DEFINITION: Repentance is the act of expressing sorrow for something wrong you have done. Biblically, it is a change that occurs in the mind and heart, permeates the soul and spirit, and results in changes in outward actions and spiritual direction. Conversion is a similar word, meaning to turn from the wrong way to the right way, from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God (Acts 11:21, 26:18).
FACTS ABOUT REPENTANCE:
Repentance is not just an emotional response. Some people associate repentance with emotions like shedding tears and feeling sorry for wrong actions and thoughts. Repentance is not an emotion. It is a decision. Emotion sometimes accompanies repentance, but it is possible for a person to feel great emotion and shed many tears and yet never truly repent.
Repentance is not fulfilling a religious requirement. Some people associate repentance with meeting special religious requirements. This is sometimes called “doing penance” for a wrong. It is possible to fulfill many religious requirements and yet never repent in the true Biblical sense.
Repentance is important. God commands it (Acts 17:30); it is necessary to avoid spiritual death (Luke 13:3); it is necessary to receive eternal life (Acts 11:18); and essential in order to be forgiven by God (Acts 2:38) and enter His Kingdom (Matthew 4:17).
Repentance is God’s desire for all. God does not want anyone to experience the spiritual death of eternal separation from God in Hell (2 Peter 3:9).
Everyone needs to repent and be converted. The Bible says: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NKJV). This means that everyone must repent of sin and accept Christ as Savior. This is called a born-again or conversion experience.
Believers need to repent on a regular basis. The prayer for forgiveness is part of the Lord’s Prayer, our pattern for daily prayer. Believers in Corinth were mandated to repent (2 Corinthians 7:9). The Ephesians were told to repent (Revelation 2:5), and believers at Pergamos, Sardis, and Laodicea were called to repentance (Revelation 2:16; 3:3; 3:19).
People are drawn to repentance by the goodness of God (Romans 2:4); the preaching of the Word of God (Matthew 12:41); the call of Christ (Matthew 9:13); and by being drawn by God the Father (John 6:44). Rebuke, which is correction from the Word of God, also draws men to repentance (Luke 17:3), as does godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10).
DEALING WITH REPENTANCE:
If you are an unbeliever, ask God to forgive your sin and accept Christ as Savior. This inward decision will result in an outward change in you thinking, attitudes, emotions, and behavior.
Make repentance part of your everyday prayer. Use the model of the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). You do not need to get “saved” again every time your sin, nor do you need to repent for past sins already forgiven. The daily prayer for forgiveness is to make you aware of your continued need for repentance.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT REPENTANCE:
Psalm 51: An example of true repentance.
Exodus 9:27-35: An example of insincere repentance.
Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22)
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. (Isaiah 55:7)
But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. (Ezekiel 18:21)
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)
The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news! (Mark 1:15)
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
They went out and preached that people should repent. (Mark 6:12)
I tell you,…unless you repent, you too will all perish. (Luke 13:3)
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:7)
He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47)
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” (John 6:44)
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. (Acts 3:19-20)
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30)
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? (Romans 2:4)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it–I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while–yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (2 Corinthians 7:8-10)
Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning. (1 Corinthians 15:34)
Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth., and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:25-26)
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. (Revelation 2:5)
Remember therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. (Revelation 3:3)
REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT
DEFINITION: The original meaning of the word rejection was to throw back. Rejection occurs when a person or group of people excludes an individual and refuses to acknowledge or accept them. Abandonment is a similar term, meaning to desert someone, to leave and never return.
FACTS ABOUT REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT:
Rejection takes many forms. It may occur through the ending of a relationship, unrequited affection for someone, losing a job, or through criticism. Feelings of rejection also can arise from emotional or physical abandonment by friends or family or close relations such as a parent or a spouse. Failure to achieve a goal like being accepted by a college or hired for a job can also cause feelings of rejection.
Reactions to rejection may include disappointment, anger, sadness, depression, and feelings of isolation and abandonment. Rejection may cause you to stop trying because of fear of rejection. You may experience feelings of inferiority and develop a critical spirit towards yourself or those by whom you were rejected. You may have difficulty in forming relationships because of rejections experienced in the past. Feelings of rejection can actually cause you to miss God’s plan for your life when you withdraw to nurse your wounds.
