Rock Solid Bible Truth

Your Sinlessness

You No Longer Need Feel Guilty:
Heart-warming Bible Proof

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By Grantley Morris

(This important webpage is also available in German)

The following consists of powerful Scriptures, each followed by a few words unlocking a fraction of its inexhaustible treasures. The webpage will gradually build to what for many readers will be a surprise conclusion as to a key factor in receiving Christ's sinlessness.

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Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Regardless of how lowly you think of yourself, you have been chosen.

Most of us are scared to consider how God sees us. We wrongly suspect that in the blazing purity of his eyes we must look pathetic. The truth is staggeringly different. The Almighty actually sees us as people destined to be flawlessly perfect.

To be blameless in human eyes would be astounding, but to be ‘holy and blameless in his sight’ – in the exacting eyes of the High and Lofty One, the God of Truth, the All-seeing Lord – is mind-boggling. The only thing that could ruin this would be if you were to prevent Jesus from doing what he longs to do for you.

You don’t have to be a spiritual Einstein to guess that the devil hates this and will do everything in his power to rob you by deceiving you into thinking it applies to other people but not to you. You must fight this powerful, highly dangerous temptation by clinging resolutely to the Bible’s emphatic insistence that salvation is promised not just to some but to everyone who believes in the cleansing power of Christ’s sacrifice.

    John 6:37 . . . whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

    Romans 3:22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (23) for all have sinned . . . (24) and all are justified freely by his grace . . .

    John 5:24 I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

    John 6:40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

    Acts 10:43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

    2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    1 John 4:15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.

    (Emphasis mine)

In You’re Forgivable: A Sample of the Bible Proof I cite not one or ten or twenty but thirty-five Bible verses where God uses such words as all, everyone, anyone or whoever to affirm that no one who looks to Christ for salvation is excluded.

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2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The eternal Son of God came to fulfill the divine yearning to make you perfect. Like no other human, Jesus was utterly sinless, and yet for you he volunteered to become sin personified. As such, he hung in shame on the cross, suffering the full, horrific consequences for your sin. This astounding transaction took place so that by your spiritual union with Jesus you would become as righteous – as pure and holy – as God himself.

Jesus became completely identified with your sin and shame, so that you could bask in the eternal honor of being completely identified with his sinlessness. Let this sink in: through this staggering exchange, you are credited with righteousness infinitely beyond the most saintly human attempts at goodness. If you partake of this union with the holy Son of God, you gain the very ‘righteousness of God.’ Moreover, you are not just showered with a sprinkle of this righteousness; you are so identified with divine moral perfection that, as this Scripture declares, you actually ‘become’ God’s righteousness!

Our sins are debts to justice. To heighten our understanding, let’s put this in financial terms. You were once frighteningly and hopelessly in debt. Jesus is incomprehensibly rich. He would make a multi-trillionaire look like a pauper. You supposed no one would ever want you, and yet Jesus fell in love with you and longed to marry you. You couldn’t believe it. For a long while you resisted him, thinking it must be some sort of trick. And you had heard all sorts of groundless gossip about this mysterious person. What if some of those malicious rumors were true? Finally, you mustered the courage to marry him. Gradually you discovered that, for him, marriage means such beautiful things as life-long devotion to you and a total merging of assets. All your horrific financial obligations that you wished would disappear, he saw as his responsibility. Your debts become his debts, which he paid in full. And in exchange for you giving him your debts, he handed you joint ownership of his riches. All his wealth is now completely yours to spend and enjoy as your own. You are still coming to terms with the enormity of this gift and he is still trying to urge you to break free of your hesitance to make full use of the rights he has given you. Your status has now rocketed from the shame of gross financial mismanagement to the honor of being, with him, the richest person in the universe. And it is all because of his longing to be one with you. This is what Jesus has done for you morally.

