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Scripture Reading: Psalm 103:6-14
Looking at Forgiveness
1. God’s forgiveness of our sins in Christ is the greatest act of love and grace we will ever experience, Psa. 32:1-2; Rom. 5:8-9.
a. God’s grace calls on sinners to obey in faith to be forgiven, Eph. 2:8-9.
b. God ever has a ready heart to forgive; so must we, even as those who sin against us must repent to be forgiven by God, Col. 3:13 (Lk. 17:3).
2. Our forgiveness by God in Christ is our compelling reason to forgive those who sin against us, Matt. 6:12, 14-15.
3. True forgiveness is from the heart, Matt. 18:35; Not pretense, not partial, not temporary, not probationary; it is unlimited (Lk. 17:4).
I. UNDERSTANDING FORGIVENESS.
A. To Send Away, to Release, Matt. 18:35.
1. aphiemi: “to send away…to let go…to keep no longer…release”
-Illus. sending away a spouse in divorce, 1 Cor. 7:11.
2. Jesus had a forgiving heart (Lk. 23:34), and forgave sinners who came to Him in faith for forgiveness (Mk. 2:5).
3. We must commit ourselves to following His example.
II. LOOKING AT FORGIVENESS.
A. Forgiveness Acknowledges the Hurt Caused by Sin, Exo. 34:6-7.
-It does not ignore sin when it happens.
-But, neither is forgiveness defined by the hurt that sin causes.
1. Forgiveness does not dwell on the hurt, 1 Cor. 13:4, 6.
2. God is hurt by our sins against Him, Gen. 3:11; Mk. 3:5; Eph. 4:30.
3. Yet, forgiveness dwells on the remedy, Rom. 5:8; Lk. 17:3-4; Jas. 5:19-20.
B. Forgiveness Releases the Offender of his Offense, Lk. 23:34.
1. The heart of forgiveness is always ready to forgive; it does not need to be bribed, cajoled or manipulated into forgiving.
2. Forgiveness is eager to restore what has been damaged by sin, Matt. 18:15; 5:23-26.
3. God will punish us if we do not forgive, Matt. 18:27-30, 34.
C. Forgiveness Lets Go of Resentment, Rom. 12:19-21.
1. Forgiveness does not seek an opportunity for vengeance.
2. Forgiveness does good to enemies, Exo. 23:4-5 (Matt. 5:43-45).
3. “Forgive it and meditate no revenge” (M. Henry), Prov. 19:11.
4. cf. Joseph, Gen. 50:16-21. Rather than resentment and retribution, he refreshed his brothers’ hearts with forgiveness.
-Do you think Joseph brought up their sins for the rest of his life?!
5. Unwillingness to forgive causes bitterness of heart and resentment that produces a hard hearts that perpetuates a resistance against forgiving, Eph. 4:31-32.
D. Forgiveness is an Act of Grace, Eph. 1:7.
1. It is not deserved, it is not earned, yet freely offered, Isa. 1:18-20.
2. Forgiveness does not rejoice in another person’s sins, Prov. 24:17-18.
a. It does not say, “They are getting what they deserve”, because it knows we all deserve death for our own sins (Rom. 6:23).
b. Forgiveness expresses compassion, knowing it also needs mercy, Matt. 18:27; Lk. 6:37-38.
1. The world does not know what forgiveness looks like because it doesn't know the horribleness of sin. If it did, more would come to Jesus to be forgiven by Him, Matt. 11:28-30.
2. Christians, who have been forgiven by God, will forgive others from the depth of our hearts with the motive of mercy, with words of kindness and by actions of release toward those who sin against us.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: January 7, 2016