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Samson: The Man Who Brought the House Down on Himself Part 4

Judges 16:1-30

Let's take a trip back to Greek mythology.

"In Greek mythology Achilles was the son of Peleus (Pel-ee-us), king of the Myrmidons (Mer-ma-dons), and Thetis (Thee-tis), a sea goddess. Achilles was the greatest, bravest, and most handsome warrior of the army. One of the tales about his childhood relates how Thetis (Thee-tis) held the young Achilles by the heel and dipped him in the waters of the river Styx. Well, through the water's mythological power, Achilles became invulnerable—that is, every part except the heel by which he was held. That small portion of his body, untouched by the water, remained vulnerable. From this story we get the term "Achilles' heel," which describes our greatest point of vulnerability. It was at just this point an arrow struck the near-invincible Achilles and killed him." Charles Swindoll, Old Testament Characters, Insight for Living, 1986.

We all have our "Achilles' heels"—points of extreme vulnerability in our walk with God. For some, it's money; for others, ambition. For Samson, the focus of our series, it was sensuality. Let's return to our continuing story of Samson.

 

Samson and the Prostitute—vv. 1-3.

For 20 years Samson ruled as judge over Israel (15:20) and apparently ruled righteously and by faith (Heb. 11:32-34).

32] And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33] who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34] quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies."

Note it was through faith Samson and others did this. Sadly, however, we are told in Judges 16:1 that when he went to Gaza, he "saw a prostitute (and) went in to spend the night with her." There is no way of knowing when this sad event occurred. It could have been any time in the 20 years Samson acted as judge, but probably occurred toward the end of that period. Why Samson went down to Gaza we are not told, but we do know that Gaza was one of the five major cities of the Philistines, one of their strongholds; a place in which Samson was not about to win any popularity contests. They hated him in Gaza!

This is extremely significant, because it reveals another weakness in Samson's life. He deliberately exposed himself to the enemy, with a self-confidence that bordered on carelessness, in the spiritual as well as the physical realm. While he was there, he saw a prostitute to whom he was immediately attracted, and with whom he became involved in sin. There can be no doubt that Samson, at this point in his life, was out of fellowship with God. Apparently he had learned absolutely nothing from the results of his sin in chapters 14 and 15. It was his belief in his invincibility that would make him continually vulnerable!

When his enemies discovered that Samson was in the city, they laid plans to trap him inside the walls, posting a guard by the house and setting an ambush by the city gates. "The people of Gaza were told, "Samson is here!" So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, "At dawn we'll kill him." It sounds as if Samson was trapped; even the massive city gates were studded with nails and covered with metal to make them fireproof.

In the middle of the night, however, Samson left the prostitute's house; put his arms around the gateposts, which would be driven deep into the earth; tore out the gates—posts and all—and carried them on his shoulders "to the top of the mountain which is opposite Hebron" (v. 3). That phrase ". . . to the top of the hill that faces Hebron" could mean that he carried them to "a hill in the direction of Hebron," or to Hebron itself, an uphill journey of 38 miles. Whatever the case, it was an incredible feat of strength. No wonder the Philistines did not attack him; they were paralyzed with fright!

As a feat of strength, this is one of the greatest exploits in human history. But that only makes his tragedy greater. Samson had power without purity, strength without self-control. Because he did not know holiness, he would come to know a crushing defeat. For 20 years Samson had experienced victory; not once had he felt defeat. That ought to have left him very thankful to God, but instead it produced a very casual attitude toward his spiritual life. Samson was a Nazirite, but that appeared to mean very little to him at this point. He had broken each vow he had made, except the one relating to his hair, and yet the amazing thing is, God was still looking after him.

The scene changes in verse 4 as Samson's tragic decline continues. Here we come to one of the most well-known stories in the Bible.

Samson and Delilah—vv. 4-14.

When Samson left the prostitute in Gaza (vv. 1-3), he fell into the arms of yet another woman—the infamous Delilah. "Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek (Soh-rek) whose name was Delilah" (v. 4).

The valley of Sorek was the place of the "choice red grape." Have you noticed how certain foods can bring certain pictures to our minds? Beans and corn bread, for example, suggest poverty or down home Southern cooking. Champagne and caviar, on the other hand, suggest prosperity and luxury. The "choice red grape" probably doesn't do much for us today, but in Samson's day it connoted pleasure and sensuality. It was into this valley of pleasure and sensuality that Samson roamed, and picked up Delilah to be his next conquest. The irony is that he would end up being conquered—not Delilah.

