Forgiveness and Grace

Or is it the other way around? Does it really make a difference? I’m not totally assured one way or the other. I know they are certainly intertwined in many cases. I guess I’d have to ask: can you have forgiveness without grace? Or, can you have grace without forgiveness?

I think we should take a good look at the meaning of both words from the source of all truth, The Bible.

Forgiveness: To acquit of sins. To give up resentment of or claim to extracting neither punishment or redress. To forgive implies that one gives up all claim to requital and to resentment or vengeful feelings.*

Grace: God’s free and unmerited favor toward sinful humanity. Unmerited favor given to another.*

* In each of the above definitions the first sentence came from the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible. Following sentences were paraphrased from Miriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition.

After looking at the definitions I found that I needed yet another definition. I needed the definition of “unmerited.” Not finding “unmerited” in either Reference book, I looked for “merit” and found it in the dictionary (only).

Merit: (Paraphrasing again): merit is something to be earned. In fact, while it can be considered as reward or punishment, it is usually applied in a positive way, such as: earning reward, honor, opportunity and esteem.

How many times I’ve heard someone say: “If he/she would just apologize (or give me a simple, ‘I’m sorry’, I could/would forgive him/her”. Or, “They’ve crossed the line one too many times! I will never forgive them.” Or, … well, I think you get the idea. And, I hope you now understand that “forgiveness” can only be offered in an unmerited manner. Forgiveness has no “if only they would do this or that…or any other attached strings or, fine print. You either forgive or you don’t—right where they are (right now), and/or whatever condition they are in (right now). Yes: it’s an either/or situation.

Don’t panic. I cannot think of anything greater than our triune God’s grace, except God, himself. Grace and forgiveness are blessings we receive from God. Out of God’s grace, He sent his son Jesus to an undeserved and incredibly painful death on a cross—as a sacrifice for our sin. But, that wasn’t the end of it. Jesus then carried that sin burden to Hell, …where the real price for past (and our continuing) sins was extracted. Make no mistake, God and his son Jesus, paid an unimaginable price for the forgiveness of your sins—and mine, as well. And, when that stone rolled away and Jesus Christ stepped out of that tomb—He handed us our free pass into Heaven.

In light of what Jesus willingly did for us, how can any Christian say, “I cannot forgive that person.” Grudges not only eat at our insides they feed Satan and his demons. We must stop saying, “I won’t!” Saying, “I can’t!” is more truthful, but it is still just an excuse. We will lose this battle if we charge into it alone. Remember, we are fighting supernatural beings.

Think about the size of the sin load Jesus carried to the cross to cancel your sin burden—and, it’s still working for you. Surely you can pass some of that along. And, if you’re still not sure; you NEED to read this…

Jesus is speaking… 14If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly father will forgive you. 15But if you refuse to forgive others, your father will not forgive your sins. [Matthew 6: 14-15, NLT]

There are at least four other places in the New Testament (that I know of) that say the same thing. See: Mk 11:25, Luke 6:37, 11:4 and 17:3.

I know this will cause many people serious concernas it should. There is only one place to take that concern. Call: JESUS. He won’t put you on hold; and He is, I firmly believe, the only one that can understand exactly where you are, and why. Pour your heart out to Him. Out of His grace He can fix every break and bruise. And when the two of you are done with the victorious battle against Satan, He will have another priceless blessing for you—His Peace.

Oh, …Get Ready!

In Christian love,



You Aren’t Perfect!

…“no eye has seen, no ear has heard, 

and no mind has imagined

what God has prepared

for those who love him.” [1 Cor 2:9. NLT]i

No, you are not perfect, …but then, neither am I, nor is anyone else. And, I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know. Oh, we can get pretty “full of ourselves,” every now and then; but, it doesn’t last. Sooner or later you’re going to get a reminder, in one form or another, that you’re still capable of sinning and really, no better than any other sinner. You may even feel that you are unworthy of what Christ has done for you. Guess what…

No human on planet earth is worthy of what Christ has done for us, and what He stands ready to keep doing for usor any unsaved person! God’s grace through our faith in Him, His Son and the Holy Spirit, secures (or will secure) our salvation, redemption, restoration, and promise of eternal life.

Now, let’s paraphrase 1 Cor 2:9. “…my eye has not seen, my ear has not heard, and my finite mind cannot imagine what God has prepared for me.” Notice I stopped a bit “short”. I want to stress that we are talking about what God has “prepared” for us. There is no mistake about that. And, believe it or not, it has a name. It’s called, “Perfection”. And, perfection has three stages.

