God’s divine nature of forgiveness
AFTER Pastor Adian Mumba’s The Family is Under Attack presentation, the man of God followed up with a sermon on forgiveness.
THE SDA family-life pastor and evangelist emphasised the need to know that for every challenge and problem mankind experienced, God had a solution. For families under attack and suffering from lack of love, cheating, domestic violence and other forms of matrimonial agonies and menaces, forgiveness was key . . . not retribution and fighting. And Pastor Mumba was on horizontal forgiveness between wife and husband, implying quite the same even between man and man.
Then Pastor Masomere followed with a deeply intriguing and disturbingly true perception of God’s forgiveness.
All this happened and happens every Thursday at 9pm on the ASI Radio Ministries sponsored programme, The Bible Speaks.
“Some people go to church and worship God, not because they love Him, but because they fear Him. Whether they are aware of it or not, they perceive God as one intolerant, tough, cruel and non-forgiving. They are afraid of Him,” said Pastor Masomere.
“Romans Chapter 5 vs 6 to 8 says, Jesus died for people who didn’t know God or Jesus himself. God’s love has nothing to do with our knowledge or love of Him. (Reading> ‘You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly . . . while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’) God’s love was exhibited in Jesus’ coming to die for us not because we were good boys and girls. So He (God) is forgiving even if we don’t love Him. What more if we also love Him? Remember, the pastor gave an illustration, “. . . before you tell someone that you love him or her, that love is useless, until you tell him or her. That way only, can a relationship be built! God therefore cares. He loves you. He forgives. But you ought to tell Him.”
Jeremiah Chapter 29 vs 11: (Reading> ‘For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you . . . to give you hope and a future . . . ” Why then do Christians say, ‘God has done His will’ all the time they are in pain, in some challenge, are in fear or trouble: a death, a road accident, may be a house break etc? Pastor Masomere said this is because they have no trust in God. They suspect He is behind every atrocity.
“But,” he asked, “Where is the devil when all this is happening? Is Satan folding his hands watching in pitiful sagacity? Clearly Christians exonerate the devil and accuse God. They declare God ‘Guilty!’ and Satan ‘Not guilty! For many Christians by default or on purpose, Satan has a bad name only, but is not involved in our pains and calamities. He is not involved in people’s tears and suffering. But he is in all of it. Satan is there in the drama of mankind’s suffering and crying. But we Christians, of all people, hold God accountable: “Ah Mwari vaita kuda kwavo!” Even when Satan performs and acts, we hold God accountable and accuse Him.
“Let the Bible speak to you on this,” said Pastor Masomere. “Chapter 1 verse 18 of Isaiah speaks God’s plea and assurance: ‘Come now, let us reason together . . . Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool . . .’ God forgives the worst of sins. Some Christians think some sins are beyond God’s tolerance and are unforgivable. But here He is inviting you to come . . .
“Our problem however,” the good pastor added, “. . . is that instead of going to God who has invited us, we go to people, our family, our friends, our pastor, our prophet, our Papa. And what do we get from them? ‘Go away . . . and don’t sin again!’ Only God can forgive, not you friends, mufundisi or prophet. The Bible speaks here: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls . . . (Matthew Chapter 11 verses 28 and 29)
But you need to do something. Confess your sins! To God, not to people! God does not take delight in exposing sinners, disgracing them, debasing them. (kufumura vatadzi). ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just. He will forgive our sins and purify us . . .’
“Why mankind, we, accuse God all the time and seem to think God is our tormentor who has no ears to hear, is because sin separated us from God’s eyes and ears: Isaiah 59 vs 2 ‘. . . but your iniquities have separated you from your God: your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear . . . yet the Bible speaks 59 vs 1, ‘Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear . . .’
The Rusape-based SDA pastor said, singing well in church, even if you sing like a nightingale, will not make God forget or forgive your sin: not even if you play the drum like you were born playing drums, or dance like David who danced until the mother complained . . . you can do everything so well and so energetically that you sweat from mouth and nose, God will not forget and forgive you. “There is only one way,” said the radio preacher. “Confess the sin to Him who forgives! You need to stand up on your feet confessing or go down on your knees and confess. Tell your God, your Creator and Maker, your sin . . . tell Him you are sorry and wish to be forgiven. He will forgive. Why? He said so. It is that simple.”
“Water does not cleanse sins. No dreamer or prophet can forgive sin. No amount of doinggood today can be good enough to deal with yesterday’s sins. No amount of doing God’s will today, can delete yesterday’s sins. No today’s righteousness can engage God’s forgiveness gear if you sinned yesterday. You cannot say because I’ve done well today, my yesterday sins are automatically forgiven. It does not happen that way.”
Ended the good pastor: “We have many sins we think were forgiven because we told people . . . our bishops, pastors, our elders, our friends, our so-called prophets and prophetesses . . . our Papa even! Alas, they are not. All these good people cannot do anything to forgive you. Only God can forgive sin.”
ASI Radio Ministries invites more listeners to tune in to The Bible Speaks every Thursday night at 9pm. It is God’s space to speak the divine truth. It is time radio becomes church for 30 minutes and more than church in the context of radio’s ability to reach out to tens of hundreds or thousands at the same time, both already Christian and those awaiting Jesus to be their Saviour.
Church today is radio and television and other social platforms because that is where the people are.
While some churches continue to preach and spiritually service their few friends and loved ones in the confines of their church walls (and that too is very good), others have embraced technology and the media to stand up for Jesus. ASI Radio Ministries which sponsors The Bible Speaks on air on Diamond FM Radio is one such model of 21st century evangelism.
May God continue to prosper this mission and bless the pastors and organisers of this great modern utility radio-evangelism!
Until we meet again on Matters of Faith, let us remember to pray each in our little worlds and work places to do what we can for Jesus . . . every day, and not just on Sabbath day.
Remember also, that genuine prayer is not what you say when your eyes are shut, but what you do and how you live your life after the ‘Amen’ and when your eyes are open.
Pastor Masomere and Mrs Munyaradzi Mavuku on the radio programme — The Bible Speaks.