Understanding well Samson's weakness, the Philistines solicited Delilah's help to discover the secret of his strength.

v. 5. "The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, "See if you can lure (key word) him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver."(That's a hefty amount of money!

The Hebrew word "lure"/"entice" means "to find an opening"... a point of vulnerability, i.e., an Achilles heel. The same word is used earlier when Samson's wife was threatened by the Philistines: Judges 14:15: "Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father's household to death. Did you invite us here to rob us?" The word is also used in James 1:14, "... but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed."Here, the Greek word means "luring with bait." It's the picture of a fish nestled away, quietly resting underneath a sheltered place. Then a cunning fisherman drops the bait; whether artificial or real, designed to appeal to the nature of the fish, to entice. A good fisherman I've talked to tells me different fish are enticed by different bait

  • For catfish, the fisherman would probably use crawfish or blood bait; catfish are lured by smell at night

  • For trout, possibly a hand-tied fly, salmon eggs, or worms

  • For salmon, cluster eggs or spinners in rivers; herring in the Sound.

Well, for Samson, the enticement was the lure of the opposite sex. Like an unsuspecting fish, he is lured out by Delilah, slowly but surely. Naively he takes the bait, and the hook is set. A similar picture of the progression of this enticement is found in Proverbs 7:6-23. This shows us how Samson ended up on Delilah's hook

6] At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. 7] I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. 8] He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house 9] at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. 10] Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. 11] (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; 12] now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) 13] She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: 14] "I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows. 15] So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! 16] I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. 17] I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 18] Come, let's drink deep of love till morning; let's enjoy ourselves with love! 19] My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. 20] He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon." 21] With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. 22] All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose 23] till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.

We can easily see the enticement and the hook here. I think we can easily establish a list of tempting activities, places and people that cause us to be vulnerable and should be avoided. It is important to know our strengths, but it is life-or-death essential to know our weaknesses, i.e., to know the bait our enemy will use on us. Strengths lead to triumph; weaknesses to defeat. It was Achilles' unprotected heel that proved fatal to him, and it was Samson's vulnerability to sexual enticement that led to his demise.

What is your Achilles' heel?

  • sex

  • greed

  • ambition

  • selfishness

  • drugs/alcohol

  • worry

  • anger

  • finances

  • laziness

It's possible that, like Samson's, your area of weakness is a blind spot to you. If so, you can bet that the people around you see your weaknesses. Certainly the Philistines could see Samson's. Why don't you ask a few friends for a candid review of your life/weaknesses? Remember that "the kisses of an enemy may be profuse, but faithful are the wounds of a friend" (Prov. 27:6). Be thankful that you're surrounded by friends rather than Philistines!

Judges 16:6-14 records Delilah's attempts to unravel the mystery of Samson's strength, in order to weaken him for the Philistines. We all know the story of Samson and Delilah pretty well. In Judges 16, in vv. 6, 10, and 13, she questions him, and Samson gives answers that progressively gravitate to the truth of his strength.

  1. "If anyone ties me with seven fresh thongs that have not been dried..."--v. 7a

  2. "If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used..."--v. 11a

  3. "If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin..."--v. 13a.

Can you picture each scene as she attempts to trap him? Frustrated, Delilah poses a final question to Samson, whose answer leads to his defeat.

Samson's Defeat—16:15-21.

Ironically, the strongest among men is weakened not by soldiers or armies but by one woman. Here's her final ploy!

"How can you say, 'I love you,' when you won't confide in me"?--v. 15.

That approach has been used a lot by both men and women since Delilah used it. It's Delilah's bait designed to reel in Samson, and he folds under pressure in v. 16. "With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death." (Sound familiar to anyone?) Finally Samson reveals his secret in v. 17. "So he told her everything. 'No razor has ever been used on my head,' he said, 'because I have been a Nazirite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.'"

Remember, regardless of how Samson or Delilah understands what is happening here, Samson's hair was only an "outward" symbol of his "inward" commitment to God. Obviously, his inward commitment had eroded to such an extent that the outward one was no longer sacred to him. In reality, his superhuman strength lay not in his uncut hair, but in the supernatural presence of God in his life.

The fall of Samson can be traced to two things:

  1. He didn't know his weakness, and

  2. He didn't know his strength.

Mistakenly, Samson didn't see God as the real source of his strength; he saw only himself as responsible (see 15:14-17). Consequently, God allowed his strength to be taken from him, so that in painful circumstances he would learn that without God, he was weak.

As he slept, his hair wais shaved. "Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him" (v. 19).

When he awoke, he was surrounded not by the presence of the Lord, but by the cruel Philistines. "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" [called Delilah]. He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him."

They seized him, gouged out his eyes, and shackled him in bronze chains, and forced him to do the lowest work a slave in prison could do—grinding grain while harnessed to a millstone (v. 21b).

 

Application: Learning to Lean

I don't want to insult you by stating the obvious, but I want us to all get it!

Principle: In order that we might learn to lean on Him and not on false supports, God removes our crutches—often gently, but sometimes suddenly and without warning.

Have you had the same experience as Samson? I have, too many times! We need to ask ourselves, are we trusting in something other than God for our safety, our security, our strength?

  • Personality rather than Spirit-infused character

  • Human intellect to the neglect of spiritual wisdom

  • Natural gifts but not spiritual gifts.

Mark it down: if you're relying too much on your human crutches, God might take away those crutches, not so you will fall, but so you will learn as Samson did to lean on Him. It's all about learning to lean! Proverbs 18:10-11. "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. 11] The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall."

From these hard lessons at the grinding wheel, we move to

Samson's Death—16:22-31

During Samson's dark experience in the dungeon, God's grace began a glimmer of a shine. We can't miss what happened in verse 22: Samson's hair began growing back, and as it grew, apparently so did his relationship with the Lord.

Can you see the scene? As Samson began to run his hands through his hair, he turned his thoughts and heart back to God. Do you sense the drama of the moment? Even in the midst of the worse kind of failure, God was present, working to restore Samson. In my mind, there is no doubt that during this time, Samson genuinely repented of his sin. God had refused to give up on him, and he was forgiven!


A lot of us have been there: we know all too well what it is to fail as Samson did. Maybe you too have fallen under temptation, and would be ashamed if anyone knew the details of it, but I'm here to remind you, your spiritual life can grow again. Even in your failure, He will not abandon you. Come to Him, claim His forgiveness, and He will work His healing grace in your life.

Failure is one of the realities of life, especially the Christian life. There is not a single Christian, even the most mature and saintly, who does not experience significant failure in his walk with the Lord Jesus. Hebrews 11, often celebrated as "God's Hall of Faith," could equally well be entitled, "God's Hall of Reclaimed Failures." There is scarcely an individual in that chapter without a serious blemish in his/her life, but God is in the business of restoring failures. Human failures become God's heroes of faith.

The spiritually successful Christian is not the one who never fails, but the one who learns how to accept God's remedy for failures. The crucial issue is not whether we fail, but how we fail. There are three ways:

First, there is such a thing as "failing forward," learning from what we have done wrong and laying hold of the forgiveness of God.

On the other hand, in the midst of our failure we can be "failing backward,"wallowing in guilt and remorse or turning to self-pity, excuse-making and accusations. If we "fail backward" we may be overwhelmed by our failure.

The third way is "failing upright," standing upright. This is the person who lives unaware of his/her failures and is in the saddest position of all. We cannot learn from what we will not admit.

Samson had lived like that: he had failed over and over, but had never learned from his failures. I doubt that he had ever thought of himself as a failure until the grinding wheel. When Samson awakened, his hair was gone; his strength had vanished; and his fellowship with God was broken. What makes it even sadder is that Samson had no idea he had lost his spiritual power. It is bad to be weak because of sin, but tragic to not even know it!


Meanwhile, as Samson's hair and relationship with God were growing, more than 3,000 Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon, their god.

vv. 23-24—"Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, 'Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.' 24] When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, 'Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain.'"

If that shame was not deep enough, Samson was degraded even more. It appears the only reason the Philistines did not kill Samson immediately was because they wanted him to be their chief entertainment at this great celebration in the stadium at Gaza. From all we can tell, this was a massive building with a covered portion supported by pillars set on stone bases, looking out on a courtyard, with the dignitaries sitting under cover and the general public up on the roof.

The liquor flowed freely, and finally, the chant built to a crescendo: "Bring out Samson to entertain us. Bring out Samson to entertain us." So Samson was led—blind, chained, and broken—onto the arena floor. You can imagine the emotion of thousands of Philistines, when they saw Samson led in like an animal on a chain, a broken, defeated man. How sweet their revenge! They toyed with him, playing cruel, sadistic tricks on him, while the mob shouted their approval and urged them on. He entertained them not by his strength but by the degrading acts they made him perform (v. 25).

