Tag Archives: forgiveness

Charles Stanley – Forgiving the Undeserving

 

Ephesians 4:30-32

When I tell people who have been ill-treated that full healing requires forgiving their abuser, many will argue, “You don’t understand the hurt I’ve endured.” They’re right. But a bitter spirit, like cancer, penetrates every part of our life. Anger and resentment are symptoms that cannot be pushed away and ignored. They spill out, harming relationships and leading to risky decisions.

Withholding forgiveness may feel as if we’re punishing the offender. But people cannot take revenge on one another without destroying themselves. That’s why the Lord calls us to follow His example of extending grace to all (Eph. 4:32). Since God has pardoned us so generously, we shouldn’t withhold forgiveness from others. When someone hurts us, we may feel that person doesn’t deserve pardon, but neither are we deserving of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Crucifixion was slow and agonizing, but Jesus’ worst torment occurred when the sin of the world was laid on Him and His Father turned away (Matt. 27:46). Still, as the crowd cast lots for His garments, Jesus gave us the best possible example of forgiveness by saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). I may not know your pain, but I assure you that Jesus does. With His infinite love and gentleness, He’ll help you overcome hurt, anger, and bitterness.

Forgiveness is a choice—an act of service to the Lord, a witness to the person who inflicted our pain, and a necessary step in our healing. No matter how terrible the acts committed against us were, God requires that we show mercy. For our good and His glory, He wants us to give up the “right” to punish those who hurt us.

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 5-8

Max Lucado – Forgiveness: Stay the Course

Vengeance is God’s. He will repay—whether ultimately on the Day of Judgment or intermediately in this life. God can discipline your abusive boss. He can bring your ex to his knees or to her senses. Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice; it just entrusts it to God. He guarantees the right retribution.  The God of justice has the precise prescription. Forgive your enemies? Ah, that’s where you and I come in.

“Do not let the sun go down on your anger,” Paul wrote, “and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:26-27). Don’t give the devil territory or ground. Bitterness invites him to occupy a space in your heart, to rent a room. Believe me, he will move in and stink up the place! When it comes to forgiveness, all of us are beginners. Stay the course!

From You’ll Get Through This

 

Charles Stanley – Draw Near to God

 

James 4:6-10

“Draw near to god and He will draw near to you.” That is an amazing promise! As we open ourselves up to the Lord, He opens up to us. If we come to Him in submission, repentance, and brokenness, He rushes in with forgiveness, love, and faithfulness. There is no room for self-sufficiency or self-protection in this interaction. Only in the humility of helplessness will we discover the sufficiency of His presence.

At first glance, it may seem that we were the ones who began the relationship, but in reality, God took the initiative; we merely responded to His overture (John 6:44). Many times He uses situations and difficulties to get our attention and stimulate our thirst for Him. What appears to be a painful or desperate situation is often His invitation to draw near.

Even our greatest failures and sins can lead us to Christ, as we seek forgiveness from the Father. With an attitude of humble repentance, we can enter into a more intimate relationship with God. However, if you and I continue living in rebellion and are unwilling to confess and repent, He will not reveal more of Himself to us. Sin always blocks our ability to know the Lord.

Have you allowed adversity or failure to pull you away from God rather than toward Him? To put distance between you and Jesus, Satan will misuse the very situations that the Lord can utilize to draw you to Himself. Don’t let the enemy win the battle. Instead, “resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Charles Stanley – Forgiving Hurts We Don’t Deserve

 

Colossians 3:12-14

It is truly amazing how some people attempt to justify an angry, unforgiving heart. They may think, God knows what that person did to me, so He understands why I feel this way. Well, He certainly understands, but that doesn’t mean He approves.

Jesus faced appalling betrayal and abandonment, so He knows human emotions inside and out. Yet the Lord does not agree that we should feel justified about an unforgiving attitude. The Savior had a God-centered view of forgiveness that withstood the vilest torture. This is something we should thank God for every morning. Why? Because we are the ones who betray the Lord daily.