First: When we became a Christian, we entered an eternal union with Christwho is perfect. We were declared not guilty, and thus righteous (Holy) because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. This perfected union is absolute and unchangeable, and guarantees that one day we will be “completely perfect.” See above and Hebrews 10:10.

Second: We can grow and mature in our walk, as we continue to trust Christ; draw closer to Him; learn more about Him; and obey Him. Our progress is changeable because it depends on us, and… we are not perfect. (More about this in “Final notes”). Regardless, we do mature over time; and we are growing toward perfection as we “press on”.

Third: When Christ returns to take us into His eternal kingdom, we will be glorified and made completely perfectand that includes our bodies. See Philippians 3:20-21.

Final notes: Perfection is grounded in faith in Jesus Christ! We cannot perfect ourselves. It is, simply, …not. possible. How many times have you tried to correct what you know to be a flaw in your character, …and failed. You get “down” on yourself and unhappy. STOP IT! Christianity is not about what we can do, or should do, for Christ. IT IS ABOUT WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE FOR USAND IS DOING IN US.

When we trust God for everything, and allow Christ to work in us and through us, we will be living in true Christian freedom and joy. The work (and the joy) will continue until the day He returns or calls us home. See Philippians 3:1-15.


Again, I find myself thanking you; and praising you for your gifts of salvation, restoration, and eternal life. The cost was unthinkable, and yet, Jesus chose the cross―and us. Thus, we find ourselves with a deceptively “simple” way of becoming righteous in your eyes. And, even the worst of us can choose to believe in you, your son Jesus, and The Holy Spirit. Then through that simple act of faithand declaring it in prayer to Jesus, by asking Him to be our eternal Savior and Lordwe are welcomed into your family; and, our future is secured.

But, Abba, while living on earth, I’ve learned that “simple” does not necessarily mean “easy”. And, somehow, we can take what should be “easy” and “simple” and make it horribly complicated. I know it’s tied up in concepts like faith, belief, religion; and exposure to a culture that is 180 degrees out of sync with our future Home in your Kingdom.

So, as your Son and the Holy Spirit continue to work, perfecting me in my time here on earth; I ask that you help me see with kingdom eyes and hear with kingdom ears. Abba, I want to make myself malleable, pliant, open and compliant to their work. Help me to subordinate my will, my planning, and my pride. I have read Jer. 29:11; and I really, really, want to cooperate, for I know you have a wonderful future in store for me.

Thank you, Abba. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Avery Goodday

i Scripture quotations marked [NLT] are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

No God. Know about God. Or… Know God! [Part 3 of 3]

Know God!

If you’re still with me, I’m going to assume you are either, A.) already a Christian, or B.) looking for more information about the Christian life – and, if you are in category B, this is written especially for you.

Note: I’m not going to call Christianity a religion.  Christianity, in it’s purest form, is simply a personal relationship with our Triune God.  That is: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.  That may be difficult for you to grasp right now; but, trust me, it’s true.  Oh, fully comprehending God is impossible; but, having a personal relationship with Him is not. (Really – and, I’m going to tell you how.)  If you become a Christian it will be the most liberating, joyful, empowering, yet humbling, thing you can ever do.  It will change your life.

We (Christians) believe the Bible is “God Breathed”.  This tells us where the message originated – regardless of who actually wrote it down.  I tell you that, because the Bible is made up of 66 books written by about 40 authors over a period of approximately 2,000 years.  It contains History, Prophesy, Poetry and Instruction. The oldest book, Job (arguably), is believed to have been written perhaps as early as 2,000-1,800 BC.  The most recent (Revelation), about 95 AD. It is in the pages of the Bible that you will learn not only about the Christian God; but also, how to truly know Him.

I could start a list God’s characteristics; but, I’m not sure I could ever finish it.  So, I’m going to dwell on only a few. 

First, I’ve already said that God is supernatural.  (If He were mortal, how could He truly be God?)  He resides in His Kingdom (called Heaven).  It is invisible to us – likely in another dimension). 

Second, God is omnipotent (has unlimited authority and power) and omniscient (has universal and complete knowledge, including infinite awareness, understanding and insight).  When Moses (mid-1400 BC) asked God His name.  God told him it was “Yahweh” meaning “I Am Who I Am” or, “I Am”.i  

In the “No God” post, I said I believe God created the universe. (Note:  Within the Christian community there are two camps.  One believes in an “old earth” [at 4.5± billion years] the other believes in a “new earth” [at 10,000± years]).  The point I want to make about this discussion is simply this: it doesn’t make any difference if God created the universe billions of years ago or thousands of years ago.  The point we all agree on is… He did it.  He (Our Triune God, is the great architect, engineer and fabricator of the universe – period. When He did it, simply doesn’t matter to this core belief.

