Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Your Past Does Not Determine Your Future

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”” – Revelation 21:5

There’s a common misconception among both Christians who have become distant from God, and non-believers that you have to “get better” before God will again accept you.  You have to be able to come to Him in a less sinful state, cleaned up by your own means.  These folks tell themselves – and sometimes others - things like:
“I’ve got to quit smoking and drinking first, and then I’ll be saved.”

“I’ll get back in church when life is easier and not so busy.”

“I can’t come back into fellowship with God’s people.  They know where I’ve been!”

The whole idea that God expects more out of you than you can currently give is nothing more than a lie straight from the lips of the father of lies himself, satan.  We all have to come to God in the same way – just as we are.  Your past does not cancel out what God wants to do in your future.  Postponing your future is the best effort satan can put forth to keep you where you are – apart from God, and apart from a better life.

Do you need proof? Do you really not believe that God can wipe away the mess of your past and receive you as you are?  Hebrews 11 tells of some of God’s most faithful people, His chosen ones.  But their lives were messed up! 

Abraham lived in fear that someone would kill him to take his wife Sarah from him.  He lied – not once, but twice – saying she was his sister (Genesis 20:1-18), and even had his wife lie and say that he was her brother.  Yet God forgot their past.  God promised Abraham, in his old age, that he would father a great nation, and his people would be a numerous as the stars.  Sarah, in her old age, God blessed with a son, Isaac.  From these two began the birth of God’s people, the Jews, under the covenant promise he made to Abraham.

Moses murdered a man (Exodus 2:12), and ran from Egypt to escape punishment for his crime.  But God forgave him, and used Moses to free the Jews from Egypt, and lead them through the wilderness. God even granted him to walk through the parted Red Sea to escape the Egyptians, who wanted to kill him!

Rahab was a prostitute (Joshua 6:25).  But even in her sinful state, God used Rahab to save the spies sent from Israel into her hometown of Jericho.  When God caused the walls of Jericho to fall, He saved Rahab, and all that were in her house.  But it didn’t stop there.  Read the lineage of Jesus in Matthew 1:2-16 and you’ll find Rahab.  Yes, God saw fit to allow her to be one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ.

Samson was a womanizer.  But even in his sinful state, God granted him great strength and used him to kill many Philistines, who were the enemy of the Jews.  Even when Samson’s sins got him into a fight with the Philistines and they poked out his eyes and made him much like a circus side-show, God showed up and answered his prayer and allowed him to pull the building he was tied to down on the Philistines and kill them and himself (Judges 16:28-30).

Jacob stole his Brother Esau’s birthright (Genesis 25:33), and ran to another country to escape Esau.  Yet God visited him on his way back and wrestled with him all night (Genesis 32:22-32), then giving him a blessing.  He fathered the 12 tribes of Israel.

David was just a shepherd, sleeping in the fields with the smelly sheep.  But God sent Samuel the prophet to anoint him to be King of Israel.  David went on to be King, and then became an adulterer, conceived a child out of marriage, and had the woman’s husband murdered to cover up his sin (2 Samuel 11:1-7).  But God forgave him, and said that he was a man after His own heart! (Acts 13:22)

The Apostle Paul was a murderer and torturer of Christians.  Yet God changes his life, gave him salvation, and allowed him to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ to thousands of Gentiles. He wrote 13 books of the New Testament.

If God is anything, if any one characteristic conveys who He truly is, it’s that He loves. He loves without condition.  Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God didn’t say “Clean yourself up, get rid of those bad habits, and then come to me, and let’s talk about redemption.”  Satan says that.

God didn’t say “Sorry, but I don’t forgive those who divorce their husbands and wives.  You’ll have to stop being a Christian now.”  Satan says that.

God didn’t say “You’ve been in jail, you’ve hurt innocent people, you’ve harmed those I love, and I’m not going to accept your apology.”  Satan says that.

God didn’t say “You’re addicted to alcohol and drugs, and you have no right being in my house without leaving your addictions first.”  Satan says that.

Friends, God says, through His Son Jesus, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.(Matthew 11:28-29)”  He offers a better way of life – now – just as you are.

Your past is your past, and we all have one.  I dare you to try to find a single Christian who doesn’t have sin in their past.  God says they don’t exist.  Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Oh sure, their sins might not be as evident as yours, and they might not be a socially unacceptable.  But God says that we’re all sinners in need of a savior.  We’re all in need of Him.

He will give you rest.  Rest from your past, rest from your reputation, rest from those voices in your head that shout out how unworthy you are.  He gives rest.  If you want a better life – it’s yours for the taking!  It truly is.  You just have to accept that He is your answer. He really is all that He says He is.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” – Psalms 34:8


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