Reconciliation: Actions Speak Louder than Words

This short Bible study offers 7 important Biblical concepts to remember when approaching difficult relationships.

As an introduction to this study, please read 6 Elements of Sincere Reconciliation.


If we’re involved in a difficult relationship, we must make sure we’re honoring God’s desire for reconciliation.

1. Let's remember that we're "ambassadors of reconciliation."

Did you know that Christians are "ambassadors of reconciliation"? We can't be effective in reconciling unbelievers to God if we aren't seriously seeking reconciliation with friends and family members.

2 Corinthians 5:16-20: "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors..."

2. Let's actively seek reconciliation.

This truth is emphasized in the passage below. God doesn't want us serving Him while neglecting our personal relationships. 

Matthew 5:23-24: "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift." 

 

This short Bible study offers 7 important Biblical concepts to remember when approaching difficult relationships.
3. Let's continually and fully forgive.

Genuine repentance involves turning from sin, so it's likely the person described in the Scripture below is not sincerely repentant, yet God tells us to forgive them. Forgiveness doesn't restore trust in situations like this, but it makes reconciliation possible if the other person genuinely repents. And it frees us from bitterness.

Luke 17:3: "So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them." 

4. Let's refuse bitterness.

Hebrews 12:14-15: "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." 

5. Let's refuse selfishness.

If we never inconvenience ourselves and never give up our own desires in order to please others, we are just plain selfish.

Philippians 2:3-5: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…"  

This short Bible study offers 7 important Biblical concepts to remember when approaching difficult relationships.
6. Let's judge ourselves first.

Many relationship problems involve one or both parties harshly judging the other person’s sins while overlooking, justifying, or excusing their own sins. 

Matthew 7:1-5: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."  


7. Let's honor those God tells us to honor.

If reconciliation involves our parents, God considers it even more important than reconciliation in other relationships, and adult children have more responsibility than parents to “honor” the relationship and pursue peace and harmony. 

Ephesians 6:2-3: "'Honor your father and mother'—which is the first commandment with a promise— 'so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'" 

8. In conclusion

This passage in the Amplified version is a good conclusion: 

1 Peter 3:8-11: "Finally, all of you be like-minded [united in spirit], sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit; and never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection]. For, 'The one who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good—whether apparent or not], must keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from speaking guile (treachery, deceit). He must turn away from wickedness and do what is right. he must search for peace [with God, with self, with others] and pursue it eagerly [actively—not merely desiring it].'" 

copyright 2021, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com 

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Suffering from Adam's Sin


What happened to mankind when Adam sinned? This short Bible study explains 4 major aspects of our position after the fall of mankind. #BibleStudy

Please read the 1-minute devotion Hisses and Whispers as an introduction to this study.

When Adam and Eve sinned God put his plan of redemption into place. The Old Testament is filled with "whispers and clues" of Christ's coming (See Jesus in the Old Testament).

But Adam's sin changed mankind's standing in significant ways:

1. After the fall of man, all men and women were born in Adam's image. 

Secular psychology teaches that we are born good and then corrupted or improved by environment. Environment has an important impact on us, but the Bible tells us we are born fallen. We still bear the image of God; but that image was corrupted by Adam, and we are born in Adam's image.

Genesis 5:1-3: "This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind" when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image...." 

2. Men and women became too corrupted for heaven.

God will not corrupt heaven with sin. Heaven would not be heaven if it was inhabited by unrepentant sinners.

Genesis 3:22: "And the LORD God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.'” 

What does God mean when He says, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil"?

This is an area where Bible scholars disagree:

↪ Some believe God was saying this in sarcasm because it was what the serpent promised Eve if she ate the fruit (Genesis 3:1-5). 

↪ Others believe the Hebrew in this verse is best translated "was like one of us," meaning pure and sinless before eating the fruit. 

↪ I tend to believe the third option: when they ate the fruit, for the first time they understood evil, something God has always understood. However, they understood evil because they had committed evil. God understands evil because He knows everything.

