Beginners Study Pack
by Fred R. Coulter - March 28, 1998
Well here we are, a little less than two weeks before the Passover. And I have tried to cover the subjects which will help us prepare for the Passover and bring us up so that when we do partake of the Passover we’re going to have a greater Passover than we’ve ever had before. I also, as in my last letter, I advertised the four Passover preparation tapes, being the last four of the “Love” Series and the “Words of the New Covenant”, which we have all covered here. And we have sent out probably two hundred sets of those for people who have not received it. And we’ve sent out quite a few. I think we sent out nearly seventy sets of videos altogether for different groups, large and small, and overseas. And so I think we’re going to be able to help and serve a great number of brethren this year, some of them for the very first time. And so that’s why I went through and I did “The Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ,” which you will be receiving with the tapes with the last day, if you haven’t already received it.
Now there’s another aspect of the Passover which is very important for us, and which bears upon what we are doing, and bears upon what God is wanting from every one of us in relationship to the times in which we are living, in relationship to the difficulties and problems we have been experiencing, and unfortunately, or fortunately, however you want to look at it, is this. With so many people coming from so many different backgrounds, and even different churches of God, and people coming from churches just straight out of the world now. We had two people come down in Opp, Alabama, that they’ve gone from - what was it? The Baptist Church to the Mormon Church to the Methodist Church. And gradually, step by step by step. And how did they come in contact with us? Well one of the brethren said, when they were asked a question, “What do you believe?” They said, “Well, here’s a beliefs booklet.” And that’s exactly what they needed. Exactly what they wanted. Because not only do you find the problem of difficulties within the churches of God, but you find the same identical problems within the churches of the world. And there are a lot of people sitting there in those churches that God can also call too. And one of the things that was really moving in it was that you can tell when God opens their mind. There’s a certain point when, bam, God opens the mind of an individual, and they know it, and you know it. And that is a miracle which God does.
One of the things that we need to realize, as I covered a little earlier, let’s go back to Luke 4, and that is this: we are dealing with all of the problems of all the churches of God being thrown in with what we have to do to help them. And so that compounds it and makes it even more difficult. But you see, one of the things that has been problematic in the past is, everything has been shoved to the ministry to solve. Now when it comes about, and they bring up things to me or to others, we say, “Ok. Here are the scriptural tools. You have to solve your problems, going to Christ.” And that’s what’s so important. You have to go to Jesus Christ and let Him work your problems out. Now if you need some help and counsel, we’d be glad to do that. But the Christian Biblical Church of God is not a hierarchical church. It is not a mother-father church to solve all your problems. It’s not a babysitter church. We’ll do handholding when handholding needs to be done. We will pray for each other, we will encourage each other; we will help and strengthen each other. But God expects us all, in the maturity of growing up in to Christ, to use the spiritual tools that we need to come to that maturity.
And so, as it was with Jesus coming to the synagogue on the Sabbath, Luke 4:16. And there was delivered to Him the book of Isaiah where it was written, verse 18 now, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,...” And one of the hardest hearts to heal are those that have been broken two or three times. And there is a great resistance and a great mistrust of anything and anyone. And this becomes a greater problem. That’s why it’s so very important, brethren, that in whatever help you can give to anyone, you help them stand on their own two feet. You help them look to the Scriptures to understand what they need to out of it. You point them toward God the Father and Jesus Christ. Because no organization can save. No church can save. No minister can save. Only Christ can save. And we all need to keep that in perspective.
“...To preach deliverance to the captives,...” And there are those who are captivated by churches, captivated by ideas, captivated by demons and Satan the devil. They need to be brought out from underneath this when God calls them. And that point of just, their minds being opened, and there’s something there to help them with. “...And recovering of sight to the blind,...” And I would have to say, that is the greatest thing that we’re able to do here, in being able to point out the Scriptures. Because Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and only He can open the mind. Which, then, is what? Recovering the sight of the blind. Because too many people have come to the point that they have put down the spiritual shutters. And I know one man who was asked, he being an evangelist, he said, “Well how can you put up with all this political nonsense and corruption that’s going on?” He said, “Very simple. I just have steel blinders and I pull them right down over my eyes. And I see nothing, and hear nothing.” And obviously, then, he ended up doing nothing. Well, Christ is removing that.
“...To set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (vs. 18-19). And if we’re going to do any of the ministry of Christ, that is all part of it. So where does it begin? Well, it begins by knowledge and understanding of what is right and wrong. It begins by learning from the experiences that we have gone through, to help them understand what they are going through, you see. And it also begins with one of the most important things we need to realize, which is this. It’s like a man I was talking to the other day, he said, “Well, if I leave this church, will I lose my salvation?” And I said, “Can the church save you? No. Did the church call you? No. Did the church give you the Holy Spirit? No. Who did? Jesus Christ. So if you leave a physical organization, have you left Christ? No.” So I said, “What I want you to do, I want you to take your time and prove everything. I don’t want you to just up and leave, and then find out that you weren’t prepared. So you prove everything.” But I said, “You need to understand this: God alone can help, and God alone can heal. And you need to realize that God is not going to take salvation from you.”
And salvation, then, in these things begins with the knowledge of forgiveness. And forgiveness is so important. How many people are going around with a guilty conscience, worried about this, worried about that, worried about the other thing? Guilty conscience. Why do you have a guilty conscience? Are you afraid God won’t forgive? Well God doesn’t want you to have a guilty conscience. That’s important to really understand and realize. What has a guilty conscience ever solved? Have you ever changed anything because you felt guilty for however long you felt guilty? Did that change anything? Did it make it right? Did it correct it? No. You have to do exactly as Jesus did. Let’s come here to Luke 23. And I think this is very profound because it has to do with the Passover. It has to do with the attitude of Christ. It has to do with the attitude of those who were doing things that they knew better, that they should not do them, but did them. And it also has to do with one of the most important things. Remember Jesus said He was preaching “the acceptable year of the Lord.” Which He is telling you, then, “you are accepted of Me.” And what is the greatest acceptation that a person can receive when they know they have done wrong? And that is forgiveness.
Now I don’t know whether these people repented. But let’s come here to Luke 23:34. Right after they had crucified Jesus, stuck up the stake, there He was hanging on it; and Jesus could look down on them parting His garment and so forth. “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Now that, brethren, is one of the most profound statements of Jesus Christ in the entirety of the New Testament. We need to view this from many different points of view. This tells us, number one, regardless of the physical things which happen to us or what people do to us, we should be ready to forgive them. We will see a little later, that needs to be upon repentance. This is not forgiveness in advance. In other words, standing in the grace of God is not forgiveness in advance. But it is forgiveness when you come to repentance. Now that’s important to understand.
But here there was no repentance at all, was there? There was not even any knowledge that they were doing wrong, was there? As a matter of fact, they probably thought they were doing the right thing at that particular point. And they were so wrapped up in what they were doing in looking at the loot of the man they had crucified, that they parted His garment and were casting lots upon it. And yet Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I think this is also important for us to understand in our relationship with each other. Because we have also this unique phenomena too. People knowing each other in one church together at one time, then split off and separate, and one group goes to one church, and another group goes to another church. Then out of that, they split out of that, and maybe go to another one, then another one. And finally, they get in contact with us. And that has happened down when I was down in Opp, people met each other for the first time in thirty years and didn’t know where the other one was.
Now it’s very important at that juncture not to remember the things that are in the past. Not to hold the same feelings and grudges and things that were held in the past. Not to use the same judgment that was in the past. Because these are the things which divided and separated brethren and turned them one against the other. That’s why it’s so important to all be turned to Christ. And we still see this as a difficulty with some people coming to fellowship with the Christian Biblical Church of God. God has called us to leave all the baggage of the past behind, regardless of what the past is, and regardless of what the baggage is.
Now we’re also going to see, as we get into this, that there are certain things that only God can forgive. And there are certain things that we must forgive. But the things that only God can forgive, He alone can forgive. Let’s come to Mark 2, and let’s see what Jesus did here in His ministry. Let’s see how He handled it. Why He came. One of the very reasons that He came.
Chapter 2, let’s just pick it up here in verse 1 so we get the whole story flow. “And again He entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that He was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them,...” (Mark 2:1-2). So we have a near riot proportion going on here. I don’t know, but in watching the news of President Clinton’s trip to Africa, and just the surge of the people. Sometimes people just get so carried away that it’s... (pause) Mark 2:1. Did I say Matthew 2? I am using the same Bible, but in a different place [Laughter]. Yes. Raise your hand, so if you catch me in a mistake like that, we won’t perpetuate it too long. That’s good. Thanks. Mark 2:1. I get my Matthew’s and my Mark’s all mixed up here.
And sometimes people just get carried away and just crush each other. Well that’s about what it was like here. There was no room to receive them. “...And He preached the word unto them. And they come unto Him, bringing one sick of the palsy,...” And he was carried, or borne - that means carried - by four. Apparently he was on a stretcher, you know, and there were four men carrying it. Now verse 4, “And when they could not come nigh unto Him for the press [that is, the press of the people], they uncovered the roof...” In other words, they just had roof tile laid up there, so they came in and they were uncovering the roof. Now that’s, you know, that would be interesting to see, wouldn’t it? If the roof were all a sudden starting… You talk about zeal.
So they uncovered the roof where He was. “…And when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.” So here you are, right in the middle, and here he’s coming right down, four men each having a rope now, letting it down right in front of Jesus. “When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (vs. 4-5). Because it was probably the man sick of palsy saying, “I’ve got to be healed by Him.” “We can’t get there.” “I don’t care how you get there, you get there!” “Well the only way we can get there is get up on the roof.” “Take me up! Get some rope! Let me down!” It was his faith.
“But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,...” Now you see, here’s where the lack of forgiveness, lack of understanding comes in, which still brings friction to the people of God today. And so all of those who fellowship with us today, I’m asking: please, leave all the points of friction behind. Repent of them, make up with your brother. Don’t have the attitude of the scribes and Pharisees, because it’s going to cause you problems sooner or later down the road. Besides, why would you really want this kind of attitude? Notice what they said: “...Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?” (vs. 6-7).
Now it was a true statement, you see. And part of the things where the trouble lies is this: you think you’re right, and you generally have something to look to, to prove you’re right. Right? But does that mean you’re spiritually right? Now that’s a whole different question, isn’t it?
“And immediately when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, He said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath [authority] power on earth to forgive sins, (He saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all;...” (vs. 8-12). Now I wonder how he felt? That must have been something.
