. Now, the pastor told me afterwards that had I refused we would have to find someone else to perform the ceremony. He would not perform the ceremony knowing that Christ was not present. My wife gave her life to Jesus about three years later.
I was baptized in water a couple of months later with others who had given their life to Jesus and I want to say this: when I was baptized in water, all I got was wet. Hold on. Hold on! Let me finish. The afternoon I let Jesus into my heart (in the pastor’s office) is when I felt something. After I had prayed, asking forgiveness and avowing Jesus as Lord, I could feel like a huge weight being lifted up off of my body. Literally, I felt a ton lighter – instantaneously! I could actually feel the weight of my sin lifting off of my body!
John (the Baptist) told the people he baptized them with water of repentance for the remission of sin but one was coming after him who would baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire (Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:4, Acts 2:1-4).
While we are here, let’s take a look at four words: water, baptize, fire remission. Matthew uses the word ‘baptize’ in conjunction with both water (of repentance) and fire with the end result as remission of sin.
Baptize (907) baptizo baptize, make fully wet or wash. From bapto (911) to cover wholly with a fluid, moisten or stain part of a person’s body, dip
Being raised Southern Baptist, I was taught that being baptized meant being fully immersed in water as example of burying the old self and rising up out of the water a new creature in Jesus Christ. Understanding that it represents the cleansing of my spirit, I have always preferred this way, but note, that the Greek definition also includes (maybe) only a portion of one’s body might get wet. I used to always ask myself if a man were laying on the battlefield and lay near death and he receives Jesus, how would one get him to a pond to dunk him? Most GIs carry a canteen with them (or they used to). I’m not suggesting to dump the whole canteen on the man, but perhaps some of the water on – say the forehead – would seem to suffice.(?) It wouldn’t be ‘total’ immersion, but it would be getting a part of the body totally wet.
I also note that John says that water baptism represents our repentance, which, of course, leads to our salvation. We have to repent in order to be saved! What does Peter tell us in the book of Acts? “Repent and everyone be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). Now, I’m not going to discuss the difference between “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” and “In Jesus’ name” (Matt. 28:19). You have the references here, check it out for yourself. However, repentance is required for salvation.
Yet, our water baptism is an outward expression of our inner repentance of our sins. In short, our water baptism is saying “I’m serious about what I have expressed with my lips. I’ve received Jesus into my heart and I’m not embarrassed to let the world know it.
( various scriptures = why water baptism)
Water (5204) hudor or hudatos (5202, 5205). The base is 5205 (huetos) which is rain, like in a shower. Note also 4095 (pino) which is water –hudor/hudatos is water.
Water has a cleansing or refreshing aspect but the same word designates something to drink. Nonetheless, it is wet.
Fire (4442) pur fiery, fire Our word pure associates the Latin word purus which means unmixed with anything else. Note the similarity for pur, purus and pure. Ergo fire purifies us - by burning off the chaffe.
In Matthew chapter three, John says the one coming after him will baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire. In Acts chapter two we see the Holy Ghost descending upon the disciples in the upper room as tongues of fire. An angel touched Isaiah’s lips with a live coal from the altar purging his iniquity and sin (isa. 6:6-7). So fire is indicative of our cleansing or, if you will, purification.
A test of one's abilities to perform well under pressure, as in Finishing a huge list of chores in time for the wedding is really a trial by fire. The twelve labors of Hercules are brought to mind which were used to purify him for killing his wife and children. This expression also alludes to the medieval practice of determining a person's guilt or innocence by having them undergo an ordeal, such as walking barefoot through a fire (dictionary.com). As I said, fire is symbolic of our purification.
Remission (359) analusis means departure. It is derived from analuo (360) & luo (3089) which is break up, put off, dissolve.
So remission of our sins basically means a departure of our sins. They are broken up, dissolved, cast away. Isaiah tells us that God delivered his soul from hell and put is sins behind His back (Isa. 38:17). We should do as Father when we truly confess our sins, that is, put them behind our back. Forget them. Should the enemy try bring them back up declare that we’ve confessed and repented them thereby receiving God’s forgiveness. So remission means they’re gone. Father won’t bring them back up and neither should we. And when the devil tries to bring them back up, we need to stand our ground telling Satan to get behind us (Matt. 16:23). Satan is a liar and is the father of lies and deception (Rev. 12:9, John 8:44). If he can keep us in guilt, thereby preventing our spiritual growth, that ole devil will do so.
Now, we didn’t talk about acknowledging confessing and repenting our sin. That’s a given. We can’t receive true forgiveness without doing these things, but we did talk about what happens after we’ve done these things.
A quick refresher: first we have to admit we have sinned, confess that sin before God then renounce that sin and our part in it. No, we don’t have to get re-baptized should we sin (once we’re saved), but anointing with oil won’t hurt anything.
What we did talk about is that our forgiveness means a cleansing with water (oil) and a Spiritual fire. Our remission means speaking against our part in the sin and determining not to do it again. When the enemy attacks, we stand our ground (in our forgiveness) rebuking our foe for what he is.
Father gives us victory through Jesus Christ, our Lord (1 Corinth. 15:57) because He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5-6).
When Isaiah said God puts our sin behind His back, that means, for Him, it’s over and done with. We start afresh with a clean slate.
Forgiveness means being cleansed and setting what has been done behind us and not looking back. We do it for others. We do it for ourselves because God has done it for us.
So what is true forgiveness? You tell me!