Posts Tagged ‘Paul’

challengePresident John F. Kennedy, in his speech accepting the Democratic nomination in Los Angeles (on 15 July 1960) said, ‘We stand today on the edge of a new frontier … but the new frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises – it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them.’

Life is a set of challenges, problems and hassles. We sometimes imagine that if we could just deal with the immediate challenge that we are facing, all our problems would be over. But life is not like that. If we resolve one problem, others are just around the corner.

The temptation is to see these challenges as preventing us from carrying out the ministry God has given us. In actual fact, dealing with the problems is the ministry. As one former Bishop of Kensington put it: ‘These are not the problems associated with the ministry, they are the ministry.’

The Bible is true to life. The psalmist faced pain and distress. Paul faced false accusation and the frustration of being kept in prison on trumped up charges. The kings in the Old Testament faced battles and a massive building project challenge.

As I read the passages for today, I am reminded that the relatively minor challenges, problems and hassles that I face are nothing compared to what the people of God have faced in the past, and still face around the world today.

1. Talk to God about the problems

Psalm 81:1-7Are you in a time of testing? God sometimes allows us to be tested, as he allowed his people to be tested by the waters of Meribah (v.7, see Numbers 20). But he does not want you to face the tests and challenges of life alone. You can talk to him about your problems.

God says, ‘I removed the burden from their shoulders … In your distress you called and I rescued you’ (vv.6a–7a). Or as The Message puts it:

‘I took the world off your shoulders,
freed you from a life of hard labour.
You called to me in your pain;
I got you out of a bad place’ (vv.6–7a, MSG).

We are reminded of the importance and power of prayer. Whatever situations or difficulties you may face, you can bring them to God in prayer.

God removed their burdens and rescued them in their distress. The psalmist starts, therefore, with worship, celebration and joy: ‘Sing for joy to God our strength!’ (v.1).

Lord, thank you that you are my strength and joy as I face challenges and problems in life. Thank you that you remove the burden from my shoulders. Thank you that I can call on you in my distress and that you rescue me. Lord, I call on you today to rescue me from …

2. Trust that God is in control

Acts 25:1-22Faith means trusting God. ‘Faith’, as C.S. Lewis wrote, ‘is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.’ It is hard to trust God when everything seems to be going wrong.

Luke records Paul’s trial in a very objective and unemotional way. This must have been an extraordinarily frustrating time for Paul. This great leader of the church, evangelist and teacher is locked away, apparently unable to exercise the ministry to which he has been called by God. He is in custody, enduring the physical constraints and discomfort of imprisonment, such as poor diet and lack of hygiene.

Serious charges are brought against Paul (25:1–7). He defends himself by pointing out that he has done ‘nothing wrong’ (vv.8,10). But Festus was more interested in what people thought (v.9) than in what was right. He was more concerned about popularity than justice. In the end, Paul appeals to Caesar (v.11).

When King Agrippa arrives, Festus discusses Paul’s case with him. Festus says, ‘When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus whom Paul claimed was alive’ (vv.18–19).

This reminds us that the resurrection of Jesus should always be at the heart of the message we proclaim. The only accusation that could be made to stick was that Paul was preaching that Jesus was alive, yet numerous other accusations and false charges had been brought against him.

For Paul, in the midst of all these difficulties and frustrations, it must have been very hard to see what good might possibly come out of all the dishonesty, delays and dithering in his trials. Yet, as always, God was at work for good. As Paul himself wrote, ‘We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28).

First, in the short term, it resulted in an opportunity for Paul to speak to Agrippa. After hearing all about Paul, Agrippa said to Festus, ‘I would like to hear this man myself’ (Acts 25:22). In times of frustration and hassle we never know when opportunities may appear, but sometimes they do.

Second, in the medium term, it resulted in Paul being sent to Rome. Paul had expressed his desire to go to Rome to preach the gospel (see Acts 19:21, Romans 1:15, 15:23), and the Lord himself had spoken to Paul saying that he would testify in Rome (Acts 23:11). It was because of what took place in Paul’s defence of himself that he was eventually sent to Rome.

Third, in the long term, 2,000 years later, vast numbers of people have read Paul’s story and been encouraged to know that he too faced false imprisonment, accusations and criticism. I suspect that Paul would have been astonished in the midst of all these difficulties to know how much good was going to come of them.