3. Every man and woman deserves condemnation.

What happened to mankind when Adam sinned? This short Bible study explains 4 major aspects of our position after the fall of mankind. #BibleStudy
Adam and Eve were created innocent, but untested. When tested, they chose to sin, and this damaged God's perfect world. Would we have made the same bad choices as Adam and Eve? We like to think otherwise, but we probably would have.

Theologians propose that Adam was our representative. This is called federal headship. This means we inherited sin from our father, Adam.  But we are also sinners in our own right. We inherit condemnation and we earn it.

Romans 5:12: "Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned...."

4. God offers us something we don't deserve

We can overcome our father Adam's wrong choice by making the right choice to follow Christ. 

1 Corinthians 15:45-49: "So it is written: 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam [Christ], a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man."  

When we choose Christ, we again are given what was lost in the garden: the right to eat from the tree of life and live forever.

Revelation 2:7: "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."

Amen!

Copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

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Clear Proof that Premarital Sex is Forbidden in Scripture


This short, concise Bible study explains why premarital sex is clearly forbidden in Scripture. #BibleLoveNotes #PremaritalSex #BibleStudy

As an introduction to this study, please read Premarital Excuses.

Is Premarital Sex Forbidden in Scripture?

Some modern Christians claim premarital sex is not prohibited in Scripture, but this is usually based on their misunderstanding of the word translated “sexual immorality” in Scripture.

The passages below use the Greek words porneuĆ³ and porneia which mean “fornication.” Fornication describes ANY sex outside of marriage, but it's most often used for premarital sex

“Sexual immorality” is an accurate translation because only those who are trying to find a loop-hole would think premarital sex isn't included in sexually immoral behavior.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10: "Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 

1 Corinthians 6:18: "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body."

Ephesians 5:3: "Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people."

Claiming something is approved simply because it's not specifically mentioned in Scripture is a poor argument

For example, many forms of murder, theft, and deception are not specifically mentioned in Scripture. Nor are pedophile acts and group sex specifically mentioned in Scripture.

God's Design Throughout Scripture

This short, concise Bible study explains why premarital sex is clearly forbidden in Scripture - even when couples are engaged. #BibleLoveNotes #PremaritalSex #BibleStudy
God makes it explicitly clear from the beginning that sexual intimacy is reserved for the marriage of a man and woman

Genesis 2:24-25: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."  

If you have any doubts that Genesis 2:24-25 is talking about marriage, Jesus quotes it in Matthew 19:5: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 

Other passages also address sexual intimacy as an exclusive right of the married

1 Corinthians 7:2: "Since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband."  

1 Corinthians 7:8-9: "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." 

Hebrews 13:4: "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."


Engaged Couples

Some people try to claim that premarital sex is appropriate for engaged couples. 

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul talks about marriage and in verses 8-9 he says: "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." 

Paul is saying that in certain circumstances, it's better not to marry; but he adds this important truth in verse 36 that clarifies that sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage, not engagement:
  
1 Corinthians 7:36: "If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married."

Anything of value is worth waiting for, and marriage is certainly a thing of value. Married life requires self-control in many areas. If we can't control ourselves sexually, perhaps we are not ready for marriage (1 Corinthians 9:25; Galatians 5:22-24). 

In addition, having sex when engaged violates the following passages which tell us not to make assumptions about the future. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow

Proverbs 27:1: "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring." 

James 4:13-15: "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.' "


Living Together

Some claim that living together is a good "test" for the relationship. Besides being against God's loving commands, there's no evidence that this "test" is helpful. Some studies show that living together decreases your chances for a good marriage. Other studies show no significant difference. When couples break up after living together, they suffer the same emotional and spiritual problems as those who divorce. All intimacy outside of marriage affects our souls (1 Corinthians 6:15-16). 

God designed sexual intimacy to bring us blessings. When we reject His design and have sex outside of marriage, we choose less, not more. We open ourselves to physical, emotional, and spiritual damage. If you are having premarital sex, I encourage you to repent and find a mature Christian friend who can keep you accountable. I also encourage you to memorize some of the passages above.



copyright 2020, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

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