And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. (Luke 23:34 ESV)
This first of the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross was uttered probably shortly after he had been crushed to the ground and his wrists and feet skewered to the cross by iron spikes: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Undoubtedly he used the word “Abba,” “Dear Father,” the way he normally addressed God. This rich term contains ideas of simplicity, intimacy, security, and affection.
Some have suggested that the “them” who are forgiven were the Jewish authorities that pressed charges against Jesus before Pilate, or the Jewish nation as a whole, which failed to recognize and welcome their Messiah. On these views, Jesus was asking for the postponement of God’s judgment on the nation or their representatives for their persistent unbelief, and God’s response was to grant a generation of about forty years (AD 30–70), from the crucifixion to the fall of Jerusalem, during which time there was an opportunity for Jews to hear the gospel and embrace Jesus as Messiah. However, in early Christian preaching there was a call for Jews as well as gentiles to repent “for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 24:47); their forgiveness was not automatic. Jesus’ request was not simply for a delay in divine retribution.
More probably, the persons for whom Jesus interceded were the four-man Roman execution squad and their supervising centurion. The present tense verbs—“they do not know,” and “what they are doing”; not “they did not know what they did”— strongly support this view.
We gain important clues about the meaning of Jesus’ request from the prayer of Stephen as he was stoned to death at the hands of the Sanhedrin. He directed a prayer to Jesus (“Lord”) that is clearly modeled on Jesus’ own prayer. “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). He is not requesting that Jesus forgive all the sins of each member of the Sanhedrin but that he forgive their one corporate present sin of executing an innocent man.
In a similar way, the request Jesus addressed to God his Father was not for the blanket forgiveness of every sin committed by these Roman soldiers, but forgiveness for the one heinous sin of crucifying an innocent man. He was asking God to choose not to reckon this one sin against their account in the heavenly books.
But Jesus taught that forgiveness requires repentance (Luke 17:3; cf. Acts 2:47). So how could he appeal to the soldiers’ ignorance (CSB: “forgive them, because …”) as the reason God should forgive them? Perhaps the only explanation is that in the absence of any sufficient ground for forgiveness (such as acknowledgment of wrongdoing or repentance), Jesus finds it necessary to appeal to a mitigating circumstance: the soldiers’ unawareness that they were in fact crucifying an innocent man who was God’s messenger. He transfers to his Father the responsibility for granting or withholding forgiveness, knowing there was, understandably, no contrition or repentance on the part of the soldiers.
From Murray J. Harris, Navigating Tough Texts: A Guide to Problem Passages in the New Testament (Lexham Press, 2020).
Over my years of ministry, I’ve seen too many family members and believers who got angry with each other and refused to forgive. They hung on to their hard feelings as if letting go of them would somehow validate someone else’s wrong actions—which is not the intent of forgiveness. I’m arguing with this article, however, that not forgiving others costs us much:
1. We lose answered prayer. Jesus was clear that we must forgive as we pray: “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing” (Mark 11:25).
2. We lose our Christian witness at some level. That’s because few of us are very good at hiding our frustration and unforgiveness toward others. Eventually, others see our anger.
3. We lose a battle to the enemy. He’s the evil one who wants to bind us up in bitterness. He delights when we allow our anger to become our idol.
4. We lose any real sense of peace. We might fake it for a while, but animosity and hostility toward someone else eventually eats at our soul. It consumes us.
5. We lose an opportunity to live out the gospel. The gospel is about God’s loving forgiveness of us, and we model that love when we forgive others.
6. We lose years of relationships. I could tell you story after story of family members who separated for many years and reconciled only at a funeral. I can likewise tell stories of some who never reconciled. Years lost.
7. We lose some of our usefulness to the work of God. I’m deeply grateful he uses any of us sinners—that is, none of us is worthy to be his vessel—but we needn’t make ourselves less useful by our ongoing sin of unforgiveness.