Third, as the Creator of everything, everything belongs to Him.  He is supreme and sovereign.  There is no other god.

Fourth, God loves His creation, most especially mankind.  Because He loves us, He created us in His image.  No, we are not miniature versions of God;  however, we do have many of His characteristics.  Not all of them; and certainly not to the same degree.  Most obviously: God is perfect, …we are not.  On the other hand, one way we are made in the image of God is that we have eternal souls.  We are eternal beings, living in temporary bodies, on planet Earth.

God could have created us as mindless slaves.  Instead He created us as intelligent beings with freewill.  When God created Adam and Eve, he gave them dominion over the earth.  He placed them in the Garden of Eden and gave them only one rule.  Do not eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. For a period of time Adam and Eve lived in a paradise on earth.  Adam and Eve walked and talked together in the Garden.  They enjoyed the animals and all the plants.  God visited them and they all talked together.  But that would come to an end.

Fifth, God is Just

Sixth, and important, important, …important!  God’s justice is tempered and perfected by His unbounded grace and perfect love.  I mention it now, because it is critical to what happened in the Garden of Eden; …and, everything following.  But before going there, we need to talk about Satan.

The angels are also created beings, not in God’s image.  God created them to serve Him in Heaven, and occasionally on Earth. There are (evidently) thousands upon thousands of angels.  Satan, one of the angels, was known as the most beautiful of all the angels. And perhaps because of that, he had “issues” with pride.  He wanted to be the equal of God.  When God didn’t agree, Satan gathered approximately one-third of the angels and attempted a coup. Obviously it did not succeed; and Satan (now a sworn enemy of God) and all his followers, were banished from Heaven – to earth.  Satan became pure evil and is referred to as a liar and the father of lies. In fact, he is incapable of telling the truth; and if he seems to tell the truth, it is a twisted truth that will bring about evil. Satan ultimately destroys anything he touches.

Satan still wars with God.  But, since he cannot attack God directly he does it indirectly through mankind – God’s favorite creation. (That includes you and me). This explains what happened in the Garden of Eden.  Satan approached Eve and engaged her in conversation. Using lies and twisted truth, he convinced her to eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden.  She did, liked it, and then convinced Adam to also eat it.

That willful disobedience of the only rule God had given them, ushered in death, pain, and every other evil on Earth – to this day.  By listening to Satan and following his words (rather than God’s one rule), Adam and Eve gave Satan control of Earth.  Even more importantly, mankind was instantly separated from God. Today, we call Adam’s and Eve’s sin, ‘Original Sin’.  Since we are all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, their sin has passed down through the ages to each and every one of us.  We are all born, sinful by nature.  Satan thought he had won a great victory over God because God cannot abide to even be in the presence of sin; and, the only payment for sin is death. 

But there is still more to the story, ….

Remember those two words omnipotent and omniscient, well now you will see an example of them in action.  Even at creation, God knew what would happen in Eden; so, He had a plan in mind for the redemptionii of mankind.  No way was God going to forsake His most loved creation.iii

All of the above is found in the Old Testament.  Most of it in Genesis, the first book.  The Old Testament also contains a ton of history; a lot of “law” (that applied in the Old Testament – but not the New Testament); prophesy (much of which would come to pass in the New Testament); and, wonderful instruction from the lives of many great men and women.  Satan runs rampant through the Old Testament, with much of his mayhem designed to find and kill the “son of Eve” who will ultimately kill him (Satan).iv Additionally,  throughout the Old Testament there are wonderful “hints” and “sneak previews” of God’s plan that will give mankind a path to redemption.

Approximately 400 years separate the Old Testament From the New.  During this time God was silent.  But His plan was progressing.

The New Testament begins with four books called the “Gospels”.  The word  means: Good News.  It is these four books that spell out God’s plan for redemption.  Why four books on the exact same subject? Easy.  There were four different authors, each writing from his own perspective.  Together they provide a well rounded picture of Jesus. Jesus is God’s only son.  He came to earth as a baby.  His mother, a virgin named Mary, was impregnated by the Holy Spirit and gave birth to Jesus nine month later.  Jesus lived a sin-free life; and is the crux of God’s plan to redeem mankind.

OK. Remember the important words Grace and Love? This is where they intersects with us.  As noted, the only payment for sin is death.  So, we ALL deserve to die.  After all, no one is without sin.  Because of God’s Grace and Love, He sent Jesus, to earth to become the payment for our sin.  And, when this perfect man – who had committed no sin – died on the cross, He became the blood sacrifice, carrying the weight of sin for all mankind – for all time.

