Category Archives: forgiveness
Colossians 3 presents the challenge that we should GET BUSY GETTING GODLY. Let’s look at the next two specific commands about the Christian life in this very aggressive chapter:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Today the two challenges are:
(1) Bear with one another, and
(2) Forgive one another.
How we get along with fellow believers is really critical. The world watches our relationships with one another. And how we treat one another affects our walk with the Lord. How can I be in intimate fellowship with Him if I am at odds with other believers? The idea that I can have a meaningful and productive walk with the Lord and internally or externally be fighting with others in the faith is greatly challenged by I John (see how often that book substitutes “the people of God” or “one another” for “Jesus” or “God.” Quite an interesting study).
Bearing with one another seems like the very least we can do, but requires a great deal of patience and strength from the Lord. The second command of forgiving is qualified as “forgive as the Lord forgave you.” That’s a lot more difficult than simply putting up with someone else!
HOW has the Lord forgiven you? Show that same forgiveness to another brother or sister in Christ today!
We are thinking about the topic of forgiveness. One of the workshops I will be giving at Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference (May 26-28) is entitled “The Forgotten Virtue of Forgiveness.”
One of the many texts that have impacted me concerning forgiveness is found in Acts 26. There we read:
I am preparing several workshops for Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference which will be held in Dubuque, Iowa, May 26-28. My three topics are entitled: (1) “None (or at least, Fewer) Dare Call It ‘Sin’: I Timothy on Homosexual Behavior”; (2) “The Forgotten Virtue of Forgiveness”; and (3) “Becoming Worldly Saints — An Evaluation of Michael Wittmer’s Needed Challenge.”
Let’s continue to consider the topic of forgiveness. I’ve gone through the various uses of the word forgiveness and forgive in the Scriptures. Here are three truths that I have seen:
(1) Forgiveness is not a virtue — It is a commandment! Forgiving others is not a good idea — God tells us to! You might want to look up the following texts: Mt. 6:12, 14-15; 18:21, 35; Mk. 11:25; Lk. 6:37; Lk. 11:4; Col. 3:13. God’s forgiving us is intimately connected with whether or not we forgive others!
(2) Forgiveness from God is possible — We belong to a pardoning God! “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” (Micah 7). Ps. 130:4- “With you there is forgiveness.”
(3) Forgiveness is not cheap! It cost the Son of God His blood to procure forgiveness for us! (Mt. 26:28; Heb. 9:22). The Apostle tells us that “redemption is through His blood.” And that expression is equated to the forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14).
Again this year I have the privilege of presenting several workshops at Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference held in Dubuque, Iowa, May 26-28. My three topics are entitled: (1) “None (or at least, Fewer) Dare Call It ‘Sin’: I Timothy on Homosexual Behavior”; (2) “The Forgotten Virtue of Forgiveness (I Timothy 1)”; and (3) “Becoming Worldly Saints — An Evaluation of Michael Wittmer’s Needed Challenge.”
Let’s think a bit this morning on the topic of forgiveness. Are Christians always to forgive? With or without the offending person apologizing? When Jesus cried out on the cross “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing,” was He forgiving those who crucified Him? Was He declaring that all people everywhere without exception are already forgiven of their sins by God (as some of my universalist friends say)? Are forgiveness and restoration the same? How does reconciliation relate to forgiveness? What is genuine forgiveness and why is it so important?
I Timothy (the book we are studying at the “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference), although it does not use the word “forgiveness,” provides some insight into this important Christian virtue. As he describes his own conversion, the Apostle Paul says he was “shown mercy” (1:13) and that “the grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly.” Mercy and grace and two elements of genuine forgiveness: mercy >> withholding judgment and grace >> expressing kindness and favor toward another. Paul later says that he was saved in order that God “might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” Patience is difficult to show toward those who have offended or hurt us. Immense patience is doubly hard!
One writer said, “I don’t mind forgiving and forgetting — It’s just that I don’t want the person I forgave to forget that he has been forgiven!” Is there someone who immediately comes to your mind that you need to think about considering maybe forgiving? (to be continued).
Dr. John MacArthur tells the following story about someone he met on a flight.
How would you have responded to this man he sat next to?
1. What, if anything, would you have done or said differently if you had been on that plane next to the Muslim man?
2. Would you ever use that line, “I tell people God will forgive their sins. Are you interested?”? Why or why not?