Watch “Testifying Yahweh’s Forgiveness”
Have you ever known someone that no matter what evidence you present to them to the contrary, everything is always someone else’s fault? Or conversely, have you known a believer that, despite the evidence that they did not do anything wrong, they feel that everything is their fault? As we are going to see in this video presentation, these two types of believers need to learn the vital importance of testifying Yahweh’s forgiveness.
Scripture tells us to “seek first the kingdom of Elohim and His righteousness and then everything else will be added unto us”. But the thing about the Kingdom of Elohim is that a kingdom is an ordered set of relationships, there is order and structure. And for that kind of a relationship to work there also has to be a lack of judgment, there has to be a great deal of forgiveness. There also has to be what is called transparency and mutual accountability. This is the only way the Kingdom works, and for it to work we all have to confess our sins one to another.
So, let us take a look and see what James tells us.
Yakov (James) 5:16
“Confess our trespasses one to another and pray for one another, that we might be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Now notice, this does not speak of a simple one-time immersion and then we do not have anything to repent of or to confess after that. Rather, what this speaks of is entering into a different kind of relationship.
So, in the life of first Adam we do not communicate, we do not talk, because we do not want to give extra information. Because we are afraid we are going to be judged negatively. But the lifestyle of the second Adam is different. The lifestyle the second Adam requires that we do is not to judge one another. And that we confess our sins. And that we become mutually accountable to each other, what is called transparency. And in this way we can help each other get better and better day by day as we move forward towards that goal. In Proverbs 28:13 we see that this applies both in the original covenant and in the renewed covenant.
Mishle (Proverbs) 28:13
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will have mercy.”
So, how many times do we see people in the body who are wanting to cover up their sins? They “shh”. They do not want to tell anyone anything, they do not want anyone to know that they have weaknesses, or they have something to learn. Because they are afraid (there is that word) that if they communicate their needs then other people will judge them harshly, instead of building them up and bearing one another’s burdens. So that we can all help each other become better day by day which is the goal for the second Adam.
Yochanan Aleph (1st John) chapter 1:9
“If we confess our sins, He [Elohim] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
So, this is not a simple one-time thing. This is not something that we do one time at the time of our immersion and then we never have to confess anything ever again as long as we live. And now we can keep secrets and we can hide things from one? another. What we need is a system of accountability and transparency within the body. But people do not like to do that.
Yohanan (John) 3:19
“And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.”
And this is why we do not want to confess our sins one to another, is because we prefer the darkness. Whether we are causing a problem we do not want anyone to know, so we hide it. Or if we have had problems put upon us but for some strange reason we prefer the feelings of guilt and shame and self-doubt. Again, we would rather stay in that darkness rather than bringing these things to the light, and receive His forgiveness. So that we can then testify of His forgiveness which is what brings Him glory.
Now, people sometimes question, ‘are you talking about the Catholic Church model of confession? Where you go up to a confessional booth, and you hide in one side of the booth and the priest is in the other side of the booth, and you whisper your problems to the priest?’ That is not what we are talking about. As we will see, the Catholic Church’s model of confession does not really help, it does not really do the job. Because in the Catholic Church model of confession, we do not confess our sins openly. There is no transparency. So, there is sort of a secretive quality about the Catholic version of confession. In other words, we do not confess our trespasses one to another so that we can pray for one another, so that we might be healed. Because the only person we tell is the priest. We whisper our sins to the priest and then the priest gives us, quote-unquote, “absolution”. As if an unrighteous man who is not keeping the commandments has the ability on earth to give us forgiveness of sins. That does not make any sense at all. Rather, what we need to do is, we need to confess our sins one to another so that we can then pray for one another, so that we might be healed. There is a whole different level of transparency and accountability in these two different things, but we have to be brave in Elohim to enter into the true model.
So, we talk about true confession of sins within the true brethren. And there are not that many who are willing to abstain from judgment of their brothers. If we understand that sin is missing the mark, (in other words sin is not living up to the incredibly high standard that Elohim wants us to live up to), then when we pray for one another to help one another overcome our sins, there is a strengthening effect on the body. Because when we get help from the rest of the body others can be encouraged by our transparency. And we also end up giving a witness and a testimony of these things that Elohim has helped us get healed from. So, when other people can hear us confess our sins that we became healed of (whatever sin we used to commit), they can say ‘well you know, if he can get healed I can probably get healed, too.’ So, this openness has a very powerful, very strong, strengthening effect on the body.
Galatim (Galatians) 6:2
“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the Torah of Messiah.”