Jesus was put into a tomb.  And, on the third day He arose from the dead. Why?  That was the final proof that Jesus was truly God’s Son.  He had been beaten, lashed, crucified, suffocated, and had a spear thrust into His side to penetrate the membrane around His heart. He was pronounced dead by absolute experts in crucifixion.  He was sealed in a tomb from Friday to Sunday.  He was dead.  Yet on Sunday the tomb was found empty.  Over the next 40 days, he was seen by hundreds of people (over 500 in just one instance).  Then He ascended to Heaven, where He sits at the right Hand of His Father (once again in His supernatural form).  It is from there that He will return in the final scene of God’s Great Plan.  Christians believe in a living God.

Jesus will return as the Messiah.  The expected king and deliverer of the Jews.  And, on this visit to earth, Jesus will be on a very different mission.   All Christians (living and dead) will be gathered to Him and given new bodies.  Satan, all of the fallen angels, demons, devils, and all of his followers, will be judged and thrown into Hell.  The Earth will be cleansed of all evil by fire, and then re-created.  Heaven and the New Earth will merge – with a new capital called “The New Jerusalem”.  God and all of His People will live together on the recreated Earth.

So, if Jesus died for everyone, it’s a done deal.  What does one have to worry about…, you ask?  Well, Gods plan is simple, but not quite that simple.  I repeat, everyone is free to accept Jesus’ sacrifice and gain eternity in Heaven.  The cold, hard fact is, not everyone will.  (It’s that freewill thing).

Thus, not everyone will be in Heaven.  Only those who answer the Holy Spirit’s urging and choose belief in Jesus, have a repentant heart, and ask Him for redemption, will receive it.  They will become the adopted sons and daughters of God.  They will also receive the Holy Spirit to live within them (establishing that personal relationship with God).  It is these who are assured of entering into Heaven after death. 

Many (most) will harden their hearts to the call, and turn from God.  God will allow them to do this.  God, while not approving all our choices, will honor them.  Again, no one will be forced to become a follower of Christ.  But remember this: God is just.  He will not, literally cannot,  abide willful disobedience (sin).  Those judged sinful, will spend eternity in Hell – completely separated from God.  That means there is, literally, nothing “good” in hell.  Only, complete, black, never ending evil.  And, no hope – period.

Where are we now in God’s plan?  Well, we know that Christ died on the cross for us.  We know that after dying on the cross Jesus regained dominion over the earth – from Satan.  We know that Christ will return to earth at a future date; which is unknown (and unpredictable).  While He delays, Satan – who knows he has lost – never-the-less, continues to make as much trouble, for us and God, as possible.  Satan continues his war, and tries to use us a pawns. It’s as if he doesn’t know he can’t change our destiny if we stand our ground.  He (Satan) can, and does, do tremendous harm.  But he cannot change the final outcome.  He is beaten.  The Bible says that God is waiting to give as many people as possible the opportunity to accept His offer of Salvation.  But there will always be people who won’t accept that offer.  And, at some point, it will suddenly be too late.  In the meantime, those of us who have accepted Gods Grace must continue to do the work He has for us, …while we can.  God will bring us through, and grow our faith in the process.

So, establishing your personal relationship with the one true God is as simple as saying and meaning, the following words… 

God, I accept you as the one true God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.  I know I have sinned and cannot do anything to save myself.  I believe you sacrificed your son, Jesus, to be my redeemer; and, I accept your grace.  I wish to turn away from my sinful life and live for you. Thank you Jesus, for saving me.  Amen.

If you have taken that step, you will, likely, soon have some questions. In my next post, “For New Christians” I will give you some pointers and references I think will help you.  And, congratulations!

If you have not taken that step, know that many Christians are praying for you.  God grieves over every soul that is lost.  It hurts Him, but it doesn’t change Him.  Someday we all must stand in Judgment.  Christians have a free and exclusive pass.  For everyone else it will be too late.  I write this not to scare anyone.  Just to make you aware of what this world is really about.

In Christian Love…

Avery Goodday

i ‘Yahweh’ is derived from the Hebrew word for “I Am”.  (The problem for us today, is that Hebrew doesn’t use vowels (YHWH).  And, since the Jews never pronounced the name of God out-loud, the correct pronunciation is “lost” and we can only make an educated guess at the correct pronunciation and spelling.

ii Redemption: To redeem.  To buy back; to release from blame or debt.

iii As Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eve, God cursed Satan and told him that a son of Eve’s would destroy him.

iv ibid.