We have wronged Jesus in ways no one has ever wronged us. We’ve denied Him His rightful place in our lives. We have doubted His Word, ignored His instructions, and left Him out of our day-to-day lives. We’ve sinned against Him and shamed Him by sinning against others.

What is Jesus’ response to this abuse? “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Now, do you really believe He will justify your unforgiveness under any circumstances? No, He won’t.

When you look to God to excuse your unforgiving heart, you’ll hear Him answer, “Look at the cross.” There, you’ll discover the price that was paid for your own forgiveness. Colossians 3:13 spells out our solemn responsibility: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (NIV, emphasis added). Just as we have been forgiven, so we must now become forgivers.

Night Light for Couples – Black Sunday

 

“If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Luke 17:4

Every family has moments they’d rather forget—moments that later call for understanding and forgiveness. When our children lived at home, we found that Sunday was often the most frustrating day of the week, especially during the “get ’em ready for church” routine. But Black Sunday was uniquely chaotic!

Jim and I began the day by getting up late, which meant that everyone had to rush to prepare for church. Then there was the matter of spilled milk at breakfast and the black shoe polish on the floor. Finally, Ryan, who was dressed first, managed to slip out the back door and get himself dirty from head to toe. As these irritations mounted, the criticism and accusations flew back and forth. At least one spanking was delivered and another three or four were promised.

After the Sunday evening service we called the family together. We described the day we’d had and asked each person to forgive us for our part in it. We also gave each member of the family a chance to express his or her feelings. Ryan was given his first shot, and he fired it at me. “You’ve been a real grouch today, Mom!” he said with feeling. “You’ve blamed me for everything all day long.” Danae then poured out her hostilities and frustrations. Finally, Jim and I had an opportunity to explain the tensions that had caused our overreaction. It was a valuable time of ventilation and honesty that drew us together once more. We then had prayer as a family and asked the Lord to help us live and work together in love and harmony.

No matter how hard we try, we will experience times when we fail to live up to our Christian principles. When those times arrive, discussion and forgiveness are the best methods for soothing wounded relationships. I urge you at those moments to actively seek forgiveness from each other and from God and freely offer forgiveness in return.

While you’re at it, forgive yourself. If God can post a “No Fishing” sign by the sea where your sins are thrown, then so can you and I. –  Shirley M Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Night Light for Couples – The Cost of Bitterness

 

“I tell you, [forgive] not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:22

Just as we must act on Scripture’s instruction to forgive, we should also consider the great cost of failing to do so. Withholding forgiveness brings on bitterness, which Neal T. Anderson says is like “battery acid in the soul.” It leads to anger, resentment, depression, health problems, isolation, struggles with addictions, and more. It continues to haunt the person until he or she comes to terms with it. People who hang on to bitterness cause more pain to themselves than to the targets of their wrath.

A second cost is equally distressing. Jesus told a parable of an unmerciful servant who, after his master forgave him a large debt, demanded payment of a small debt from another servant. The master had the first servant thrown into jail and tortured. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you,” Jesus said, “unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).

For couples who want to follow God’s way for marriage and who hope for His best in their relationship, forgiveness is not just a suggestion. It is a spiritual commandment!

Just between us…

  • Why is failing to forgive more damaging to us than to the one who wronged us?
  • Are either of us bitter about something today? Why?
  • What steps of forgiveness can we take together?
  • How can we avoid bitterness in the future?

Dear Lord, You have spoken plainly about the consequences of withholding forgiveness. Help us to hear You and obey. May we please You and bless each other with our quickness to forgive at all times. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

John MacArthur – Seeking God’s Protection

 

“Do not led us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).

Have a healthy sense of self-distrust.

At the moment of your salvation, judicial forgiveness covered all of your sins—past, present, and future. Parental forgiveness restores the joy and sweet fellowship broken by any subsequent sins. But concurrent with the joy of being forgiven is the desire to be protected from any future sins. That’s the desire expressed in Matthew 6:13: “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

That petition seems simple enough at first glance, but it raises some important questions. According to James 1:13, God doesn’t tempt anyone to commit sin, so why ask Him to protect us from something He apparently wouldn’t lead us into in the first place?