If we stopped the story right here, it would really be awful! It seems like God was making him pay. We need to realize, however, that none of this was happening by accident but was part of God's grace in Samson's life. It may not seem much like grace, but sometimes God must strip away everything from our lives that would keep us from trusting in Him. It may be a very painful process, but if we will not listen when God whispers in love, He will make us listen when He shouts in discipline.

God's purpose is not to destroy us; it is to build us up and teach us to trust in Him. He doesn't intend to break us, but to refine us. God's discipline is also never isolated from His restoration.

God never punishes the believer; He always disciplines him. The difference is very important. Punishment is designed to satisfy justice, but discipline is designed to produce maturity and restore usefulness. We see that fact magnificently displayed in the life of Samson. Therefore this section reminds us of three things:

  1. No matter how far we fall in our spiritual experience, we never fall beyond the possibility of God's forgiveness.

  2. While forgiveness is immediate, restoration is gradual; e.g., it took time to grow the hair. The very instant I turn to the Lord on the basis of 1 John 1:9, I am forgiven, but the process of restoration takes time. There is an important reason for that. When a significant failure occurs in our lives, it is not the product of a moment. It is nearly always the result of sinful habits in our life which are the accumulation of years of disobedience. Those habits must not only be unlearned, but new habits must replace them, and that process of "dehabituation" and "rehabilitation" takes time.

  3. The Lord's purpose is not just to forgive our past, but to guarantee our future, and that kind of restoration does not occur overnight.

Another lesson of this scene is that the consequences of sin are not erased. Samson grew new hair, but he did not receive new eyes. When we finally repent of our sins, God does not automatically obliterate the past. David's repentance, for example, did not bring Uriah back to life, and David paid for his sin in his family life for years afterward. His guilt was gone, but he dealt with the ramifications of his sin until his death. We must face this fact squarely. It is a great truth of Scripture that God restores failures, but we are not necessarily restored to our original usefulness for the Lord. (Sometimes we are and sometimes we aren't. That too is in God's hands.)

Samson was blind. He would never again be able to do what he could have, had he not sinned. But he was truly and completely forgiven, and the Lord had a great ministry for him. We must not minimize sin's seriousness and its consequences, but on the other hand, we must not miss the reality of God's forgiveness. God did not give Samson his eyes back, but He used his blindness to enable him to do what he could not have done sighted.

The amazing truth is that our God is able to turn the consequences of our sin into instruments for His glory. Standing there humiliated, Samson began to make his final request to God.

Judges 16:28-30. "Then Samson prayed to the LORD, 'O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.' 29] Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30] Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines!' Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived."

In v. 28, we gain an insight into Samson's heart in the second time we hear him pray. The first time was a cry of faith in the midst of discouragement (15:18). This time it was a prayer of faith from a man who had been through an ultimate trial and refinement Surrounded by 3,000 drunken, screaming Philistines, Samson prays, "O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes." Notice three things in that prayer.

  1. Samson had accepted God's forgiveness. He was not remorseful over the past, saying, "Oh, Lord, I know I blew it before. I know I am unworthy..." I am convinced that Samson had prayed like that at one time, but not now. God had forgiven him. His sin had been dealt with, and was part of the past. Someone has well said, "Christians are notorious for forgetting what they should remember and remembering what they should forget." One of the hardest things many of us have to do is to accept the forgiveness of sin. We keep digging up the past over and over, replaying our sins in slow motion, mining them for every last ounce of guilt. We become chained with regret. There is a deadly variety of spiritual masochism which insists that we must continually punish ourselves for our sin, if we want to please God. One of the greatest mistakes we as Christians make does not take place when we sin. It takes place when we do not immediately come to Calvary and claim the value of what the Lord Jesus did for us there. The cross is God's way of repairing the irreparable, of forgiving the unforgivable. Our sin has not just been forgiven; it has been dealt with, for all eternity, by the blood of Jesus Christ. Do not forget what you should remember. Do not keep remembering and replaying your sin. Forget what God tells you to forget, and remember what He calls you to remember.

  2. Samson was trusting wholeheartedly in God. He did not say, "If I try hard, I can do it." He didn't even rely upon the fact that his hair was growing. No, Samson had become totally dependent upon God. In v. 28, he used different names for God to emphasize his complete dependence: "O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more." That was a new Samson talking, a man relying upon his Lord and not on himself.