Lord, thank you that you are with us whenever we face accusation and criticism, from colleagues at work or the press or wherever else it might be. Thank you that through all of these frustrations of life you work together for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose (Romans 8:28).

3. Take the opportunities that God gives you

2 Kings 12:1-14:22In the middle of this rather depressing history of the kings of Israel and Judah, there is an incident in the life of Elisha that encourages us to take every opportunity that God gives us, to be persistent and never give up.

Leaders are a mixed bag. Some do ‘evil in the eyes of the Lord’ (13:2,11). Some do ‘right in the eyes of the Lord’ (14:3).

God is extraordinarily gracious and when Jehoahaz, who did evil in the eyes of the Lord, ‘sought the Lord’s favour … the Lord listened to him’ (13:4). Whenever you seek the Lord’s favour he listens to you.

In this list of Israel’s leaders Joash was probably the best example. He ‘did what was right in the eyes of the Lord’ (12:2), even if it was only for part of his reign.

Joash took on a building project. Like many building projects, it took far longer than he expected: ‘But by the twenty-third year of King Joash the priests still had not repaired the temple’ (v.6). The king calls a meeting and asks, ‘Why aren’t you repairing the damage done to the temple?’ (v.7).

They do eventually get on with the work. They collect the money they need (v.11). They all acted with complete honesty (v.15) and progress was made.

Of course, today God’s temple is no longer primarily a physical building but the people of God. Our money and effort should go into building up the people of God – in number (evangelism), in maturity (discipleship) and in care for the community (social transformation). However, sometimes we need buildings for this and it is not wrong to spend money on the infrastructure of church when necessary.

As well as the challenge of buildings, the people of God faced the challenge of battles. In particular, in this passage we see how they had to face Aram. Elisha says to the king of Israel, ‘Get a bow and some arrows … Take the arrows … Strike the ground’ (13:15–18). The king ‘struck it three times and stopped’ (v.18c). Elisha said, ‘You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times’ (v.19).

Challenges will be with us throughout our lives, believe me. I know this. So hold on to the above promises from God, and know that God will never leave or foresake you.

Lord, as we face battles ahead, give us a determination not to give up but to persevere and carry through to the end.

forgivenessBrothers, 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. (Galatians 6:1 ESV)

A person in the church has been found out. A person has sinned against their family. An elder was caught cheating on their taxes. A pastor was fired for  stealing from the congregation. You name the situation and it has happened in the church. This is what Paul is addressing in this passage. We tend to think that Paul should solely give instructions and rebuke to the transgressor regarding how to get right with the church and God. Instead he spends the first five verses addressing the individual who will confront the brother or sister in Christ. To Paul, this could cause a sin or problem just as awful as the one committed by the fallen brother or sister in the first place.

We can learn three things when trying to restore a fellow believer to keep us from sin while doing it. First, we should be spiritual, this is of the utmost importance. If we aren’t right with God and a mature believer our pride and deep rooted sin will surface. Second, we should confront the person in order to restore them and not to shame them. Third, we must understand that the roles have the potential to be reversed and we could be the one in need of restoration. Think of those who have left the church because they were hurt and shamed rather than restored when confronted about their sin. How many of those would have remained in the church if these three principles were considered?

Do you harshly judge your Christian brothers and sisters while falling into temptation yourself?

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart
2 Timothy 2:22

Youthful lusts are not limited to physical attraction. They include excessive desires for popularity, acceptance, worldly success, or academic achievement.

The lusts that Paul warns us against are any of the short-sighted cravings of youth for personal pleasure or gain, rather than for personal godliness. Youthful lusts include any hunger or ambition that distracts from our pursuit of true righteousness, faith, charity, and peace.

Interestingly, Paul is not content with our fleeing youthful lusts; he commands us, alternatively, to pursue hard after (the word “follow” is very strong in the original language) a pure-hearted devotion to God. We will not experience the vibrant, joyful, fulfilling Christian life until we are not only trying to avoid sin but are also seeking after Christ.

And one of the greatest encouragements for people as they pursue Christ is to follow after him with those that call on the Lord themselves out of a pure heart. Good friends are a great help to the Christian life, and are especially crucial when you are young.

So, young people, remember to flee away from sinful temptations, follow after Christ as your Lord, and look for good friends who will pursue Christ with you.

Thanksgiving is more than a day off. It is more than eating mashed potatoes and gravy, watching football, and taking a wonderful turkey-induced nap.

