Jan 24, 2011 - Monday Meditation (Dead to GOD?) What is the unforgivable sin which Jesus warns us to avoid? Blasphemy consists in uttering against God, inwardly or outwardly, words of hatred, reproach, or defiance. To fear such a state of sin and spiritual blindness, however, signals that one is not dead to God and is conscious of the need for God's grace, mercy, and help. There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who refuses to acknowledge and confess their sins and to ask God for forgiveness, spurns God's generous offer of mercy, pardon, grace, and healing. Memorial of St. Frances de Sales Hebrews 9:15, 24-28 Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6 Mark 3:22-30 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Be-el'zebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons." 23 And he called them to him, and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house. 28 "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" -- 30 for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit." Meditation by Don Schwager Do you ever feel harrassed by the devil? Jesus' numerous exorcisms brought freedom to many who were troubled and oppressed by the works of evil spirits. Jesus himself encountered personal opposition and battle with Satan when he was put to the test in the wilderness just before his public ministry. He overcame the evil one through his obedience to the will of his Father. Some of the Jewish leaders reacted vehemently to Jesus' healings and exorcisms and they opposed him with malicious slander. How could he get the power and authority to release individuals from Satan's power? They assumed that he had to be in league with Satan. They attributed his power to Satan rather than to God. Jesus answers their charge with two arguments. There were many exorcists in Palestine in Jesus' time. So Jesus retorted by saying that they also incriminate their own kin who cast out demons. If they condemn Jesus they also condemn themselves. In his second argument he asserts that no kingdom divided against itself cannot survive for long? We have witnessed enough civil wars in our own time to prove the destructive force at work here for the annihilation of whole peoples and their land. If Satan lends his power against his own forces then he is finished. How can a strong person be defeated except by someone who is stronger? Jesus asserted his authority to cast out demons as a clear demonstration of the reign of God. God's power is clearly at work in the exorcisms which Jesus performed and they give evidence that God's kingdom has come. What is the point of Jesus' grim story about a strong man's house being occupied by an evil force? Our foe and the arch-enemy of God, who is Satan, is stronger than us. Unless we are clothed in God's strength, we cannot withstand Satan with our own human strength. What does Satan wish to take from us – our faith and confidence in God and our allegiance to follow God's law. Satan is a rebel and a liar. Satan can only have power or dominion over us if we listen to his lies and succumb to his will which is contrary to the will of God. Jesus makes it clear that there are no neutral parties in this world. We are either for Jesus or against him, for the kingdom of God or against it. There are two kingdoms in opposition to one another – the kingdom of God 's light and truth and the kingdom of darkness and deception under the rule of Satan. If we disobey God's word, we open to door to the power of sin and Satan's influence in our lives. If we want to live in true freedom from the power of sin and Satan, then our "house" – our mind and heart and whatever we allow to control our appetites and desires – must be occupied and ruled by Jesus Christ where he is enthroned as Lord as Savior. Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to God and his word? What is the unforgivable sin which Jesus warns us to avoid? Jesus knows that his disciples will be tested and he assures them that the Holy Spirit will give them whatever grace and help they need in their time of adversity. He warns them, however, that it's possible to spurn the grace of God and to fall into apostasy (giving up the faith) out of cowardice or disbelief. Why is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit reprehensible? Blasphemy consists in uttering against God, inwardly or outwardly, words of hatred, reproach, or defiance. It's contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. Jesus speaks of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin. Jesus spoke about this sin immediately after the scribes and Pharisees had attributed his miracles to the work of the devil instead of to God. A sin can only be unforgivable if repentance is impossible. If someone repeatedly closes their eyes to God, shuts their ears to his voice, and reject his word, they bring themselves to a point where they can no longer recognize God when he can be seen and heard. They become spiritually blind-sighted and speak of "evil as good and good as evil" (Isaiah 5:20). To fear such a state of sin and spiritual blindness, however, signals that one is not dead to God and is conscious of the need for God's grace, mercy, and help. There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who refuses to acknowledge and confess their sins and to ask God for forgiveness, spurns God's generous offer of mercy, pardon, grace, and healing. Through their own stubborn pride and wilfullness, they reject God, refuse his grace and help to turn away from sin, and reject the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to heal and restore them to wholeness. God always gives sufficient grace and help to all who humbly call upon him. Giving up on God and refusing to turn away from sin and disbelief results from pride and the loss of hope in God. What is the basis of our hope and confidence in God? Through Jesus' death on the cross and his victory over the grave when he rose again on the third day, Satan has been defeated and death has been overcome. We now share in Christ's victory over sin and Satan and receive adoption as God's sons and daughters. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord enables us to live a new life of love and freedom from slavery to sin. The Lord Jesus is our refuge and strength because he makes his home with us (John 15:4) and gives us the power and help of the Holy Spirit. Do you take refuge in the Lord and allow him to be the Lord of your life? "Lord Jesus, you are my hope and salvation. Be the ruler of my heart and the master of my home. May there be nothing in my life that is not under your lordship." Supplementary Reading The New has Come “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV) As a believer in Jesus, you are a new creation! You have a new spirit, a new walk, a new life! There may be “old” things in your life that you are trying to get rid of. Maybe you have old habits or addictions that you want to change. Remember today that the new has come. It’s a new year with new opportunities, and it’s time for you to be the new you. Let this be the year that you break old habits and addictions. Let this be the year that you move forward into a new life of victory. Let this be the year that you take hold of all the spiritual blessings the Lord has promised — peace, health, protection and victory. Be encouraged today because no matter what is happening in your life right now, you have a chance for a new beginning. Choose today to leave the old behind — leave behind old behaviors, old thinking, and old words and embrace the new by faith because this is your year to experience the new life that He has prepared for you! Heavenly Father, thank You for making me new. I choose today to leave behind the old life and ask that You empower me by Your spirit. Help me to understand Your plan and know the truth of Your Word that sets me free. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. — Joel & Victoria Osteen
(Disclamer) Bene Nota: The views and opinions expressed here by the author are personal to him, and do not reflect the views and opinions of the website owners and administrators. Any issue or complaint about the article must be addressed solely to the author, who is solely responsible for the article.