You know, brethren, I think the day is going to come when those things will happen again. They’ve got to. And I think they will when we all come to the point of really yielding to God and having the love of God that God wants us to have. And also when God decides to give out miracles. That’s God’s prerogative to do. We can’t earn it in any way by doing - how shall we say - by keeping any works of law; by keeping the Sabbath better, the holy days better, or tithing better, or praying longer. We’re not going to force God to do something. But if we love God and serve God and desire His way, then when it’s God’s time for miracles to pour forth, they will. But can you imagine the notoriety today that would happen in those events? Could you imagine what would happen with this? Immediately He would have how many television crews right at your door? Going where? All around the world instantly, just like that. So could we handle that? I don’t know. I don’t think so. So I think God is merciful in keeping it the way that He has.
“...Insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion” (vs. 12). And then He went forth on the other side, and so forth. And let’s come over here to verse 15 now. “And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto His disciples, How is it that He eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?” (vs. 15-16).
So you see, again, judging people by their outward circumstances, judging them from your religious behavior to their lack of behavior, whatever it may be, you see. Notice what this does. And that’s why there has been so very little forgiveness within the churches of God because of this attitude prevailing within the churches of God. And still prevailing among us. Now we’ll talk about those who have greater sins and so forth; that some sins, even though God may forgive, disqualifies people from doing certain things. And that is also part of the forgiveness, that they no longer continue in certain activities.
Now, “When Jesus heard it, He saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician,...” So in other words, if you think you’re perfectly spiritually fit and healthy and whole, you don’t need anyone to help you. That’s what He’s saying. “...But they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (vs. 17). And there is the whole key. There is no forgiveness without repentance. There must be repentance. And so that’s what He was doing there with the publicans and sinners. He, by His example and love and His understanding and healing was calling them to repentance.
Now let’s come back to the book of Exodus, Exodus 32. And let’s see there are some sins that only God can forgive. We can pray that God would forgive them, but God is the only one Who can. And while we’re turning back here to Exodus 32, let’s understand that you can go through the book of Jeremiah, and you can see that the sins of the people at that time were so grave that God instructed Jeremiah, “Don’t pray for this people. Don’t lift up voice for them. Don’t ask Me to do anything for them. I will not forgive them” (Jeremiah 11:14, paraphrased). So there are certain things that only God has the prerogative to forgive.
Now let’s come down here to Exodus 32:30. “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.” Well now, what atonement could Moses make for their sin? He couldn’t, could he? But he’s saying, “Well maybe I can do something.” This is a desperate situation. “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin-; ...” And it doesn’t complete the sentence there. We don’t know what else is said. And Moses deliberately left it out when he wrote it. “...And if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book [of life] which Thou hast written.” Or “out of Your book” which then, is obviously the Book of Life, “which You have written.” So Moses could not even be a substitute sacrifice for all of those people’s sins, could he? He couldn’t say, “Lord, blot me out.” No. Notice what the Lord answered him: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book” (vs. 30-33).
In other words, there are certain prerogatives, which are for God alone to do. Now we may be ready in our own minds to forgive people of sin, which have sinned against us. And we’ll talk about that a little bit later. But then, on the other hand, it’s only God’s prerogative to forgive certain sins. For example, how many remember “Wilhelm” Graham? Billy Graham? And he said, “My friend [Wilhelm] Clinton, I forgive for whatever he’s done.” Question: did Bill Clinton sin against Billy Graham? No. How could he forgive him for anything? Is Billy Graham God? Then ask, “What did he do?” “Well, I don’t know, but I forgive him.” Can you have that kind of blanket forgiveness? That’s ludicrous! That’s completely against the operation of the will of God! No. Never happen. God says, “Certain things are Mine, and Mine alone.” Now we have certain things with each other that we need to take care of, which is ours alone. We’ll see that a little bit later.
“Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, Mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.” And God did that day. “And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made” (vs. 34-35). So let’s just keep that in mind. There certain things that God alone can do.
Now also, let’s come to Isaiah 1. I know we’ve been here before recently, so we won’t spend much time there at all. And let’s see that when there is repentance, when there is forgiveness requested, then there’re things which need to be done. Forgiveness implies not just absolution of something that has been done, which is true, but it means that there must be some action, which must be taken by the one to whom the forgiveness has been granted. Remember what Jesus told the man who was healed there in John 5. When he came and he worshiped Him and found it was He who healed him. He said, “Go and sin no more, lest a worst thing come upon you” (John 5:14, paraphrased). So we have that too. And this fits right in with the days of Unleavened Bread.
Let’s come here to Isaiah 1:16. Regardless of how bad it was, and this is the whole corrupted nation, the whole corrupted religious system, verses 1 through 15. “Wash you, make you clean;...” (vs. 16). You have to take some action. There has to be some purifying. Purifying comes how? Ephesians 5:26, “By the washing of the water of the word.” Also, washing has to do with repentance and baptism, we’ll see. “...Put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes;...” So not only in the repentance is there forgiveness given, but in the repentance there must be a putting away of the evil. And so whatever difficulties there may be, they have to be put away. Don’t necessarily wait for the other person to put theirs away first. Because they may be waiting for you to put yours away first. So you’re in a game of spiritual chicken, right? Who’s going to be first? Well, let your heart be tender, so that when you find out whatever it is, that you repent, and you’re not in a game counting thing, who’s first?
