Live in Forgiveness
Man says if we receive our punishment, we are forgiven. If we make restitution, pay the ticket or spend our time in jail, then we have paid our debt to society. Yet when we look at sin, we see a deeper consequence than just the physical. It brings separation from God that no amount of good works will make right. That is the problem religions have today. They try to pay the price for sin with good works, when the price of sin is death. But God did provide the payment for sin in our place. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24) There is no death on our part, except death to self and our old way of life. Then we can live in newness of life in Him. Good works are not a part of our forgiveness, but a result. Good works should come from a heart of love, not debt.
How you forgive will determine how you will be forgiven. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25) God does not want us to just live in forgiveness, but to extend the same forgiveness to others that we have received. Have you noticed that when God gives us something, He does not want us to keep it for ourselves only? We are forgiven so we can forgive others and given gifts so we can serve others (1 Peter 4:10). And living in forgiveness towards others does have benefits today, as well as for eternity. Here are a few benefits the Mayo Clinic recognizes: healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological well-being, less anxiety, less stress and hostility, lower blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression, and a lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse.
God provided the opportunity of forgiveness for us. We must first ask God for it and then receive it for ourselves. I do not know about you, but many times I have a harder time forgiving myself than forgiving others. We need to do both to be healthy. Today is a new day. Our sins are forgiven and forgotten by our Creator the moment we confess and turn away from them. So what should we do today? I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14) Let go of the past. Live in forgiveness towards yourself and others. Live life for today with the goal of heaven for yourself and others.
Additional Reading: Isaiah 43:25
Scripture references from NIV unless otherwise noted.
Based on Jesus – God’s Provision for Sinful Mankind on March 2nd, 2013 - Watch Sermon