First, the best perspective…
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
– Colossians 1:13, 14
NOTE: Today’s blog entry is part four of a four part series on the
topic of forgiveness. Part one (Asking Forgiveness) was posted on Thursday, January 29. Part two (Giving Forgiveness) was posted on Monday, February 2, and part three (Church Discipline) was posted on Thursday, February 5.
We are a people in need of forgiveness. You and I – if we are honest with ourselves – realize our imperfections and are able to recount a list of those things we have done that are wrong, whether through thought or deed. There are the unkind words and selfish deeds that we have said or done to others. And there are those things we have done quietly, secretly, that nobody else knows about. However, in spite of our very finest efforts to hide, justify, or excuse our actions and our wrongdoings, it is the Lord Himself who sees all, hears all, knows all. It is His forgiveness that you and I so desperately need.
We need God’s forgiveness because our sin separates us from Him. Isaiah 59:2 states this clearly: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
However, one of the great and wondrous truths in the Bible is that God is gracious and willing to freely offer His forgiveness to those who simply ask Him.
Therefore, in order to be reconciled to God, we must be forgiven. This forgiveness is based upon what the Lord Jesus did for us when He willingly died on the cross. He allowed wicked men to nail Him there not for Himself, but for you and for me. He gave His blood so that we could be redeemed (bought back) and saved for eternity. Then, He came back to life which demonstrates His power to grant us new life in Him. It’s simply up to each of us to respond in the right way to Him.
Perhaps the greatest illustration of forgiveness in God’s Word is the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32. Even people who rarely attend church or who seldom read the Bible often know the basic story. According to the passage, the younger son desired his portion of what would later have been his inheritance and then he departed. Over time the son spent all he had on fun and foolishness – the proverbial ‘wine, women, and song.’
After a time, the young man fell on hard times, even lacking in basic food and shelter. Eventually it took the experience of living with and eating with pigs (an unclean animal in Hebrew culture) to help him realize what he needed to do: “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee…”
At the conclusion of his journey home, the ragged and broken young man arrived to a wondrous welcome from his father who had eagerly and patiently awaited his return. The young man was forgiven by his father, who immediately called for the servants saying, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry…”
There it is, clearly stated in God’s Word, with the Lord Jesus Himself telling the story as an illustration of the forgiveness offered by our Heavenly Father. You and I must follow the example provided by the errant and wandering son, who said, “I will arise and go to my father…”
Go! Go to the Father and ask for forgiveness. Place your trust in Him for cleansing from the sin that separates you from His very presence. He will forgive you as you ask Him and as you believe in what His Son Jesus did for you through His death, burial, and resurrection.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12
Particularly over the past 12-15 years, I have had to wrestle with the concept of forgiveness many times and in several areas of life. It’s not always easy, but the benefits make it very much worthwhile! Do not allow yourself to become burdened and bogged down with issues related to forgiveness.
1. Choose to forgive others.
2. Choose to ask God and others for forgiveness.
3. Choose to accept forgiveness from God and from others.
Forgiveness removes our burdens, liberates us, and allows us to live a life of joy and fulfillment, leading to productive service for God and to our fellow-man.