And that is something we cannot do, if we only confess our sins in private to a priest and no one else knows about it. Because there is no transparency and therefore there is no mutual accountability.
Now before I was called to this I was enrolled in a PhD program in psychology. I left that before Yahweh called me to this. But just for those who are interested in the psychology principles, there is a number of parallels. Although, what we do is much better because we get Yahweh involved in the healing. But the psychology principles are that we need to sort out our past. Whatever issues we have got going on today, typically speaking, they are rooted in the past. So, we need to sort out the problems in our past so that we can then make peace with our past. And the way we do that is we figure out what it is that we did wrong in the past, if anything. Because if you are a victim, you did not necessarily do anything wrong. But if you are a perpetrator, perhaps you did something wrong. Or if you are involved in some kind of a conflict, typically speaking, almost everyone has something to learn so that they can then make a plan, so it does not happen again.
What we do in Scripture is similar but better because we get Elohim’s involvement, we get the involvement of the Spirit. What we do in Scripture is that we identify both our past and our present sins and then we repent of them. We repent both to Yahweh and we also repent to anyone else whom we have affected. This provides for a system of accountability. And then once we have repented both to Elohim and to our neighbor, then we can receive Yahweh’s forgiveness and enter into His shalom. We see an echo of this in Iyov (Job) 42:7-8 where Yahweh spoke words to Iyov.
Iyov (Job) 42:7-8
“And so it was, after Yahweh had spoken these word to Iyov, that Yahweh said Eliphaz the Temanite [one of Iyob’s friends], “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Iyov has.
Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to my servant Iyov, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Iyov shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Iyov has.”
So, what we see is that the people have to make right with their neighbor before Elohim will accept the forgiveness. Getting right with Yahweh is easy, we just confess our sins and Yahweh forgives us and that is the easy part. The difficult part is to make things right with our neighbors. That sometimes requires restitution. If we have done something wrong to someone, we have damaged them in some sort of way, we do not just say ‘oh sorry, please forgive me, bye!’ That does not work. Because what we are talking about is a system of self-governance and a system of accountability where everyone truly treats his neighbor as he himself would like to be treated. It takes a lot of honesty to do that.
But now there are several questions that people have and several complicating factors. One of those is the fifth commandment, a commandment that was written in stone.
Shemote (Exodus) chapter 20:12
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which Yahweh your Elohim gives to us.”
This commandment was written in stone. The question that we need to ask ourselves is:
How does this apply and when does it apply?
Because sadly, there are really some horror stories out there. And sometimes people have a very difficult time honoring their father and their mother and also forgiving. They get stuck, as it were. There are some terrible statistics out there, statisticians estimate that approximately one-third of women will be abused in their lifetime. Some even place the number as high as a half. Meaning, if you walk down the street or you walk into a room and there are three women, probably at least one of them (if not more) has been abused. Sometimes boys also get abused. There are some terrible stories, horror stories, just nightmarish stories, about fathers beginning intimate relationships with their daughters or also perhaps their sons at six years of age. And the mothers allowing this kind of thing to go on.
So, the question then becomes: How do you come to peace when there is a commandment written in stone to honor your father and your mother? How do people express these things and get the help they need without dishonoring their parents?
This is confusing to a lot of people. So, we need to understand the Scripture principles that are involved
Now in Scripture, if something is our fault, then we need to repent and we need to make restitution. We need to make it right. However, if something is not our fault then we do not need to make restitution and there is nothing physical to repent for. But if we have feelings of doubt, or guilt, or shame, or anything that is coming in between us and our relationship with Yeshua, then we need to repent of that. Even in a situation where someone is a victim and they were not causing a problem, but the problem was thrust upon them, even in those kinds of situations people can learn to love the darkness rather than the light. Perhaps the darkness is familiar, perhaps the sensation of shame or guilt reminds them of something, it is something known. So, they would rather have a known quantity that is a negative than move forward toward an unknown quantity that is a positive. These are the kinds of things that can happen.
But what we need to do is, if it is not our fault and we have feelings of doubt, or guilt, or shame, then we need to repent of those feelings. Because they are coming in between us and our relationship with Yeshua. Once we repent of those feelings then we can receive Yahweh’s forgiveness and abide in Yeshua’s shalom.
We also need to accept how Yahweh made us. There are a lot of people who go through life angry at Yahweh. Or they are sad or depressed. They do not understand because maybe they have a big ears, maybe they have a big nose, maybe they are not good looking. Maybe they have a baby face, like me. Maybe they are artistic, like me. Maybe they have a spinal deformity, like me. Maybe they are bald, like me. The thing is guilt and shame are not the answers for these things.