Forgiveness is hard work. It often takes time. It seldom means forgetting. It doesn’t always lead quickly to renewed trust. Sometimes it doesn’t even lead to reconciliation. It is, though, worth more than we gain if we choose not to forgive.
GOD’s intention, through His Son, Jesus, is to revert all men to the default position He created in them!
In Genesis 2:16, “the LORD GOD commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:’”
Can you see that man? Can you picture him every time he was hungry? He lifted himself and he lifted his hands to receive what GOD had provided. This was GOD’s default position for man! Can you see that man? He’s like the praying man, saved by grace, lifting his hands to GOD in prayer and thanksgiving
“And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD, your GOD, Who hath dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be ashamed.” Joel 2:26
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,” (Isaiah 32:17, 18)
The Psalms says: “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, Who healeth all thy diseases, Who redeemeth thy life from destruction, Who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalms 103: 1 – 5)
Can you see him lifting his hands to GOD and being lifted by GOD, “so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s,”?
Forgive others without fail. It is the best way to live.
Forgiveness is not possible for those who haven’t realised they have been forgiven by God. Those who truly believe in the forgiveness they received from God alone can forgive others.
It’s a supernatural trait, heavens character. Jesus’ journey from birth to the cross is God forgiving us, on behalf of us. When He did no sin, He took on all our sins so we could once again enjoy Him through the power of His resurrection.
This first requires an understanding of the damage of sin in our lives. Which comes to us when we are born again, drawn into a marvellous light in Christ. The selfless God, in Jesus, forgave us so we could be with Him for eternity.
Who can forgive others without fail?
The standard of forgiveness is revealed in Stephen, when he forgave those who stoned him and attacked him violently.
Paul was stoned and left for dead, yet he forgave all those who went against him. (Acts 14:19)
All the apostles went through great persecution for the sake of Christ. They were fruitful in their ministry because of living out the lifestyle of Jesus. Loving and forgiving one and all. The Thessalonian church amidst much persecution lived out their faith, in humility and lowliness of heart.
To be faithful and to minister, we need to forgive others. The Heavenly Father forgave us and so should we forgive all. The Father’s dwelling place has no room for bitterness, anger or hatred. It is a home full of love everlasting.
When our hearts are full of love for God, we will be quick to forgive and serve people for the Glory of God. Obedience to God’s word and being led by the Holy Spirit is the answer to staying focused, doing the will of God. God gives us the ability to forgive and move on in love.
Jesus is coming to take us home. Maranatha, Praise God and Amen.
Jesus is given many titles in Scripture. What does it mean that He is the “Son of God” and the “Son of Man”? In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul reveals that these two titles actually signify something different than what we might expect.
Just briefly in passing, let me ask you to pay particularly close attention, when you read the Gospels, to the use of the phrase or the title “Son of Man.” It’s one of the most important titles for Jesus in the New Testament and yet, at the same time, one of the most frequently misunderstood.
Part of the reason is we see the difference between the title “Son of Man” and “Son of God.” And given the church’s confession, historically, of the dual nature of Jesus—that He has a divine nature and a human nature—the tendency is for folks to assume that when Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man, that He was speaking of His human nature, and when He’s referred to as the Son of God, He was being referred to vis-à-vis His divine nature. Well, it’s not as simple as all of that, because both of these titles have within them elements that refer to His deity and to His humanity. But if anything, the emphasis on the two is just the opposite of what we would normally expect.
The title “Son of God” is given, in the first instance in Scripture, to those who manifest obedience to the Father. Sonship is defined predominately, not in biological terms here, but in terms of being in one accord or submissive towards, and so on. Remember Jesus Himself, in His discussions with the Pharisees, who claimed to be “sons of Abraham,” Jesus rebuked them and said, “You are the children of Satan. You are the children of the one whom you obey.” Now, don’t get me wrong. The “Son of God” also contains, in certain references in the New Testament, clear indications of Jesus’ eternal sonship and His deity. So, we don’t want to overstate the case.
