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
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.
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.
Now. Going around and saying that salvation is stupid may not be taken very well by many Christians, or be entirely accurate, but humanly speaking, that's exactly how salvation is naturally viewed by us as sinful people. Hearing that may make some people uncomfortable, but I'd like to point to a passage that says exactly that, and see how it should help us view being saved and how we should witness with it in mind.
Jealousy. The very word often induces uneasy feelings, and most would agree that it's an unhealthy state of mind. A jealous person is not one to be messed with and often cannot think straight. In fact, jealousy is such a bad thing that the Bible states that people who practice jealousy "will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19-21) along with the people who live in things like sexual immorality, fits of anger and drunkenness. So why in the world would God describe Himself as "jealous"?
Every Christian has had situations where their trust in God has been tested, and some of us have had more difficult and trying situations than others. These situations could often be considered trials, and most Christians know what God says about trials; although unpleasant at the time, trials are for our good and will help us grow to be more like Christ as we learn from them.
I've been considering giving, particularly in comparison to God's love for us. The giving I've mainly considered is the kind where someone gives someone else something that they don't deserve, purely (hopefully) out of the kindness of their hearts. We see it a lot between friends; people give gifts like food, sweaters, shoes, jewelery, sports goods, etc. to each other, just because they care about their friend and think their gift would benefit their friend in some way. Sometimes people give someone that they aren't particularly close with, or may not even know at all, something like I listed above for the express purpose of being kind. Another situation is where the item being given is very valuable.