You are not alone in your rejection. Many people in the Bible experienced rejection. The Old Testament prophets were often rejected and disrespected. They ended up in lions’ dens, pits, and were martyred. Joseph, whose story is recorded in Genesis, was rejected by his family and his brothers sold him into slavery. Moses experienced repeated rejection before Pharaoh. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul was stoned by one group of people, run out of town, and escaped with his life by being let over the wall in a basket. Peter and John were imprisoned and Stephen experienced the ultimate rejection–he was martyred after preaching one of the greatest messages recorded in the New Testament. Everyone experiences rejection. It is impossible to go through life without feeling rejected at some time.
God experienced rejection. In Numbers 14:11 the Lord asked Moses: “How long will these people reject me? How long will they not believe me, with all the signs which I have performed among them” (Numbers 14:11, NKJV).
Jesus experienced rejection. The prophet Isaiah said concerning Jesus: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus came to His own people and they rejected him (John 1:11) and He was rejected in His own hometown (Mark 6:4). Like Jesus, you will be rejected because you are not of this world (John 15:18-19).
DEALING WITH REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT:
Pray about your rejection issues. Turn your disappointment, hurt, anger, sadness, depression over to the Lord. Ask Him to heal your wounded emotions. The Bible directs us to give thanks in everything, so thank God that He is guiding your life, even through the pain of rejection and abandonment.
Determine that you will live by faith. Rejection is a feeling, but we do not live the Christian life on the basis of feelings. We live by faith in God. We do not live in the natural. We live in the supernatural.
Permit the power of the Holy Spirit to work in your life. As a born-again believer, the Holy Spirit dwells within you. Just because you feel rejected, you are not incompetent. You are fully equipped, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to accomplish all that God has called you to do: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
Know that you are who God says you are. Regardless of what others think about you, as a believer you are who the Lord says you are. You belong to the family of God (Romans 8:16). You are so valuable that Jesus died for you (John 3:16).
Know that you are really never alone. Jesus said “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).
Do not view rejection as a negative thing. If you have made Jesus the Lord of your life, then He is guiding each aspect of your life. The fact that you are rejected by a person, group, job, college, etc., may be part of His plan for you. God guides us through closed doors as well as open doors. The Bible says that “all things” work together for your good when you are a true believer who loves God: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Use rejection as a cause to examine yourself. Honestly assess your actions, attitudes, and responses to others to see if there is a legitimate reason for being rejected. For example, if you were rejected for a job was it because you did not interview well? If you are repeatedly rejected by others, could there be reasons? If you discover legitimate reasons for rejection in any area, correct these with the help of the Lord.
Do not let rejection hinder you from fulfilling your destiny. God has a plan for your life. Perhaps rejection has blocked the way you were planning to go, but if your goals and purposes are God-given, you will still achieve them–perhaps just not in the way you thought. Do not let rejection stand in your way. Get up and try again. You never truly fail unless you stop trying, and it is always too soon to quit!
Overcome your fear of rejection by putting God first. When the disciples were imprisoned and threatened by the authorities because of their stand for the Gospel, they declared: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT:
Read the story of the woman at the well in John chapter 4. Because of her lifestyle, this woman had obviously been rejected by society, as she came to draw water when no one else was there–perhaps to avoid the feelings of rejection and the gossip. Jesus accepted her as she was and changed her life. She overcame her feeling of rejection and became a powerful evangelist–she brought the whole city out to meet Jesus.
… for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 14:2)
How long will these people reject me? How long will they not believe me, with all the signs which I have performed among them. (Numbers 14:11, NKJV).
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17)
For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. (Psalm 94:14)
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. (Psalm 118:22)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)
I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:9-10)
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. (Isaiah 49:15-16)
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? ” (Matthew 21:42)
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:4-6)
He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me. (Luke 10:16)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ (Luke 13:34-35)
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:10-131)
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:18-19)
We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:16-17)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:3-8)
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him– you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (1 Peter 2:4)
DEFINITION: Rebellion is opposition towards a person or group in authority and a refusal to obey rules or normal standards of behavior. Biblically, it is opposition to God’s authority, His Word, and God-ordained authorities.
FACTS ABOUT REBELLION:
Rebellion occurs for various reasons. The most common is that people want to be in control of their own lives and do what they desire. They do not want to live by God’s mandates. Children often rebel because they do not want to abide by their parents’ rules. A rebellious spirit can also develop when someone in authority over you is wrong or you think they are wrong. Rebellion also results from not understanding God’s structure of submission. (See also the topic of “Submission” in this database.)