Some say the word “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 means “trials.” But trials strengthen us and prove the genuineness of our faith. We are to rejoice in them, not avoid them (James 1:2-4).

The solution to this paradox has to do with the nature of the petition. It is not so much a technical theological statement as it is an emotional plea from one who hates sin and wants to be protected from it. Chrysostom, the early church father, said it is a natural appeal of human weakness as it faces danger (Homily 19.10).

I don’t know about you, but I have a healthy sense of self-distrust. That’s why I carefully guard what I think, say, watch, read, and listen to. If I sense spiritual danger I run into the presence of God and say, “Lord, I will be overwhelmed by this situation unless You come to my aid.” That’s the spirit of Matthew 6:13.

We live in a fallen world that throws temptation after temptation our way. Therefore it’s only natural and proper for us as Christians to continually confess our sins, receive the Father’s forgiveness, and plead with Him to deliver us from the possibility of sinning against Him in the future.

Suggestions for Prayer; Thank the Lord that He loves you and ministers through you despite your human weaknesses.

Ask Him to protect you today from any situation that might cause you to sin.

For Further Study; Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 and James 1:13-16.

To what degree will God allow you to be tempted?

What is a common source of temptation?

John MacArthur – Solving Man’s Greatest Problem

 

“Forgive us our debts” (Matt. 6:12).

Forgiveness removes the guilt and penalty of sin and restores intimacy with God.

Man’s greatest problem is sin. It renders him spiritually dead, alienates him from God and his fellow man, plagues him with guilt and fear, and can eventually damn him to eternal hell. The only solution is forgiveness—and the only source of forgiveness is Jesus Christ.

All sin is punishable by death (Rom. 6:23) but Christ bore the sins of the world, thereby making it possible to be forgiven and have eternal life through faith in Him (John 3:16). What a glorious reality!

Scripture speaks of two kinds of forgiveness: judicial and parental. Judicial forgiveness comes from God the righteous judge, who wiped your sin off the record and set you free from its punishment and guilt. At the moment of your salvation He forgave all your sins—past, present, and future—and pronounced you righteous for all eternity. That’s why nothing can ever separate you from Christ’s love (Rom. 8:38-39).

Parental forgiveness is granted to believers by their loving heavenly Father as they confess their sin and seek His cleansing. That’s the kind of forgiveness Jesus speaks of in Matthew 6:12.

When a child disobeys his father, the father/child relationship isn’t severed. The child is still a member of the family and there’s a sense in which he is already forgiven because he’s under the umbrella of his father’s parental love. But some of the intimacy of their relationship is lost until the child seeks forgiveness.

That’s the idea in Matthew 6:12. The sins you commit as a believer don’t rob you of your salvation, but they do affect your relationship with God. He still loves you and will always be your Father, but the intimacy and sweet communion you once knew is jeopardized until you seek reconciliation by confessing your sins.

As a Christian, you are judicially forgiven and will never come into condemnation. But never presume on that grace. Make confession part of your daily prayers so sin will never erode your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for His judicial forgiveness of all your sins.
  • Ask Him to help you maintain the joy of your relationship with Him by quickly dealing with any sin that comes up in your life.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 32:1-7.

  • How did David feel about forgiveness?
  • What happened to David before he confessed his sin?

John MacArthur – Dealing with Sin

 

“Forgive us our debts” (Matt. 6:12).

Believers confess their sins; unbelievers deny theirs.

Christians struggle with sin. That surely comes as no surprise to you. As you mature in Christ, the frequency of your sinning decreases, but your sensitivity to it increases. That doesn’t mean you are more easily tempted, but that you are more aware of the subtleties of sin and how it dishonors God.

Some people think you should never confess your sins or seek forgiveness, but the Lord instructed us to do so when He said for us to pray, “Forgive us our debts” (Matt. 6:12). That’s the believer’s prayer for the Father’s forgiveness.

