POWER OF FORGIVENESS
We need to be forgiven by God in order to be saved. Jesus’ blood is the only way for this to happen. We must humble ourselves and forgive others in order to receive forgiveness. Will you accept God’s forgiveness? This is good teaching for those who are struggling to understand forgiveness.
Are you forgiven? Your eternal future depends on the answer to this serious question. The Bible teaches us that “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Verse 23 of the same chapter states, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We must find God’s forgiveness if we want to be saved from the consequences of sin. Someday we will meet the Lord in judgment. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). We are facing eternity, and this makes it imperative that we know if we are forgiven. If forgiven, we will be accepted into heaven. If not forgiven, we will be sentenced to eternal hell with the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:31-34, 41).
Forgiveness Through Christ’s Blood
So, what can we do to save our soul? We cannot save ourselves, but we can accept the plan that God has provided for us. It will help us to understand this plan when we consider what He showed to His people, the Israelites, before Christ came. God told them to sacrifice animals. The lambs that were slain pointed toward the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who would redeem all people by shedding His blood for their sins. The shedding of blood also helped the people understand the seriousness of sin. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things… But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). Our forgiveness comes through Christ’s death and the spilling of His blood for the sins of man (Hebrews 9:22).
Let us take note that, because of our sins, we would be worthy of eternal death. But because of His love and mercy toward us, Jesus died in our stead, so we can be forgiven and our transgressions covered.
Unforgiveness Brings Bondage
When we experience Christ’s gracious forgiveness, we receive peace. To retain this peace, it is necessary to forgive others. Christ tells us in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Jesus told a story that teaches us about the perils of unforgiveness. The story was about a king who wanted to check his servants’ accounts. He found that he had a servant who owed him a very large sum of money, equal to many years’ wages. The king told the servant that he, his family, and all his possessions would have to be sold. The servant begged for mercy and the king forgave him of his debt. This servant later found one of his fellow servants who owed him a small sum, about a day’s wages. He told his fellow servant that he would have to pay in full. His fellow servant begged for mercy, but the servant would not forgive the debt. When the king heard of this, he called his servant to him. He said, “I forgave you when you asked me. Should you not have done the same?” The king then sent him to prison until the debt could be paid. Jesus then said that our Heavenly Father will not forgive us if we do not forgive others. (Matthew 18:23-35)
Hating someone, holding an offense, or harboring a grudge causes many negative effects. The person who allows such attitudes in his life becomes miserable. His health suffers, as do his relationships.
When we don’t forgive others, it brings about a bondage to our souls that could be compared to being enslaved by people or bound by a substance addiction. This unforgiveness causes a bitterness within us. It locks in sorrow, anger, and strife; it locks out joy, love, and fellowship. This bitterness is a result of a proud spirit that seeks to keep score and gain revenge for perceived and real wrongs. If we refuse to release our offended feelings, they will eventually control us. We will be in bondage to them as well as in the bondage of sin before God.
Jesus taught that the only way for us to grant forgiveness to others is in the way He has forgiven us. We are to forgive regardless of the nature or gravity of the offense against us, the number of offenses, or the character of the offender. We are to show unconditional mercy as God has shown mercy to us. As we humble ourselves and extend forgiveness to others, God opens the way for us to seek forgiveness for our own mistakes and sins. God fully forgives all who come to Him with a humble and repentant spirit.
As we follow the Holy Spirit, we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free (John 8:32). Verse 36 says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
“To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15). In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, “Come unto me… and I will give you rest.” As we follow these teachings, we will be forgiven and will be able to forgive others.
Coming to God
Now the question is, how do we come to God? The answer is in the Bible. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). God, through His Holy Spirit, makes us aware that we are sinners and in need of a Savior. Sometimes we don’t fully understand God’s call. We may begin to notice an empty, lonely feeling in our heart—a need of something, a feeling we are not right, a conviction we are lost.
When we become aware of this restlessness in our spirit, we need to open our heart to God for direction. The load of sin will become very heavy, and our heart will become remorseful because of our past sinful life. God wants us to surrender our life to Him in true repentance. When God sees our broken and contrite heart and our readiness to fully do His will, He forgives our past sinful life, and we receive forgiveness and peace (Psalm 34:18; Psalm 51:16-17). Oh, how happy we now are, and we want to share with others what Christ has done in our heart!
This freedom is not something that comes through human reasoning. It is a work of the Holy Spirit in the heart that converts us to a new life. Through this power of the Holy Spirit, we have faith to trust God so we can lay down our own will and forgive others. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
The Bible way of forgiveness is beautiful. A trusting faith in the sacrifice of Jesus, coupled with a complete surrender to God and His will, removes the guilt from our heart. Our sins are completely covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. The forgiveness that God gives to us takes away our offenses and hurts. He wipes the slate clean and forgets our sins, “And their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12). What a wonderful freedom we can experience when God forgives our sins and we can forgive our fellow man. You too can experience this in your heart and life. Come to the Lord today!