The idea of welcoming rebuke from others is absolutely repugnant in our culture. In fact, we are taught the opposite: "don't judge!", "everyone is different!", "that's not tolerance!", "we need to accept everyone for who they are!". And while there is truth in every one of those statements, and we need to care for everyone, and be considerate in every situation, we cannot excuse thoughts, actions, motives, or words on the basis of "not judging". Sin is sin, and we are told to encourage one another (as Christians) towards holiness, away from sin.
One of the things I often pray for and about is my (hopefully) future marriage. I want to be married, and I can see that it's an extremely important aspect of life. God set up the union of marriage between a man and woman at creation stating how “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” We know that some people are gifted to be content with singleness for life, but I can rather confidently say I am not one of those people. Since I seek to obey God and fulfill life like He has designed it, and I've seen the great importance and focus God puts on marriage throughout the Bible, one of my constant prayers is for my marriage.
I was reading through 2 Corinthians and came across the following verse.... I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced. 2 Corinthians 12:21
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:5-6
Some of the young people in our church decided to do a "read through the Bible in a year" plans this year, and our pastor encouraged others to do the same if they didn't have regular Bible reading habits. I figured it couldn't hurt (just kidding, I thought it would be helpful since I haven't read through the whole Bible before) so I've been listening through the Bible on the way to work in the mornings.
So, to explain the title of this post: Why church? That's not a very clearly worded question, but I think it might be the simplest way to convey a particular thought; that being part of an organized group of regularly meeting believers isn't a necessity that God has ordained. In response to that belief, I would like to direct our attention to what the Bible says on the subject of church, and I hope it can be a help and encouragement to everyone on the importance of church.
When I was in my early teens, there were times where I struggled with the assurance of my salvation. I had a hard time believing that my repentance was sincere since I still struggled with some sins. Despite feeling sorry for and repenting from a sin, I would commit the same sin again. I knew I wasn't perfect and still a sinner, but why would I commit the same sin multiple times after feeling sorry and repenting? If I was truly sorry, wouldn't I not do it again? If I wasn't truly sorry for sinning and I was actually deceiving myself, then I wasn't saved and that thought scared me.
I'm in the process of reading through Psalms and I've been reading between one to three Psalms at a time, depending on their length. This past weekend I read Psalms 50 and 51, and despite them having different authors (Asaph and David respectively) and different subjects, each Psalm had a section on sacrificial worship. It stood out to me that these two Psalms are beside each other and have worship as a connecting subject, so I want to look at them and bring out their focus on worship. I hope it's helpful and applicable to our own worship.
I'll preface this post by saying that when I started this blog, my original idea was that I would use it to post some random thoughts I had about living biblically and also post some prayers I had. I didn't think much of the prayer part of my idea, and I've never written anything down regarding what I pray about. I don't even keep prayer lists (I know. I know. And I say I have a terrible memory, what am I thinking). But I guess my idea was that it would be a way of publicly expressing my desires for other believers and how I view and speak to God. Not that anyone needs to know those things, but it's a good thing, as we'll see below, and helps to evidence our care for one another and where that care comes from.
After my first blog post a month or two ago, I asked some of my family if they had any recommendations for subjects I should write about because I felt like I might not be able to come up with enough to keep writing (which turned out to be ridiculous as there seems to be an endless stream of ideas I wish I could write about). One of them asked me to make a post about forgiving others, and how it relates to the repentance of the people who offended or wronged us. At first it seemed like a simple idea, but after some consideration, I've realized that a proper view of forgiveness stems directly from an understanding of our salvation, and an erroneous view of our salvation can lead directly to failed, partial and conditional forgiveness on our parts. I'd like to use this post to explore our forgiving of others in relation to repentance, and how and why God wants us to forgive.