Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

Sometimes as believers, we use terms that only we understand.  What some might call “Christianese”  Understanding these terms and being able to “translate” them to those who don’t speak our “language” is essential to effectively sharing the gospel.  What does it mean to be saved?  What happens when we are born again?

The Basics

  •  Salvation is a gift    (John 3:16)
  • The only Requirement is belief (John 3:16)
  • Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, satisfying all the righteousness requirements of the law (2 Corinthians 5:21)

What happens?

  • We’re made alive spiritually  (Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1)
  • The charges against us are dropped (Colossians 2:14)
  • We’re forgiven of  all our sins (Ephesians 1:7)
  • We’re purified for God to be His own (Titus 2:14)
  • We’re made new – a new creation in Christ  (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • Old things are gone; all things are new (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • We’re reconciled to God (restored to right relationship) (2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:21)
  • We’re presented to God holy and blameless (Colossians 1:21-23)
  • We receive the Kingdom of God (Luke 12:32)
  • We receive lasting inheritance (1 Peter 1:4)
  • We have abundant life now (John 10:10)
  • We receive everything needed for life and godly living (2 Peter 1:2-11)
  • We receive the power of  the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)
  • We receive weapons for warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18)
A Word Picture to Illustrate
     If they still don’t get the idea, give them a picture:  “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.  Isaiah 1:18

May the One who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy keep you from stumbling  and present you to God as without fault (and only God can do that).

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Whiter than Snow

Whiter than snow, whiter than snow
My Savior washes me whiter than snow
Whiter than snow, whiter than the whitest snow,
My Savior washes me whiter than snow
I came like a lamb to the slaughter,
then He made me His daughter
My Savior washes me whiter than snow
Whiter than snow, whiter than snow
My Savior washes me whiter than snow
Whiter than snow, whiter than the whitest snow,
My Savior washes me whiter than snow
When I came, I was suffering
Now the world to me is nothing
Cause my Savior washes me whiter than snow
Whiter than snow, whiter than snow
My Savior washes me whiter than snow
Whiter than snow, whiter than the whitest snow,
My Savior washes me with blood spilled at Calvary
My Savior washes me whiter than snow
Copyright (c) 2000 M.E.Mullin

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In man’s (or woman’s) natural state, he has no desire to forgive another for wrongs suffered at the other’s hand or direction.  Forgiveness is one of the things that originates from God.  Forgiveness is God’s idea.

God commands us to forgive because it doesn’t come naturally.  We wouldn’t do it without some encouragement. Forgiveness contravenes my natural way of dealing with those who hurt me or my loved ones.

Nevertheless, for me it begs the question “Why would a God of justice forsake justice and ask me to forgive the wrong?”  Surely, when a wrong is done, justice is required to right or correct the wrong.  Why would God ask me to put aside justice and forgive?  Perhaps you already know the answer which may seem less than satisfying at first glance; “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

God asks me to put aside immediate justice and forgive.  He does not say justice will never come.  In fact, He promises His justice for my enemies:

  • Psalm 9:3 When my enemies turn back, They shall fall and perish at Your presence.
  • Psalm 18:40 You have also given me the necks of my enemies, So that I destroyed those who hated me.
  • Psalm 27:2 When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell.
  • Psalm 54:5 He will repay my enemies for their evil.
  • Psalm 59:10 My God of mercy shall come to meet me; God shall let me see my desire on my enemies.
  • Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.

The lesson for me here is not that God would have me give up, but rather God would have me give over – give over my enemies to Him! By forgiving those who wrong me, I deal with the heart issue (which we will discuss in a later post) which threatens harm to me and my relationship, and I get out of God’s way.  I allow Him to bring His justice to the situation.  All I need to do is sit back, under the shadow of my Father’s everlasting arms, and wait as my God brings justice.  He is a God of justice, so I can trust Him. Forgive and get out of God’s way!

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Loving your neighbor is not difficult when your neighbor is your friend and thinks like you and does nice things for you.  Loving that neighbor is easy.  As a matter of fact, loving the neighbor who is a friend is a joy, it is a “get to” not a “got to.”

That being said, loving the other neighbor, the one who has wronged you, the one who has lied about you, the one who has stolen from you, hurt your family, wounded your child or otherwise done you wrong, loving that neighbor is nearly impossible.  Without Christ, it would be wholly impossible and totally understandable.  The world understands when you hate those who persecute you and retaliate against those who hurt your family and wound your child.

BUT GOD . . . has another way, a more excellent way.  Instead of continuing on the path of anger, bitterness and unforgiveness, my Savior, the one I call Lord, asks me to respond differently.  He asks me to do the impossible and forgive.  He commands me to forgive. I want to resist.  I want to shout about the injustices that I have suffered, that my loved ones have suffered.

As I lift my head to shout, my eyes fall upon a cross.  Blood is pooled at the foot of that cross.  No longer does my Savior hang there, for He has risen, but I see the evidence of His suffering and I am reminded of the injustices that He suffered for me, and I know that all the wrongs against me have been paid for by that spilled blood.  The payment has been rendered for the hurts, the slights, the attacks, the lies, the abuse . . . and I bow my head.  “Forgive me, Father.”

“I will forgive you as you forgive those who wrong you.”

In that moment, knowing I need God’s forgiveness more than my own vindication, I release what I have been holding against those who have wronged me.  I cannot survive without the forgiveness and love of my God.  It is His great love that drew me, that healed me, that delivered me.  I must do this thing He commands.  There is no other way.  “Help me Father to forgive.”

“And so I shall, my child.”

In the upcoming posts, we will consider this issue of forgiveness, bitterness and anger, and the biblical response to it in the life of the believer.

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God’s forgiveness of my sin (and your sin) is definitely a clear example of what biblical forgiveness looks like.  God does not forgive my sins because He has to or needs to but because He wants to.  God has provided a way (Jesus), so He can forgive my sins and redeem me from the curse (death) of them.  His forgiveness of my sins is not something that I have earned or that I deserve, and so it will be with those whom I forgive.  They will not have to do anything to earn it, they will likely not deserve it, but I must forgive them as God has forgiven me.

God forgives sin because it is part of His nature to be merciful.  He forgives the sins of those who have repented of their sins, applied the adequate sacrifice (the blood of Jesus) to their sin and submitted to the Lordship of Jesus.  I forgive because I am a bond servant of Christ, and His spirit dwells within me and compels me to be like Him, to show mercy as He shows mercy.  And so I must forgive those who trespass against me, against my loved ones.

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