John said, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10). That passage doesn’t tell us how to get saved, as many have taught. It tells us how to distinguish believers from unbelievers: believers confess their sins; unbelievers don’t.

The phrase “forgive us” in Matthew 6:12 implies the need for forgiveness. “Debts” translates a Greek word that was used to speak of a moral or monetary debt. In Matthew 6:12 it refers to sins. When you sin, you owe to God a consequence or a debt because you have violated His holiness.

When you sin as a believer, you don’t lose your salvation but you will face God’s chastening if you don’t repent. Hebrews 12 says, “Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives . . . . He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness” (vv. 6, 10).

If you are harboring sin, confess it now and allow God to cleanse you and use you today for His glory.

Suggestions for Prayer

Write down why God’s forgiveness is important to you, then express those thoughts to Him in praise.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 38.

  • What physical and emotional ailments did David experience as a result of his sin?
  • What was his attitude toward God as he confessed his sin?

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Where Forgiveness Is Suffering

 

In four horrific months in 1994, at the urging of the Rwandan government, the poorer Hutu majority took up bayonets and machetes and committed genocide against the wealthier Tutsi minority. In the wake of this unspeakable tragedy, nearly a million people had been murdered.

In August of 2003, driven by overcrowded prisons and backlogged court systems, 50,000 genocide criminals, people who had already confessed to killing their neighbors, were released again into society. Murderers were sent back to their homes, back to neighborhoods literally destroyed at their own hands, to live beside the few surviving relatives of the very men, women, and children they killed.

Now more than twenty years later, with eyes still bloodshot at visions of a genocide it failed to see, the world continues to watch Rwanda with a sense of foreboding, wondering what happens when a killer comes home; what happens when victims, widows, orphans, and murderers look each other in the eyes again; what happens when the neighbor who killed your family asks to be forgiven. For the people of Rwanda, the description of the Hebrew prophet is a reality with which they live: “And if anyone asks them, ‘What are these wounds on your chest?’ the answer will be, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’”(1)

How does a culture bear the wounds of genocide and the agony of forgiveness?

For Steven Gahigi, that question is answered in a valley of dry bones which cannot be forgotten. An Anglican clergyman who lost 142 members of his family in the Rwandan genocide, he thought he had lost the ability to forgive. Though his inability plagued him, he had no idea how to navigate through a forgiveness so costly. “I prayed until one night I saw an image of Jesus Christ on the cross…I thought of how he forgave, and I knew that I and others could also do it.”(2) Inspired by this vision, Gahigi somehow found the words to begin preaching forgiveness. He first did this in the prisons where Hutu perpetrators sat awaiting trial, and today he continues in neighborhoods where the victims of genocide live beside its perpetrators. For Gahigi, wounds received in the house of friends can only be soothed with truth-telling, restitution, interdependence, and reconciliation, all of which he finds accessible only because of Christ.

In some ways, the work of reconciliation that continues to take place in Rwanda in lives on every side of the genocide may be difficult to describe apart from the cross of Christ. While it is true that forgiveness can be explained in therapeutic terms, that the act of forgiving is beneficial to the forgiver, and forgiveness releases the victim from the one who has wronged them, from chains of the past and a cell of resentment; what Rwandans are facing today undoubtedly reaches something beyond this.

While forgiveness is certainly a form of healing in lives changed forever by genocide, it is also very much a form of suffering.

Miroslav Volf, himself familiar with horrendous violence in Croatia and Serbia, describes forgiveness as the exchange of one form of suffering for another, modeled to the world by the crucified Christ. He writes, “[I]n a world of irreversible deeds and partisan judgments redemption from the passive suffering of victimization cannot happen without the active suffering of forgiveness.”(3) For Rwandans, this is a reality well understood.