“...Put away the evil…from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well;...” So there’s a whole re-education process, then, that must take place. Is that not correct? And isn’t that what we’ve been going through? And isn’t that what we’ve been doing in learning the word of God? A whole re-education process. “...Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,...” You can reason with God. In a right way. “...Saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet,...” And we’re going to see, don’t carry that guilt complex. Put it all under the blood of Christ. Yet “...They shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:…” (Isa. 1:16-19).
Now let’s come to the New Testament now, and let’s come to the book of Hebrews. And let’s understand that even though this was extended to the people back there in the time of the Old Covenant, that their sins were only forgiven to the temple. And we’re going to see that our sins and our forgiveness is much greater. Hebrews 9:13. Now this is important for us to understand, brethren. Whatever forgiveness there is, we also have to forgive from the heart, as we’re going to see a little bit later. It has to be genuine. And when there is repentance for those repenting, that also has to be genuine. You can’t fool God. Now we may be able to fool each other, but we can’t fool God.
“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:...” And that’s all it did. It forgave them in the flesh, in the letter. And it was a - because they didn’t have the Spirit of God, it was a conscience cleansing thing, temporarily at that point, you see. “...Sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ,...” Now we’ve already covered, “This is My body which is broken for you”; we’ve already covered, “This is the blood of the new covenant which is shed for the remission of many.” Now the blood of Jesus Christ, “...Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:13-14).
So we have this greater, greater sacrifice which comes from Christ. And let’s see what happens then. Let’s see how God deals with our sins and our iniquities. And this is important for us to understand. One of the most - how shall we say? Self-condemning, guilt perpetuating type of attitudes is this: “Oh, I don’t think God can forgive me!” We have many examples in the Old Testament, which we’ve covered many times, like Manasseh and Ahab, and so forth, who sinned great sins, yet they repented and God forgave them. Have any of you sinned as any of those kings have done? Well, no. Then what makes you think that God can’t forgive your sins?
And that’s very important for a hierarchical, religious, controlling church to do, to control by fear, and that is to not allow you to believe that God will completely forgive your sins. Because that keeps the reins of control and intimidation and fear perpetually in their hands. See, that’s why the Catholics have purgatory. Yes. Where you go to the priest and confess your sins. “Well, you have to do the Hail Mary’s, and Our Fathers,” and all of this sort of thing; and, “How many is that?” “Well, then you have to go to so many masses, and then you have to have prayers for the dead. And then you need to be careful that you don’t go into hell. Maybe you’ll go into purgatory. Maybe God will forgive you this a little bit...” Well, God doesn’t forgive a little bit. He forgives it all or none. And this is something for us to realize. And we live in a society that is riddled with this kind of fear. With that, do you have freedom in Christ? No. You’re still enslaved to the idea of guilt and fear.
Now notice. Let’s pick it up right here in Hebrews 10:12. “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,...”, which was the body of Christ, verse 10, you see. Once for all, “...sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:12-14). When you’re sanctified you are under grace. That means that being under grace, upon repentance, you will receive forgiveness. But if you are under grace and you are sinning, and you do not repent, then God is going to let the difficulties continue till you do. (Pause) I shifted to chapter 10, everybody. That’s what happens when you preach after being in bed three days. (Audience comment) It’s shocking, yes. Hebrews 10:12. Thank you.
Now Hebrews 10:14, “For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy [Spirit] Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,...” Now, “those days” meaning, the resurrection of Christ. This is the covenant that He is going to make. “...Saith the Lord,...” Now if the Lord says it, will it happen? If the Lord says it, is it true? If the Lord says it, do we also have our part to do it? Yes. We just read that, Isaiah 1. “...I will put My laws into their hearts,...” That’s why you have the burning desire to know the word of God. Because God wants to put it in you. “...And in their minds will I write them;...” And just literally inscribe it. This is the “learning to do well” part, is it not? Yes it is. You’ve already had your sins forgiven. You cease the evil, correct? Now you’re learning to do the “well” part. Here it is right here, Hebrews 10:16. Now notice this, verse 17: “And their sins and iniquities will I remember [forever]...” No. “...No more.” “Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more” (vs. 14-17).
Now this is not to give us a cavalier attitude toward repentance, that, “Oh well, God will forgive us, and I’m under grace. And He’ll forget it. So therefore, God is already under obligation; He’s committed Himself to do this. Therefore, I’ll just do whatever I want, and when I’m ready I’ll repent.” What’s going to happen with that kind of attitude? Never, never happen. Because you see, the repentance, as we’re going to see, has got to be from the heart. But if it’s from the heart, then, “their sins and iniquities I will remember no more.”
Now brethren, let’s also understand this, and this is true: when you have a guilt complex, and you’re guilty of things that you have done in the past, and you’ve repented over, and repented over, and you’ve cried, and you’ve boo-hoo’d, and you’ve worn out boxes of Kleenex, you know, just throw them out, and the garbage man has a hard time picking them all up, or, you know, handkerchiefs, or whatever. And you go along, and you get up off your knees, and you’re, “Oh, I wonder if God forgave me?” And you just perpetuate this guilt. Then what you’re doing, you’re not believing what God says here. So what you need to do, if you have that kind of guilt complex, ask God to help you to really believe what He says, and to lift this guilt complex that you have. Because He will. God can do that. God will do that. That’s the true freedom, which comes in Christ.
“Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” You can’t have a greater offering for sin than this kind of offering, can you? I mean, this is some covenant, isn’t it? I mean, you think on that. That is some covenant. That God will forgive and forget, remember no more. You have to ask God to give you the forgetfulness of it too. Which then, verse 19, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus [Christ],...” Giving us direct access into God the Father and Jesus Christ. “...By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart...” Notice the qualifications, then. A true heart. Not a double-minded heart. Not a half-heart. Not a lying heart. Not a cheating heart. But a true heart. “...In full assurance of faith,...” No wavering. No questioning. No doubting. No guilt. “...Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” That is, the water of baptism. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;)” (vs. 18-23).
Now then, this kind of thing should encourage us to do something to each other, and for each other. Verse 24, “…And let us consider one another to provoke...” Or that is, to encourage, or to exhort, “...unto love and to good works:...” Then what does this do? This helps you want to fellowship with the brethren. This helps you want to pray, to study, to do all the things. Because now you are inspired from an inner motivation, by the Spirit of God from within. And that’s how all these things are accomplished, you see. Then, “...not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as a manner of some is;...” (vs. 24-25), and so forth.
All right let’s continue on. Let’s go to Acts 3:19. Very key thing. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted,...” Part of the converting is getting rid of the guilt complex. Not only having the laws and commandments of God written in your heart and mind, but having the carnality and the human ways put out. And you know, God’s way is much like the human body. The body that you have today is not the one you had a year ago. And I think, I believe it is every seven years every cell in your whole body has been changed, and you’re not the same person. How did that happen? By growth. You have to eat, you have to sleep, all the processes that go on. So there is also through the process of conversion, you see, there is this change. That’s why we have the Sabbath every week. Because, just like we need to eat food regularly, we need spiritual food regularly so that we can be changed. So that, as it were, our spiritual cells are renewed day-by-day. And then as we go down in time we are not the same person that we were last year or the year before, or ten years ago, or fifteen years ago, or twenty years ago, spiritually speaking, that is. Not just referring just to the physical change that takes place. So we must be renewed, you see. “...That your sins may be blotted out,...” And that’s what God wants. The sins blotted out. He came to forgive sins.
Now let’s continue on. Let’s come to Psalm 32. Let’s see how this whole process now works together. Let’s put it together. And that’s another reason why we have the Passover every year, so that we can be renewed in the baptism through foot washing. We can be renewed in our commitment to Christ throughthe broken body. We can be renewed in our understanding of the forgiveness of the sins through the shed blood of Jesus Christ so that we attain this state right here, Psalm 32:1. “Blessedis he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” And yours have been. “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity,...” But what does God impute to us because we believe? He imputes righteousness. “...And in whose spirit there is no guile.” (Psa. 32:1-2). And that means, the removal of all the subterfuge of human nature, plus the removal of a guilt conscience. “In whom there is no guile.” So when you have this guilt feeling, and you just can’t seem to get rid of it, though you repent of it, God has already forgiven it. God has already removed it as far as He’s concerned. You need to let it go. You need to take it to God and say, “God, here, take it. It’s more than I can bear.” Christ already bore it for you, you see.
Now let’s continue on, verse 3, “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.” Now sometimes through sickness and sometimes through problems we are drawn close to God because we begin to see how weak we are. “For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid,...” And that’s what we need to do. And I know whenever there’s a time of sickness and difficulty, that’s the time when you confess to God. And that’s the time when you ask God for help and strength. And that is a great benefit that comes when there is sickness and difficulty and pain. “...I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” (vs. 3-5). Now notice, we have “Selah” just one verse after the other. And “Selah” means, stop, think, meditate on what was just said. Because what was just said was profound.
Now notice this promise, verse 6: “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found:...” And now it is a time when God may be found. “...Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto [me] him. Thou art my hiding place;...” Now notice the complete change of attitude once everything is shifted to God: “Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.” Again, stop. Think. Meditate on this. This is profound. Then God speaks back, doesn’t He? Verse 8, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go. I will guide thee with Mine eye.” And that’s how we want God to be with us and deal with us, right? Yes. “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with [a] bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him...” How? When he repents. “…Compass him about. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart” (vs. 6-11). Now this is what that kind of repentance is to do for us.
Now sometimes you get laid really, really low. Let’s go to Psalm 51. And this is the repentance of David after his long sordid encounter with Bathsheba. Let’s come to Psalm 51. And in this kind of deep repentance, you understand where sin comes from - deep within you, you see. And again, it’s just like as we drew the analogy that every cell of the physical body changed, so then everything spiritually must change, and grow, and be rejuvenated, and be reinvigorated. And in doing this you discover things that you never discovered before. Now why is that? That is because you did not have the spiritual strength to begin to grasp it until a particular point. Because God will lay upon us no more than we’re able to bear. Just think of what it would be if, when God first called us, He laid out the whole sum total of the whole character of carnality that each one of us had. Why, it would be overwhelming. So God reveals it bit, by bit, by bit. And that’s all a part of the growing and overcoming that God gives to us.
