Every Wednesday night my wife Pat and I participate in a Small Group study at our Church. This fall we chose the Apostles Creed and last night we watched a video by the study’s author, Matt Chandler, which covered the stanza “The forgiveness of sins.”
It is the next to last week, and like every week they seem to get better.
Pat and I chose this class seemingly for a different reason than we usually use. We picked this class because we had never had the opportunity to study the word with Lee who was leading the class and we wanted to get to know him better and did feel the topic would be good. But the Holy Spirit had a couple of reasons to be in that class besides getting to know Lee. It seems that there was much we could learn from the scriptures that support the Apostles Creed.
Forgiveness of Sins
Last night we listened to the Matt Chandler on forgiveness of sins, and he took us through God’s Word and discussed the disdain that God had for sin while loving us so much that he was willing for His son to die to pay our debt. His forgiveness was complete.
The video is excellent but too much for me to cover here. If you want to listen to it, the video is on YouTube with the other12 videos. They run about 45 minutes each. They can be found at The Village Church, The Apostles Creed. When we finished, we had a short discussion.
We talked about repentance before God. We talked about confessing our sins to one another and forgiving each other as God has forgiven us. Then an interesting discussion came up. It was short, but it was very pertinent to the discussion. Someone said sometimes the hard part is forgiving ourselves.
We talked about that for a while. I think Pat mentioned that she could not find anywhere in the Word where it said we needed to forgive ourselves. As we discussed it, I think we all kind of agreed that the devil reminded us every chance he got of where we messed up. But we had to remember God had granted us forgiveness for our sins and we needed to leave them at the cross and not pick them up when he tried to torment us with them and try to make us feel unworthy of forgiveness.
Pat and I both enjoyed the video and the discussion, and it continued the ride home and after we got home. This morning is when I got some interesting confirmation.
The Book of Secrets
I have “The Book of Secrets” by Jonathan Cahn. He is a messianic Jew with a deep understanding of Hebrew and the Jewish Bible. Normally I read this every morning, but for the last 2 or 3 days, it has laid where I keep it opened to the next page undisturbed until this morning.
This morning I was compelled to read it and was it ever worth the wait. The daily text was titled, “The Asham,” and it could not have been more pertinent to what I was meditating on this morning.
The book is structured as a daily reading with a student and a teacher. Each day plays out a lesson between the teacher and the student and then gives an assignment with supporting scriptures. Today’s lesson included Isaiah 53 and defined the meaning of the Asham.
The Asham was the Hebrew word for the guilt offering administered by the priests in the temple. But Asham had a second meaning. It not only was the offering, but it was also the guilt itself. In ancient times it was a sheep that was both the guilt offering and the guilt. Are you confused yet? The teacher in the book says it better. “Yes, but it goes together. The guilt offering could only take away the guilt of the one offering it by first becoming the guilt.”
The other interesting point is that Asham was used in Leviticus to describe the animal sacrifices and that same word was used in Isaiah 53 to describe the Messiah.
Thoughts; Mine and the Book
I had always had this vision of a list of my sins being nailed to the Cross when I brought to Jesus and the Cross. Now the image has changed for me, and my heart aches as I visualize it. The teacher said a couple of things I had not internalized. First, “When you see Him on the cross, you see the Asham, the sacrifice, but also the guilt itself.” That visual humbled me, but the next set me free.
The teacher elaborated on the visual of the cross and Jesus and put to rest for me the discussion of forgiving myself. The student asked a question about sin being nailed to the cross, and the Teacher replied
Asham and Forgiveness.
This part took my breath away. The teacher said, “Your guilt (is) nailed to the cross. And if Messiah is the Asham and the Asham is the guilt, then if the Asham dies, so too your guilt has died and all your shame, and all your regrets. They’ve all died and are gone… completely and forever… it is finished in the Asham.”
Now that set me back on my heals in a good way. It got me to thinking of what God has said in His Word. I read Isaiah 53 and looked at what was prophesied about the Messiah. I also got thinking about how the new testament spoke of the forgiveness of sin and Cahn referenced one of my favorite. 2Corinthians 5:21
2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I realized that I took this passage at face value because I did not fully understand it until I learned the meaning of the Hebrew word Asham. I envision the body of Christ Jesus on the cross and shaken. His body so torn and beaten, a lamb without blemish, torn to near death by lashing and beating and torture before he died on the cross my guilt, (Asham), paid for by Jesus the Asham so that my guilt, shame, sin, and retreats could be killed with Him. He became sin so that it could die with Him.
Now I see that I cannot forgive myself. Jesus did that for me. I must confess my sins and repent turning from them and realize that they are no more. I know now that they are but a weapon of the adversary to introduce doubt where he can. But I have the Full Armor of God, (Ephesians 6:10-20) and God defends me. When the devil cast a flaming arrow at me of an old memory of sin. My shield will deflect it and my Sword, (God’s Word), will cut it down.
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
I am thankful for the wisdom God shares with me every day and the discernment He gives me to trust and verify in His Word.
Father, all that I can say this morning is Thank You for your love! It is deeper and broader than I can imagine. Father help me hold onto nothing that might get between you and me. I pray I am always quick to listen and obey. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen!