FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15
Scripture: Luke 17:1-4
Why did Jesus give us the power to either retain sin or forgive sin? It is because we have little chance of gaining repentance without it. With repentance we know that we can forgive sin. Luke 17:1-4 says, “Then He said to the disciples, ‘It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, “I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”’” Luke 17 is the parallel passage to Matthew 18. Matthew 18 identifies steps of confrontation. A lack of repentance, after confrontation, forces us to retain sin. A brother gained through repentance is the goal. So then when it comes to two or three agreeing touching anything that they ask, affliction is the means to gain repentance The reason af-es-is and har-mar-tia are joined together 12 times in the New Testament is that these two words describe the process of how we were incarcerated by sin, sin that only the death of Christ and His resurrection could break as we accept Him and have died with Him. The agreement would be for affliction, turning another over to satan for the destruction of their flesh. The apostles did that and they did it when there was no repentance. When the Holy Spirit guides us to withhold repentance it is for the benefit, not the detriment of the offender. This is the process and this opportunity offers a possible open door to repentance. That is a grace gift on God’s part in order to give the perpetrator further opportunities to turn toward salvation. How much affliction will it take to break the bondage? One of the saddest scriptures in the Bible is at the end of Revelation. This tells us of God ramping up affliction on earth through all sorts of devastating judgments, all for the opportunity to open hearts to salvation. It is stunning to read through these various levels of adversity that are poured out. Revelation 16:8-9 says, . “Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.” The phrase “They did not repent and give Him glory” should make us tremble. It shows us the dimension of hardness of heart that we are going to encounter in the last days. God ramps up the affliction until it includes termination. One would think that facing that kind of terror would produce quick repentance, but it does not when hearts are hardened. The question is how far are we going to walk with God in this process? Will we qualify as witnesses?