And for Christ, who extends to the world the possibility of reconciliation by embodying it, this suffering, this willingness to be broken by the very people with whom he is trying to reconcile, is the very road to healing and wholeness and humanity. “More than just the passive suffering of an innocent person,” writes Volf, “the passion of Christ is the agony of a tortured soul and a wrecked body offered as a prayer for the forgiveness of the torturers.”(3) There is no clearer picture of Zechariah’s depiction of wounds received at the house of friends than in a crucifixion ordered by an angry crowd that lauded Christ as king only hours before. And yet, it is this house of both murderous and weeping friends for which Jesus prays on the cross: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Far from the suggestion of a moralistic god watching a world of suffering and brokenness from a distance, the costly, unsentimental ministry of reconciliation comes to a world of violence and victims through arms that first bore the weight of the cross. For Steven Gahigi, who facilitates the difficult dialogues now taking place in Rwanda, who helps perpetrators of genocide to build homes for their victims’ families, forgiveness is indeed a active form of suffering, but one through which Christ has paved the hopeful, surprising way of redemption. Today, wherever forgiveness is a form of suffering, Christ accompanies the broken, leading both the guilty and the victimized through valleys of dry bones and signs of a coming resurrection.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Zechariah 13:6.

(2) Johann Christoph Arnold, Why Forgive? (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis books, 2010), 202.

(3) Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace (Nashville: Abingdon, 1996), 125.

John MacArthur –Relying on God’s Character

 

“Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments. . . . righteousness belongs to Thee. . . . To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness” (Dan. 9:4, 7, 9).

God’s attributes authenticate your prayers.

Prior to the Babylonian Captivity God had warned His people not to adopt the idolatrous ways of their captors. Their gods were idols that could neither hear nor deliver them from distress (Isa. 46:6-7).

In marked contrast, our God loves us and delivers us from evil. When we confess our sins and intercede for others, He hears and responds. In Isaiah 45:21-22 He says, “There is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

In his prayer Daniel mentions several attributes of God that have a direct bearing on answered prayer. In verse 4 he calls Him “the great and awesome God.” That speaks of His power and majesty. You can pray with confidence because God is powerful enough to change your circumstances when it serves His purposes.

God’s faithfulness is reflected in the phrase “who keeps His covenant” (v. 4). He always keeps His promises. He made a covenant with Israel that if they repented He would forgive them (Deut. 30:1-3). He promised never to forsake them (Deut. 31:6; cf. Heb. 13:5).

God’s love is seen in His acts of mercy toward those who love Him (v. 4). His justice and holiness are inherent in the phrase “righteousness belongs to Thee” (v. 7). God’s actions are always loving and righteousness. He never makes a mistake (Gen. 18:25).

Verse 9 mentions two final attributes: compassion and forgiveness. Compassion is a synonym for mercy. Forgiveness means He pardons your wrongdoings by canceling the penalty sin has charged to your account. He reconciles you to Himself in sweet communion.

What a gracious God we serve! Rejoice in His love and lean on His promises. He will never fail you.

Suggestions for Prayer; Praise God for His attributes of power, majesty, faithfulness, love, holiness, compassion, and forgiveness.

For Further Study; Read Isaiah 44 which contains a stern warning for Israel to avoid the idolatry of Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity.

  • What promises did God make to Israel?
  • How did God characterize idolaters?

John MacArthur – Confessing Your Sins

 

“I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed” (Dan. 9:4).

Confession brings forgiveness and guards God’s character.

Confessing your sins means you agree with God that you have offended His holy character, are worthy of punishment, and in need of forgiveness. That’s exactly what we see Daniel doing in verses 5-16. Verse 20 summarizes his prayer: “I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God.”

Unlike some who suffer God’s chastening, Daniel didn’t shift the blame for Israel’s calamity. Instead he admitted that his people had willfully disobeyed God’s Word and ignored His prophets, thereby bringing judgment upon themselves. Once they were a nation blessed by God; now they were aliens and captives in a foreign land. God had kept His promise to curse them if they disobeyed Him (Deut. 28:15).

In verses 12-15 Daniel analyzes the consequences of Israel’s sin, which included her captivity and the guilt she bore for her arrogance and reluctance to repent.

