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Religion: Forgiveness For What?

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted January 20, 2016
RELIGION-- One of the best parts of my job is speaking to children about becoming a Christian. One of the issues that I like to be sure of is that a child understands what sin is. At the Good News Club, we define sin as “anything that we say, think, or do that displeases God and breaks God’s heart.” So when I talk to a child I ask them if they have ever committed a speaking sin or a thinking sin or a doing sin. We have to understand the bad news, before we can truly and rightly grasp the Good News. Most children will fess up to something, but one little girl said that she never did anything wrong but her sister sins a lot!

They are many hard doctrines in Christianity, but the doctrine of sin is not one of them. It might take faith to believe in the Trinity, but it only takes a little life to see sin. It is ever present around and in me. This makes me so thankful for the work of Jesus.

So I don’t want to get too political, and I certainly don’t want to anger Donald J. Trump, but I have watched some interviews that are problematic to me as a pastor to say the least, and they highlight the way many people actuality and sadly think about God.  Last year Trump told Frank Luntz that when he has done something wrong, he tries to correct his error without getting God involved. "I am not sure I have," Trump said when asked if he'd ever asked God for forgiveness. "I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so," he said. "I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't." He further added "I think repenting is terrific." "Why do I have to repent or ask for forgiveness if I am not making mistakes?" "I work hard, I'm an honorable person."

This past weekend again Donald Trump says he still doesn't regret his decision not to ask God for forgiveness for his sins. In an interview Sunday on CNN, Trump said that he does not regret not asking God for forgiveness, partially because he says he doesn't have much to apologize for. "I have a great relationship with God.  "I like to be good. I don't like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don't do a lot of things that are bad. I try to do nothing that is bad."

1 John 1:8-10 would caution Trump in his understanding of his personal righteousness. 1 John 1:8-10 reads “8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”

Trump’s view is a wrong view of sin, God, and repentance. Bryan Chappell writes in Holiness by Grace “True repentance starts with the recognition of the holiness of our God. We cannot rightly perceive the greatness of his goodness without apprehending the puniness of our own. Such a realization causes us to fall down in humility before God.” (p.72)

God longs to forgive us more than we desire to be forgiven. God is not a mean jerk in heaven keeping score, just waiting to smite you. God hates sin because sin hurts our relationship with Him. Our sin also hurts ourselves and others. So please know confessing and repenting of you sins should be a primary driver in your love for God. Luke 7:47 says Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” So be honest and be forgiven of all your many sins and love much in response!

Donald Trump is a man of great charisma, and his successes would show a gifted leader and negotiator. But there is no negotiation when we stand before the Judge of all the Earth. We can’t plead our case; we can only plead the work of Christ for us and in our place on the cross.

Edward Carnell sums up my prayer for Trump “Man cannot be righteous in God’s sight until he repents of his own expectation that he can be righteous in his own sight. God is not mighty toward man until man is weak toward God. (Christian Commitment, p, 302.)

Furthermore, may we all be reminded that “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 17:3). The sinner must either repent or perish, there is no other alternative. And since “All have sinned” (Rom. 3:23) all therefore need to “repent and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15) else they will be “punished with everlasting destruction” (2Thess. 1:9). To delay repentance then is most perilous. (Accepting Christ Tract by I.C. Herendeen).


Praying for God’s will and guidance in the election of our next President. Pastor Phillip

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