Anything that you are going to focus on that is going to come in between you and your relationship with Yeshua Messiah, you have to get rid of it. For example, how would it be if you had a relationship with your spouse and something had happened to you in the past. And you kept dwelling on the thing that happened to you in the past even though it did not really have any bearing on life today. Except for the fact that you let it have a bearing on life today. Are you really serving your spouse as well as you could by focusing on these things that happened to you in the past? Would not you and your spouse and your children be better off to forget about these things that happened in the past? And to receive Elohim’s forgiveness? So that you could then testify of Elohim’s forgiveness and how He helped you move forward into a new life?
One of the things that they used to teach in psychology school is how there is a major turning point when we are recovering from trauma of any kind. Many people have a tendency to look back in time and they tend to define themselves in relationship to things that happened in the past. And you know someone is finally starting to get healed when they stop looking backwards toward the past and they begin taking stock of where they are in the present. Then they can begin to look to moving forward into the future. That is when we know we have come to healing in Yahweh and Yeshua. And if we are not there then we have something we need to repent of, something that happened to us in our past. And we are holding on to it as an idol and we need to let it go so we can then be with Elohim in His present, and move forward with Him into the future.
People also have a hard time accepting their situation. Perhaps they are angry at Elohim if they were physically abused as a child, as I was .Or if they are sexually abused as a child, as I was. If they perhaps come from a broken home, as I did. If they are perhaps ashamed of their family, as I was. Perhaps they have an alcohol or a drug addiction, as I used to. Or perhaps they have ADD or ADHD, or perhaps even ADDDD…D. The point is that guilt and shame are not the answers. Guilt and shame is only something that is going to come in between us and our relationship with Messiah Yeshua. We do not want anything to come in between us and Messiah Yeshua. That is why we need to repent of everything that is coming in between us and our relationship with Him.
But sometimes people have a hard time letting go of these kinds of issues. Perhaps they are angry at Elohim, perhaps they do not understand how a loving Elohim could allow certain things to happen. If this describes you I can recommend the study “About Predestination”. it’s also called “About Predetermination” It can be found in Nazarene Scripture Studies Volume 1. You can download a copy from the website, or you can read it for free on the Nazarene Israel website. To sum that study up let us look at Romim (Romans) chapter 8:28.
Romim (Romans) 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love Elohim, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
So, perhaps we had to go through certain things. But maybe the reason for that is to strengthen us. As they say; ‘that which does not kill us makes us stronger’. Also, perhaps you had to go through certain things so that you could learn to have that strength in Elohim, so you could learn how to take shelter in Him. So, then you also could learn how to help others to take shelter in Him. Perhaps your life is meant to be a witness and a testimony of His strength and His healing power.
Tehillim (Psalms) 131:2
“Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
And the term weaned today just means simply that you are not on milk anymore, now you are beginning to take solid food. But in ancient times that meant something else. Back in ancient times, to be weaned meant you are now basically a young adult. And they used to wean children as soon as it was possible to do so. So, a child of three or four years old would be able to be treated like a young adult. This is something for each and every one of us, to take the discipline to calm and quiet our soul so that we can become like a weaned child with its mother.
Tehillim (Psalms) 46:10
“Be still and know that I am Elohim;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in all the earth!”
This is also a very important passage. Many times, when people are angry or when they have doubts or fears, whatever the issue is we have to stop. We have to realize, whatever idol it is that we are placing in between us and our relationship with Yahweh Elohim, whatever it is it is not worth it. Whatever it is, it is all in the past. Or it is all transitory. And that if we will stay with Him, then we will be overcomers with Him upon His return. This is just a simple matter of discipline. We need to not only know this, but it is also something that we need to do and put into practice. And each one of us holds the key to that. All it takes is prayer and discipline.
Now, speaking about repenting of our past and present sins so as to be able to testify of Yahweh’s forgiveness, so as to bring Him glory. Let us look at Acts chapter 22:6-8.
Ma’asei (Acts) 22:6-8
“Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me.
And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Shaul, Shaul, why are you persecuting Me?’
So I answered, ‘Who are you, Adon?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Yeshua of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.”
We see that Apostle Shaul is not hiding the things he did wrong in the past, not making a big “shh!”, not making a big secret about it. We do not see him confessing his sins quietly and privately to a priest. Rather we see him testifying of the things that he used to do wrong and testifying of how Yahweh has helped him overcome these things. So as to bring glory to Yahweh’s name. We also see this in First Timothy 1:15-16.