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1 Corinthians 1:30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (31) Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Here we see yet again the astounding truth that through spiritual union, Jesus’ righteousness is your righteousness. The eternal, holy Son of God becomes your righteousness, your holiness and your salvation. Your claim to moral purity and goodness is no longer limited to the best you have done. Through the mind-boggling generosity of God, he has given you the right to claim as your own the perfection of the sinless Lord himself. That is so far beyond anything any of our efforts could achieve that it is utterly pointless bothering to draw attention to our own moral achievements. To do so would be as pitiful as the richest man proudly displaying rusty fake gold.

Note the beginning of 1 Corinthians 1:30: ‘It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus.’ Similarly, both of the earlier Scriptures we examined feature the expression, ‘in him.’

Here are just a few more examples:

    Romans 6:11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

    Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

    2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

    Ephesians 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus

    Colossians 1:28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

    (Emphasis mine)

Even the most beautiful people on this planet would look ugly without their skin, but that is of no concern because they are never without their skin. Just as physically we are in our skin and our skin is a part of us, so spiritually we are in Christ Jesus and he is part of us. Whenever anyone looks at us with their physical eyes, they see our skin, never our intestines or other internal parts. Likewise, whenever anyone sees us spiritually, they see Jesus. That does not, of course, mean we cease to exist. Jesus is as much a part of us as a skin is a part of us. We have never been so thrillingly alive. We are snug and secure inside of him, just like physically we belong inside our skin. We were made to live in Jesus, as much as we were made to live in our skin. Whenever anyone sees us through spiritual eyes, they see indescribable beauty and perfection because, like our skin, Jesus is our covering, but unlike our skin, Jesus is exquisitely perfect. Union with him completes us and beautifies us. As a result, we need never again feel shame.

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Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – (9) not by works, so that no one can boast.

We have been delivered from every eternal trace and consequence of sin, not because of our efforts (that would be like trying to lift ourselves to heaven by our shoelaces) but because of the exorbitantly generous, undeserved gift of forgiveness that God offers us. All we need do is accept the gift made possible by Jesus swapping places with us on the cross.

To receive a gift, one must believe that it is a genuine offer and not a trick. Suppose, for example, someone says, ‘I have placed in your bank account a gift of $10,000.’ This would do you no good unless you were to begin spending that money. To do this you would have to push through various doubts. What if the money is not there and you overdraw your account? Or what if there are strings attached, or the person demands his gift back? Receiving a gift takes faith. God has offered you the gift of forgiveness but it will do you no good until you do your best to believe his offer is genuine. You will then take the step of faith – perhaps quite shakily at first – by acting as if you are truly forgiven. This involves enjoying the fact that you are accepted by God and are now completely innocent of your past sins. It does not mean that you will feel forgiven, it simply means accepting the fact that you are forgiven.

The analogy about marrying someone richer than a trillionaire highlights one of our biggest hindrances to faith. How many trillionaires have you shaken hands with? Who of us have met even a moderately wealthy person eager to be so generous to us? Why would someone who could have anyone, pick us? The Almighty is so far beyond anything we have ever experienced in any other person as to seem unbelievable – except that God, by his very nature, can be expected to be far superior to anything we have ever seen in a human. Just as the Maker of galaxies has infinitely more power than anyone else, so he has infinitely more selfless love, purer motives, and superior generosity. We must keep rising above the fear that God has any failings. Alongside him, the most loving human we have ever met is selfish, small minded, and prejudiced against us. People have exploited us, let us down, lied to us, dismissed us as unlovable, and done other hurtful things, but God, being God, is altogether different. You can trust him.

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1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.

The apostle Paul was powerfully used of God not because his previous sins were minor but because he regarded himself as being the greatest of all sinners. God forgives people not because their sins are excusable; he forgives when they admit that their sins are inexcusable.

Our Lord stressed that the most important command is to love God, and yet he said it is the person who is forgiven most – who is most aware of the gravity of the sins that have been forgiven him – who loves most (Luke 7:47).. He warned that blatant sinners who were under no delusion about the extent of their sin had a much better chance of entering heaven that clean-living Pharisees who thought themselves good (Matthew 21:31-32).