But this title, “Son of Man,” is the one I want you to really pay attention to when you’re reading the Gospels, because it’s used so often in the New Testament, and all but three times that it occurs in the New Testament, it comes from the lips of Jesus. And it refers back to the Old Testament vision that was written down by the prophet Daniel, where Daniel had a vision into the interior of the heavenly court of God, where he saw the Ancient of Days enthroned, and the judgment was set. And to the Ancient of Days comes “one like unto a son of man,” who then is given the authority to judge the world. So that in the first instance, the Son of Man is a heavenly person—a heavenly person who descends to this world, whose principal role in His visitation to this earth is that of the heavenly judge.
Then He returns to the presence of God in His ascension. We remember that Jesus says, “No one ascends to the Father except He who has first descended from Him.” Again, we tend to think that Jesus’ calling Himself the Son of Man was an expression of humility, when, in fact, it was a claim to divine authority. That’s why I want you to notice this. When He heals on the Sabbath day and is rebuked by His enemies, He said, “I did this that you may know that the Son of the Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” And when He forgives sins and creates an uproar from His contemporaries, saying, “Only God has the authority to forgive sins,” Jesus said, “I did this that you might know that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” And again, and again, and again, you will begin to see that this title, “Son of Man” that Jesus uses for Himself, is a highly exalted title.
Nearly 50 years after his death, his books continue to sell a million copies a year.His name was Clive Staples Lewis, born NOVEMBER 29, 1898.
At age 19, he fought in the trenches in World War I.After the War, C.S. Lewis taught at Magdalen College, Oxford, 1925-54; and was professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, 1954-1963.
Originally an agnostic, C.S. Lewis credited his Catholic colleague at Oxford, J.R.R. Tolkien, whom he met in 1926, as being instrumental in his coming to faith in Jesus Christ.J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, 1937, and Lord of the Rings, 1937-1949, which is one of the best-selling novels ever written–with over 150 million copies sold.
C.S. Lewis’ writing style was influenced by George MacDonald, a writer and Christian minister.MacDonald’s fantasy literature pioneered an entire genre, influencing Lewis Carroll, who wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865; L. Frank Baum, who wrote The Wizard of Oz, 1900; J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, 1937.
C.S. Lewis regarded MacDonald as a “master,” stating:”Picking up a copy of Phantastes (1858) one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later, I knew that I had crossed a great frontier.”
G. K. Chesterton cited George MacDonald’sThe Princess and the Goblin (1872) as a book that had “made a difference to my whole existence.”
George MacDonald wrote:
“There are things that must be done in faith, else they never have being.”
“Faith is that which, knowing the Lord’s will, goes and does it; or, not knowing it, stands and waits, content in ignorance as in knowledge, because God wills – neither pressing into the hidden future, nor careless of the knowledge which opens the path of action.”
“Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to the honest. They are the first knock at our door of things that are not yet, but have to be, understood … Doubts must precede every deeper assurance; for uncertainties are what we first see when we look into a region hitherto unknown, unexplored, unannexed.”
“The principle part of faith is patience.”
“A perfect faith would lift us absolutely above fear.”
“All about us, in earth and air, wherever the eye or ear can reach, there is a power ever breathing itself forth in signs, now in daisy, now in a wind-waft, a cloud, a sunset; a power that holds constant and sweetest relation with the dark and silent world within us. The same God who is in us, and upon whose tree we are the buds, if not yet the flowers, also is all about us- inside, the Spirit; outside, the Word. And the two are ever trying to meet in us.”
“If we do not die to ourselves, we cannot live to God, and he that does not live to God, is dead.”
“Any faith in Him, however small, is better than any belief about Him, however great.”
C.S. Lewis was also influenced by Gilbert Keith Chesterton’s book, The Everlasting Man (1925), written in rebuttal of H.G. Wells’The Outline of History.
Lewis explained:”The best popular defense of the full Christian position I know is G.K. Chesterton’sThe Everlasting Man.”