Now let’s notice right here, Psalm 51, beginning in verse 1. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness:...” Now notice, there’s no going to God, dickering with God as to “How good I am; therefore, God, You do this for me.” None at all. “...According to Thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly [thoroughly] from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psa. 51:1-2). Why? Because no human can cleanse himself from his own sins. It has to be from God.
“For I acknowledge...” Here’s the cleansing part that we can do. We have to acknowledge this. “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me” (vs. 3). Because he didn’t repent. His sin was right there. You go back and read that whole account. That was really quite premeditated in what he did. He just thought for a while, “Well, I’ll just put God on hold and I’ll work this out my way.” And what happens when you do that? It never works out, does it? No, it doesn’t. So that whole sin was “…ever before me.” Now he’s also talking about the punishment that he received, though his sins were forgiven. And what was that punishment that David received the rest of his life? God said, “Because you have done this before the world, you have done this before the enemies, My enemies, and cause them to blaspheme, therefore I am doing this before the world, and your household will be divided from this day hence. And the child that is born will die” (2 Samuel 12:10-14, paraphrased). That, He could never remove.
“Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Now he wasn’t born of an adulterous affair by any means. But this just merely means that the law of sin and death is given by inheritance to every human being. “Behold, Thou desiredest truth in the inward parts:...” That’s the whole goal of all of it, brethren. The whole goal of the Passover, the whole goal of Unleavened Bread. How are we to keep Unleavened Bread? How? In sincerity and truth. Where? In here. In the hidden parts. The inward parts. “...And in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop [a strong cleansing agent], and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities” (vs. 4-9). If we want forgiveness from God, this is how we need to come to God.
Now notice. When that is done, notice again, the same process: cease to do evil, learn to do well. Here we have the process here. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; ...” That’s learning to do well, isn’t it? “I will put My laws into their hearts and in their minds I will write them.” Same thing right here. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (vs. 10). And it is true, when you go along and have sins hanging, or problems hanging, what happens? How’s your attitude? Yuck. You’ve experienced that, haven’t you? I’ve experienced it. Yes. How do you feel? Miserable. God has got to renew it right. God has got to straighten it out. He will.
“Cast me not away from Thy presence;...” Now how far away was David from God in this instance? A long way away. “...And take not Thy holy spirit from me.” Which meant, he was really concerned that he was ready to lose salvation because of it. Now how great a sin was that? Great sin. Did God forgive it? Yes, He did. Why? Because God led David to repentance, and David received and accepted that repentance, and repented with his whole heart. “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me withThy free spirit” (vs. 11-12). Then all the things will be right, is the sum of the rest of Psalm 51.
Now let’s go to Daniel 9. And in Daniel 9 we find a different kind of prayer. In Psalm 51 we have a personal, individual prayer for one’s own faults and mistakes. But in Daniel 9 we have a representative prayer, similar to the one that Moses gave, but in this case the one that Daniel gave. And he prays not for himself, but he prays for all of God’s people. And the prayer is really quite long and quite moving. And he confesses and admits all the sins. Now one thing that is interesting, which I wrote in the Passover book, and I put in this whole prayer of Daniel, because it’s so powerful and so moving, that this prayer was given in the first year of the reign of Darius. That very year those… the first group of Jews going back to Jerusalem, took place. Six years later the temple was finished. So this was a very moving and profound prayer.
Let’s pick it up here in verse 16, and we get the sum and the feeling of it. And this kind of repentance and prayer is when one is praying for all of the sinful ones that have sinned. And brethren, this ought to be our prayer for all the church of God. God is not done with it yet, and God is going to bring back those that He wants. So let’s see if we can apply this also, verse 16 on. “Oh Lord, according to all Thy righteousness,...” Now notice, again, how this is just like the Psalms. Not according to his, or how great he was. “…I beseech Thee, let Thine anger and Thy fury be turned away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain: Because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of Thy servant, and his supplications, and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline Thine ear, and hear; open Thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by Thy name: for we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousnesses, but for Thy great mercies” (Dan. 9:16-18).
And that’s how we need to approach God in repenting. Individually, and collectively. Then there will be forgiveness. Then there will be, as Jesus said, “Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Now Daniel 9:19, “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name.”
Now let’s see how that applies in the New Testament. Now we can take all of these and we apply them collectively and individually. Let’s come to the epistle of 1 John. Very important in relationship to the Passover and the days of Unleavened Bread. The Passover represents the forgiveness. Unleavened Bread represents the learning to do well, ceasing to do evil, learning to do well. So that’s why you have the Passover first and then you have the days of Unleavened Bread. Isn’t it interesting, you don’t have the days of Unleavened Bread and then the Passover? What would happen if you had that sequence? You would work out your salvation so that you would be good enough to take the Passover, correct? Yes. No, it’s the other way around. The way that you are worthy of the Passover is you acknowledge you are a sinner, and you need God, and you need God’s Spirit, and that’s where you begin. Then you learn to do well and cease to do evil. Because then it’s God in you motivating the works, and not your own.