Thanksgiving is a pervasive and essential concept in Scripture. And although it is good to set aside a Thursday each November to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving, the Scriptures have more to say about giving thanks than one day a year can handle.

Here are five biblical truths about thanksgiving.

1. Thanksgiving Is Trinitarian

The typical pattern of thanksgiving in the New Testament is that God the Father is the object of thanksgiving, God the Son is the person through whom thanksgiving flows, and God the Holy Spirit is the source of thanksgiving. Paul models this in Romans 1:8: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” And Colossians 3:16–17:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The very presence of thanksgiving points to the Holy Spirit as the source of thanksgiving because without the work of the Spirit it is impossible to please God (Romans 8:5–8).

Christianity does not call for vague thanksgiving to a vague deity. Our God is triune and, as a result, thanksgiving has a Trinitarian flavor. Thanksgiving flows to God the Father, through God the Son, from God the Spirit.

2. Thanksgiving Replaces Sin

When Paul commands believers to stop sinning, he also commands believers to put thanksgiving in its place. Paul writes: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4).

Paul knows that we are always acting. We either act with sinful, thankless hearts which leads to foolish talk or crude jokes, or we act with thankful hearts and thereby please God with our speech. John Piper explains,

The key to unlocking a heart of gratitude and overcoming bitterness and ugliness and disrespect and violence is a strong belief in God, the Creator and Sustainer and Provider and Hope-giver. If we do not believe we are deeply indebted to God for all we have or hope to have, then the very spring of gratitude has gone dry. (“Violence, Ugliness, and Thanksgiving”)

3. Thanksgiving Sanctifies Creation

How should Christians think about God’s good creation? Paul says that it should be received with a heart full of thanksgiving: “Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. For it is made holy by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4).

Paul teaches that creation is good and should be received with thanksgiving because it is made holy through the word of God and prayer. Piper explains the connection between the goodness of creation, thanksgiving, and prayer,

[T]he word of God teaches us to taste food as a communication of his diverse goodness and his supreme worth. And when we taste food as a communication of God’s goodness and worth in the eating of this food, we offer up our prayers of thanks, and ask him to give us the fullest possible feast of his supreme worth. And we pray this in Jesus’s name, knowing that every lasting blessing was bought by his blood. (“What God Made Is Good and Must Be Sanctified”)

4.Thanksgiving for the Gospel

We should aim to have our thanksgiving rise in proportion to the value of the object for which we give thanks. Therefore, we should be most grateful for God’s work for us in Christ because it unites us to our highest joy – God himself. Paul writes, “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:4).

Paul never tired of giving thanks for the grace of God in Jesus’s person and work. And neither should we. God has showed his love for us even when we were enemies of God (Romans 5:8); he called us out of darkness and made us heirs of God (Romans 8:17); Jesus bore the punishment we deserved, and we receive his perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

5.Thanksgiving in All Circumstances

One surprising aspect of thanksgiving is that it’s for all circumstances, not just one big meal a year. Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).

Giving thanks in all circumstances is especially difficult while undergoing suffering. How can we be thankful when there’s something that hurts so much? We can give thanks in the midst of suffering because it is meant to enlarge our faith, not as punishment (2 Corinthians 4:17–18), and because it is redemptive, not random.

Our suffering is not punishment for our sin — because Christ has borne our punishment in our place (Romans 3:25). The demands of justice have been met. And our suffering is not random — because God is sovereign over it, and through it God is conforming us in the image of his Son (Romans 8:28–29).

 

Thank you for this great article from desirinGod.org

con·tent (kuhntent) adjective satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.

The apostle Paul is the writer of Philippians. Here he states that he has learned to be content in any situation. I love the definition of content. To be satisfied, not wanting. How often are we in a place like this? Paul says that he has been in times of hunger and of abundance, and he has learned to be content in all things. In times of hunger it is easy to want. Typically, I find that I am wanting money. When the time comes where I find myself pinching pennies, all I can think is that more money would just fix this problem, take away my anxiety, pay my bills, and make me feel better.

Or, on the flip side, when times are far more comfortable financially, I find myself wanting the next best thing. Maybe it’s new electronics, clothing, home décor, or whatever else seems to have you wrapped around it’s finger. It’s almost like as soon as I purchase one thing that I think will make me happy, it doesn’t. Then it’s off to the next thing to present itself to satisfy me.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)

What a sad cycle we run! It is only when we rest in God that we are truly content. God already knows what we need and what we don’t need. When we are at peace with Him and thankful for every blessing He has bestowed upon us, we are content. It doesn’t matter if we are broke or have an abundance of money, unless we let God satisfy us, we will never truly be content. Contentment is not based on your possessions, but on who possesses your heart, Jesus.

