Posts Tagged ‘Grace


He Forgives, We Forgive

Jesus tells us to pray often for our own forgiveness. We regularly ask God to forgive our sins because we regularly sin and fail as humans. We are not merely recipients of forgiveness. We are to be conduits of God’s forgiveness. God forgives our many egregious sins so that we can, in turn, forgive those who sin against us. Jesus said to pray in Matthew 6:11b (NIV):

…as we also have forgiven our debtors.

When God forgives us, we don’t take the forgiveness and run. We have to let that forgiveness flow through us to those around us. In this life, we will sin against God and others. We need to seek the forgiveness of both. When we are forgiven, we have to forgive those who sin against us. I’m not sure if there is a harder thing to do than to offer forgiveness to others. When someone hurts you so deeply by betraying a confidence or physically hurting you, forgiveness is the last thing you want to do. When someone keeps doing the same thing over and over again, forgiveness is the last thing you want to offer. Yet God, though we betray Him and though we do the same things over and over, continues to forgive us. We should do likewise that we may look more like Him.


Asking For Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus for salvation, God forgives all of our sins. Jesus reminds us that we should not take God’s forgiveness for granted in the Lord’s Prayer. He taught us to pray in Matthew 6:12a (NIV):

And forgive us our debts…

This is a good reminder that we are still sinners. Whether you say debts or trespasses, we are all debtors. We have all crossed the line of sin and continue to do so. We are still human. But God is still God. He is the perfect and holy One. We cannot pay for our own debts, so Jesus did it for us. Forgiveness can only come through Jesus Christ. God set up the sacrificial system through which forgiveness could come. Ultimately, it came when Jesus sacrificed His life at the cross of Calvary. Now, forgiveness is ours and we should ask for it regularly. Not as a way of reminding God to forgive us. Rather, it is a way of reminding ourselves that we’re still in need of God’s unending forgiveness.


Forgiveness Is Awesome!

In Acts 15, Paul and his co-laborer for the Kingdom, Barnabas, had such a sharp disagreement that they had to go their separate ways. The disagreement was over Barnabas’ cousin, John Mark, known as Mark. Mark was a young man who had deserted Paul earlier in his ministry. Paul did not trust him and perhaps believed that Mark would do it again. But Paul eventually forgave Mark. Paul wrote in Colossians 4:10 (NLT):

Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way.

Mark was with Paul when Paul was in prison. He told the Colossians to welcome him if he happened to come their way. That is the power of forgiveness and it has the power to shape someone’s life. The other thing that Mark is known for is the book of the Bible that bears his name. He wrote the Gospel of Mark. Do you see what forgiveness can do? Had Paul held a grudge against this young man, who knows how his life may have turned out. Maybe you’re holding a grudge against someone today. Maybe it is time to forgive them and move on in peace. You never know how that forgiveness might change and shape their destiny.


Gracious Words

Words have power. Words can build up or destroy. Words can empower and encourage or words can tear down and discourage. We have to be careful about the words we choose and use. The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 4:6 (NLT):

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

When it comes to the words we use as followers of Christ, we must remember to use words that will bring people closer to Jesus. If people who don’t follow Christ are watching us and listening to us, and they are, we have to be mindful of the words we use. Do your words honor God? Do your words bring people closer to Jesus? Or do your words make you sound like a hypocrite? This goes for more than just the words that come out of our mouths. It goes for the words that come out of our fingers. Our social media posts count and have more impact and influence than we think they do. Mind your words because not only is God listening, but someone else may be, too.


Forgiving One Another

When God asks us to do the right thing, it is often the hard thing. For example, He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. That’s a hard thing to do. He tells us to bear with one another and that can be a hard thing to do. Then, He tells us to forgive others. This can be very hard to do. The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 3:13 (NLT):

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Let’s face it, we’re going to hurt and offend one another. We’re going to do it accidentally and sometimes even intentionally. We’re going to have to learn how to forgive one another. Our forgiveness cannot be selective, either. God says to forgive anyone who offends you. Why? Because He forgave all of us. Jesus died for the forgiveness of the world so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. Jesus is our model of forgiveness. If He could ask God to forgive those who were killing Him, can’t we forgive those who have hurt us? It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s the right thing. Pray and ask God right now to help you to do the right thing and forgive someone who has hurt you, even if it’s hard to do.


That Old Sinful Nature

You and I, we have a sinful nature. When given the opportunity to choose between what is right and what is wrong, we tend to choose the wrong thing. We occasionally will choose to do what is right, but more often than not, we’re going to go with what is most expedient or what feels good at the moment. We’ll blow our tops when things don’t go our way and throw a temper tantrum. We’ll throw someone under the bus if it will advance our careers. We’ll throw out a string of expletives when we stub our toes. We’ll lie if we feel like we’re in danger of getting into trouble. The apostle Paul said that these things have to go. He wrote in Colossians 3:8-9 (NLT):

But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.

The sinful nature rears its ugly head time and time again. We fight a battle against it every day. We sometimes win, but we often lose. We need two things if we are going to be victorious. First, we need the power of God’s Spirit to transform us. Second, we need God’s grace to forgive us when we fail. The good news is that we have both. Take a moment today to thank God for His power and His grace. Do your best today to surrender to the Spirit as you combat the sinful nature and trust God to make up the difference when you fall short.


Heavenly Things

It is so easy to get bogged down in the muck and mire of earth, isn’t it? When life’s realities are staring you in the face every single day, it is hard to lift your eyes, your heart, and your thoughts to Heaven. Our minds and hearts get so preoccupied with temporary earthly things that we forget about the eternal things of Heaven. The apostle Paul said that we are to take our sights off of earthly things and look toward Heaven. He wrote in Colossians 3:1-2 (NLT):

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

Jesus has given us new life by God’s grace. We were crucified with Christ and now He lives in us. We were buried with Him in baptism and raised to new life. This life on earth with all of its struggles and pain are only temporary. What does the old song say? Turn your eyes upon Jesus and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. When the things of earth are staring you down, turn your gaze to Heaven. When life’s pressures are weighing you down, set your sights on Jesus who gives rest to the weary and hope for the hopeless. When earth is too much for you to bear, remember that Heaven awaits you and that is what you need to think about today.

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