Regarded as Sinless

prodigal_son

By John Thiel

We are in need of trusting Jesus as Satan is going about seeking who he can destroy. I have seen very strong spiritual people being tossed about especially as they discover more and more their sinfulness. Not surprising as the nearer we come to Jesus, the more distinctly we will see our sinfulness. This is a message that we need to remind ourselves continually that we need to believe. I find myself having to remind even the strongest believers today of this message. When our lives are illuminated by Jesus, we see ourselves as we really are. We keep on feeling oppressed. We keep feeling that I’m too sinful and that I have no hope because I see that my sins are so severe, they are part of my very being, my sinful flesh.

There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ, and who really desire to be children of God, yet they realize that their character is imperfect, their life faulty, and they are ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. To such I would say, do not draw back in despair. We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes; but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Said the beloved John, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” And do not forget the words of Christ, “The Father himself loveth you.” John 16:27. He desires to restore you to Himself, to see His own purity and holiness reflected in you. And if you will but yield yourself to Him, He that hath begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ. {FLB 118.4}

How much do we believe this? This tells us the experience that every true follower of Jesus will meet. As we meet it more intensely coming up to the time of Jacobs trouble, we need knowledge of Gods character in reference to my sinfulness. I need to believe God. The hardest thing that a person can handle is when he is convicted of sin, and he feels absolutely bad about it, and feels that he is not worthy, and comes to ‘God and falls on his knees before him, to believe he is forgiven.

The Prodigal Son

The prodigal son had really blown it. Not only had he blown his wealth that he gained because his father had given what he wanted, but he had blown the sense of knowing that he is accepted with his father. He thought, I’m not worthy, I’m so bad. As he came to the situation that he was so hungry because he had squandered all his past, consider this parable of what Jesus is trying to say to you and I personally today. No matter how much you’ve blown it, you are a son of God. Every circumstance of our experience where we’ve made mistakes can make us think it’s too bad, I’ve blown my chance.

Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Is that possible? Does God do that with us after we’ve blown it so badly?

The love of God still yearns over the one who has chosen to separate from Him, and He sets in operation influences to bring him back to the Father’s house. COL 202

Are you picking up the attitude of God?

The prodigal son in his wretchedness “came to himself.” COL 202

There is another person who came to himself after seven years of madness and he opened his heart to the Lord. He became a converted believer.

The deceptive power that Satan had exercised over him was broken. He saw that his suffering was the result of his own folly, and he said, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father.” Miserable as he was, the prodigal found hope in the conviction of his father’s love. It was that love which was drawing him toward home. So it is the assurance of God’s love that constrains the sinner to return to God. “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” Rom. 2:4. A golden chain, the mercy and compassion of divine love, is passed around every imperilled soul. The Lord declares, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” Jer. 31:3. {COL 202.1}

Where did he find hope? In the conviction of his father’s love. How imperiled are we when we are teetering on the edge of total depravity? This is what we need to understand about my case when I see myself as having blown it entirely. We know it in theory but how is it inside of you? Are you losing hair? You know the reason for losing hair? Stress. We might be ever so bold and believing on the outside but on the inside we are still struggling. It happens to everyone until we break out of this stress mode. How do we break out of it? To believe the sentiments of God’s love.

To believe it right down into your very being. The sense of my evil is debilitating. I want to do what is right but because I see my depraved condition and I feel like giving up. I have no ability to pull myself to pull myself out. My sin and physical disease comes as a disease of spiritual palsy. This was the case of the man of Capernaum. He wanted to go to Jesus to be healed and he couldn’t get to him as he was palsied. He asked his friends to take him but they couldn’t get through the crowd. What did he do? He was so desperate he said, ‘let me in through the roof’ so they did. We are palsied internally by the mistakes of our life pleading at the foot of Jesus but still suffering. How many people have been sorry for their sin but they are still not free? This man is portrayed to us as a wonderful object lesson.

The palsied man had sunk into despair. Then he heard of the works of Jesus. Others, as sinful and helpless as he, had been healed, and he was encouraged to believe that he, too, might be cured if he could be carried to the Saviour. But hope fell as he remembered the cause of his malady, yet he could not cast away the possibility of healing. MH 73

My sin is always before me said King David. As sin is the cause of the malady, how can I be cured and healed if I am still under the oppression of the sin that is always before me?