Now here, 1 John 1, and let’s pick it up in verse 7. And this is something we really need to learn and understand and realize. This is how, then, you get rid of that guilt complex, that you don’t carry it around as a burden. And that you don’t carry it around one for the other. Verse 7, “But if we walk in the light,...” And the light is the truth of God. And Christ is the light Who gives us the way to go. So if we walk in the light, “...as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Now how many times does it tell us He forgives our sins, all of them? We’ll see how far, how thorough, how complete.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins,...” Now who do we confess our sins to? To God. We’re going to see a little bit later on, that we confess our faults one to another, that we may be healed. You confess your sins to God. Now there is a difference. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us...” Again, “Give us a clean heart, O God.” “...From all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (vs. 8-10).
Chapter 2:1 now. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin,...” Which you’re going to, because you have the law of sin and death within you, “...we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:...” Advocating for you. Who is the accuser? Satan. He’s the one who’s trying to put you down. Christ is advocating for you. “…And He is the propitiation for our sins:...” Propitiation means the continual source of mercy through grace. That’s what propitiation means. Continual. It is there all the time. Never runs out. This is part of the fullness of Christ. “...And not for ours only, but also for the sinsof the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2). And we know through the plan of the holy days, in God’s time it’s going to apply to every one. Now then it talks right after that about keeping the commandments, and so forth. That’s true. Whenever there is repentance then there is learning to do well.
Now let’s see how far God removes these from us. Let’s come to Psalm 103. And we will see how all of this ties together now. Let’s just begin right in verse 1. It’s a wonderful Psalm. If you ever get really discouraged and really down, and you have doubts, and you have guilt, and you have fear, well, what you do is get out Psalm 103 and see, how then, you can overcome all of this. “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me,...” Again, his whole being, you see. “...Bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;...” Just like back there in 1 John 1. “...Who healeth all thy diseases;...” (Psa. 103:1-3). It’s important to understand. Now how is God going to heal every single disease? The resurrection. Won’t that be the greatest healing possible? That’s better than just a temporary physical thing in this life, isn’t it? Isn’t it better to be raised to be a spirit being, totally healed of everything physical? Yes, indeed.
“Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;...” Because He called you to eternal life, we can put in there. “...Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;...” (vs. 4). And God has done that. Tremendously, hasn’t He? Yes. In giving the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, did He not do that? Yes.
Let’s come down here to verse 8. “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever. He [the Lord] hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” Now that’s a tremendous promise, isn’t it? That’s a wonderful, wonderful thing to contemplate. “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.” And of course, we know that means the total love to God. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (vs. 8-12). Now if He forgives all your iniquities, forgives all your sins, removes them from you as far as the east is from the west, question: when have you ever read in a history book that east met west? Other than just a play on words of culture? Never has. They’re in two opposite directions, never to meet.
Now notice, He goes beyond that. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” God isn’t going to lay upon you any more than you are able to bear. “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children’s children; to such as keep His covenant,...” That’s why we’re going to keep the Passover, because that is keeping His covenant. “...And to those that remember His commandments to do them” (vs., 13-18).
Now let’s stop by Psalm 86 for just a minute here. Now as I mentioned, being in the grace of God is not forgiveness in advance. But what it is, it means that forgiveness is there upon repentance. And here’s a good example of it. Verse 1, “Bow down Thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O Thou my God, save Thy servant that trusteth in Thee. Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto Thee daily. Rejoice the soul of Thy servant: for unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive;...” - upon repentance. “...And plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee” (Psa. 86:1-5). And you can read the rest of the Psalm, because I want to cover something a little bit different here.
Now we’ve covered forgiveness for a group, we’ve covered forgiveness for an individual. Now let’s talk about forgiveness one to another. Let’s come to Matthew 5, and see how important this is. Verse 23, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar,...” Or that is, you come to God in prayer. Since there’s no altar, we’re coming to God and the gifts that we give are the sacrifices of praise, and repentance, and encouragement for others, and so forth. “...And there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;...” And I would like to hope that through this Feast of Unleavened Bread that, especially in many of the fellowship groups that we have now, where there are brethren coming together that have been over in one place but now have been reunited through different courses together, and different problems, that you, if you have anything against one another, that you make a concerted, loving effort to get together and bury the hatchet by love and understanding. That’s most important. So important that God says, if you remember that you have anything, “...leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way;...” God is saying, “Look, I don’t even want to hear your prayer until you get this resolved.” Now is that important or what? Have to say so, wouldn’t you? Yes indeed. “...First be reconciled to thy brother,...” That’s what God - don’t we want to be reconciled to God? Yes. Then God says be reconciled to your brother. And you have to come to a meeting of minds. Sometimes it may not be possible. But you have to put forth the effort. Maybe putting forth the effort will inspire the other person. “...And then come and offer thy gift” (Matt. 5:23-24). So you do what you can to work it out.
Let’s come over here to Matthew 6 and see how this is even on a daily basis. Now here’s a promise, Matthew 6:14. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses,...” Now notice, that’s against you. Now there can be many forms of this. It can be serious. Sometimes it can be where only God can really do the forgiving. I don’t know what they’re going to do back there in Jonesboro, Arkansas, with all that’s going on there. But I tell you what, it’s going to be a grave and difficult situation indeed. God alone can forgive. The most that any of them can do is be understanding and accepting. If there’s any forgiveness to those two lads, God alone can do it. No man can forgive what they did. Only God can. But in order to get along with each other, or if they desire to do so, then there’s going to have to be acceptance and understanding, realizing that only God can forgive them. The only thing you can do is pity those poor boys, that they’re pawns in such a wicked society, that this type of thing would happen.
