Thankful For Forgiveness

 I am thankful for forgiveness, although not nearly as thankful as I should be. You see the Gospel tells me that I was a sinner and not just kind of a sinner or a little bit of a sinner. No, more like a hopeless sinner, a person with no understanding, no ability to do right, no love for God, no desire to know Him (Romans 3). The Gospel tells me that my heart was once as black as night and that my eyes were veiled so that I could not understand the truth. And yet God rescued me, not because of any inherent value in me, but because of His great love and mercy! And this is why I’m thankful! Do you remember this passage on forgiveness in Luke 7?

Luke 7

40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” 49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” 50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

This woman understood the depth of forgiveness, the Pharisees, not so much.  And as Christians we should be thankful not only for our justification, that forgiveness which sees our adoption as sons and daughters of God, but also for His continued grace and mercy as we struggle with sin still.

1 John 2

 1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 

With Jesus Christ as our lawyer, arguing on our behalf, bestowing His righteousness on us, we don’t have to live under constant guilt and condemnation for our sins. That is a great blessing. And understanding this blessing which we’ve received allows us to give to others. In this case, it allows us to forgive! You see, those who understand the forgiveness given to them have the ability to forgive others as well and desire that their brothers and sisters be restored when they struggle.

 Let me encourage you to evaluate your own heart. If you have great difficulty forgiving others, then it’s a distinct possibility that you’ve lost sight of thankfulness for your own forgiveness. If grace and mercy are hard for you to demonstrate, then have you fully received them yourself? Do you see what I’m getting at? My prayer for anyone who reads this is that you would fully embrace God’s forgiveness for yourself, resting on his promises to “remember (act on) your sin no more” and to “remove your sin as far as the East from the West.” Only in understanding your own forgiveness will you then be able to pay forgiveness forward! 




 Ritchie Johnson
Director, Transform Student Ministries

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