I hope that God is filling you with His joy and peace through the power of the Holy Spirit. I have been teaching some foundational truths at church. I believe that God has shown me some things during this study that I felt I should pass along. Forgiveness is an essential part of the Christian walk, both giving and receiving. Offense is a serious issue in the lives of many Christians. Many are held captive by prison bars forged in the pit of unforgiveness because they cannot forgive. They are forfeiting their inheritance because they cannot receive from God because they are holding on to offense. I hope this teaching will exhort Christians to forgive as we have been forgiven.
“As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:21-23
Could it be that Jesus has given authority to His people to forgive sin? Many would say that it is blasphemous to think that way and would make applications that would even deny the suggestion that God had given such authority to men. We may say it was only for the apostles. I believe that there is much of the scriptures we do not receive or do not walk in because we don’t believe God would give us that much authority. What was the resurrected Lord, who had just died for the sins of the world, saying if He was not giving us the authority to forgive? Could it be that God is not free to work in the lives of those who we won’t forgive? If we have authority to forgive; we also have the power to retain. With the authority to release comes the authority to keep bound.
In Matthew 18: 21-35 Jesus gives one of His “the kingdom of heaven is like…” parables. Rather than type all the scripture I’ll briefly give the gist of the parable. A servant was forgiven an insurmountable debt by the king and then went out and found a fellow servant who owed him a relatively small amount. When his fellow servant could not pay him, he threw him in debtor’s prison. When the king found out how he had treated his fellow servant, he was angry and turned him over to the torturers until the debt be paid There was nothing mentioned of the fellow servant, so we must assume he was not released from prison. Jesus said, “So my heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” If we do not forgive we can keep others in prison as well as ourselves.
If we have been crucified with Christ and the crucifixion provided forgiveness for sin, then by virtue of our position in Him not only were the sins we have committed put on the cross, but the sins committed against us were put on the cross as well. By refusing to forgive we are denying our position in Him. We have failed to appropriate the work of the cross.
The cross was both vertical and horizontal. God made provision not only for our being reconciled to Him, but that we might be reconciled to others. We have been given the grace to be ministers of reconciliation.
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Cor. 5:18,19
“Reconcile” in one meaning of the word means to balance the books.
“Our certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us was nailed to the tree”. Col. 2 :14
When Jesus said, “It is finished.” The Greek word means “paid in full.” As ministers of reconciliation we do not impute the trespasses of others against them. As I was meditating before doing this teaching Sunday, I heard the Lord say, “If a man thinks he is right with me and is holding offense toward others he deceives himself.”
It is by His grace that we have been made ministers of reconciliation and if we do not walk in forgiveness we fall short of that grace allowing opportunity for a root of bitterness to spring up in us which affects everybody around us. C-Hebrews 12:15
In closing, know this, that there is not anything that you have done or that has been done to you for which the finished work of Jesus Christ is not sufficient. Praise God for his infinite mercy.
May you continually experience the abundant grace of our Lord.
In His service,