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Luke 18:10 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. (11) The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. (12) I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ (13) But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ (14) I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were turncoats who collaborated with the Romans, the enemy occupation force that had invaded the country. They extorted money from Jews to prop up the Roman Empire. Since no self-respecting person would do this to their fellow countrymen, tax collectors were usually people whose morals had already been so low that they felt they had little respectability to lose by taking this despised, money-grubbing job. Pharisees were on the other extreme, being renowned for their impeccably high moral standards.

In this Scripture, Jesus is stressing that, no matter how good a person has been, anyone who thinks he has lived a morally acceptable life will rot in his sin. No one can stand in God’s holy presence except people willing to see themselves as having been hopelessly depraved morally and in desperate need of God’s mercy. Everyone coming to Jesus with this attitude is miraculously cleansed, because his faith is not in his own supposed goodness but solely in the goodness of God, who longs to purify us through Jesus. Having abandoned faith in his own morality, such a person is credited with Jesus’ moral perfection.

We all have the deadly cancer of sin. The many of us who, like the Pharisee, live in denial, will die in their sin. This is a tragic waste. Treatment is freely available to those who admit their need of it. Just as doctors respect the right of patients to refuse treatment, so the Lord of all allows us the dignity to refuse his treatment for our deadly sin condition. The only ones who have hope are those who humble themselves enough to admit that without Jesus they have no hope.

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Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

As we saw with the Pharisee and the tax collector, anyone taking the coward’s approach of trying to cover up or minimize or excuse his sins is in grave spiritual danger, but anyone humbly admitting his depravity will find God’s mercy.

The apostle Paul was once headed for hell like that Pharisee, but as his eyes opened to his sinfulness he became like that tax collector lamenting his sins and he found mercy. In fact he found so much mercy that his eyes opened to the point where he could truly understand his sinfulness. It was then that he pronounced himself the worst of sinners. It is he who humbles himself the most who is raised the highest.

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Philippians 3:4 . . . If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: (5) circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; (6) as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. (7) But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. (8) What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

If anyone had reason to put confidence in his devotion to God and his own efforts to do good, it was Paul. Nevertheless, what made the apostle great is that he despised all his moral achievements as garbage. The King James Version calls his efforts, ‘dung’ and this seems closer to the feeling of revulsion that the apostle wished to convey. In his highly acclaimed commentary, Gerald F. Hawthorne, Professor of Greek at Wheaton College, renders the word, ‘unspeakable filth.’ He says the word, ‘seems to have meant by usage either (1) “dung,” “muck” both as excrement and as food gone bad, (2) “scraps” i.e. “what is left after a meal,” and (3) “refuse.” It is also used to describe a pitiful and horrible thing like a half-eaten corpse, or “filth” such as lumps of manure. . . . It is quite improper to weaken its meaning in any way by translation or by interpretation . . .’ (Source)

As he looked to the time when he would face his Judge and be asked why he should not be thrown into hell, the mighty apostle wanted to be found without the slightest defense – other than the fact that Jesus had died for him. He ditched every other possible claim – any and every thing that some might think could help him be judged as being passable. This man, who really knew God, staked his whole eternity solely on the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ. He was putting all his eggs in one basket. This refusal to try to hedge one’s bets is what faith is all about.

What empowers most of us to reach this point is the realization that we simply have no alternative. We are moral failures. Without Jesus, the best of us are doomed. With Jesus, the worst of us are safe.

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Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags

When reading this as a child I used to think of a mechanic’s dirty, smelly rags. Then I discovered that God was painting a picture far more repulsive than that and far more in keeping with the apostle Paul’s spiritual insights mentioned earlier. In the original language it is a reference to rags smeared with bodily filth. It is saying we might as well proudly display our bodily filth as hold up to God our noblest attempt at morality. Our best efforts are infested with the disgusting maggots of pride, selfishness and impurity. To try to pass that off as righteousness is to insult God.

