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What is the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament? Did things go wrong and break in the Old Testament and God had to come, in Jesus, and fix that? Or is the Old Testament plan A and the New Testament is the consummation of plan A? Was the fall – Adam and Eve's big goof – in the Garden wrong? It was clearly wrong – but did it catch God with his guard down? Was it unexpected? Did He not plan for that? Or was that the original purpose from before the foundations of the earth? How does the New Testament address that issue?
Have you ever sinned against a person and never experienced a full release from the guilt? Have you been sinned against and never been freed from the pain? These are two sides of the same coin, but the remedies are totally different. If you have been sinned against, you have to forgive. No matter how difficult, forgiveness is still a necessity. In his model prayer, Jesus says, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt 6:12).
I love a God who pursues us, from the very beginning, before the Lamb was slain, before the foundation. I love the story of evangelism. I love it that God knows who we are, but yet pursues us from the very beginning and continually is looking for an opportunity for our fellowship to be renewed and refreshed.
When difficult times come upon us, God is at work in the midst of the struggle and pain as any loving father would, not necessarily punishing his children but “disciplining” us so that we learn and grow. Yes, sometimes we need to be chastised. Other times we just need to be shaped and molded and directed. The presence of pain does not necessarily indicate the presence of sin. Certainly, the book of Job has removed that disgusting notion from the thinking of any responsible Christian.
Do you want so badly to engage in certain activities, rigorous regimens of spiritual disciplines, hoping they will finally spiritually grow you?
Do you hope staying busy with these activities this will be the answer to some of the unresolved guilt and shame you have in your own life, that you are not as spiritually mature as you should be?
Dr. John Coe, reminds us in this episode of "Curious Christian" that no amount of effort can ever relieve us of this burden of shame and guilt, except Christ.