His great desire was relief from the burden of sin. He longed to see Jesus and receive the assurance of forgiveness and peace with heaven. Then he would be content to live or to die, according to God’s will. {MH 74.1}

There was no time to lose; already his wasted flesh bore signs of death. Luke 1:53. {MH 74.2}

The discourse was interrupted. The Saviour looked upon the mournful countenance and saw the pleading eyes fixed upon Him. Well He knew the longing of that burdened soul. It was Christ who had brought conviction to his conscience when he was yet at home. When he repented of his sins and believed in the power of Jesus to make him whole, the mercy of the Saviour had blessed his heart. Jesus had watched the first glimmer of faith grow into a conviction that He was the sinner’s only helper, and had seen it grow stronger with every effort to come into His presence. It was Christ who had drawn the sufferer to Himself. Now, in words that fell like music on the listener’s ear, the Saviour said, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” Matthew 9:2. {MH 75.2}

Those words be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven. Did he believe those words? Indeed he did.

The burden of guilt rolls from the sick man’s soul. He cannot doubt. Christ’s words reveal His power to read the heart. Who can deny His power to forgive sins? Hope takes the place of despair, and joy of oppressive gloom. The man’s physical pain is gone, and his whole being is transformed. Making no further request, he lay in peaceful silence, too happy for words. {MH 76.1}

Have you experienced this in our fellowship? The very things that you were burdened with, the Lord knows. He knows the heart. He sends messages that are designed to reach me. Regarded as sinless, that is the theme of our meditation. He saw himself as God saw him, sinless. Today we may find help by other means. There are the stresses of life which cause us to look for relief somewhere. We try this and that and other things and there is no release. The disease keeps coming back. There is only one release of disease and that is total release of my sin. I must be free of the sense of my sin. It is the only way because sin creates disease. Jesus says, I have come with healing in my wings. There needs to be faith. That is a very presumptuous statement today. If I’m sick then I have no faith? I’m stressed again.

The paralytic found in Christ healing for both the soul and the body. He needed health of soul before he could appreciate health of body. Before the physical malady could be healed, Christ must bring relief to the mind, and cleanse the soul from sin. This lesson should not be overlooked. There are today thousands suffering from physical disease who, like the paralytic, are longing for the message, “Thy sins are forgiven.” The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, is the foundation of their maladies. They can find no relief until they come to the Healer of the soul. The peace which He alone can impart would restore vigor to the mind and health to the body. {MH 77.3}

Vigor to the mind and then health to the body. If your mind is under the oppression of sin and its consequences, it’s going to affect your health. I mentioned hair falling out, that is a small symptom. Take an honest look at ourselves. Is there still an undercurrent of secret sufferings under the burden of sin? A gloom that keeps festering deep inside of my soul? A character defect that is too big to let go? Are there still unreleased conflicts and fears that are deep inside of me that keep my head in gloominess?

There must come a time for God’s children to realise the Fathers love. We need to believe in Jesus. The application of Jesus to me is not something to argue because of the false doctrines around me. We can think we have the truth but still have problems around me. My sinful flesh that is always before me that comes to me by the courses of my sinful flesh, the frustrating situations that take place inside of me. I need a constant flow of the love of God to stay out of it. Here we have the knowledge of Jesus in that experience that I am suffering under. I need a constant reminder to be able to conquer.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Sin in the Flesh

Isn’t that the problem? Isn’t that the thing that continuously festers inside of my experience? How many times our flesh flies and we think what have I done? I’m never going to make it, and the gloom sets in. What do we see when we look to Jesus? In the likeness of sinful flesh? Sin in the flesh condemning sin in the flesh.

That He might by His own example condemn sin in the flesh, He took upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh. {AG 322.3

That by His example He will give me hope. I need to know this living reality. I need to understand and believe it. Isn’t that the cry, my God my God why have you forsaken me? Isn’t that the cry? I had you in the past but now you’re gone. He’s been my Saviour in the past hasn’t He? But now He’s gone again. When He cried; my God, my God why has though forsaken me? It was my sin.

Isaiah 53:6 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.