It is far, far better to be guilty of horrific sin and beg forgiveness, than to be so deluded as to imagine we could impress God with our ‘righteousness.’ No wonder Jesus said there was far more hope for prostitutes than for those who thought themselves respectable. No wonder the tax collector, overwhelmed by his sin, warmed the heart of God, and the Pharisee touting off to God his ‘good deeds,’ left God cold. Only one of them saw a desperate need to beg for mercy. Only one received it.

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1 John 1:7 . . . the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (8) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

No matter how ‘good’ one has been, anyone imagining his life is morally passable, is lying to himself and to God. To be purified of every trace of sin, all we need do is stop trying to excuse ourselves as if our sins did less to send Jesus to the cross than the sins of the vilest criminal. It is essential that we put our trust, not in our ability to justify our actions, but in Jesus’ power to win our pardon by taking our place on death row.

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Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. (21) But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (25) God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – (26) he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time

By ‘the law,’ the Bible means God’s standards as outlined in the very Word of God, preserved in the Old Testament. This is far superior to our self-made morality, and yet it still fails to put us right with God.

It says, ‘There is no difference’ – whether God-fearing Jew or idolatrous pagan, tithe-paying Pharisee or money- grubbing tax collector – ‘for all have sinned . . .’ We keep thinking there must be a difference. God keeps insisting there isn’t. You are breaking the same Ten Commandments – the same divine set of laws – when you covet as when you murder. There is no moral difference between someone who in a flash of anger wishes someone were dead, and someone who has a loaded gun in his hand at that critical moment. Someone who through fear of getting caught does not commit a crime is no more moral than someone who is braver and commits the crime. The wages of sin is death, whether it is a ‘respectable’ sin such as abusing our God-given body through overwork, or a sin society thinks is despicable. And once you are dead, you cannot get any deader.

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Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Instead of ‘you who pass judgment,’ the King James Version says, ‘whosoever thou art that judgest.’ This more accurately reflects the Greek by better bringing out the fact that this truth applies to every person.

This Scripture sends us reeling in shock. How can it be that whatever sin we accuse someone of committing, we ourselves are guilty of? We suppose there are many sins we have not committed, and yet our presumption of innocence merely highlights what deluded hypocrites we are. To wish someone dead is to murder. To dress in the hope of sexually arousing someone who might not want those feelings is to rape. To keep back part of your tithe is to steal from God (Malachi 3:8). King Saul let his soldiers hold on to some of the livestock God told them to destroy. Though they claimed this was for the noble reason of sacrificing the animals to God, the Lord declared it rebellion against God and therefore the equivalent of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23). To be greedy is to worship an idol (Ephesians 5:5, Colossians 3:5).

My desire – and God’s desire – is to not condemn you, but to bring you to the point of surrender so that you can cease the endless struggle to justify yourself, or feel inferior or superior to others, and simply accept divine forgiveness in all its wonder and endless scope. This is one of life’s most liberating and exhilarating experiences.

We are in a tiny boat, furiously baling out water in a desperate, ultimately futile, attempt to stay afloat. Towering above us is God’s luxury liner, offering security, dignity, rest and refreshment. The sooner we admit to ourselves that our attempt to save ourselves is both hopeless and foolish, the quicker we can enjoy God’s luxury liner.

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Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

When the Bible speaks of human attempts to justify ourselves, it usually means our vain attempts to offset our past moral lapses by doing good. This is utterly doomed to fail for many reasons. An obvious one is that any good we do now, we should have been doing throughout the past, as well as now. So nothing we do subsequently can counteract our past failures. Only Jesus could pay our debt to justice because only he had no debt of his own.

However, in our secular society, we commonly use the term justify in the slightly different sense of trying to excuse our past. It is this common meaning that I particularly want to focus on.

Once we gain even a shallow insight into the extent of our guilt, it quickly becomes nearly impossible to bear. We find ourselves with an almost overwhelming need to try to shift the blame. That leaves us with essentially two options. We can try to make other sinners take blame for our own sin, which will ultimately get us nowhere, or we can accept the staggering offer of the sinless Son of God taking our blame upon himself, suffering as if he were guilty so that we could get off scot-free as if we were innocent.