Verse 14 reflects perhaps the most important aspect of confession: Daniel’s affirmation that “the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done.” The Gentile nations knew that the Israelites were God’s chosen people. Surely the fall of Jerusalem raised questions about God’s character: What kind of God would stand idly by while His people are ravaged and His Temple plundered? What is the benefit of having a God like that? This, in effect, is Daniel’s response: “God is righteous in everything He does. We deserve this punishment, so don’t accuse Him of acting unjustly.”

Confession therefore serves a dual purpose: it brings forgiveness and frees God to chasten us without bringing accusations of inequity or injustice upon Himself.

Daniel’s prayer came at a special time in Israel’s history, but undoubtedly confession was a regular part of his life. That should be your pattern as well. Don’t wait until disaster strikes before you confess your sin. Make it a daily practice.

Suggestions for Prayer; If you have not developed a systematic approach to prayer, the “ACTS” format is a good way to start.

  • Adoration—praising God
  • Confession—confessing sin
  • Thanksgiving—thanking God
  • Supplication—praying for others

For Further Study; Read about David’s sin in 2 Samuel 11:1—12:25 and his confession in Psalm 51. What are the similarities and differences between David’s confession and Daniel’s?

Charles Stanley – The Process of Forgiveness

 

Ephesians 4:30-32

At some point, no doubt, you have been hurt. Probably, a person you loved and trusted did something unthinkable—something so devastating it changed your whole perspective on that individual. When this happens, we have a choice either to wallow in self-pity or to forgive.

Forgiveness is the act of giving up both the resentment we have toward someone and the desire to retaliate. It involves three important steps.

First, we must release the general feeling of resentment. That is, we must decide not to languish in our pain. This can be hard. Many people seem to enjoy harboring self-pity or an overarching sense of martyrdom. They sigh, “Oh, it’s just my lot in life to suffer.” No, it is not! You can choose to move past the hurt.

Second, we must surrender specific feelings of resentment toward the individual. That means we’re to give up our anger at being hurt and also seek to restore the broken relationship.

Third, we lay down all claims to retribution. You cannot forgive someone with your words while secretly wishing him or her harm. True forgiveness seeks the other person’s good, not punishment.

Forgiveness says, “Though you hurt me, I choose to pardon you. I won’t dwell on this, nor will I allow it to destroy my life or attitude. I won’t spend one minute plotting revenge. You are God’s precious child, and I love you.”

Truly, forgiving another person carries a price, but the rewards are worth it. Unleash the power of forgiveness in your life today.

Our Daily Bread – When Others Won’t Forgive

 

 

Forgetting those things which are behind . . . I press toward the goal. —Philippians 3:13-14

 

Read: Philippians 3:12-16
Bible in a Year: Exodus 7-8; Matthew 15:1-20

I was having lunch with two men who had opened their lives to Christ while they were in prison. The younger man had been discouraged by the fact that the family from whom he had stolen would not forgive him.

“My crime was violent,” the older man said. “It continues to haunt and affect the family to this day. They have not forgiven me, . . . the pain is just too great. At first, I found myself paralyzed by this longing for their forgiveness.” He continued his story: “Then one day I realized I was adding selfishness to my brokenness. It’s a lot to expect that the family forgive me. I was focused on what I felt I needed to heal from my past. It took some time to realize that their forgiveness of me was a matter between them and God.”

“How can you stand it?” the younger man asked.

The older man explained that God did for him what he didn’t deserve and what others simply can’t do: He died for our sins, and He keeps His promise to move our sins “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12) and “will not remember [our] sins” (Isa. 43:25).

In the face of such great love, we honor Him by accepting His forgiveness as sufficient. We must forget what lies behind and keep pressing forward (Phil. 3:13-14).
—Randy Kilgore

Thank You, Father, for the work of Christ on the
cross. Help me to understand and accept what
it means for me, and to be a messenger of that
forgiveness to those I meet along the way.

The work of Christ is sufficient for every sin.

