Forgiveness

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

In this lesson we concentrate on what it means to be forgiven by God. In Col 2:13 Paul sets forth the extent of God’s forgiveness in the clearest possible way. He speaks here to the young believers in the church at Colossae: “And when you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our sins.”

Three things are emphasized here. First, God says we were all dead in our sins at one time. This is the state of all of us before we came to Christ. Second, God has made us alive in Christ. Third and this is the facet of passage that we want to concentrate in this lesson – “God has forgiven us all our sins.” The verb “having forgiven” in Col 2:13 is in the aorist tense in the Greek, meaning it happened at a point of time in the past. In other words, once God dealt with sin through the baptism, death and resurrection, it was a closed case. Have you ever stopped to consider how much “all” really is? All includes everything and excludes nothing.

 

Half Gospel Isn’t Enough For Salvation

Many people have a concept of a cross that only looks to the rear of their lives, but never looks ahead. The baptism and death on the cross are indispensable components that complete the fulfillment of God’s Righteousness. There is only half Gospel and that’s really no Gospel at all if the baptism of Jesus is not included. When God says He forgive us all our sins, it simply means that all our sins of our lifetime has been passed to His body at the River Jordan by John the Baptist. Three years later Jesus perfectly faced the vicarious judgment for all sins by shedding His blood on the cross. Anything less than the Gospel of the water and the Spirit falls pathetically short of God’s infinite provision for sin.

 

The Two Most Important Truths About Forgiveness

First, we saw in our lesson on redemption that when Christ went to the cross after His baptism, He took with Him the certificates of debts listing all the sins of all mankind and once for all dealt with all sin by taking it out of the way as a barrier to God. Col 2:14. Then in Heb 10:14, 17, another facet of this truth is added. By Christ offering Himself as a sacrifice, He has procured a forgiveness for us that is eternal and irreversibleVs 17 says, “and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

These two truths formed the bedrock foundation that we must build on in order to experience the reality of God’s forgiveness in our daily lives. First, all our sins past, present and future were forgiven when we believed in Jesus’ baptism and death. There are none He hasn’t already forgiven.

Second, not only has He forgiven us all our sins, but He has blotted them out from His own memory forever. They will never be brought up against us again.

 

Can We Forgive As God Has?

If God has forgiven us all our sins and isn’t holding them against us anymore, then what should our attitude be about sins in ourselves and others? Thousands of hospital beds, mental institutions and jails are filled with people who had never forgiven themselves or others for wrong doings. This kind of poison eats away at a person until illness or damaging hostility results. There are also many people who have never been able to forgive themselves for their past sins. Maybe they had a secret habit which they felt was sin and because they can’t forgive themselves, they get a terrible self-image. They feel they are no good and they develop a self-consciousness and inferiority complex. Such knowledge of the inner sin life causes some people to develop a defensiveness that makes them hostile and argumentative. 

 

Is All This Bitterness Necessary

There is only one basis on which we can fully forgive ourselves and others for sins and shortcomings. We have to know and continually count on the reality of the complete forgiveness by God for those very same sins we have developed the bitterness over. God isn’t holding those things against us and He has forgiven and forgotten, then we can too!

 

The Sin Syndrome: Sin, Guilt & Estrangement

A failure to understand properly the full extent of God’s forgiveness is always going to hamper our spiritual life. This is because there is an inevitable cycle involved with sinning even after we have become children of God. When we sin, the Holy Spirit convicts us and we experience a conviction which is referred as Godly sorrow. However, if that sorrow is not properly related to the forgiveness God procured for us through Jesus’ baptism and death, it will lead to guilt and that will lead to estrangement from God. This estrangement doesn’t mean we don’t belong to God anymore. However, it can cause us to live in fear of God’s punishment that leads to a sense of inferiority before God. Now, how can this sin syndrome be broken? Here is the solution. When I knowingly sin, I must confess my sin to the Lord 1 John 1:9. The word ‘confess’ is a combination of two Greek words, ‘homo’ and ‘logeo’. These two words together mean “to say the same thing about something that someone else says about it.” In this case, when I have sinned, I must say the same thing about my sin that God says about it. Now, what does God say about my sin?

First of all, He says it is sin. So I agree with God what I just did was sin. I don’t try to make excuses for myself or cover it up. I openly admit. Since I know that I am already forgiven through Jesus’ baptism and death, I am not afraid to come to God and to be honest about my sin. 

Secondly, God says He has already forgiven all my sins, including the one I just committed. 

Thirdly, out of appreciation for that great forgiveness, I accept it gratefully and turn from my sin and begin to focus on my Lord Jesus Christ, drawing upon His Holy Spirit who is indwelling and empowering me not to sin.

 

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