Saturday, November 5, 2016

the forgiven

The Word for today:
2 Chronicles 33
Q. Who is the worst of Judah's kings?
A. Manasseh, without a doubt.
Q. What ultimately becomes of Manasseh?
A. He ends up in heaven.
Q. Manasseh? in heaven?
A. Without a doubt:
The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. And he took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city. He also restored the altar of the LORD and offered on it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel. (2 Chronicles 33:10-16)
Q. Well, if Manasseh can go to heaven, then anyone can.
A. Bingo!
Both the Old and New Testaments go to great lengths to illustrate the possibility of forgiveness and redemption for everyone--even for Manasseh! Now hold on to your hat for a second, because we're going to identify Manasseh's counterpart--the worst sinner--in the New Testament.
Q. Let me guess. Judas?
A. Nope.
Q. Herod?
A. Nope.
Q. Pontius Pilate?
A. Not even close.
Q. Who, then?
A. Paul.

Q. Paul? The Apostle Paul?
A. Without a doubt:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16)
"Good" and "bad" neither qualify nor disqualify a person from entering heaven:
"Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. (Matthew 22:8-10)
In fact, The Bible teaches that if "good" were a criterion, then no one would be in heaven:
They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:3; Psalm 53:3; Romans 3:10; Romans 3:12)
The worst king will be there. The worst sinner will be there. One of the thieves on the cross will be there. I will be there.
Q. What's the common denominator?
A. We're the forgiven.
Q. So what's the difference between the forgiven and the unforgiven?
A. The Forgiver:
He who has the Son has life;
he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

(1 John 5:12)

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