Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness


God Is On Team You

Paul says in Romans 8 that God is working for the good of those who love Him. These are the ones who have responded to His call to salvation and following Christ. He promises forgiveness and eternal life to those who will answer the call in the affirmative. All of this demonstrates one thing – God is on our side. Paul wrote:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? – Romans 8:31-32 (NIV)

God is on your side! He is on team YOU! He proved it by sending His Son to die for our sins. This is the evidence that God loves you and not only that, He likes you, too. He, along with Jesus, will provide everything you need. He knows what you need and is willing and able to provide it. So trust Him because He is on your side. With God on your side, nothing and no one can come against you. So as you move about your day today, remember that God is on team you and that means that you will win in the end.

To Look Like Jesus

God, in His perfect foreknowledge, had a plan all along. He would predestine anyone who loves Him and puts their faith and trust in Jesus to have forgiveness and eternal life with Him. This is how God works everything out for the ultimate good as it says in Romans 8:28. Paul wrote:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. – Romans 8:29-30 (NIV)

God wants His people to look like Jesus. How do we do that? Does it mean sinless perfection? That’s not possible because if it were, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die. Rather than being sinless, we need to look like Jesus in the way that we love, serve and forgive. Who can you love today? Who can you serve today? Who can you forgive today? That’s what it means to look like Jesus.

Forgive Who?

On what we know as Good Friday, Jesus was crucified for the sin of the world. Luke records the scene in this way. He wrote:

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:33-34 (NIV)

While we don’t know their names or their crimes, we know that it should have been us. We could have been either the criminal on His right or His left. We should have felt the nails. We should have been left there to die for our own sins and transgressions. Yet, there is the perfect Son of God with thorns on His head and nails in His hands and feet praying to His Father, “Forgive them…” Forgive who? Forgive those who were killing Him? What love! Forgive those who were insulting Him and spitting on Him? What mercy! Forgive us who were the true source of His suffering? What grace! Jesus took our punishment when He took our place and that is what Good Friday is all about.

Our Motivation For Virtue

Peter wrote about a list of virtues that Christians should strive for in chapter 1, verses 5-7. He wrote about goodness and godliness, self-control and love, among others. He said that if we possess these qualities, we will be productive and effective. What if we don’t strive for them? He says:

But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. – 2 Peter 1:9 (NIV)

Motivation is key for a follower of Christ. Jesus did all of the work necessary on the cross to save us from our sins. We cannot add a thing to what He did. We must simply obey the Gospel (belief, repentance, confession and baptism) and our sins are washed away. Since Jesus washes away our sins by God’s grace, we should work toward faithfulness, service and love all the days of our lives and not forget what He has done for us. As the old hymn says: Jesus paid it all, all to Him we owe. Sin had left a crimson stain but He washed us white as snow.

Affection Toward One Another

Peter closes his first letter with two greetings, an exhortation and a blessing. He wrote:

She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ. – 1 Peter 5:13-14 (NIV)

Our relationships in the church should be rooted in love. It’s not always easy to get along with one another and sometimes we don’t feel like loving each other. Our personalities may clash and we bump into one another causing disagreements and hurt feelings. We may have times when conflict arises and we don’t feel like much of a church family. Then Peter comes along and says to greet one another with a kiss of love. Scholars aren’t exactly sure what kind of kiss it was, but they say that by the 2nd century, it was a regular part of church gatherings. If you think that the meet and greet time at church is uncomfortable now, imagine what it would be like if everyone started kissing each other! The point is that we need to love each other, even when it is hard and even when there is conflict. We’re all on the same team. We all are serving the same Master. Let’s love each other well because sometimes, we’re all we’ve got.

Above All…Love

Being a follower of Jesus Christ means that we are to do one thing really, really well. Peter wrote:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8 (NIV)

We are to love well. Notice that Peter doesn’t say that we hate deeply. He doesn’t say that are to protest everything we disagree with. He doesn’t say that we are to be divided against other believers because they believe a little differently or take a different political stance. He doesn’t say that we should hold a grudge well. He doesn’t say that we need to be more right than anyone else. He doesn’t say to go to church well. He doesn’t even say that we are to believe deeply. It’s a good thing to go to church and to have deep convictions about our faith in Jesus Christ. But the hallmark of EVERY believer in Christ is love. We must LOVE one another. That means that we serve one another in love and forgive one another in love. The love of Jesus covers our sins and our love for one another should do the same. So whatever you think, say or do as a Christian, above all…love.

Living Forever

Jesus commanded His followers to share the good news about Him with the entire world. He said to make more disciples everywhere we go. This way no one has to miss out on eternal life unless they choose to reject Jesus Christ. Then, they will be judged by God and condemned for all eternity. Those who accept Christ’s offer of forgiveness will live forever with Him. Peter wrote:

For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead,so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. – 1 Peter 4:6 (NIV)

The reason that the good news was and continues to be preached is so that people will be saved from their sins. We will all stand before Jesus someday. We will all be judged for everything we’ve done while here on earth. Those who follow Jesus will be declared, “Not guilty.” We will go on to our reward in Heaven where we will live with Jesus forever. Amen.

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