Remember Not The Sins Of My Youth

Remember Not The Sins Of My Youth

Toronto, September 30, 2007

Holy Supper Address by the Rev. James P. Cooper

Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD. (Psa. 25, 6-7)

  1. Some people resist attending the Holy Supper because they have heard that it is the “most holy” act of worship
    1. Somehow they get the idea that this means it is an act of worship reserved for the “most holy,” that someone who is not yet fully regenerated should not approach.
    2. The Holy Supper is for all those who wish to eventually become regenerated.
    3. The Holiness comes from your approach to the Lord, and His near approach through the bread and wine
  2. What’s really important is self-examination.
    1. It is essential that we look critically at our own actions and the motivations behind them so that we don’t deceive ourselves into thinking we are doing much better spiritually than we really are.
    2. Certainly it can be painful to examine one’s own motives and discover that they aren’t quite as pure as we’d like to believe, but certainly it is better to discover the problem here and now where we can do something about it than to miss it entirely. That’s why the Lord taught:
      1. “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you   to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.”1
        1. But simply discovering evils so we can feel guilty about them is not the point. The point is that evils are to be found so that they can be removed, and we can be reborn into spiritual life.
          1. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of meeting with someone to try to solve a problem. You describe what you think the problem is and the response is, “it’s not my fault.”
            1. Perhaps, from a management point of view, determining who’s fault it is might be important as some future point. But isn’t your response likely to be, “okay, it’s not your fault – but what can we do right now to fix the problem?”
            2. In terms of your own personal spiritual growth feeling guilty isn’t the goal – because really, through our heredity, everybody is already guilty of everything! What the Lord wants you to do is fix the problem – to change the behaviour that is hurting yourself and hurting others.
          2. Self-examination is not a goal in itself, it is just the first step in a process that leads to spiritual health and eternal life. Therefore, the Lord further taught in that same discourse how the shepherd goes out to seek the lamb that is lost2, and rejoices when he finds it and restores it to the flock.
            1. The Lord is not an angry Father that turns away from us when we fail. He came on earth to show us that He is the Good Shepherd who will come searching for us in the darkness of our souls, and who rejoices when He can help us find our way back from whatever personal wilderness in which we are lost.
            2. We also need to reflect for a moment on the Book of Life where all the events, thoughts, and affections of our lives are recorded – but when we change our lives, we change what is recorded.
              1. It is an extremely important principle of the Spiritual World that no one is punished in the other life for any sin committed in this world, as we read in this extract from the third lesson:
                1. Heaven and Hell 509 When evil spirits are in [the] second state, as they rush into evils of every kind they are subjected to frequent and grievous punishments. … And yet no one in the other world suffers punishment on account of the evils that he had done in this world, but only on account of the evils that he then does. … Good spirits, although they had done evils in the world, are never punished, because their evils do not return….
              2. When we die and enter the spiritual world, we are first in a state of introduction, a state where all that is expected of us is that we get used to the idea and reality of eternal life. Eventually, everyone completes that part of their preparation and is ready to move on into a state where the real character, or ruling love, is revealed.
                1. This is accomplished by having our natural inhibitions gradually removed along with the fear of the loss of reputation, honour, and gain.

 