Our sins have separated us from God. Jesus said in Isaiah 40:12 they are more than the hairs of my head. What oppression, what stress, what a horrifying experience Jesus went through. If we will believe that, then there is hope for us if we believe it for me personally. Here is the beautiful picture of faith that is needed that Jesus had. Remember we are to have the faith of Jesus?

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth. 34 Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

We read of the man who suffered the palsy and also of the prodigal son. Wasn’t God for him? If God is for us, who can be against us? Can’t we see? My sinful self, God is not going to hold us down for that. It’s a condition I keep seeing around me. We don’t believe God but we believe one another. When people run us down, we believe them instead of God. I find it incredible when people say he said such and such about me. What God says about us, we don’t believe. If God is for me, who can be against me? We want to believe that.

Think about these words. He spared not His own Son. He let His Son suffer the stress that is mine. We don’t believe that is the problem. When the onslaughts of another person’s words come towards me, I do not believe what I’m reading. Who can be against me?

Be careful in the church when someone is beginning to lift their head and rejoicing. Don’t remind them of their sins or their past as they are beginning to feel Jesus is working in them. There is no way we can be forgiven unless we believe that Jesus has forgiven me. If we say things about each other, the Lord can’t help us at all. Jesus can’t take away our sin. Jesus gave Himself and the Father didn’t spare Him. He let all the weight of absolute depression fall on His soul. God wreathed our sins into the body of Jesus and made Him suffer it all. Jesus gave himself. What for?

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

He gave Himself so this might happen. He who knew no gloom, He who knew no sin gave Himself so He may suffer it for me.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

For what purpose? So that I who know no peace feeling my past sins and feeling all I have done when it is all played out in front of me – He has taken my gloom.

When we see the length of the chain that was let down for us, when we understand something of the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf, the heart is melted with tenderness and contrition. {SC 35.4}

It makes you feel even worse and you feel like breaking at the foot of the cross. Praise the Lord. The chain that Jesus let down was Himself and He touches us at the bottom of the pit. When we see that, we discover something profound.

The great work that is wrought for the sinner who is spotted and stained by evil is the work of justification. By Him who speaketh truth he is declared righteous. The Lord imputes unto the believer the righteousness of Christ and pronounces him righteous before the universe. He transfers his sins to Jesus, the sinner’s representative, substitute, and surety. Upon Christ He lays the iniquity of every soul that believeth. “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Cor. 5:21. . . . {FLB 112.4}

Regarded as Sinless

Regarded as sinless, no more sins. When you have memory of sin, they are not yours anymore. To really believe that. Can you see the difficulty of it? We need to believe. The Lord says it, you are declared righteous, here is my righteous child. Declared as righteous because I believe and I take hold of this gift of Jesus and I see Him coming right down to my level and suffering my sin. There is freedom. Today Jesus says to you and me be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven. Can you lay back in total resignation and say I believe it?

Don’t bring them up again to yourself or to each other. I’ve made a declaration before the Lord and I’m going to rely on Him. I know I’ve desperately sinned in front of the congregation and I know I’ve done lots of things and they can see them and there is a talking point. We don’t believe and that is why we talk evil about each other. That’s why. Jesus says believe my word. If I believe it, won’t I repent? Won’t I fall in contrition before Him? Like the paralytic who didn’t dare to go, but he felt he had to as he felt that others who were bad as him were healed too.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world
giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Why the word let? Because if you let it, when your sins come up before you and cause you to feel depraved, you have no peace. He took my guilty condition.

The Lord God through Jesus Christ holds out His hand all the day long in invitation to the sinful and fallen. He will receive all. He welcomes all. It is His glory to pardon the chief of sinners. He will take the prey from the mighty, He will deliver the captive, He will pluck the brand from the burning. He will lower the golden chain of His mercy to the lowest depths of human wretchedness, and lift up the debased soul contaminated with sin. {MH 161

As I’m sinful and fallen his hand is reaching. He receives all and welcomes all. Can you believe it? Contaminated, unclean and filthy. Jesus needs to be seen and believed.