Rebellion is sin. Rebellion is a serious sin, considered as the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23).
Rebellion was instigated by Satan. He was a rebellious angel who sinned against God and was instrumental in the first rebellion of mankind in the garden of Eden. He still works through a spirit of rebellion.
DEALING WITH REBELLION:
Admit rebellion and ask forgiveness. Rebellion is sin, and as in the case of all sin, you must admit it to God and ask forgiveness. You may also need to ask forgiveness of a parent, employer, spiritual leader, or someone else in authority against whom you have rebelled.
Ask God to put a new heart within you. Ask for a heart that is pliable and submissive to His will: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Train your children in the ways of the Lord. Discipline them to obey you and God at an early age and raise them up knowing the Word of God (Proverbs 22:6 and 2 Timothy 3:15). These practices will prevent rebelliousness later in life.
If an adult child rebels, continue to love them and pray for them without condoning their sin. Do not feel that you have failed as a parent if your adult child rebels. There comes an age of accountability where each person must choose whether or not they will serve God. Children sometimes rebel because of the influence of unbelieving associates. Pray for such negative relationships in their lives to be broken.
Claim this promise and personalize it for your children: “And all your [spiritual] children shall be disciples [taught by the Lord and obedient to His will], and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of your children” (Isaiah 54:13, AMP).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT REBELLION:
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)
Only do not rebel against the Lord… (Numbers 14:9a)
Cursed is the man who dishonors his father or his mother. (Deuteronomy 27:16)
Far be it from us to rebel against the Lord and turn away from him today by building an altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings and sacrifices, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle. (Joshua 22:29)
But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your fathers. (1 Samuel 12:15)
For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. (1 Samuel 15:23)
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. (Proverbs 1:8)
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father, the son he delights in. (Proverbs 3:11-12)
A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother. (Proverbs 10:1)
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke. (Proverbs 13:1)
He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded. (Proverbs 13:13)
A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence. (Proverbs 15:5)
A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. (Proverbs 15:20)
He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding. (Proverbs 15:32)
To have a fool for a son brings grief; there is no joy for the father of a fool. (Proverbs 17:21)
A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him. (Proverbs 17:25)
He who robs his father and drives out his mother is a son who brings shame and disgrace. (Proverbs 19:26)
Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right. (Proverbs 20:11)
Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. (Proverbs 23:22)
Fear the Lord and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious. (Proverbs 24:21)
But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away.
They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’ Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good. (Jeremiah 5:23-25)
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (Ephesians 6:1)
(See also “Submission”, “Authority”, and “Chastening And Discipline” in this database.)
FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION
DEFINITION: Forgiveness is the act of pardoning someone for an offense. Reconciliation is the ending of conflict between two or more people and the renewing of relationship. Included in the biblical concept of forgiveness is receiving forgiveness from God for sin, extending forgiveness to others, and forgiving ones’ self. Forgiveness includes the releasing of grudges and bitterness over past offenses.
FACTS ABOUT FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION:
Forgiveness and reconciliation come through Jesus Christ. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
God promises forgiveness for your sin. When you confess your sins to God and repent, you are forgiven because He promises this in His Word (1 John 1:8-9). By repenting and accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for your sin, you are reconciled to God. You may not “feel” forgiven, but the Christian walk is by faith not by feeling. God promised, and He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19). Jesus said: …”whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37).
Broken relationships result in additional problems. Bitterness, grudges, resentment, anger, etc., all result from broken relationships. These negative emotions affect you mentally, physically, and spiritually. They are all sinful emotions that must be dealt with in order to receive and extend forgiveness.
The Bible teaches forgiveness. You need forgiveness from God and you are required to forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15). You also need to forgive yourself.
DEALING WITH FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION:
Be reconciled to God. A proper vertical relationship with God makes positive horizontal relationships with others possible. Confess your sins and ask God to forgive you. Read Psalm 51. You do not need to repeatedly ask forgiveness for a sin. Once you have confessed and asked forgiveness, God forgives and forgets (Isaiah 43:25). Remain reconciled to God by praying the model prayer, designed to be prayed daily, which includes “forgive our sins as we forgive others” (Matthew 6:12).
Repent of your unforgiveness. Repent of bitterness, anger, resentment, and holding grudges. These are all sin and must be dealt with as such.