  • The person who, while in the world, was outwardly generous and helpful but inwardly seethed with hatred and contempt for those he helped, will no longer be able to hide his true feelings. Although he may have lived a life that was outwardly perfect, he will now begin to act out his hatred and be punished for it.
  • On the other hand, a person who struggled with a difficult life in the world, who made mistakes and overcame them, who learned from the errors they made and looked for the good in others will find themselves delighting in the freedom they find as they discover themselves finally able to do the good and kind things they had always wanted to do.
  • What about the mistakes, the hidden sins of the past? Since they no longer correspond to the ruling love, there is nothing to bring them forth – they are gone forever.
  • The deeds that are done in the world of spirits as the true ruling love is opened and revealed are the ones that we are credited with or blamed for.
    1. It’s good news indeed that hour sins will not be remembered in the world of spirits – but neither will our good deeds. The slate is truly wiped clean, and we begin to write anew only those things that correspond to our ruling love.
    1. Since being human, we are inclined to think ourselves very clever, we sometimes do really stupid, evil, and harmful things.
      1. As the Psalmist prayed for the Lord’s mercy, and begged that He not remember the sins of his youth, so we too have things in our past that we are no doubt ashamed of, burdens of guilt that we carry around.
        1. And the hells take great delight in reminding us of them at those times when we are just beginning to feel that we have a handle on life.
        2. We know that the Lord has the Book of Life in His hands, and we feel that since He is perfect, He finds our imperfections offensive, that they stand out in his eyes.
      2. And we believe this in spite of the fact that the Lord repeatedly tells us in the Word that He loves us in spite of our imperfections. He loves us for what we become through our struggles, not what we might have briefly been in a moment of weakness.
        1. Remember the prodigal son: And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.3
          1. And remember the woman taken in the very act of adultery: When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”4
  • Today, we celebrate the Holy Supper.
  • It is a celebration because it is a symbol of the Lord’s close presence in our lives.
  • It is a celebration because it is a symbol of the Lord’s own system for finding and removing those things in us that would prevent us from reaching the life of heaven.
  • It is a celebration because it looks to the healing of the tired and wounded spirit, and the uplifting of those who fallen in spirit.
  • It is a celebration because that which is lost has been found: “And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.5 Amen.  

    First Lesson: PSA 25

    To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. {2} O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. {3} Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. {4} Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. {5} Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. {6} Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. {7} Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD. {8} Good and upright is the LORD; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. {9} The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way. {10} All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. {11} For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. {12} Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. {13} He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. {14} The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. {15} My eyes are ever toward the LORD, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. {16} Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted. {17} The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses! {18} Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins. {19} Consider my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred. {20} Keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. {21} Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You. {22} Redeem Israel, O God, Out of all their troubles! Amen.

    Second Lesson: MAT 18:7-14

    “Woe to the world because of offences! For offences must come, but woe to that man by whom the offence comes! {8} “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. {9} “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire. {10} “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. {11} “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. {12} “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? {13} “And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. {14} “Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Amen.

    Third Lesson: HH 509

    When evil spirits are in this second state, as they rush into evils of every kind they are subjected to frequent and grievous punishments. In the world of spirits there are many kinds of punishment; and there is no regard for person, whether one had been in the world a king or a servant. Every evil carries its punishment with it, the two making one; therefore whoever is in evil is also in the punishment of evil. And yet no one in the other world suffers punishment on account of the evils that he had done in this world, but only on account of the evils that he then does; although it amounts to the same and is the same thing whether it be said that men suffer punishment on account of their evils in the world or that they suffer punishment on account of the evils they do in the other life, since every one after death returns into his own life and thus into like evils; and the man continues the same as he had been in the life of the body (n. 470-484). Men are punished for the reason that the fear of punishment is the sole means of subduing evils in this state. Exhortation is no longer of any avail, neither is instruction or fear of the law and of the loss of reputation, since every one then acts from his nature; and that nature can be restrained and broken only by punishments. But good spirits, although they had done evils in the world, are never punished, because their evils do not return. Moreover, I have learned that the evils they did were of a different kind or nature, not being done purposely in opposition to the truth, or from any other badness of heart than that which they received by inheritance from their parents, and that they were borne into this by a blind delight when they were in externals separate from internals. Amen.

    Here end the lessons. Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it. Amen.

     


    1 Matthew 18:8-9

    2 Matthew 18:12

    3

    Luke 15:21-24

    4

    John 8:10-11

    5 Matthew 18:13-14

 

 

4 thoughts on “Remember Not The Sins Of My Youth

  1. I am curious what religion you are. It is obvious you are not a Christian. You don’t believe in either punishment or rewards in the eternal world. That is false doctrine and heresy as far as traditional Christians are concerned. What is your religion that you try to pass off as Christian but it is not?

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    • heaven is not a place you go to,its a mental state of mind, its something you become, so is hell, you punish yourself when you live contary to gods divine law, god does not punish, read more into this site, its rational informative and thought provoking, im a true christian and this site is based on the writings of emanuel swedenborg a servent of jesus christ,its the spiritual sense of the word that it reveals, the letter sense of the word is dead, you have to dig out the spirtual sense to bring christianty to life, God bless.

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