God Loves _______ People

This week’s sign on the street!

This is an easy test. Just fill in the blank with the modifier that makes you most uncomfortable. God loves all who are gay, straight, male, female, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Eskimo, left-wing, right-wing, Jewish, Jainist, Baptist, Buddhist, Pentecostal, Hindu, Atheist, Adventist, Taoist, Muslim, Wiccan, wicked, folded, spindled, mutilated. The reason is simple. All of mankind is sinful and separated from the God who made them. And He longs to forgive and restore them.

When the Apostle Paul addressed the Athenians, he told them, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” Acts 17:26-27 ESV. He made us all from one blood, and He wants to be found by us.

You might ask if some types of people are of greater value to God. Again, Paul told the Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28. We are all of equal value because the same price was paid for all of us: Jesus Christ shedding His blood for our sins. Likewise, he also told the Colossians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 3:11. So, even if someone bought you for a price, you were still of the same value as the rest of us bought at the incomparable cost of the Son of God.

OK, so maybe God can love us in spite of our immutable characteristics, like where and how we were born, but what about our own despicable actions? Don’t those lower our value in the sight of God? Or at least the value of that other guy? God even loves the most evil human beings in history, which makes their final destination in Hell all the more tragic. Even they would have been pardoned if they had only accepted God’s sacrifice of His own Son for their sins.

If you are still having a hard time with forgiving the people or person you hate most, remember that you are much less worthy than the holy God Almighty, creator of the Universe. If He can forgive them, you must, for the same forgiveness is yours on the same terms. “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.” Ezekiel 18:32.

Donald Marsh ©2020

Love Doesn’t Stay Mad

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians you will find this outrageous statement: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV). For those of us who have lived on the earth for awhile, we know that this sort of love is otherworldly, especially that last part about keeping no record of wrongs.

Being able to forgive and forget is supernatural. This is the realm of God, who not only forgives and forgets, but did it all in advance for us when He gave His son, Jesus, as a sacrifice that would satisfy His claims of justice for the entire world. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV). Not only that, but He said, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12.)

Being forgiven by God is a great gift, and it comes to us by faith. If you believe in who Jesus is and what He has done for us by dying on the cross, and being raised from the dead, then that gift belongs to you. But to deny it to anyone is to refuse the gift for yourself. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV.)

God went to a great deal of trouble to reconcile you to Him by wiping out your debt. He also wants us to be reconciled to one another. After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples and said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

God has given us a great power and a great obligation. If you believe in Jesus, you are able to bring forgiveness to a world that needs it. If you withhold that power, it has terrible consequences. If you have unforgiveness toward another, ask God to forgive you and help you. He doesn’t want you to stay mad. He wants you to be able to love like He does.

Donald Marsh ©2020

We Are Forgiven

Probably all of us were told by our mothers, “Nobody’s perfect!” But the Bible says it differently, and several times at least: “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God,” (Roman’s 3:23), “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way;” (Isaiah 53:6), and, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,” (1 John 1:8).

So if we all have sinned, and even sin regularly, the real question is: does it matter? Will we escape justice after we die? Or will there be a final reckoning for our careless lack of repentance? Once again, the Bible tells us there will be a judgment, but God also made a way of escape by sending His perfect son, Jesus, who tells us, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 10:45).

How many? “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13.)

Have you received Jesus and believed in who He was and what He did for you? If so, you have been ransomed from your punishment. If not, you are still under the sentence of death and eternal separation from God. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can believe in Jesus and become a child of God NOW.

Donald Marsh ©2020

God Wants You Back

You may think that you have never belonged to God; that it required consent on your part to be His possession. But you would be wrong. You are a created being and you have a creator, whether you acknowledge Him or not. And you should at least acknowledge Him because He loves you very much.

He acknowledges you in every way that He has reached out to you. He sends people to tell you about Him and His love for you. He displays His glory to you through His magnificent creation. He has even collected His messages to you in a book called the Bible, which is published around the world in hundreds of languages. You actually have to work at avoiding Him.

So why would you avoid him? It could be the same reason we have all avoided Him. He is holy and we are sinful, and that makes us uncomfortable. But the Good News is that He has made a way for us to be free of our sin. That way was made over 2000 years ago when He sent his sinless son, Jesus, to take the punishment for all of our sin. He alone was worthy to do this. And three days after He died on the cross and shed His blood for your sin, He was raised from the dead to prove that the sacrifice was accepted by God. And because it was accepted, you are now free! You don’t have to hide from God any more! All you have to do is accept Jesus’ sacrifice.

God wants you back so badly that He gave His son to die for you. You, who are only a created being, are loved so much that God comes to live inside of you. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

Donald Marsh ©2020

There is a Life After This One

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” Jesus speaking in the Gospel of John 5:24.

There is nothing more important than preparing for your eventual death. Insurance agents will tell you to buy a policy that will protect your loved ones. Your broker will encourage you to make sure you leave your family an inheritance. Your political activist friends will demand that you pour out your life to save the planet from global warming. But what happens to YOU? And what happens to your loved ones if a market crash or hyperinflation wipes out all that you have set aside for them? And, what if Jesus Christ returns, burns up the planet and creates a new one for those who love Him?

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” Second Epistle of Peter 3:10-13.

You may say that the Bible is unreliable. I say, compared to what or whom? Compared to every economist, politician, lawyer, educator who has let you down, conning you into borrowing a king’s ransom to earn a gender studies degree, the Bible gives a lot of good advice for this life, and the next. And the next is most important, because it is where you will spend eternity.

Donald Marsh ©2020