INSIGHT: Paul often uses the metaphor of an athlete running a race to depict the Christian life (1 Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 2:16; 2 Tim. 4:7). In today’s passage, he compares himself to someone running a long-distance race. Paul had probably been a Christian for about 30 years when he wrote this letter; he was known as the apostle to the Gentiles (Eph. 3:8; Gal. 2:8) and as a teacher of the Scriptures. He could have been content with his own spiritual maturity, but he did not consider himself as having “already reached perfection” (v.12 nlt). Instead, Paul persisted in pursuing Christlikeness (v.10) with the determination and vigor of a runner whose single goal is to be the first to cross the finish line.

John MacArthur – Enjoying God’s Forgiveness

 

In Christ we have “the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of [God’s] grace, which He lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:7-8).

In Christ we have infinite forgiveness for every sin—past, present, and future.

On Israel’s Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) the high priest selected two goats. One was sacrificed; the other set free. Before releasing the second goat, the high priest symbolically placed the sins of the people on it by laying his hands on its head. This “scapegoat” was then taken a great distance from camp and released—never to return again (Lev. 16:7-10).

The Greek word translated “forgiveness” in Ephesians 1:7 means “to send away.” It speaks of cancelling a debt or granting a pardon. Like the scapegoat, Christ carried away our sins on the cross.

In Christ, God cancelled your debt and pardoned your transgressions, and He did so “according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon [you]” (v. 8). That means you have infinite forgiveness because God’s grace is infinite. You cannot sin beyond God’s grace because where sin abounds, grace super-abounds (Rom. 5:20).

God delights in lavishing His grace upon you. Such grace is overflowing and cannot be contained. You are forgiven for every sin—past, present, and future. You will never be condemned by God or separated from Him (Rom. 8:1-2, 31-39). Even when you fail, God doesn’t hold your sins against you. Christ bore them all so that you might know the joy and peace that freedom from sin and guilt brings.

Let the reality of God’s grace fill your heart with joy and assurance. Let the responsibility of glorifying Him fill you with awe and reverence. Let this day be a sacrifice of praise and service to Him.

Suggestions for Prayer; Thank God for His infinite grace and forgiveness.

Look for opportunities to extend forgiveness to others.

For Further Study; Read Matthew 18:21-35.

What characteristic marked the wicked slave?

What was the king’s response to the wicked slave’s actions?

What point was Jesus making? How does it apply to you?

Max Lucado – God’s Grace

 

Nothing fosters courage like a clear grasp of grace. And nothing fosters fear like an ignorance of mercy.

May I speak candidly? If you haven’t accepted God’s forgiveness, you’re doomed to live in fear. Nothing can deliver you from the gnawing realization that you have disregarded your Maker and disobeyed his instruction. No pill, pep talk, psychiatrist, or possession can set the sinner’s heart at ease. You may deaden the fear, but you can’t remove it. Only God’s grace can.

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Your prayer can be as simple as, “Father, I need forgiveness. Please forgive me. I place my soul in your hands and trust in your grace. Through Jesus I pray, amen.”

Having received God’s forgiveness, live forgiven!

From Max on Life

Joyce Meyer – Here’s the Verdict

Joyce meyer

Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. —Romans 8:1

Most believers know we need to ask forgiveness right away when we sin. We also know God forgives us, but we often continue to feel guilty.

Let me state clearly: Jesus has already paid for everything you will ever do wrong. You do not need to add your misery to His sacrifice. When you do something wrong, if you repent sincerely, then in that instant, God forgives it and forgets it—completely. Claim your forgiveness, for¬get your sins, and go on and enjoy your life.

Guilt tormented me for many years. If I didn’t feel wrong, I didn’t feel right! But the good news of the Gospel is that sin no longer has any power over us. We do not have to bear the guilt of our sins.

Today’s scripture makes it clear that you don’t have to live under condemnation. God wants to forgive your sin; to cleanse you from everything you have ever done wrong; He wants to remove the burden you carry. This is why Jesus died.

Every time you do something wrong, repent quickly and ask God to forgive you. When the devil tries to make you feel guilty, open your mouth and shout: ” I am forgiven! God loves me, and I will not live under this burden of guilt!” Don’t let something God has forgotten about waste your time, rob your peace, and steal your joy.

