As we begin our study of Jesus in the Old Testament, let us always look for Jesus and God’s grace as he dealt with the children of Israel, and how he deals with the church today. Let us allow the teachings of what God did to save man penetrate deep in our souls, and let us NEVER, EVER, take God’s grace, mercy, and love for granted. Above all, let us not think we can sin knowingly and get away with it if we do not repent and seek God’s forgiveness.
God owes us nothing! We owe him everything. Our lives, our livelihood, our families, the church family that we are a part of, are all gifts God has bestowed on us because we are His children. We know, as children, that we let Him down. We sin. We err in our dealings with one another and with God. Is there a day that goes by that we do NOT sin? Most of us will not confess the sins in our lives (especially publicly) because we do not want people to know how we really are – yet God, who made us, knows our actions as well as the thoughts that motivate those actions. We will be judged by our actions, and God will judge also on what motivated us to do what we did. Knowing that we often do things out of selfish ambitions, we realize that it is our thoughts that get us into trouble. In 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 Paul wrote, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” (ESV)
Since our thoughts motivate our actions, we need to be immersed in God’s word, so that we will be able to fight the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).
One of the ways Satan attacks us is by failing to forgive. We want God to forgive us of our sins, so that we might be able to live with the Lord. We desire that others forgive us, when sometimes we are not quite so willing to forgive others. We bear grudges and act childishly (we won’t talk to someone until they cower at our feet and show they are truly penitent, and these things come into play time and again when we see them. Our emotions remind us of the hurt we have experienced, and we want them to pay.
But Jesus has paid that price. If the Godhead can forgive us, then we must have the same spirit they have and forgive others.
So what is forgiveness? Let us notice this article by Leroy Dedmon on this topic . . . .
“Obviously, this is a command some Christians misunderstand, or it is one of the most difficult things they must do, or else it is the ONE THING they are not willing to do. CHARIDZOMAI is the Greek word for the act of forgiving.
“Forgiveness is not arbitrary! It has already been settled in heaven. (Psalms 119:89; Ephesians 4:32). The question is NOT, “Do I want to forgive?” but rather: “Do I want God to forgive me, and do I want to go to heaven?” (Matthew 6:15). Some may say, “But the wrong they did was terrible.” Probably so, but that is NOT the question. The question IS, “Did they repent?” If so, you have no choice but to forgive. Regarding the magnitude of the sin, could it be any greater than being responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion? We are all guilty of that (Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”) and 1 Peter 2:24 Who himself bore our sins in His own body an the tree, that we having died to sin, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you are healed. Yet, he is willing to forgive us completely. This should and must provoke our forgiveness of others (Colossians 3:13).
What does it mean to forgive? Since our forgiveness of others is to be like God’s forgiveness of us, (Ephesians 4:32), we need to learn what God’s forgiveness involves. David said when God forgave the iniquity of his people, he covered all their sins (Psalms 85:2). In the mind of God, it was as though the sin had never been committed. In Jeremiah 31:34 God said “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.” The same was taught in Hebrews 8:12 and 10:17. It is easy to see that God’s forgiveness covers all sins or transgressions, and that he never again remembers them against the one who has been forgiven. WHAT MARVELOUS GRACE AND LOVE!
If our forgiveness of others is like God’s, then ALL the sins against us will be covered, and we will never again remember them against the one whom we have forgiven. We may not forget, but we must forgive! Really, it is a matter of love. God so completely and freely forgives us because he is love (1 John 4:8). We completely and freely forgive others because we love. Solomon says, “love covers all sins.” Proverbs 10:12.