Friday, April 20, 2012

Micah 7: 18 & 19 states: "Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance; He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighteth in Mercy. He will turn again. He will have Compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their Sins into the depths of the sea." This is the Word of the Lord - Pastor Max Solbrekken

How God Deals With The Sin Problem
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The wages of SIN is death, but the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 3: 23; 6: 23)
BILLY GRAHAM stated: “There is one thing God’s love cannot do. It cannot forgive the unrepentant sinner… God will not force Himself on any man against his will. A person can hear a message about the love of God and say, ‘No, I won’t have it’, and God will let him go on in his sin and slavery and judgment.”
In the article ‘SIN: An Ugly Three-Letter Word’, I stated: Sin is real, says famed psychiatrist Dr Karl Menninger. The highly acclaimed psychiatrist is distressed by modern society’s failure to understand that many of man’s problems are caused by sin.
It annoys him to hear people discuss morality without so much as mentioning the word ‘SIN’.
Menninger believes that in order to raise civilization’s moral tone and deal with depression, anxiety and worry, people must learn the root causes of their problems. And the root cause in many instances is a person’s unwillingness to take responsibility for his own actions, but rather lay the blame on someone or something else.
Several decades ago, George W. Cornell of the Associated Press (AP) wrote a column titled, ‘Word Sin Disappears But Remains A Fact’, in which he quoted at great length Dr. Karl Menninger’s beliefs on this subject:
“He says the realities of personal guilt and sin have been glossed over as symptoms of emotional illness or environmental conditioning for which the individual is not considered responsible, but he adds: there is sin…which cannot be subsumed under verbal artifacts such as ‘disease’, ‘delinquency’, ‘deviancy’. There is immorality. There is unethical behavior. There is wrong doing.”
Cornell states: “He calls for a reaffirmation of the concept of sin and of personal responsibility for it. In a new book published by Hawthorne called ‘Whatever Became of Sin’ he declares: “If the concept of personal responsibility and answerability for ourselves or for others were to return to common acceptance, hope would return to the world.”
I can say, “Amen”, to that statement! Modern psychiatry often lets people off the hook. And failure to bring offenders face to face with their error could produce a sense of vindication, without coming to grips with the problem; the need to change lifestyles.
Thousands of years ago, King David stated: “He that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy, but he that covereth his sin shall not prosper.”  (Proverbs 28: 13)
Forgiveness is vital to good mental health. We must forgive others if we expect God to forgive us, as well as being able to forgive ourselves. A leading psychiatrist noted that 90 % of the mentally ill could be immediately well if they were able to forgive themselves and others and to receive forgiveness.
It is difficult for a person to forgive himself without the assurance that God has forgiven him. That is why the Gospel – Confession, Repentance and Forgiveness – is so relevant and necessary!
The Bible states emphatically: “If we confess our sins (to God) He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1: 9);
“But 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 cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1: 7)
Some health officials, in explaining their AIDS program, go into great lengths promoting condoms, as well as sexual abstinence. Then, they usually add: “This is not a moral issue!”

If our young people had higher morals there wouldn’t be a drug, fornication or homosexual problem, putting themselves at risk to the AIDS virus. And if people were more moral and stuck with the Bible standard of “One woman- one man”, there wouldn’t be a dramatic in sexually transmitted diseases.
When asked what could be done to stop the AIDS epidemic, Pope John Paul 11 answered: “Stop homosexualizing!”
The Norwegian Media asked Arild Edvardsen if SEX was to blame for the AIDS virus. He answered: “I know a couple in Gudbrandsdalen who have been married for 45 years and have five children. They have slept in the same bed for nearly a half century and they do not have AIDS!”
It also goes without saying that violence would be almost non-existent and crime, rape and child abuse would drop drastically, as would abortion! Teenagers – our greatest commodity – are being threatened by violence, murder, drugs, alcoholism and suicide! 
An article by Dr. Robert Blum in the Journal of American Medical Association states: “Over the past thirty years, adolescents have been the only population in the US who have not received improvement in their health.

According to Blum, 77% of adolescent death were caused by accidents and violence, including self-inflicted violence. And there was a shocking four-fold increase in suicides and murders!
A US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Report states: “Of the 10,250 kids born today…one will die and four will sustain  serious or crippling injuries in an alcohol related crash before they reach the age of 24”.
This is a very sobering, serious warning about sin, accidents and death! May we all take a lesson from these tragic statistics, realizing that the “wages of sin is death.” (Rom.6: 23)
You may say, “All that you have stated is true. But, what must I do to be forgiven and freed from my sins?”
The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3: 16,1 7)
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3: 36);
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word and believeth on Him Who sent Me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation  but is past from death unto life.” (John 5: 24)
When the Philippian Jailor had seen God’s power - the earthquake, all the prisoners loose and no one escaping - he fell down before Paul and Silas, crying out: “What must I do to be saved?” They answered: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:30, 31) 

In the Old Testament Scripture of Micah 7: 18 & 19, we discover the MERCY and Grace of God toward His people. Here are the gracious actions of our Heavenly Father toward us:
No. 1 - He pardons our iniquities, our sins and transgressions when to come to Him with a contrite heart in repentance an faith.
No. 2  - He overlooks our sins - passes by them! They are covered by the precious blood of Jesus. On the Passover night He said: " When I see the blood I will pass over You." Exodus 12: 13
No. 3 - He retains not His anger forever. In His mercy, He remembers that we are but flesh and His agape love makes everything right between us when we cry out for forgiveness.
No. 4 - He delights in being merciful. He has no delight in our destruction. His will is to save us all  and is not willing that any should perish.
No. 5 - He turns back to us and like the Good Samaritan saves us and cares for us. He doesn't leave us in our sins. He searches for us and finds us and like the Father who ran out to meet his prodigal son our Heavenly Father waits for an opportunity to love us! 
No. 6 - He subdues our sins. He gives us power over our failings and faults. He washes us clean in the Blood of His crucified and Risen Saviour and then He fills us with the blessed Holy Spirit and gives us His power! Acts 1: 8
No. 7 - He forgets our sins and casts them into the sea of forgetfulness, never to remember them any more. The Prophet Isaiah concurs with Micah. He states: "Behold, for peace I had great bitterness; But Thou hast in love for my soul, delivered it from the pit of corruption; for thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back." (Isaiah 38:17) 

The amazing thing is that the Hebrew word used here refers precisely to the area "between Thy shoulder blades" of the back. No-one is able to see something behind their back, between their shoulder blades! In using this term, Almighty God wants us to know that when He forgives us He also forgets our sins! Amen.