Forgive others. You may not feel like it, but by an act of your will you must forgive others. Follow the directives given in Matthew 18:15-19. Forgiveness is not:
-Justifying someone else’s wrongs which they have done to you.
-Denying you were hurt in the first place.
-Accepting with resignation what was done to you.
-Waiting for time to heal the hurt. (It doesn’t).
True forgiveness comes by:
-Recognizing what was done to you was wrong, the result of sinful men in a sinful world. It is not necessary to go back and relive the event mentally, but neither can you deal with it by denying it. Acknowledge what happened and how it affected you.
-Confessing the hurt to God and asking Him to heal you of the harmful emotions. You may never forget the facts of the incident, but what is needed is healing for the negative emotions relating to it.
-Asking God to help you forgive others, even as Christ forgives you. Recognize that God extends forgiveness to you as you forgive others: “Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us.”
If others offend you again, forgive them again. Peter asked Christ how many times he was required to forgive someone. Jesus answered: “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22). He was actually saying that your forgiveness must be unlimited.
Forgive yourself. Distinguish between true remorse and guilt and shame. You are right to feel remorse, but guilt and shame are not from God. Jesus bore your sins, your guilt, and your shame on the cross (Hebrews 12:2). You do not have to bear these things (1 John 3:20). If you have confessed your sin to God and sought forgiveness and reconciliation with others, then you must also forgive yourself. See yourself as God sees you, a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Here are some guidelines to help you forgive yourself.
-Acknowledge the sin that is causing your feelings of guilt. Confess your sin to God, and repent. Ask God to forgive your sin and heal your emotions.
-Recognize when God forgives, He forgets–He casts your sins as far as east from west (Psalm 103:12).
-Claim the promises of 1 John 1:8-9 and Romans 8:1.
-By an act of your own will, release yourself from condemnation. Control future thoughts by casting down “vain imaginations” of guilt and shame and “forgetting those things behind” (2 Corinthians 10:5 and Philippians 3:3).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION:
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. (Psalm 32:1)
Read David’s prayer of repentance in Psalm 51.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You. (Psalm 86:5)
He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us after our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his lovingkindness toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:10-12)
Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins. (Proverbs 10:12)
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.”Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. (Isaiah 43:18)
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25)
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
The parable about forgiveness in Matthew 18:23-35 illustrates how your forgiveness by God is related to forgiving others.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25-26)
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:27-31)
Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.(John 6:37)
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. (Acts 3:19)
Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin. (Romans 4:7-8)
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. (Romans 5:1)
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
…by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (Ephesians 2:15-18))
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:2-3)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many (Hebrews 12:15)
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:8-10)
DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
DEFINITIONS: Divorce occurs when a couple decides they no longer want to fulfill their commitment to their marriage. Remarriage is marrying again after a previous marriage ended in either death or divorce.
FACTS ABOUT DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE:
Divorce was not God’s original plan. When questioned by the religious leaders about divorce, Jesus explained that divorce was permitted because of the hardness of the hearts of mankind (Mark 10:1-9). God’s original plan was one man, one wife, for life (1 Corinthians 7:10)
Divorce is permitted under certain circumstances. For believers, these circumstances include sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9) and when a spouse deserts (1 Corinthians 7:15). In these situations, divorce is permitted by scripture, but not necessarily advocated. The goal is always reconciliation if possible.
Remarriage is not prohibited for a person whose spouse has committed sexual immorality or abandoned them–and of course, remarriage is permitted after the death of a spouse.
Although usually one person initiates divorce proceedings, both parties most likely have contributed to the breakup to some degree.
Divorce is not the unpardonable sin. We are all sinners, and we all make mistakes in relationships. To those who were caught in sin, Jesus forgave them with the admonishment, “go your way and sin no more.” Sinful errors may have been made in a relationship, but you can receive forgiveness and go on with a renewed dedication to God.
Having an unbelieving spouse is not grounds for divorce. The Christian spouse is encouraged to remain with their mate with the goal of winning him/her to Christ (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).
Many problems in marriage would be avoided if believers obeyed God’s Word regarding not marrying an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). No need to pray about this. God already said don’t do it! To avoid such emotional entanglements, don’t date unbelievers.
DEALING WITH DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE:
Think long and hard before initiating a divorce. Do you have biblical grounds? How will it affect your children, friends, and family? Will it actually solve problems or just present a whole set of new issues? How will it affect you and your family financially? Divorces are difficult spiritually, mentally, materially, and a breakup is especially hard on the children. Shame, anger, depression, loss of other relationships–all are part of divorce. You shouldn’t leave because of petty issues of incompatibility, because you tire of a relationship, or you are not committed enough to make it through the tough times.
