The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Tag Archives: INTRO Sin

Understanding Repentance

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TWO WAYS TO JUDGE

God judges you by your soul’s response to Him.  Once God establishes a relationship with you, you constantly make choices about how you will treat Him in that relationship, and those choices are what determine whether God is pleased or displeased with you.

Humans judge you by how you behave—especially by how you behave towards other humans.  Humans have strong opinions about how you ought to treat them, and if you don’t meet their expectations, then they dislike you.  Read more of this post

Understanding Conviction: Invitations to Engage

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You’re thinking about getting an abortion and God convicts you not to.  Is He worried that you’re going to snuff out a life prematurely?  No, because He hasn’t placed that power in your hands.  You can’t mess up God’s plans for another soul.  You can’t cheat them out of opportunities that He wanted them to have.  God isn’t convicting you because He’s worried that you’re about to mess up His universe.  He’s convicting you to force you to choose between obedience and rebellion.  He’s after engagement.  He doesn’t need your help. 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

Understanding Divine Judgment: How God Ranks Sin

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Here’s a classic question that humans get stuck on: who are the worst sinners?  Who are the real scumbags?  Who are the folks that we’re justified in looking down our noses at?  You see, even though we are all going to be judged individually by God, we love spending our lives playing comparison games.  It makes Ben feel superior to look down on Rex and say to himself, “At least I don’t do what he does.”  Okay, so Ben doesn’t do some of the things that Rex does.  But how relevant is this fact going to be when Ben is receiving his judgment from God in eternity?  Is God going to whip out a list of all of Rex’s activities and say, “Rex is the golden standard by which I’ve decided to judge all humans, so as long as you did better than him, we’re good”?  No, God isn’t going to say anything like this.  Rex’s name isn’t even going to come up when Ben is being evaluated by God.  Instead, God’s going to say, “When you were on earth, I spoke to you many times.  I’m now going to judge you by how you responded to Me when I communicated to your soul.”  Read more of this post

Understanding Unpardonable Sins: Lies vs. Truth

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THE LIES

It is commonly assumed that there are certain kinds of sins which God absolutely will not forgive no matter what. The idea is that if you commit one of these sins one time, you’re eternally damned. Different Christian denominations and individuals put forth various candidates for the “unforgivable list.” Popular choices which are based on various passages of Scripture are publicly disowning Christ (Lk. 12:8-10), refusing to forgive someone else (Mt. 6:14-15), blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mt. 12:30-32, Mk. 3:28-30, Lk. 12:8-10), and intentionally sinning after salvation (Heb. 6:4-8, Heb. 10:26-29). 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

Conviction Q&A

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1. What is conviction from the Holy Spirit?

God says many things to you. If we divided all of the things He says to you into various topic categories, convictions would be one of those categories. Convictions are a form of guidance.  God essentially says, “Let Me guide you onto a path that will be better for your soul.”  Convictions can be corrective or educational. Read more of this post

Understanding Idolatry: The Problem & the Cure

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When we care about pleasing God, Satan will try to use our sincere desire to drive us to legalistic extremes. Idolatry is a prime example of this. At what point does something become an idol in your life? If we don’t have a proper understanding of idolatry, Satan can get us so paranoid that we feel guilty the moment we form any emotional attachments. This is not how God wants us to live. Humans are created as sensual, emotional beings. We naturally form emotional and psychological attachments to things which play important roles in our lives. God has no problems with this as long as we don’t get carried away.

If I show you a piece of blue material and I say “Is this darker or lighter?”, you are going to say, “Compared to what?” You can’t answer my question until I give you some standard to compare it to. It’s the same with the concept of idolatry. To simply ask, “Is this person or thing becoming too important to me?” is an incomplete question. We must first establish some standard that we are going to compare things by—some baseline measure by which we can say “If it’s more than this, it’s too much.” Read more of this post

Pleasing God When You Can’t Control Your Flesh

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“How much do you care about pleasing God? Let’s see you prove it.”

This is what Christians will say to you in the Church. This is what the New Testament writers will tell believers in their letters. But there’s a major problem with this little challenge, and it comes with those last five words:

“Let’s SEE you prove it.”

What can humans see? Can they see your soul longing for God? No. God has blinded other people from seeing the real you because He considers your soul’s response to Him to be none of their business. On this earth, He has you hidden from view inside this physical earthsuit that you drive about in. As a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit riding along in that earthsuit with you and He knows exactly how you feel about Him. But other people don’t, and it bugs them. Other Christians think that you should find their approval of your spirituality desperately important. Other Christians think they are qualified to stand in for the Holy Spirit and assess your spiritual progress for you. So when other Christians see you getting drunk again or waking up in bed with someone else’s spouse, other Christians are going to say that you obviously don’t care about God. When they see you getting that divorce or abusing your kids or beating up your wife in a fit of blind rage, they’re going to start questioning the validity of your salvation. If you listen to other people’s assessment of you, you’re going to end up drowning in shame and self-loathing and brainstorming ways to end your life. You’re going to end up turning away from the only three Beings who stay by your side when your flesh is dragging you through the moral muck: Jesus, Yahweh, and the magnificent Holy Spirit. Read more of this post

Escaping the Trap of Guilt

Escaping the Trap of Guilt

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If you sincerely care about pleasing God with your life, Satan is going to do everything in his power to convince you that there is friction between you and God. He will do this by whispering lies into your mind and manipulating your emotions. The end result will be you walking around with a nagging sense that all is not right between you and God.

Your natural response to this kind of attack is not to question the source of your guilt, but to immediately accept the idea that God is upset with you and then start searching for ways that you can appease Him. This leads to multiple confessions of the same sins, awkward prayer sessions, and great distress of soul. In this post, you’ll learn how to recognize when Satan is trying to suck you into this most effective trap and you will learn how to avoid being such an easy target. We all start off as very easy victims for demons—for them, taking us down is like fishing in a bucket. This is because we are young, unseasoned, and uninformed about all the cunning tricks that demons will try to pull on us. Read more of this post