Chesterton wrote in The Everlasting Man, 1925:“Nobody can imagine how nothing could turn into something . Nobody can get an inch nearer to it by explaining how something could turn into something else.It is really far more logical to start by saying ‘In the beginning God created heaven and earth’ even ifyou only mean ‘In the beginning some unthinkable power began some unthinkable process.’For God is by its nature a name of mystery, and nobody ever supposed that man could imagine how a world was created any more than he could create one.But evolution really is mistaken for explanation. It has the fatal quality of leaving on many minds the impression that they do understand it and everything else.”
He continued:”I do not believe that the past is most truly pictured as a thing in which humanity merely fades away into nature, or civilization merely fades away into barbarism, or religion fades away into mythology, or our own religion fades away into the religions of the world.In short I do not believe that the best way to produce an outline of history is to rub out the lines.”
G.K. Chesterton wrote in The Everlasting Man, 1925:“If there is one fact we really can prove, from the history that we really do know, it is that despotism can be a development, often a late development and very often indeed the end of societies that have been highly democratic.A despotism may almost be defined as a tired democracy.As fatigue falls on a community, the citizens are less inclined for that eternal vigilance which has truly been called the price of liberty; and they prefer to arm only one single sentinel to watch the city while they sleep.”
He added:“As for the general view that the Church was discredited by the War — they might as well say that the Ark was discredited by the Flood.When the world goes wrong, it proves rather that the Church is right.The Church is justified, not because her children do not sin, but because they do.”
G.K. Chesterton continued:“Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died.Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”
C.S. Lewis described in Surprised by Joy, 1955, how he resisted believing, “kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape.”Finally, in 1929, he came to believe in God:”You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen (College, Oxford) night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet.
… That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me.In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”
In 1931, after a late-night discussion with J.R.R. Tolkien and Hugo Dyson,Lewis described his deepening spiritual journey in Surprised by Joy:
“I know very well when, but hardly how, the final step was taken.I was driven to Whipsnade zoo one sunny morning.When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached to zoo I did.Yet I had not exactly spent the journey in thought.Nor in great emotion. ‘Emotional’ is perhaps the last word we can apply to some of the most important events.It was more like when a man, after long sleep, still lying motionless in bed, becomes aware that he is now awake.
… And it was, like that moment on top of the bus, ambiguous.Freedom, or necessity? Or do they differ at their maximum? At that maximum a man is what he does; there is nothing of him left over or outside the act.As for what we commonly call ‘Will,’ and what we commonly call ‘Emotion,’ I fancy these usually talk too loud, protest too much, to be quite believed, and we have a secret suspicion that the great passion or the iron resolution is partly a put-up job.
… They have spoiled Whipsnade since then.Wallaby Wood, with the birds singing overhead and the blue-bells underfoot and the Wallabies hopping all round one, was almost Eden come again.”
Among C.S. Lewis’ most notable books are:
The Problem of Pain,1940;
The Screwtape Letters,1942;
Abolition of Man, 1943;
The Chronicles of Narnia, 1950-1956, which includes: The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe.
Lewis stated in The Oxford Socratic Club (1944. pp. 154-165):”If … I swallow the scientific cosmology as a whole, then not only can I not fit in Christianity, but I cannot even fit science.If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on bio-chemistry, and bio-chemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of atoms,I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees.”
In The Problem of Pain,Lewis wrote:”The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it.Now error and sin both have this property, that the deeper they are the less their victim suspects their existence; they are masked evil.Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows that something is wrong when he is being hurt …God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world …No doubt pain as God’s megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion.But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment, it removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of the rebel soul …Suffering is not good in itself. What is good in any painful experience is, for the sufferer, his submission to the will of God …… If tribulation is a necessary element in redemption, we must anticipate that it will never cease till God sees the world to be either redeemed or no further redeemable.”
