Tag Archives: forgiveness

Just As I Am

Just as I am—without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am—of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above—
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Words by Charlotte Elliott, 1835
Music by William B. Bradbury, 1849


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28 – 30

For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Matthew 26:28

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Luke 5:31 – 32


We all do it. We worry about what others are thinking of us. It is probably most obvious when we first meet that someone special. We begin to put on a new face. We suddenly express an interest in the things the other person likes. We begin to find out where their going to be and we adjust a schedule for “chance” encounter. We begin to change our behavior so the other person will accept us.

There is a flip side as well. A side where we see the person as so beyond us that we feel we can never be worthy of their affection. We feel that we could never even be near them or speak to them because of the fear of being rejected. This is the fear that dwells in each of us to enter the presence of God. And it should, for we are entering the presence of a Holy God. But this fear need not stand in His presence for God has called each of us from where we are. He has declared,”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” We need not change before we can come before God. It is but the start of a journey and we may come exactly as we are. This is the message is Charlotte Elliot’s hymn, “Just as I Am.”

The hymn declares, “Just as I am—without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me. And that Thou bidst me come to Thee.” We do not need to be perfect to come before God. He came to call us from where we are. In Luke 5:31 – 32 “Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” But how can we stand before a perfect and Holy God. It is only through the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. It is through His shed blood that we are made acceptable in God’s sight. This is what Jesus declares at the last supper when he says, “For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28) So he has called us to him, and all we need to do is respond.

So the hymn continues by describing the areas of darkness and trouble that we each come from. Elliott writes, “ though tossed about With many a conflict, many a doubt, Fightings and fears within, without.” and “ poor, wretched, blind.” This is but a taste of where we each come from, unworthy of entering His presence. And yet, He bids us come.

We can not change to make ourselves to be worthy of entering His presence, but when we enter His presence He “wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve.” He can change us to be worthy. So we come to Him, “Because (his) promise (we) believe.”

It does not matter where we have been, or what we have done. God is waiting for us to come to Him. He has opened the door with the blood of His Son, blood that can make us new. So we need not cower in fear of entering His presence, but can instead say, “O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

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At Calvary

Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

Now I’ve given to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my king,
Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary!
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

Words by William R. Newell, 1895
Music by Daniel B. Towner

 


“‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt and the sin they committed becomes known, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the tent of meeting.
Leviticus 4:13 – 14

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
Ephesians 4:17 – 19


 

“I shouldn’t have been given a ticket for parking there.  I didn’t know it wasn’t allowed.”  I spent many years working in university security and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I heard these words.  It was not their fault, because no one told them it was not allowed.  Sound like it makes sense, but we all know that it is not an excuse. It’s something we have probably been told since we were very young. Nicole Flatow puts it this way in the opening of her article about a recent supreme court decision at “Think Progress.”  She states;

“There is one simple concept that law students learn in their very first weeks of criminal law class: Ignorance of the law is no excuse. This principle means that when an individual violates the law, it doesn’t matter whether or not they knew what the law said. If it’s a crime, and they are found to have committed the elements of that crime, they are guilty.”

Whether you knew it is wrong, or not, it was still wrong. Taken further, the question is, if we do not know what we are doing is wrong, how can we ever expect to make amends.  The short answer is that we can not, but there is someone who can. This is the message of William Newell’s “At Calvary.”

The song summarize the ignorance that most of us live in far too easily.  An ignorance that many seem to revel in. After all, the old saying is “ignorance is bliss”.  So the hymn begins with the words, “Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was crucified, Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.”

This is how we so want to live our lives . . . for ourselves.  We are nothing new in this capacity.  Jesus, when speaking of the end times uses this description in Matthew 24:37 – 39, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.” In the days of Noah, people lived to meet their own pleasure, oblivious to the circumstances around them.

This life of seeking our own pleasures is an offense to God Himself. We must then come to accept these action that violate God’s law, even when done in ignorance must exact a consequence. Leviticus 4:13 – 14 tells us, “‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt and the sin they committed becomes known, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the tent of meeting.”

One might argue, “well that was Israel. God has revealed himself to them so of course they had no excuse.  Paul answers this objection when he says in Ephesians 4:17 – 19  “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.” Jew or gentile, it makes no difference.  The axiom remains true. Ignorance of the law is not excuse.

So we today easily find ourselves doing the same. We are all to often unaware that our behavior is self-indulgent, and an affront to a Holy God.  But as the hymn tells us, the truth has been made known if we will but listen.  It says “By God’s Word at last my sin I learned; Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned, Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.”

When we realize the magnitude of our actions.  That we have lived a life seeking our own, mocking God, whether intentionally or unintentionally, at every turn, we can not help but quake with fear.  This is the Holy God, Creator of all and we have dishonored Him at every turn.  But thanks be, that we are given the way to make things right. It is through the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross.

When we turn to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can experience the forgiveness of all sins, whether intentional or unintentional. This is the only means of making amends and God has given it to us freely.  This is why Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When we accept this gift, we can know “salvation’s plan!” We can know “the grace that brought it down to man!” We can begin to comprehend “the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!”

