yes, it’s for you

August 3, 2015

crown of thorns

I’m kind of surprised, we are almost at 1000 consecutive devotions posts and I’m not sure how I missed writing about one of the most important concepts of Christianity- forgiveness. We have touched upon it but not with the coverage I think the topic should have, so we are going to do some examples and illustrations on the topic in the month of August.

FORGIVENESS

Ceasing to feel resentment for wrongs and offenses; pardon, involving restoration of broken relationships. Primarily, forgiveness is an act of God, releasing sinners from judgment and freeing them from the divine penalty of their sin. Since only God is holy, only God can forgive sin (Mk 2:7; Lk 5:21). Forgiveness is also a human act toward one’s neighbor, given new incentive and emphasis in the NT because of God’s forgiveness in the death of Christ. Hence forgiveness is a uniquely Christian doctrine.

In other religions, forgiveness does not have the same force. In animism, there is no awareness of a personal relationship with God. In Hinduism, all have to pay the inexorable consequences of karma in the wheel of reincarnations. Buddhism likewise knows nothing of a forgiving God. The idea is present in Islam, but there is no personal God and Father. Even in Judaism, forgiveness remains a limited experience, though forgiveness as developed in the NT adds dimension to the teaching of the OT.

Even the arrogant Pharaoh pleaded, under great pressure from God, for the Lord to forgive him (Exod. 10:17). Moses entreated God to forgive the sins of the Israelites or wipe his name out of God’s book (Exod. 32:32). The word “forgive” is one of the most powerful words in the Bible. A healthy life, spiritually and psychologically, is impossible without forgiveness. We need to forgive, not only others, but ourselves. Yet many fear that God will not forgive them or their sins (Josh. 24:19).

IT’S AS SIMPLE AS ASKING

I think that’s why so many people miss the boat on this subject, God is willing, able and ready to forgive, we doubt, feel guilty, are prideful and neglectful. We often think (incorrectly) that we have to somehow atone for our own sins.

In 1 Samuel, Saul asks Samuel for forgiveness, but Samuel’s response is an emphatic “No!” This is because Saul rejected the Lord’s guidance and followed his own ways. For Israel’s sake Samuel relented and helped Saul, but did not extend to him the Lord’s forgiveness—he never saw Saul again (1 Sam. 15:27–35). This example illustrates that the Lord will by no means forgive those who do not truly repent of their sin (Exod. 34:7).

So we have to be genuine about wanting to be forgiven, honest with ourselves and with God.

Forgiveness is not cheap or easy, but it is available today to those who turn to God through Christ. Jesus has authority to forgive our sins on earth (Luke 5:24). The sick among God’s people can also be prayed for and they can be healed; if sins are involved they will be forgiven (Jas. 5:15). Believers forgiven by God are to imitate God by forgiving those who ask us (Luke 17:3, 4). He forgives our wickedness and purifies us before Himself, although it cost Him His Son (Heb. 8:12; 1 John 1:9). Forgiveness for us costs very little—except perhaps our pride. For those who humbly turn to God—and not away from Him as Saul did—there is forgiveness.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Please pray for Kim and her battle with cancer

Susan and vertigo

Monica and HIV

Stephen and the loss of his brother

Big Ray and parole hearing

Lonica and citizenship in the USA

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