TimaTheus Aleph (1 Timothy) 1:15-16
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Messiah Yeshua came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Yeshua Messiah might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”
What this shows us is that if we are walking righteous in Messiah Yeshua we are going to suffer persecution. But we are also going to be purified and refined. And we also need to be able to take counsel and get help from the other brothers, who are not going to judge us, but who are going to do their best to help us. So, we are going to do our best to help one another raise ourselves up in standards so that we all can become more and more pleasing to Messiah Yeshua. This brings Him the glory.
Yakov (James) 5:16
“Confess our trespasses to one to another [it is not for judging but for interceding for one another], and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much [it is a worthy practice]”
Once again, this is not a one-time thing. This is not something that we only do at immersion. Though we do confess our sins at immersion as Mattityahu shows, it does not stop there.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 3:5
“Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him [Yochanan, or John the Baptist] and were immersed by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.”
We know that confessing our sins is not a one-time thing when we read Ma’asei 19:17-19, speaking about the seven sons of the Jewish high priest Siva.
Ma’asei (Acts) 19:17-19
“This became known to all Jews and Greeks [meaning Pharisees and the Hellenistic Jews, or who today we might call a reformed Jew] dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Master Yeshua was magnified.
And many who had believed came confessing and telling their sins.
Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.”
Notice that it says, “that many who had believed”, telling us that again, these were ones who had already been immersed. So, it was not that now they were able to conceal their sins, but now they had a public confession of their sins. They had a public correction of themselves so that others could then see and be influenced in a positive way. It became a good public testimony, that is the point. And it was always this way even from what we might call Torah times. For example, let us read in Vayigra (Leviticus) 5:5-
Vayigra (Leviticus) 5:5-6, Yahweh says:
“And it shall be, when anyone is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing;
And he shall bring his trespass offering to Yahweh for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin.”
Now this is not something that was done in a corner. This is not something that you went to the confession booth, and you whispered your sin secretly to the priest and no one else knew about it. This was not something that you hid and did not make confession or go publicly before Yahweh and before the people. This is something that you were supposed to do. When you learned that there was a better way to do things, you brought your offering. And everyone would ask, what is Yakov, or what is Yohanan down there offering a sin offering for? What did he do? And then you would tell people, you would testify of the healing that Yahweh has brought you. You would testify as to what Yahweh has delivered you of. And therefore, other people could also be edified by your overcoming sin by Yahweh’s forgiveness for your sins.
For another example, let us read what Yahweh says, speaking of the Scapegoat, in Leviticus 16:21.
Vayigra (Leviticus) 16:21
“Aharon [Aaron] shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel [he is not hiding the iniquities, he is confessing them], and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.”
The ritual of the scapegoat was not a one-time thing that Israel did once and then never had to do it again. Rather, this was a ritual of public confession of the sins of the people, all of the sins, all of the iniquities, all of the shortcomings of the people, which would be confessed once a year. Giving us a pattern of a way of life that we are supposed to be living up to. We are supposed to be thanking Yahweh and showing the rest of the people what Yahweh has delivered us from, thereby testifying of Yahweh’s greatness, and His forgiveness and His mercy.
Luqa (Luke) 18:9
Also He [Yeshua] spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one was a Pharisee [Orthodox Jew] and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself [not praying to Elohim but he prayed with himself], ‘Elohim, I thank you that I am not like other men- extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.
I fast twice a week and I give tithes of all that I possess.”
In other words, he was doing all the right things but was he doing the right thing? Let us continue.
Luqa (Luke) 18:9-14
“And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘Elohim, be merciful to me, a sinner!’”
“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, yet he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The point here is that to confess our sins is effectively to be humble, but to hide our sins is effectively to lie or be deceitful toward Elohim. Let us see this in context in Yochanan Aleph 1:5-10.
Yochanan Aleph (1 John) 1:5-10
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that Elohim is light [truth], and in Him is no darkness at all. [No falsehood and no deceit].
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another [meaning there is accountability with one another] and the blood of Yeshua Messiah His son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin [or perhaps if we pretend that we have no sin], we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us [yet there is darkness].
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”
And so, it is with every person who believes that he or she is without sin or behaves in such a way as they have not sinned. And so, it is also with people who let continuing doubt and shame come in the way of them and their relationship with Yeshua Messiah. People living in this category must learn the critical importance of testifying Yahweh’s forgiveness and thus being healed.