In Mere Christianity, 1952, C.S. Lewis wrote:”All that we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
Lewis expressed in Mere Christianity, 1952:”I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’That is the one thing we must not say.A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
… You must make your choice.Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher.He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
In The Screwtape Letters, 1942, Lewis wrote:“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
In the final chapter of The Abolition of Man, 1943, Lewis warned:”I am very doubtful whether history shows us one example of a man who, having stepped outside traditional morality and attained power, has used that power benevolently.”
C.S. Lewis wrote:
“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.'”
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”
“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
Lewis wrote:”Christianity … is a religion you could not have guessed … ‘It is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up.It has just that queer twist about it that real things have.”
He wrote in Mere Christianity, 1952:”The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus in a woman’s body.”
In Mere Christianity,C.S. Lewis wrote:”God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion.God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing”–Read as PDF … C.S. Lewis “The safest road to Hell is the gradual one”
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Matthew 5:7)
We read about two blind men who called out to Jesus while he was on the way. These two blind men had heard about Jesus. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. It takes faith to call out to Jesus when everyone around tells you to shut up. The multitude rebuked the two blind men, demanding them to keep their peace. But, these two blind men had a greater vision than all who hung around Jesus. They did not let their disregard and rejection stand in the way of their belief in what they heard about Jesus. They called out and asked the King of kings to grant them mercy.
Why ask for mercy? They should have asked for healing. Right? They had spiritual insight even without natural sight. They knew what they were asking and to whom! What do you think they may have heard about Jesus?
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (Psalms 103:3)
When you believe, you will see the glory of God. They knew this man was no ordinary man. They believed Jesus was God, and that He had the power to forgive sins which was more important than getting healed. Hearing their cry for mercy, Jesus stopped and asked them what they wanted? Did Jesus not know they wanted to be healed of their natural blindness too? When we read scripture in light of who God is and what He wants accomplished in man, we will begin to see the grand plan of God in every incident.
I believe not only were they healed physically, their sins were forgiven too. The two blind men followed Jesus soon after they received sight in their eyes. They weren’t distracted by the world and its pleasures. The gratitude they had in their hearts went beyond physical healing. It had the grand touch of Gods mercy.
They received mercy and followed the merciful One. All those who follow Jesus need to be merciful. Need to realise the beauty of what we have received in Christ Jesus. A freedom that no man can give. Freely He gave, freely we must give.
We who are born in this grace period received mercy much before we even entered earth. We always existed before earth was created, in Gods mind. Yet, we entered at a time after the grand sacrifice and exemplary love shown by the Father for His creation. We were forgiven before we committed any sin. Now that we know what sin is, we learn to sin no more by following Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit in every area of our life. We grow from faith to faith, glory to glory. The power of sin is no match for the power in the blood of Jesus.
The multitude wanted to stone the prostitute. Typical pharisaical behaviour (Matthew 23:23). No one wanted to show mercy. They wanted to blame one woman for her sins and feed their egotistic hearts in the name of justice, though they themselves were sinful. She came to the only man who understood it all – Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Jesus not only had mercy on the woman, He spoke the word that arrested the hearts of the multitude from further sin of murder, and forgave them too on the cross. Jesus also told the woman to “Sin no more”. What did she do to avoid sin in her life? Follow Jesus who showed her mercy and saved her life.
Today, most Christians are finding it hard to forgive. No one can enter heaven without forgiving all. If you cannot overcome the hurt or pain caused to you by your brother, you cannot enter heaven. Heaven is for the overcomer! If you host un-forgiveness in your heart you won’t be able to show mercy and thereby receive mercy. Be poor in spirit, stay humble, hunger and thirst for righteousness alone, God will take care of everything. You have been shown mercy, have mercy on those who need your forgiveness. When you are merciful, you will receive your mercy required for Heaven.
Jesus forgave all, He had mercy on everyone who went against Him. Even to those who betrayed Him when they should have stayed by Him. He took the suffering of the cross so we may find hope and follow His way to enter Heaven.
