Summary: Forgiveness is the way the Lord releases us from guilt and sets us free to continue loving God and others.
Forgive or not to forgive
Paul declares to us some rules for holy living. He tells us:
Set your heart and mind to heavenly things.
That as a believer, you died to self and now Christ lives in you.
Put to death (like Christ) the fleshly nature of fallen man
Rid yourself of anger, malice, slander, filthy language.
That’s easy enough, right?
Bible says as God’s chosen people- we “put on” and cloth ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
As if that is not enough for us to grasp- he tells us-
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgives you.”
Does the Lord really mean what He is asking us to do?
Does Christ understand how hard this is?
Yes- He means it!
Yes- He understands
Illustration- someone once said –
“A Bible in the hand is worth 2 in the bookcase. A Bible stored in the mind is worth a dozen stored in the bottom of a suitcase”.
Yes He means it
Yes He understands it
Yes He expects us to be obedient
Yes, He will give us the power to be able to do it.
Because it is something we cannot do without His help.
Scripture usually has doctrinal statements and applications. You cannot do one without the other.
If God told you to be holy, but never told you how to be holy, it would not be applicable for your life.
It would be impossible to know how to please God unless God told you what pleases Him.
The indicative statement says believers are in Christ. They have died to self and been raised in Christ. They put off the old way and put on the new way.
The imperative statement indicates what believers do as the result of the change.
Set you mind and heart on things above.
Put o death those things that displease the Lord.
Part of the new is to cloth yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience.
“Forgive each other as God has forgiven you.”
Listen to Old Testament and New Testament passages on Forgiveness
“Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts, let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
“But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.”
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
Allow me a minute to state the obvious
If you are in danger or harm, you do not put yourself back in harm’s way. That is not what the Lord expects from us.