Bible Ballistics: ‘For’give Us This Day??? Vol. 5 #17
We hear lots of folks around us saying, “I don’t have to put up with that!”, or “I’ve had enough!” Well, is that true? Yes and no! God created us with an individual free will- we have the freedom to choose our behavior, responses and actions, but what most seem to forget, is that for every action there is a ‘re’ action; for every choice there is a consequence. And while we are truly free to ‘choose’, we are not free to set the consequences. And there are consequences!!! Don’t misunderstand me, there are boundaries, and behaviors that we are not to accept or “tolerate”, and God himself reminds us of this in His Word:
Galatians 6:7-8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
God will NOT be mocked: ”to make mouths at, to ridicule”. God is God, He always has been, and He always will be and He will not to be mocked or minimalized, and that is just what our world is doing now.
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Exodus 20:7
To take God’s name in vain, is to disregard His name and His person/character. To “mock” who and what He is, as well as His authority to rule our world, and more importantly to rule ME!!! Every person will give an account to God sooner or later. As Paul tells us in Philippians 2:10-11,
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
God holds us accountable for our choices. We can choose to bow before Him now as our Lord and Savior and “reap life everlasting”, or we can reject Him now and bow before Him as our judge at the end of time.
Revelation 20:15, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Only those who accept and bow before Jesus will have their names written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life”.
Revelation 21:7, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
I say all this to bring us to our real subject for today—forgiveness. Do I have to “put up with” the actions of others? Does God have anything to say about this?
Colossians 1:10-11, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;”
Here we have the call that’s on every believer to—
—walk worthy of the Lord—pleasing HIM–
–being fruitful in good works—
–increasing in the knowledge of God–
–being strengthened by HIM–
How? By being strengthened by God’s “glorious power”… “unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness”
As we are walking in God’s Spirit and His strength we are to be growing into a person of not only “all patience and longsuffering”, but patience and longsuffering ‘with joyfulness”!!! Say what??? God wants me to be patient with others? Even in the Model Prayer in Matthew, Jesus calls us to have trust in God and exercise forgiveness toward others.
Matthew 6:11-13, “Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” We are to live KINGDOM lives.
Let’s look at some of these words.
Longsuffering: a self-restraint of the mind before it gives room to action or passion, forbearance, long-suffering. To have the power to avenge oneself, yet one who refrains from the exercise of this power. Generally relating to people and relationships rather than circumstances.
Patience: to abide under, Endurance toward things or circumstances in contrast to people or relationships.
Forgive: to send away, dismiss; to leave, let alone, omit or neglect. To cancel a debt, in this case a debt of sin.
Debts: a debt which is owed, which is strictly owed; an offense or trespass which makes reparation (amends) obligatory.
So? What do I have to forgive or put up with? While we are never called to condone sin or wrong, we are called to love sinners and forgive those who owe us as an obligation of “reparation”. Because we who are saved have been forgiven of our sin, we are to extend forgiveness to others; even putting up with things that annoy, upset or cause us pain. What did Jesus endure at Calvary for my salvation?
Colossians 1:12-14, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (meet=fit)
Jesus paid the debt I owed –a debt I could never have paid, no matter how hard I tried or how long I tried to be ‘good enough’ to please God! So whom can I refuse to forgive? And how many times or for how long must I keep forgiving?
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22
Peter asked Jesus a specific question about forgiveness, and he thought he was being magnanimous to forgive 7 times. Yet Jesus called him to forgive 7X70 times! 490 times! OK, so I am compelled to forgive those who wrong me; what does that forgiveness look like? Do I forgive to receive a blessing? To be obedient? To gain the upper hand? Or am I to forgive because I am forgiven, and the love of the God who saved and forgave my sin, is now within me?
Mark 11:25, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
I don’t forgive to be forgiven; I forgive because I am forgiven. And because the love of God is within ME! I’m not forgiving for my own selfish relief, or to evade consequences; but to please my God—the one who forgave me.
Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Luke 7:47-48, “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.”
Only when I realize how much God has forgiven me, can I really understand the need to forgive others with an open and loving heart. Just as Jesus talked about the love of this woman who realized her need and received the forgiveness she longed for; only when we see our need do we come to the one who can and does forgive sin. When we receive HIS grace and forgiveness we can’t help but love HIM much. And loving Him with all my heart, how can I help but truly forgive others? Not go along with the popular buzz on social media and the culture around us, but to be willing to forgive “as” I was forgiven not just “because” I am forgiven. Not for any prize, reward or blessing but just because it pleases my LORD!!! Because I AM forgiven!