Saturday, September 17, 2011

Road Signs and Guideposts - part 2

Why is it so important that we know we're forgiven?  I mean really know that there's complete forgiveness in Christ?  I believe there are two reasons.  The first is that without knowing that are failures can be forgiven, we don't have the courage or the peace in our heart to practice what we've seen and heard in the Word of God (see Philippians 4:9).  The second is related to the first and I think it is best summed up in the one word - plunder!

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.  "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man...(Mark 3:27-28 ESV)

I've always found it rather odd that these verses came next to each other in Scripture.  It always sort of felt like a completely random change in thought!  The thing about the LORD is - nothing is random!  As I thought about it, Ephesians 6:14-15.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (emphasis mine).  In our battle against the strong man, the gospel of peace - the fact that our sins can be completely forgiven - makes us ready for the battle!  These two verses in Mark are so perfectly intertwined!  Jesus is telling us that plunder is possible and in the next breath He's answering our knee-jerk reaction "I can't do that!  Don't You know how often I fall completely short?!"  Jesus is giving us the peace and the courage to take Him at His Word and take some unbelievable plunder from our enemy's house!

So what comes to your mind when you think of plunder?  Plunder is the lost, hurting people who have yet to receive that gospel of peace.  Plunder is the vast inheritance that the LORD desires to give His people that can't quite believe Him enough to reach out and experience it.  What lies have you believed that keep you bound in the enemy's house instead of walking with Christ as a free man?  Has he told you that plunder isn't possible?

Who can snatch the plunder of war from the hands of a warrior? Who can demand that a tyrant let his captives go?  But the Lord says, “The captives of warriors will be released, and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved.  For I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children... All the world will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.”  (Isaiah 49:23-25, 26b NLT)

Plunder is why Christ came!

...and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.  When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied.  And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins (Isaiah 53:10b-11 NLT)
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong... (Isaiah 53:12a NIV).

And guess what else!  The last part of that verse goes on to say that He makes intercession for the transgressors!  He's pleading our case in the courtroom of Heaven and praying for us to be victorious!  It doesn't get any better than that!

Father, so often I find myself battling with unbelief!  Instead of remembering that You sent Your Son so that great plunder could be taken from the kingdom of darkness and that we are to be more than conquerors in Jesus (see Romans 8:26-39), I drop courage on the floor and think that You can't possibly be refering to me.  How much plunder am I leaving in the enemy camp because I don't take You at Your Word?  Oh, Lord forgive me as You have promised and get me going!  Faces come to mind of people I love that are bound in chains of lies.  May I battle on my knees, Sword in hand, You by my side... and persevere as the plunder mounts!  In the Name of Jesus, Amen!

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