Like Jesus, let us learn to walk in compassion and love to follow Him all the days of our lives.
How can one forgive if love is not in the heart? When a person does us wrong, do we curse them and go on our way? This ought not to be. For as God is love, so is He forgiveness. He forgave us when we repented and gave our hearts to Him. In the same way, we ought to forgive others their transgressions so that we might become as God, filled with love, overlooking another’s sin against us.
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)
God not only had forgiven us, but He also sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to help us forgive others in the same way. By this, we would become as He is, loving and forgiving, for God is forgiveness.
Forgiveness is incrediblypowerful. If it could be bottled, a daily dose would save a lot of relationships. But how do we learn to successfully forgive? How can you really move on and completely erase the memories of your pain?
Forgiving others can be one of the most difficult thing to do. But in order to live in harmony, we must learn to forgive from the heart. Embracing what Jesus has done for us and extending that thought, deed and word is the essence of forgiveness. When we make the decision to forgive one another, we draw on the forgiveness that Jesus has given us by making the decision to release another from the penalty of sin.
Rather that building a wall and keeping a distance to shut others out, we push sin and judgement away and draw near to each other. For this reason, forgiveness is releasing the other from the penalty of sin so the relationship can be restored. Lets look at the process to forgiving and how you can use it to set yourself and your offender free:
Make the Decision to Grow:
Regardless of how sincere the confession and commitment to change, the person that wronged you may repeat it again. If they have no integrity, you may find yourself in the same situation as when they first wronged you. For this reason, remind yourself that change is a process. The forgiveness that God gives us based on Jesus dying on the cross is bestowed on us everyday for the rest of our lives.
The purpose of that forgiveness and restoring us to His perfect image, is a process that takes a lifetime. As God perfects His image in you, forgiveness is something that you’ll gradually become better at. Sometimes it will be naturally easy to forgive. Other days you’ll get the urge to overturn the decision you made the previous day.
I know this to be true because l’ve been at some point where l felt like my forgiveness was taken for granted. You know those difficult days when your mind is filled with conflicting thoughts – which then raise your adrenaline making you want to set everything loose? It happens especially when the mistake becomes a pattern.
But when this happens, remember that Jesus has begun a wonderful work in you and you aren’t fully mature. Growing in forgiveness requires razor sharp focus on Jesus. Interact with Him and learn from Him on daily basis, you will eventually mature and forgiveness will not be a difficult task anymore.
Make the Decision to Let Go:
By forgiving, you’re letting go the right to punish another and choosing through the power of God’s love to hold onto the other person instead of dwelling on the offense. You have to decide to see the other persons image and not the offense. The decision to let go has to be renewed on daily and hourly basis. The less you ruminate on the offense and refuse to feed your anger, the easier it will get.
Avoid confusing forgiveness with your emotions. Confusing the two can keep you in a circle of unsolved issues. When you’re not angry, you think you forgave but when anger resurfaces, you find yourself back to square one. This roller coaster of emotions can pull back old resolved issues.
If this ever happens, think of God’s forgiveness, it isn’t a declaration of emotion but a declaration that His people are forgiven and pardoned from their sins just as a judge would dismiss a case from a courtroom. In the same way, forgiveness is a decision, a declaration, an all time pronouncement.
Make the Decision to Sacrifice:
When God forgave us, it required sacrifice of His son Jesus to pay the panalty of sin. You’re suffering doesn’t atone for your offender’s sin, but you’ll have to sacrifice in some areas. You’ll have to accept the wound that you’ve received. Forgiveness doesn’t mean pretending it didn’t happen. You must face the pain of the offense and the discomfort of discussing it.
Forgiveness is a sacrifice in the sense that you’re choosing the more difficult path. You’re walking away from the temporary pleasure of erecting a wall of bitterness, and instead doing the hard and sometimes painful work of moving towards the one who wounded you.