If you forgive men their trespasses, “...your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15). Now that’s very important to understand. You need to realize that. Now if you’re willing to forgive, but they are not willing to reciprocate, you have done your part, have you not? Yes. Then you can pray that God will put it in their minds to do their parts. And that’s what’s important.
Let’s see how this works. Let’s come to Matthew 18. And here is where God tells each one of us that we are to work out the differences between us on this basis. The responsibility becomes ours to do, if we are to be responsible, spiritual Christians. In a corporate hierarchical church, they cannot do this because it takes away their work. And it takes away their control. And it takes away their fear and intimidation.
First of all, we’re told, verse 15 - and I’ll just summarize this because we went through this here just recently, “If your brother trespass against you, you go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” Now we’re talking about faults, are we not? Yes. That’s important to understand. We confess our sins, and also our faults, before God. No question about that. But when we have difficulties with each other, most of the time it’s because of a fault. Is that not true? Or a perceived fault. “You tell it between you and him alone. And he if he will hear you, you have gained a brother. If that doesn’t work, you take two or three more with you. Establish every word. If that doesn’t work, then you tell it to the church, being the whole assembled group together. And if he neglect to hear the church, let him be then unto you a heathen man and a publican” (Matt. 18:15-17, paraphrased).
Now what follows is very important. This is what’s so important. “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:...” In relationship to resolving these faults. Had nothing to do with doctrine. Has nothing to do keeping of days. Has nothing to do with any Scriptures whatsoever. Has to do with the fault that you have agreed to solve. “...And whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (vs. 18). You make the decision. Wherever it is. “Yes, I forgive you.” It’s taken care of. It’s done in heaven.
“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask,...” In relationship to what? Solving the faults. That’s what it is. Overcoming the problem. “...It shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name [to solve a problem], there am I in the midst of them” (vs. 19-20). We’re talking about the problem-solving all along. We can say, “Well, this does apply if two or three gather together on the Sabbath.” We can take that in principle. That is true. But the main thrust of this all the way through is with the problems.
Notice the response here by Peter, which shows that it’s true. Verse 21, “Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, How oft shall my brother sin [or that is, trespass] against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?” Now we’re talking about sin or transgress with a fault. “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, until seventy times seven” (vs. 21-22). Now there’re going to be certain faults and problems that you’re going to carry all your life. Is that not true? I know I have some that are still a problem today that I’ve had for a long time. And some of those things become a difficulty in my relationship with people. I try and do the best I can so I don’t let them be problems. But because I’m human, they can become problems, you see.
So that’s what it’s talking about. Now then, He gives this parable here. He talks about the kingdom of heaven as like a certain king took into account of his servants, and so forth. And you know the story there. He owed him ten thousand talents. He came to his lord, verse 27 now. “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.” So whenever you’re dealing with each other, and there’s a problem to be handled and forgiven, remember, God has forgiven you. So that you’re going to be very tender and forgiving that individual, though the problem may occur again down the road a little later on. Because what? It’s a fault. How many times? Seven times seventy.
However, notice what happened. When the forgiveness was given, that servant went out, found someone who owed him a hundred pence. He took him and just did the same thing to him, “Pay me all that you owe.” He said, “Have mercy and patience and I will pay you.” And he wouldn’t do it. So what he did, he threw him in jail till he would pay his debts. And then what happened? Be sure, your sins will find out. The lord found out. So he called the first man, verse 32, “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst [of] me:…” He said, “I didn’t have to do it, but I did it.” “...Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.” Verse 35 is a key important verse: “So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (vs. 32-35).
Notice how that flows all the way through the chapter about faults - one with another. So don’t ever again be deceived of what you bind on earth is bound in heaven, having to do with doctrine. If anyone pulls that on you, you know they do not have a single solitary clue as to what’s going on.
Now we’ll finish here in just a minute. But let’s go to James 5 and let’s see how we are to confess our faults. We saw how we’re to confess our sins to God, correct? Yes. Now you confess your faults one to another, and in praying one for another. And that fits in right there with Matthew 18. James 5, and let’s pick up in verse 14, because it is also tied in with healing. Which you could also, then, tie it in with overcoming a fault, not that you’re anointed for a fault, but the process here.
“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults [not your sins, your faults] one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” Not only of your sickness, but also overcome your faults. Wouldn’t you assume that that is part of what’s being done here? Yes. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:14-16). And then he tells the whole story of Elijah.
Now I want to finish by going to Genesis 50. Let’s go there. Genesis 50:15. And maybe this is kind of prophetic as to why out of Joseph came the New Testament, rather than out of the preaching of the Gospel at the end, then, out of Joseph. “And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.” Now you know what they did. Yes. “And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants” (Gen. 50:15-18).
Now notice, he could have said “Right! I’ll get out my jackboot and my big thumb, and I’m going to make you guys pay for it!” Nope. “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them” (vs. 19-21).
And so that’s the kind of attitude we need to have in the church today, brethren. The same thing. Many things were done with the thought of evil toward the people of God. But there comes a time when all of that has to be put aside. And there comes a time when the forgiveness and the love of God must reign and have the power, instead of the fear and the intimidation.