5 Quotes From “The Truth About Forgiveness”

Yesterday I reviewed John MacArthur’s book The Truth About Forgiveness. Here are five of my favorite quotes from this book.

“These days everything wrong with humanity is likely to be explained as an illness. What we used to call sin is more easily diagnosed as a whole array of disabilities. All kinds of immorality and evil conduct are now identified as symptoms of this or that psychological illness. Criminal behavior, various perverse passions, and every imaginable addiction have all been made excusable by the crusade to label them medical afflictions. Even commonplace problems, such as emotional weakness, depression, and anxiety, are also almost universally defined as quasi-medical, rather than spiritual, afflictions. …In place of evil, therapeutic society has substituted ‘illness’; in place of consequences, it urges therapy and understanding; in place of responsibility, it argues for a personality driven by impulses. The illness excuse has become almost routine in cases of public misconduct.”

“The world’s wisdom: Guilt is a virtual mental defect. Don’t let it ruin your self-image. …Guilt functions in the spiritual realm like pain in the material realm. Pain tells us there is a physical problem that must be dealt with or the body will suffer harm. Guilt is a spiritual pain in the soul that tells us something is evil and needs to be confronted and cleansed.” 

“God does not love us ‘for what we are.’ He loves us in spite of what we are. … God loves us because He is love; love is essential to who He is. Rather than viewing His love as proof of something worthy in us, we ought to be humbled by it.”

“There can be no salvation for those who aren’t convinced of the seriousness of their sin. There can be no word of reconciliation for sinners who remain oblivious to their estrangement from God. True fear of God cannot grip those who are blind to the depth of their sinfulness. And no mercy is available for those who do not tremble at God’s holy threats. In other words, to attempt to eradicate the human conscience is one of the most spiritually destructive pursuits any individual or society can engage in.”

“You need to forsake your sin regularly, seeking not the pardon of an angry Judge but the forgiveness of your loving Father—displeased and grieved, yet loving all the same.”

No Puffiness, Please

Here’s a quick fill-in-the-blank statement:

Now about ______________________: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. (1 Corinthians 8:1)

Fill in this blank with something you consider (as Dr. Charles Ryrie calls them) a “morally indifferent” practice. In other words, something that is not a black-in-white, do-it-and-you’re-sinning issue. What goes in your blank?

  • …skipping church?
  • …drinking alcohol?
  • …smoking a cigar?
  • …dancing?

We all have knowledge about such things, but where’s the love?

Love builds up. Knowledge only benefits me; love benefits all. The Amplified Bible says it this way, “love edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow to his full stature.

The Greek word for builds up means “to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness; to grow in wisdom and piety.”

The question, “Does this fill-in-the-blank item hinder a weaker brother?” is too puffy. The better question is, “Does this help my weaker brother grow?”

That’s the question love asks.

Love avoids the negative-growth items and even the neutral-growth items. Love seeks only those things which promote positive growth.

It’s too puffy to ask, “Does this hurt someone.”

It’s too puffy to say, “This is no big deal!”

We need to ask, “Does this help everyone?” If we can’t answer “yes,” leave it alone!

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