Monday, May 23, 2016
Learning the Freedom & Power of Forgiveness (Part 1)
Speaker: Jerry Wragg
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Pastor Jerry walked us through what it looks like to be granting and seeking forgiveness as a pattern of life.  The goal of forgiveness in the Christian life is always to restore relationships with God and with one other.  

The Bible gives us two Greek words for forgiveness that Paul in his writings:

  1. To let go / release (aphiemi), this is the technical form of forgiveness.  It means to pardon in a transactional sense; the debt is settled.
  2. Mercy/compassion (charizomai), this is the conferring of lavish favor on the offender.  It means to release the liability from a heart of unconditional favor.

There are two ways forgiveness works:

  1. Judicially/Formally:  In a way that our standing completely changes, just like Christ has done for us.  All past, present, and future sin was nailed to the cross and we stand guilt free as our debt has been paid.
  2. Relationally/Informally:  On-going/daily restoration of relationships (God-man and man-man). 
    • John 13:1-17 –  Jesus washes the disciples’ feet and Peter says, “then wash all of me.”  Christ explains that Peter is already clean (the idea of conversion), but he still needs to regularly seek the Lord’s forgiveness to remain in fellowship.
    • 1 John 1:6-10 – This passage illustrates the continual daily requirement of maintaining fellowship with the Lord as we seek His forgiveness.  This is a very important part of a Christian’s life.

The basis of all our forgiveness is grounded in Christ:

  • Matthew 18:21ff is the parable of the king settling an account with his slave.
    • V.32-33 contains the main point.  On the basis of God’s pardon (judicially & lavishly) we must also release one another’s debts both in regards to anything owed to us and with lavish mercy.  We do this regardless of a request for our forgiveness.
    • V.35 If we do not forgive, we face God’s discipline if we are a regenerate or God’s wrath if unregenerate. On the ground that God forgave us alone, we forgive lavishly.
  • 1 Peter 3:7 We see that if we are unforgiving and without compassion our very prayers will be hindered.
  • Col 3:13 We see it again, the basis/ground for our forgiveness is Christ.  We bestow favor because He bestowed lavish favor on us.

Forgiveness is not a one-time act.  It is on-going and thorough.  Often, we will be tempted to nurture the hurt and pain in our thoughts and then suddenly we come face-to-face with the offender and we want something from them.  Do not be deceived, this takes work and do not just presume you are clean in the matter (Proverbs 16:2).  Check your motives and ensure you are not sinning in your thoughts against the offender.  When God forgave you with Christ’s sacrifice it was a thorough and complete forgiveness and God has no remaining ill-will against us (Romans 5:1).  We must forgive with the same lavish mercy in the example of Christ.