Summary: Part 4 of this series.
Preparation For Promotion Part 4: Test of Forgiveness
This will be the final message in this series on Preparation for Promotion. In this message we will look at the final test, the test of forgiveness. There is some background information we need to understand about forgiveness before I go into handling the actual tests of forgiveness. Let me start with forgiveness under the Old Testament Law versus forgiveness under our New Covenant in Christ.
I. Old Testament Law versus the New Covenant
The Old Testament discouraged the Hebrews from seeking either the peace or prosperity of their enemies. Deuteronomy 23:4, 6 says “Because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you….You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.” God told the Children of Israel that they were not to seek peace or the prosperity with the Ammonite or the Moabites because of how these people treated them when they came out of Egypt. They were not to forgive them. We know that God did not want the Children of Israel to think that living lives like these people (following a pagan way of life) would lead to their prosperity. This law made it legitimate for a follower of the covenant ethic to hate rather than to forgive his enemy.
When we look at our new covenant in Christ, Jesus summed up what our attitudes should be when He contrasted the love of one’s friends with the hatred of one’s enemies. Matthew 5:43-44 says “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” In expounding the ethic of the New Covenant, Christ taught that forgiveness is a duty of which no limit can be set (Luke 17:4). Jesus does not state that there is any wrong so gross nor so often repeated that it is beyond forgiveness. To Him, having an unforgiving spirit is one of the most heinous of sins. Our example of forgiveness not only comes through Christ, but also how God deals with us. Let review a few Scriptures of what happens when God forgives sin.
II. When God Forgives
“Indeed it was for my own peace that I had great bitterness; but You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.” Isaiah 38:17
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25
“He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19
“….For I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:34
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalms 103:12