We have a choice. We can say, ‘My bad behavior was justified because of my atrocious upbringing, or the person I sinned against deserved it, or I couldn’t help myself.’ Or we can choose to jettison that approach and say, ‘I am not justified by my actions or circumstances; I am justified (make innocent in God’s eyes) solely because Jesus bore the penalty that my sins deserve.’

Self-praise, they say, is no recommendation. To justify ourselves is as valuable as stale air. For Jesus to justify us, however, is profoundly significant. It means the eternal, holy Son of God declares us innocent.

We can try to justify ourselves, which will never allow us to be accepted by God, or we can let Jesus justify us, which will make us fully accepted by God. But we can’t have both, any more than we could be on a train to hell and at the same time on a train to heaven. If there were a literal train to glory and a train to damnation, they would be speeding in opposite directions. To be on one involves leaving the other. Likewise, justifying ourselves is the exact opposite of Jesus justifying us. We usually try to justify ourselves by excusing our sin; we are justified by Jesus, however, by fully admitting our sin.

To try to justify our past is to torture ourselves by trying to dream up lame excuses that would be laughed out of court when we meet our Maker.

Right now, we decide how God will judge us when we stand naked before his Throne. We can through faith enter into a relationship with Jesus that makes us one with the holy Son of God, allowing us to ask God to judge us as if we were Jesus himself. Or we can abandon that option and put our faith solely in our ability to talk our way out of the guilt of every sin we have ever committed; trying to convince the all-knowing Lord that we have always been sinlessly perfect. What little faith we must have in Jesus’ ability to forgive if we still see the need to ease our consciences by trying to excuse our past! Feeling the need to justify ourselves indicates that we have not yet grasped the magnitude of divine forgiveness. When at last we see it, the result will be profound, liberating, and life-transforming.

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1 John 4:17 . . . we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.

You will be able to confidently face your Judge on Judgment Day because even while you lived on earth, God saw you as being not like an average person, nor even a saint, but like the perfect Son of God.

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A school bus driver was certain that he had killed a little boy by running over him. The man was devastated. He went to court and the judge pronounced him innocent. The judge said the bump he felt must have been the bus running over the boy’s bag. The boy’s death had nothing to do with his driving. What a huge difference there is between feeling guilty and being guilty!

What matters is not whether you feel holy and blameless but whether you cling to the fact that this is how the God of Truth sees you, because of Jesus. The Judge declares you innocent – not because of what you have or haven’t done, but because of what Jesus has done in taking your sin upon himself and suffering the full penalty for your sins that divine justice requires. All you need do is admit your need of Jesus, unlike the Pharisee who supposed he could make it on his own.

Just as the bus driver’s mind played tricks on him, so will yours. Like suddenly being told by a millionaire that all his assets are yours to do whatever you like with, it will take quite a while for the truth of what Jesus has done for you to sink in. So for a long while you will still have times when you feel guilty, but that feeling is simply an illusion. To help you come to grips with this, please see this webseries:

More Help With Guilt:
To Forgive is Divine

Warning: These Pages Won’t Help Everyone

Some people terrified about being unforgivable just need Bible-based reassurance or an explanation of a disturbing Scripture. If vast amounts of rational support and biblical exposition are the answer, keep following the links. Many Christians, however, presume this is what they need but it turns out that no amount of biblical proof or sound, theological argument or even spectacular spiritual experience can put their minds to rest. If you have already sought much help but worries keep resurfacing, you most likely need a totally different approach. You should skip these pages (you can return later if you wish) and go straight to Scrupulosity.

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Not to be sold. © Copyright 2002, Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged; if used in a webpage, the new page is significantly different to this one. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at  Freely you have received, freely give.
For use outside these limits, consult the author.

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Scripture quotations are from the New International Version © Copyright, 1978 by New York International Bible Society

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