  3. Samson was committed unreservedly to God. His prayer was not a pious religious act performed in private but was raised in the middle of a bloodthirsty mob, and called for an action which would mean his death. Samson could have been absolutely paralyzed by remorse, fear, and disgrace. Instead, he viewed his situation as an opportunity to do battle for God and to win a victory for the people of Israel. I don't think Samson ever had a clearer understanding of what God wanted him to do with his life than he did when he prayed that prayer. It was much more than an act of personal vindication, though it was that. It was not the act of suicide, of onwe convinced that there was no reason to live. This was the prayer of a martyr, a man committed to paying the price of death, if that was the cost of victory. One author said: "Samson had gone through the discipline of God, and this prayer is the result. If only he had learned this lesson before. This Samson was a new man, trusting in God and deriving his strength and energy directly from God, rather than from himself. This is the only time we ever read of Samson praying before he used his strength. Now his strength was disciplined by faith, but it took failure to teach him this response."

Here we see the reality of our title: Samson: The Man Who Brought the House Down on Himself. Even though there is a negative side to that title, there is victory in it as well.

 

The reclaimed Samson brings in a victory for God. vv. 29-31

Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30] Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. 31] Then his brothers and his father's whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years.

God turned Samson's weakness into a strength, into an opportunity. If Samson had had his sight, the Philistines would not have allowed him anywhere near those pillars. The whole structure rested on them, and if they were pushed off their base, the entire building would collapse; but nobody was worried about blind Samson, for he was a failure.

The results of Samson's prayer were both immediate and spectacular. a.In a few moments, 3,000 Philistines and Samson lay dead. In some ways, however, v. 30b is a very sad one: Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. It is a reminder of the tragic way in which he traded God-given power and potential for a pursuit of pleasure. If only he had followed the Lord with all his heart, how much he could have done!

At the same time, it is a verse that is full of the grace of God. His death was not a defeat; it was a victory. Samson the failure died as a hero.

Conclusion

My question, then, is obvious:

  1. Are you a failure? Of course you are.

    1. Have you learned your lessons?Know when you are weak, and know the bait being used against you.

    2. Know who you are relying on.

    3. Know how to "fail forward."

    4. Know and experience God's forgiveness.

    5. Know and experience the gradual, but purposeful restoration of God.

    6. Know the consequences of sin are not erased.

    7. Know that if we cooperate with God, He can take the consequences of sin and turn them into instruments of His glory.

    8. Know what God tells you to forget and remember what He tells you to remember (1 John 1:9).

    9. Know how to deal with failure in your life.

  2. Have you learned how to deal with failure?

    1. Admit it. See yourself for what you are—blind, shaven, and in chains. You are not a spiritual superstar.

    2. Accept God's forgiveness. First John 1:9 is not just a text to be memorized; it is a truth to be lived. Live at Calvary and indulge yourself in the benefits of Christ's death on the cross.

    3. Be patient. Restoration takes time. The Lord wants to build habits in your life which will enable you to become a godly Christian. The psalmist puts it like this, in Psalm 119:67—"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word." He wants to build habits in your life that will keep you in the Word.

    4. Trust God to use you. Ask him to show you how even the scars left by your sin can become instruments to display His glory. He will!

     

Appendix

There was a very capable evangelist whom God used in a significant way in the British Isles. But he lost his interest in spiritual things and drifted into a life of sin, for a number of months. Some of his sin was done in secret, but ultimately, it became public knowledge and even made the headlines. At first, all he could think of was that he had been ruined for life, but finally, he realized what a fool he had been and came back to God like the prodigal from the pigpen. He found exactly the same thing the prodigal did. The Lord welcomed him with open arms and began to strengthen him and bless him.

Finally, after a period of waiting, he felt pressed back into a public ministry for the Lord. He was afraid that his sin would be found out and brought up all over again, but after he felt sure it was hidden and tucked away in the past, he went back to preaching, rejoicing in the forgiveness of God.

One night in Aberdeen, he was given a sealed letter. Just before the service began, he read the unsigned letter, which described a shameful series of events in which he had been engaged. His stomach churned as he read it. The letter said, "If you have the gall to preach tonight, I'll stand and expose you." He took that letter and went to his knees. A few minutes later, he was in the pulpit. He began his message by reading the letter, from start to finish. Then he said, "I want to make it clear that this letter is perfectly true. I'm ashamed of what I've read, and what I've done. I come tonight, not as one who is perfect, but as one who is forgiven."

God used that letter and the rest of his ministry as a magnet to draw people to Jesus Christ. God is in the business of restoring failures who trust Him. Forgiveness is not just a nice word; it is a blessed reality for anyone who claims the promise of 1 John 1:9—"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." By virtue of the finished work of Christ on the cross, we stand unconditionally accepted before God. Our sin has already been paid for and, in the Lord Jesus, we are free.

On to the conclusion, part 5.