No, ignorance is no excuse.  We remain guilty, even when we did not know what we were doing was wrong.  But praise God that He did not abandon us in our ignorance, but that provide a way to forgiveness that we might be restored to fellowship with Him. When we accept this we can join with all believers declaring, “There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.”

 

 

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Nothing But The Blood of Jesus

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing —
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Words and Music by Robert Lowry, 1876

 


But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
Philippians 3:7 – 9

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Hebrews 9:22

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Ephesians 1:7

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18


 

I’m sure you have heard the proverb. There is more than one way to skin a cat. While I’m not exactly sure of the origins of this phrase, I know it means that there is always another way to do something. People all over the world know this, even if they have not heard the proverb. After all, we are always looking for an easier way to reach our end goal. And for the most part, this is true, but not always. That, of course, is what makes this a proverb and not a statement of fact.

So it is with knowing God and drawing near to Him. We are always looking for how to put ourselves “in God’s good graces.” What extra can I do? What can make up for my mistakes? How can I make God love me? When we look around, we find lots of answers to these questions, but the fact is,there is only one answer. This is the question found in the old gospel hymn, “Nothing But The Blood of Jesus.

Robert Lowry does not hesitate to lay out the question from the start. He writes, “What can take away my sin?” This is the ultimate question that each of ask. How can I stand before God? How can I make myself right?

Lowry answers his own question with the words “nothing but the blood of Jesus.” The blood is both joyous and sorrowful. It is a dark reminder of the sacrifice that Christ made on the Cross. That he gave his life to pay the price for the sins of man. (Romans 4:25) It was the only way.

We see the need of the blood of Jesus when we read, “the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22) And we go on to read in Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

No, “nothing can for sin atone . . . Naught of good that I have done.: This is why the Paul writes in Philippians 3:7 – 9 that, “whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”

And so we see that this same blood is a source of joy, for by it we are made righteous. This is found through faith in the new covenant in the blood of Jesus. As Jesus, himself said in Matthew 26:28, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

It is the Blood of Jesus alone that opens the door. It is the blood of Jesus alone that can forgive our sins. It is the blood of Jesus alone that can bestow on us righteousness. It is the blood of Jesus alone that allows us to stand before God.

Yes, when we have put our faith in Jesus, when we have trusted in His blood, then and only then can we truly sing the words, “Oh! Precious is the flow That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

 

 

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And Can It Be, That I Should Gain

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Words by Charles Wesley,1738
Music by Thomas Campbell, 1825

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
John 15:12 – 17

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Romans 8:1

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrew 4:14 – 16

 

What is a friend? You can get a variety of answers to this question. Definitions can range from those you know closely to people you have met in passing. So what is a friend?

True friends, are those in whom you can trust. Jesus told His disciples in John 15:14, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” Jesus calls His followers friends. Now before we think he may be using this term in a broad sweeping sense, step back one verse to John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This is certainly not the act of a casual friend.

When we stop to think about this, it is a staggering reality. Jesus calls us friends. Jesus laid down his life for us. Jesus, the incarnate Son of God. Who are we that he would do this? This is the question asked by Charles Wesley in “And Can It Be.”

The opening line reads, “And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?” Why should I receive such a wondrous gift. It is not simply a case of who am I, but the reality that I do not deserve it. Wesley goes on to write “Died He for me, who caused His pain, For me, who Him to death pursued?” Not only do we not deserve such a wondrous gift, but we were the cause of His very suffering and death.

But again we are drawn back to Jesus words, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” So Wesley writes, “Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”

Through His sacrifice we have been made new and Christ has opened the door into God’s presence. So we join with the words of Wesley, “No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him, is mine; Alive in Him, my living Head, And clothed in righteousness divine, Bold I approach th’eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own. Bold I approach th’eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own.”

 

 

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Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sin

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Words by Julia H. Johnston, 1911
Music by Daniel B. Towner, 1910

 

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:4 – 10

 

It is said that there is no such thing as a free lunch, that is, “you don’t get something for nothing.” This is what we call a proverb, an insightful observation of the world around us. And as we look at the world around us, most of us would agree with this.

It is no wonder then that we are so excited when we receive a gift, especially when that gift comes out of no where and seems utterly undeserved.

But an undeserved gift with no string attached is exactly what God has offered to each and everyone of us. But this gift is only of use to those who are willing to accept it.  It is received by believing in Jesus and choosing to follow him.  We call this gift grace.

Ephesians 2:8 – 9  tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Salvation has nothing to do with what we do.  In fact, there is nothing we can do to earn it.  “It is the gift of God.”  And this grace is able to forgive us for all of our failings.   Romans 3:21 – 24 tells us, “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Grace.  It is one of the most beautiful words in the world.  It is receiving, for free, something we do not deserve, something we can never achieve on our own.  This is what Julia Johnston expresses in her hymn, “Grace, Greater Than Our Sin.”

In her final verse, Johnston writes, these words, “Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, Freely bestowed on all who believe!” There is an endless list of words that can be used to describe the miraculous gift of grace.  And so I rest in the truth presented in the chorus, “Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.”

 

 

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