The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Confession & Repentance

False Formulas for Salvation – 1 John 1:9

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“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

The same John who wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation also wrote the three epistles known as 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John.  While 2 and 3 John don’t get out much, 1 John has several famous one liners in it, including this frequently quoted statement about salvation being obtained through the confession of sin.  But is this really accurate?  Is merely listing off our sins enough to grant us salvation and cause use to be blameless in the sight of God?  No, it’s really not.  In fact, salvation doesn’t have anything to do with God considering us to be “blameless.”  We just think it does because, like the New Testament apostles, we’re focusing on the wrong things (see Jesus vs. the NT Jews: What it Means to Please God). Read more of this post

Why We Shouldn’t Pray for Revival

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Praying for the lost to get saved.  Praying for the Gospel to be spread throughout the whole world.  Praying down that bad ole devil and praying for revival.  It all sounds so right, doesn’t it?  But what does God think about us praying for these kinds of things?  It turns out that He doesn’t like any of them.  In fact, He finds these kinds of requests downright insulting.  Of course He understands when we’re not trying to insult Him, and when He sees that we’re trying to please Him by praying for these things, He graciously credits us for our good intentions.  But the day must come when we stop letting other humans and the Church define who God is and give Him the chance to speak for Himself. When we do this, we’re going to start getting hit with one shocking revelation after another because it turns out that these teachers we’ve been counting on to explain God to us don’t really understand who He is.  In fact, trying to find folks who are well-acquainted with God is quite a challenging task because there just aren’t that many of them.  Why not?  Because humans have always done a lousy job of sincerely seeking God.  When they do seek Him, they’re usually so caught up in their own agendas that they simply aren’t interested in really learning about God’s perspective of things.  So while we claim to really know God, the reality is that we’re just recycling a bunch of manmade theories about Him which no one is bothering to ask God to authenticate.  It’s like you reading a bunch of articles about your favorite actor in the gossip rags and then saying that you really know the guy.  No, you don’t know him at all.  All you really know is what other people say about him, but what is that worth?  Until you actually sit down with the man himself and do some focused listening, you’re never going to know if any of the stories you’ve read about him have any truth to them.    Read more of this post

Horrible Repentance Songs: SOUL ON FIRE by Third Day

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How many professional Christian musicians does it take to write one bad song about repentance?  Well, in the case of Soul on Fire, it took six: Matt Maher, Brenton Brown, and four members of the Christian group Third Day.  So, really?  Six guys to write a song with so little to it?  Can you imagine that conversation?  “Hey, I put the G chord in the second verse, so I get my name on it.”   “Hey, I wrote that one line in the chorus, so I get my name on it, too.”  “Hey, I came up with the title, so I get a cut.”  We Christians really do get ridiculous in our lust for glory and fame, don’t we?

Now to understand why singing Soul on Fire is going to leave your soul feeling discouraged about ever getting into a good place with God, you need to get a correct understanding of how repentance works.  It’s time for some analogies. Read more of this post

Overcoming Shame

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When humans feel deeply ashamed, their instinctive response is to separate and isolate themselves from all others. Often physical isolation isn’t practical. You have to go to work to pay the bills. You have a spouse and kids living in your home. But though you feel forced to physically be around other people, you can still emotionally isolate yourself by refusing to engage. Your wife asks what’s wrong and you give her that indifferent shrug. When she presses you, you stonewall her with, “I’m fine,” or “I don’t want to talk about it.” And for the person drowning in shame, talking about their misery does seem pointless. After all, words can’t change the past. No, they can’t, but they can save your present and future, and that is far more important. Read more of this post

Intercession: Exposing the Lies

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Like tithing, intercession is one of those topics in the Church which a majority of teachers are teaching you wrong about. It’s a big problem when your shepherds lie to you, because lies end up creating problems in your personal relationship with God. Bad teaching about tithing inspires Christians to disrespect God and/or fear that His acceptance of them is not something they can count on. Bad teaching about intercession does major damage as well. Read more of this post

Understanding Divine Judgment: Illumination, Empowerment & A God Who Delights In Mercy

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Most Christians are in a confused muddle about how God judges them. When we believe that God expects more from us than He does, we end up trapped in an endless cycle of pain, shame, and despair. We conclude that God is impossible to please, and this leads us into all sorts of harmful activities. Do you repent for the same sins over and over again? Do feel the need to injure your body or deprive your life of any joy as a means of atoning for past sins? Do you avoid a lot of subjects in your prayer life or do you avoid praying altogether because you’re afraid of God blasting you with some wrathful response? All of these are common symptoms of believing that God is impossible to please, and that belief stems from not understanding what God expects from you. To get yourself out of this cycle of misery—or to prevent yourself from getting sucked into it in the first place—you need to learn about two concepts that are critical to gaining a proper view of Divine Judgment. Those two topics are spiritual illumination, and Divine empowerment.  Anyone can gain a clear idea of how God judges them if it’s explained to them properly, and as a Christian, it is vital that you understand where the lines of responsibility fall. Read more of this post

Repentance Q&A

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1. What is repentance?

Repentance is when you voluntarily choose to change your soul’s current attitude towards God from rebellious to obedient. Repentance, therefore, is a change of soul attitude. It is not an external behavior.

Repentance takes one nanosecond of time to do. It is not a long, drawn out affair, nor are there any religious rituals required. Repentance is a private thing between you and God. You can talk about repenting to other people, just as a man can describe the act of kissing his wife to someone else. But talk is meaningless, and talk is irrelevant. Repentance is not a verbal activity, it is a choice of the soul. Read more of this post

Confessing the Sins of Others

confessing the sins of others

We are each on our own individual journeys with God down here. It’s important to realize this because as nice as community can be, when it comes to spiritual matters, it’s just you and God. In eternity you will be judged by your own spiritual choices—not by anyone else’s. How you will experience eternity is being decided by the spiritual choices you are making right now. It is vital to understand how personal your journey with God is, because then you will understand why focusing on someone else’s journey with God is a complete waste of time.

Your relationship with God is like a marriage. When you start focusing on some other Christian’s walk, you’re acting like the wife who spends all day spying on the neighbors and trying to figure out what they’re fighting about instead of paying attention to her own husband. What some other soul is or isn’t doing with God is none of your business. You have your own relationship with God and that is what you need to stay focused on. Read more of this post

Confessing Your Sins to People

Confessing Your Sins to People

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Your relationship with God is like a marriage. Should a wife go announce it to the world every time she and her husband have a disagreement? Should she go posting their private conversations on the internet? No, she shouldn’t. As a human being, you have a lot of dark and sordid desires lurking within you. Maybe you’re jealous of the pastor’s wife because she always seems to have it together. Maybe you made some mean joke about her to your friends the other day and the Holy Spirit convicted you about it. What does God want you to do when He convicts you? He wants you to respond directly to the One who is talking to you. When God convicts us of our sins and then we run around telling everyone else about it, we are often going to end up creating a bigger mess. The pastor’s wife doesn’t want to hear about the cheap crack you made about her. She isn’t going to be edified by you burdening her with your personal insecurities and all the ugly ways that they express themselves. When the Holy Spirit convicts you about your language, you need to agree with Him that you did wrong, thank Him for the forgiveness you have already received through Christ, then leave the past behind you and move on. Should your friends later bring up what you said, that’s the time when you should say, “I shouldn’t have said what I did. It was wrong.” But this is only if they bring it up. Because they are as self-focused as you are, they will probably forget what you said and go on. There’s no value in you constantly raking up the past and getting everyone to refocus on your ugly mistakes. Read more of this post