Love Yourself Today: Agree with God that you are forgiven, and extend forgiveness to yourself.

Alistair Begg -The Sweetness of Forgiveness

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The forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.  Ephesians 1:7

Could there be a sweeter word in any language than that word “forgiveness” when it sounds in a guilty sinner’s ear, like the joyful notes of liberation to the captive Israelite? Blessed, forever blessed, be the dear star of pardon that shines into the condemned cell and gives the perishing a gleam of hope amid the midnight of despair! Can it be possible that sin, such sin as mine, can be forgiven, forgiven altogether and forever? Hell is my portion as a sinner—there is no possibility of my escaping from it while sin remains upon me. Can the load of guilt be lifted, the crimson stain removed? Can the unbreakable stones of my prison-house ever be loosed from their mortices, or the doors be lifted from their hinges?

Jesus tells me that I may still be cleared. Forever blessed be the revelation of atoning love that not only tells me that pardon is possible, but that it is secured to all who trust in Jesus. I have believed in the atoning sacrifice, even Jesus crucified, and therefore my sins are at this moment and forever forgiven by virtue of His substitutionary pains and death. What joy is this! What unimagined bliss to be a perfectly pardoned soul! My soul dedicates all her powers to Him who by His own unpurchased love became my Savior and provided for me redemption through His blood. What riches of grace does free forgiveness exhibit! To forgive at all, to forgive fully, to forgive freely, to forgive forever—here is a panorama of wonders.

And when I think of how great my sins were, how dear were the precious drops that cleansed me from them, and how gracious was the method by which pardon was sealed home to me, I am in a maze of wondering, worshiping affection. I bow before the throne that absolves me, I clasp the cross that delivers me, and all my days I give to serve the Incarnate God, through whom I am this night a pardoned soul.

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The family reading plan for November 27, 2014 * Micah 2 * Luke 11

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Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

 

Max Lucado – Inviting God In

Max Lucado

Confession admits wrong and seeks forgiveness. Amnesty denies wrong and claims innocence! Many mouth a prayer for forgiveness while in reality claiming amnesty. Consequently our worship is cold—why thank God for a grace we don’t need? . . .and our faith is weak—I’ll handle my mistakes myself, thank you.

We are better at keeping God out than we are at inviting God in. Sunday mornings are full of preparing the body for worship, preparing the hair for worship, preparing the clothes for worship—but preparing the soul? Am I missing the mark when I say that many of us attend church on the run? Am I out of line when I say many of us spend life on the run? Am I overstating the case when I announce, “Grace means you don’t have to run anymore?” It’s the truth! Grace means it’s safe to turn ourselves in.

From In the Grip of Grace

Charles Stanley – The Gift of Forgiveness

Charles Stanley

Colossians 3:12-17

Webster defines gift as “something given to show friendship, affection, support, etc.” Using this definition, it seems logical to give gifts only to people we love, not to those who hurt or abuse us. Yet Scripture clearly tells us to offer one of the greatest possible gifts—forgiveness—to those who mistreat us.

To forgive means “to give up all claims to punish or exact a penalty for an offense.” No strings or conditions can be attached, or else it ceases to be a pardon. Ephesians 2:8-9 expands on this by contrasting the gift of salvation with works. Neither salvation nor forgiveness can be earned; both must be freely given. God granted us forgiveness, which we did not deserve and could not earn. And in much the same way, we are to release every offender from any form of penalty.

Unforgiveness is emotional bondage that consumes minds with memories of offenses, distorts emotions with revenge, and fills hearts with churning unrest. Its tentacles reach deep into the soul, affecting both spiritual and physical health. But the one who chooses to put on love and offer forgiveness is ready to receive the peace of Christ. Let God’s Word help you release hurt and anger into His caring hands—then watch as vengeful thoughts are transformed into praise and gratitude to the Lord.

Thankfully, the gift of pardon is not something we have to manufacture in ourselves. This present is wrapped in the love of God and tied with the red ribbon of Christ’s sacrifice. It is freely given to us by the Savior, and our job is simply to pass it on to others.