Explore your relationship with God. Are you a believer? If you want your marriage to succeed, you must build it on the Lord (Psalm 127:1). Join with your spouse to seek a renewed relationship with God first, then with each other.
Seek forgiveness. Ask forgiveness from God and from your spouse. Pray for the healing of your emotions and relationship.
Seek reconciliation. Try to the best of your ability to reconcile with your spouse. Pray together, study the Word of God, form relationships with couples who have successful marriages, attend Christian marriage seminars. Pray about your problems instead of yelling about them. Do not bring up the past. Look to the future.
Take practical actions. List all the praiseworthy traits of your spouse and share at least one each day with them. Take a good look at yourself and improve things like bad habits, appearance, mannerisms, integrity, etc. Don’t just tell your spouse how you are going to change; show him/her by changing.
If you are a born-again believer, do not marry an unsaved person. Don’t be surprised when such a union experiences difficulties because Jesus said, a house divided against itself is destined to fall (Luke 11:17). A similar passage in the Amplified Version says, “…no city or house divided against itself will last or continue to stand” (Matthew 12:25 AMP).
Accept that sometimes, there is no more you can do. If you have done everything possible to save your marriage and it still failed, if your mate has departed, or if you are in an abusive situation and you need to depart for your own safety–then accept that there is nothing more you can do. It is in God’s hands. Divorce is not the unpardonable sin. Ask God for forgiveness for your part in the problem. Accept His forgiveness, forgive yourself, and then get on with your life. Do not keep looking back thinking “I should have….” As long as you live in the past, you will never have a future.
Realize that there are some relationships that cannot be fixed. Not because God can’t fix them, but because one party is unwilling to change. The abuser, the alcoholic, the drug addict–they all promise they won’t do it again, but they will not change without a true born-again experience and supernatural deliverance. The adulterer and fornicator that comes and goes in and out of your marriage bed may leave you with an incurable sexually transmitted disease. Perhaps this is one reason why fornication–sexual activity outside of marriage including adultery–was specifically mentioned as a scriptural cause for divorce (Matthew 5:32). In the case of spousal abuse or child abuse, you must leave and take the kids with you. In many nations, you are legally responsible and can be criminally prosecuted if you fail to protect your children. Just because you walk away, does not mean God will not continue to deal with your spouse, nor does it mean God cannot put the relationship back together again in the future, nor does it mean that you must legally divorce your mate. What it means is that, for the present, you must take this action to protect yourself and your children. Be sure to protect yourself legally from the debts of your spouse and be sure the children are provided for.
Know that God is the God of a second chance. Consider Jonah, David, Moses, and Peter. God accomplished His purposes in the lives of each of these men, despite their failures. If you have failed in marriage and you are divorced, it is time to..”Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you–rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!” (Isaiah 60:1, TAB). Let go of the hurt and bitterness. Stop dwelling on the “what ifs”. Stop rehearsing the past. If you are in an abusive situation, stop trying to make it work. If your mate has abandoned you, release them to God. If God puts the relationship back together in the future, then it will work. If not, consider it a divine division, abandon the past, and look to the future. As long as you are living in the past, you will never have a future.
Embrace your loss as spiritual gain. The Apostle Paul said: “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:7-10, KJV). God can use even the suffering of divorce to deepen your relationship with Him. Embrace that loss–and all the losses in your life–as spiritual gain.
Do not judge others who have divorced and remarried. If you don’t believe in divorce for any reason or remarriage after a divorce, do not judge others who remarry. Live by your own convictions in this area, but do not impose your beliefs on those whose situations you do not understand and know nothing about.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE:
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:20-24)
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 18:22)
Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home. (Proverbs 27:8)
If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? (Jeremiah 3:1)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)
And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not one make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth. (Malachi 2:15 AMP)
It has been said, “Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.” But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:31-32)
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25)
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:3-9)
Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
“What did Moses command you?” he replied. They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:1-9-12)
Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Luke 16:18)
For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. (Romans 7:2-3)
To the married I give this command (not I but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. (I Corinthians 7:10-15)
A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:39)
Read 1 Corinthians 13.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18, NIV)
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Hebrews 13:4)
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7)
(See also “Marriage” in this database.)