If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. {SC 62.2}

Do you believe it? When this ugly sinful flesh that comes up through your stomach into your heart when you feel so grotty and evil when you cast back your mind on your past activities and also your character defects that are still prevalent now, to believe. As you break your heart before the Lord and see yourself as you really are and say I’m so hopeless I’m caught out and as you rest your soul, believe it. Do you wish to please God? Do you think you’re pleasing God when you hold onto sin and the gloom and consequence of sin? When He is reaching out all day long trying to take my sin from me? When I’m not releasing myself as He wants me to release myself, am I pleasing Him? The paralytic released himself and he lay back making no further request in peaceful silence, it made Jesus so happy.

Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Is there any person righteous? Why was he righteous? Because he believed God. When I feel gloomy and sinful and I go over all my past and I feel I’m too wicked, I must believe that when I come to Jesus with true repentance that He has been igniting in me, true contrition, then I must believe that He will reward me. He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

When God pardons the sinner, remits the punishment he deserves, and treats him as though he had not sinned, He receives him into divine favor, and justifies him through the merits of Christ’s righteousness. The sinner can be justified only through faith in the atonement made through God’s dear Son, who became a sacrifice for the sins of the guilty world. No one can be justified by any works of his own. He can be delivered from the guilt of sin, from the condemnation of the law, from the penalty of transgression, only by virtue of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ. Faith is the only condition upon which justification can be obtained, and faith includes not only belief but trust. . . . {TMK 110.2}

The very atonement that we enjoy studying is being harassed in our minds. Is it true that Jesus came in sinful flesh? We get harassed about that. Faith is not only to believe but to trust.

The faith that is unto salvation is not a casual faith, it is not the mere consent of the intellect, it is belief rooted in the heart, that embraces Christ as a personal Saviour. . . . When the soul lays hold upon Christ as the only hope of salvation, then genuine faith is manifested. This faith leads its possessor to place all the affections of the soul upon Christ; his understanding is under the control of the Holy Spirit, and his character is molded after the divine likeness. His faith is not a dead faith, but a faith that works by love, and leads him to behold the beauty of Christ, and to become assimilated to the divine character. {TMK 110.4}

How can you ever do anything right unless you entrust entirely in the forgiving pardon of God. If you don’t believe, you will continue to strive to do it in all your own strength. When you totally trust in Jesus, you will cease all that. You will be motivated. It will come as the righteousness of Christ in your life, not your own. You will be motivated not only to cry unto Him, but to continue to rejoice in Him. As you cry, you are released. It is a continuous experience. To remind ourselves of our sins is not our agenda. God shows us our sins and all we are to do is to take hold of His grace. Take hold of this saving picture. Take hold of Jesus and live under that. If you are afraid because you haven’t repented properly, note that you can’t repent properly anyway. The only way you can truly repent is by the repentance that Jesus gives you.

Repentance is as certainly a gift of Jesus Christ as is forgiveness of sins. Repentance cannot be experienced without Christ, for it is the repentance of which He is the author that is the ground upon which we may apply for pardon. {TMK 109.3}

I can’t even repent. As my heart is drawn out to all this, I will make rapid progress. I will not keep holding back and stooped in that stressful experience. When it comes back, it’s gone as I keep on applying the beautiful story of Jesus. I will cease to condemn others! Because we have such a high standard, we continually look at others and condemn them for not reaching the standard. If I have this message right, I will think as Jesus thought. I will care for those who are stumbling. I will not bring them up before the church and say, isn’t this man a sinner? This is not what Jesus showed us. We will be sinners in the hospital of Jesus Christ all looking to Him for healing. We will recover as we are not focused on each other but on Jesus. Believe in Jesus and you will be saved. It’s as simple as that. It’s just made complicated by legalism. It’s made complicated by misapplication of the law and the gospel. That’s all. It is simple.

May God grant us to believe that my sins are truly pardoned because God says so.

Amen.

Posted on September 1, 2009, in Divine Service Sermons, The Love of God and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I understand the sermon but i feel that asking for forgiveness of my sins will not work. My belief that my sins will be forgiven is in a sort of back room in my mind and i connot reach it. As i read the sermon i can feel my sin in the back ground and i know what i must do but i just cant reach it and do it so i can pray about it. Belief is simple, i simply believe many things but i find it hard to just belief that i can pray and ask my sins to be forgiven and then just believe they are once i have finished praying. I dont even know if i am making sense and i feel very lost. Regards Janin

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