  1. John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
  2. Jer 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  3. Rom 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
  4. Phil 4:13: I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
  5. Gen 1:1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
  6. Prov 3:5: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
  7. Prov 3:6: in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
  8. Rom 12:2: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
  9. Phil 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
  10. Matt 28:19: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
  11. Eph 2:8: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
  12. Gal 5:22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
  13. Rom 12:1: Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
  14. John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
  15. Acts 18:10: For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
  16. Acts 18:9: One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.
  17. Acts 18:11: So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
  18. Gal 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
  19. 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
  20. Rom 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
  21. John 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
  22. Matt 28:20: and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
  23. Rom 5:8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  24. Phil 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
  25. Phil 4:7: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  26. Josh 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
  27. Isa 40:31: but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
  28. Eph 2:9: not by works, so that no one can boast.
  29. Rom 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  30. Gal 5:23: gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
  31. Isa 53:5: But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
  32. 1 Pet 3:15: But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
  33. 2 Tim 3:16: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
  34. Matt 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
  35. Heb 12:2: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  36. 1 Pet 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
  37. Eph 2:10: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
  38. 1 Cor 10:13: No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
  39. Matt 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
  40. Heb 11:1: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
  41. 2 Cor 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
  42. Heb 13:5: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
  43. 2 Cor 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
  44. Rom 10:9: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
  45. Isa 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  46. Gen 1:26: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
  47. Matt 11:29: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
  48. John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
  49. Acts 1:8: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
  50. 2 Tim 1:7: For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
  51. Isa 53:4: Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
  52. 2 Cor 5:21: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
  53. Rom 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  54. John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
  55. Heb 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
  56. John 5:24: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
  57. Jas 1:2: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
  58. Isa 53:6: We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
  59. Acts 2:38: Peter replied, “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.
  60. Eph 3:20: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
  61. Matt 11:30: For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
  62. Gen 1:27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
  63. Col 3:12: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
  64. Heb 12:1: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
  65. Jas 5:16: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
  66. Acts 17:11: Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
  67. Phil 4:19: And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
  68. John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  69. 1 Cor 6:19: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
  70. 1 John 3:16: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
  71. Ps 133:1: How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
  72. John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
  73. Heb 4:12: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
  74. John 15:13: Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
  75. Mic 6:8: He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
  76. Rom 10:17: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
  77. John 1:12: Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
  78. Jas 1:12: Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
  79. Jas 1:3: because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
  80. Rom 8:38: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
  81. Rom 8:39: neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  82. Heb 10:25: Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
  83. 2 Pet 1:4: Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
  84. Phil 1:6: being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
  85. Ps 133:3: It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
  86. Heb 4:16: Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
  87. Ps 37:4: Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
  88. John 3:17: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
  89. Acts 4:12: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
  90. Isa 26:3: You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
  91. 1 Pet 2:24: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
  92. Josh 1:8: Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
  93. Matt 28:18: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
  94. Col 3:23: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,
  95. Matt 22:37: Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
  96. Ps 133:2: It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.
  97. Matt 5:16: In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
  98. Isa 55:8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
  99. Heb 4:15: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
  100. John 13:35: By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

As the elect of God…forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave youColossians 3:12-13

How must God’s elect respond to God’s gift of salvation to them? How should those who have been themselves forgiven every offense behave, then, towards others?

Paul makes a very serious connection between the forgiveness that Christians have in Christ and the forgiveness that believers ought to practice themselves. “Even as Christ forgave you,” Paul says, you ought to forgive — with the same unconditional and complete absolution.

To what extent does the command apply? If any one has anything against any one! We cannot claim that anyone is too insignificant, or that any offense is too significant, for us to forgive.

Weren’t we insignificant in relation to God, when he forgave us? Weren’t our trespasses against him constant and enormous? And yet God was gracious. Even so, we are told, we are to show patience and forgiveness wherever we go and with whoever we come in contact.

Are you aware of the greatness of God’s grace to you? Are you aware of how utterly undeserving you are of his continued forgiveness? If you are, then there should be no hesitance on your part to reflect God’s goodness, even to the most unpleasant and abusive of people.