Trust God in the decision to forgive, trust that He will both heal your hurts and use your sacrifice to restore every area of your life. When you forgive, you’re not being a fool. God will work through your forgiveness, it doesn’t guarantee a change in the person who hurt you, but it does guarantee that you’ll grow and that you’ll be protected from bitterness and the harm it may cause to your health. All the best with healing.
Who do you say Jesus is? Take care in your answer—it’s the most important one you’ll ever give. In this message, Dr. Stanley teaches from the Gospel of John, illuminating exactly who Jesus is—God Himself. What you believe about this carpenter from Nazareth not only determines your life here and now, but in eternity. Discover how Jesus is the perfect image of God the Father.
What do you think of Jesus Christ? How you answer this question is of utmost importance.
Was He merely a man, one of the numerous prophets or teachers who roamed the world in that day, or someone else? Many people may be interested in His teachings or healings, but in the big scheme of things, they think God is the important one—not Jesus. They may claim to believe in God while considering Jesus irrelevant. But what does the Bible say?
John’s gospel provides a picture of Jesus unlike any other place in Scripture. John’s answer to Christ’s identity is an affirmation that Jesus is God. And all the evidence that is required to prove this statement is found in God’s Word, particularly in the book of John. According to John 1:1-5, Jesus is the eternal God, Creator of everything, and source of life who was with God in the beginning.
Who did Jesus say He was?
“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me” (John 10:14).
“I am the door of the sheep … if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved (John 10:7, 9).
“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
“He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me” (John 12:45).
“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12).
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
Were Jesus’ actions consistent with who God is?
“I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29).
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
“The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Matt. 9:6).
“I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:17-18).
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).
What was Jesus’ relationship to God the Father?
“Let Us make man in Our image” (Gen. 1:26). The words “Us” and “Our” refer to the Trinity, which includes God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
“If you knew Me, you would know My Father also” (John 8:19).
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). All three members of the Trinity are mentioned in this passage.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John was testifying that Jesus was God in human flesh.
“All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3). John identifies Him as the Creator, which is also supported by Genesis 1:26.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:15-17). Paul also affirms that Jesus is the Creator.
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).
“I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:11).
“The very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36).
“I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29).
Why is Christ’s deity so important?
In the minds of many people God is a distant, foreign, indescribable entity that exists out there somewhere. They claim to believe in God but pay little attention to Him and don’t want to be subject to Him. Their god is expected to help them when they need it but never make them feel convicted or guilty of sin.
In addition, many people who say they believe in God do not believe in Jesus. This is true of the various religions throughout the world. But it’s impossible to believe in the one true God and exclude Jesus Christ because He is one of the members of the Trinity. Furthermore, Jesus claimed that He and the Father are one. Another reason people don’t want to acknowledge the deity of Christ is because that makes God too personal and themselves accountable. They prefer a god who will agree with them and help them get whatever they want in life, not one who meddles in their business and holds them responsible. But that is not who the true God is.
Why did Jesus say He came into the world?
He came that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). The Father sent Him to earth to walk in human flesh, face temptation without sin, and perform miracles that testified of His deity. Eventually He died on a cross to bear the punishment for our sins so that everyone who believes in Him could be forgiven and receive eternal life. And all of this was motivated by God’s love for us (John 3:16). Jesus is the only one who can save us from eternal condemnation.
What happens if Jesus is not God?
Then He is a liar.
He can’t be trusted.
His death had no effect, and we are still in our sins.
The story of the resurrection is false, and we have no hope of eternal life or a future resurrection.
Christianity is just another false religion.
Then we are hopeless and helpless in this life and will face judgment and eternal punishment.
But Jesus is God, and everything He said and did has resulted in the forgiveness of our sins, the gift of eternal life, and a home in heaven.
Does your perception of God and Jesus match these biblical descriptions or have you made a god of your own imagination and liking?
What will you do with the truth about Jesus? What is at stake if you reject it? What is in store for you if you believe it?