Understanding Forgiveness has been our goal these last few weeks in preaching ministry. So, as we turn the page on this basic principle of Christian living let’s review.
Forgiveness is a process…
… made possible by the redemptive work of Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19).
… which creates a state of grace in which believers gather together for glad hearted, God exalting worship. We call this gathering the Church, the family of God, and the body of Christ. The ground at this gathering place is level, it is leveled by His grace so that we can show the world who He is, not who we are (Colossians 3:11).
… which empowers believers to walk in grace even though we have made mistakes. We should not deny God the opportunity to create a new work in our lives by not accepting His forgiveness for our failures. By acknowledging our mistakes before a holy God, by trusting in His promise to forgive, and then proclaiming that I am forgiven (Psalm 51:3-17) I can live in freedom and in power. Freedom from feeling as if I owe something for my transgression. Power that is like the working of God’s mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead (Ephesians1:19).
… that creates a culture of Grace all around us. We become willing participants in the forgiveness of others. This is not to deny the wrongness of someone’s actions nor does it deny the pain. Forgiveness cannot restore a relationship on its own (even though it cannot be restored without it). The culture of grace causes me to look beyond actions to the root of sinful behavior and see that in the thoughtless, indifference of hurtful intentions there is a person in need of grace just like me. The presence of Christ cannot coexist with the presence of unforgiveness.
Beware the bitter root (Hebrews 12:15). “Bitterness is such a potent paralysis of mind, soul, and spirit that it can freeze reason and emotion. Our attitudes turn cynical, uncaring, critical, and caustic. Where once we ventured to place faith in others, now we trust no one. Optimism darkens to pessimism. Faith grays into doubt.” (Freedom of Forgiveness, David Augsburger [pg. 17])
Augsburger continues, “God’s forgiveness gives us the freedom to leave and live creatively. The rush of God’s strength, which brings forgiveness, gives in turn the ability to forgive, and forgive, and forgive.” (Freedom, pg.19 and Matthew 18:21-35).
Thank you God for forgiveness, may we be willing to forgive.