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 Forgivness

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PostSubject: Forgivness   Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:42 pm

What does everyone think about this article...


There are times in each of our lives where we might be holding
unforgiveness towards someone else. If you take that statement at face
value — “If you don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive you” — it would
mean there are unforgiven sins in your life. If there are unforgiven
sins in your life, and you were to die without them being forgiven, then
I suppose you would be separated from God forever, wouldn’t you? At the
very least, we would be in big trouble even in this life if God looks
at us and sees unforgiven sins.

Not surprisingly, this teaching
creates a lot of anxiety among Christians. Others might preach at us and
tell us we ought to forgive. They make it sound so easy. But it’s not
easy. All of us have been hurt by others; some of us severely. We do
people a disservice by heartlessly pounding on them to forgive those
that have injured them, and it can be even more heartless when we use
Bible verses to pound them with. How much greater is the damage when our
teaching causes people to feel that God rejects them because they have
been unable to forgive others for inexcusable actions.

However,
we still need to make good sense of the Bible’s teaching on forgiveness,
because the difficult verses in question come from Jesus Himself. Jesus
says at the end of His model prayer (that we’ve called “The Lord’s
Prayer”),

For if you forgive others for their transgressions,
your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive
others, then your Father will not forgive you your transgressions.
Matthew 6:14-15

If we read those words alone, then it seems like
game, set, and match. How could we come to any other conclusion than to
believe that our forgiveness totally depends on our forgiveness of
others? However, we must never forget that verses must never be
interpreted on their own out of context, but must always be interpreted
in light of the whole Word of God.

Jesus did say those words, but
let me remind you again of the need to consider when Jesus was
speaking, to whom He was speaking, and what he was doing. Those are
things you have to remember whenever you interpret the Scriptures. Not
everything Jesus said is to be applied to you personally, because
everything changed at the cross.

TAKE A FRESH LOOK AT THE SCRIPTURES

When
Christ died, the Old Covenant was made obsolete, and the New Covenant
was brought into existence. The night before He died, Jesus took cup and
passed it, saying,

This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Luke 22:20

Covenants
in the ancient world were almost always inaugurated by the blood
sacrifice of an animal. That practice was similar to a contract today
being put in force through signing on the dotted line. Jesus was
indicating beforehand that His death would bring into reality the
long-promised New Covenant. This New Covenant is both different and
superior to the Old Covenant, the Law of Moses:

But now He
[Christ] has obtained a more excellent ministry, by a much as He is also
the mediator of a better covenant which has been enacted on better
promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would
have been no occasion sought for a second. Hebrews 8:6-7

This
means that Jesus’ death not only inaugurated the New Covenant, but it
also simultaneously brought the law, the Old Covenant, to an end:

When
He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever
is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. Hebrews
8:13

I can’t overemphasize the importance of getting this: When
Jesus taught, He was speaking according to the law to people living
under the law. Whenever you read the words of Jesus recorded in the
gospels, you must keep this in mind. When Jesus taught, “You must
forgive in order to be forgiven,” He was magnifying the demands of the
law in order to provoke people to understand their need for Him as
Savior. But when He died, was buried, and rose again, the New Covenant
was inaugurated by His death, and things changed.

That’s why you
read in later New Testament writings a different order of reasoning.
First, the New Testament teaches us that we are forgiven already:

In
Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our
trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7

When
you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your
flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our
transgressions. Colossians 2:13

Then, on the basis of the
forgiveness we have already received, the New Testament urges us to
forgive others — but notice the change in order:

Be kind to one other, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

So,
as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart
of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with
one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against
anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Colossians
3:12-13

Do you see the distinction there? Before the cross, the
Bible says you forgive to be forgiven. But after the cross, the
Scripture teaches that we forgive because we have been forgiven.

CLARIFY YOUR THINKING

The
idea that if you don’t forgive others God won’t forgive you is an Old
Covenant teaching, even though we hear it from the lips of Jesus. It was
prior to the cross, which is where the law ended. Why did the Lord
teach it? Because He often held up the law to raise the awareness of sin
in the people’s hearts, so that it would pave the way for them to
recognize their need for a Savior. By His death, burial and
resurrection, He accomplished the work, and the good news is now
preached in His name.

Today, to tell someone that if you don’t
forgive others God won’t forgive you is to tell a lie. That’s not
applicable in the New Covenant. The truth is, we forgive others because
we have been forgiven. As I acknowledged in the beginning of this
challenge, forgiveness is often difficult, if not impossible for us on
our own. We need supernatural power to find forgiveness in our hearts.
The best source of that power is a heart that has been changed by first
receiving the amazing grace and forgiveness of Christ.
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PostSubject: Re: Forgivness   Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:44 pm

All I can say is Amen

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