This week in our men’s group we had a great talk which started in 1st John.
I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on
account of his name. 13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known
him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you
have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you
have known the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you have
known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men,
because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have
overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:12-14
Knowing that your sins are forgiven is huge! Especially for those that are sensitive to their sin. The idea behind the, “your sins have been forgiven,”
is the idea of continuing to be forgiven! Little children need all the encouragement in the world. We do too.
On account of Jesus we are forgiven. We fall a bunch, as babies tend to do, but we get back up, and try again. “For though a righteous human falls seven times, they rise again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.” Proverbs 24:16
What does the number seven signify in the Bible?
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I
forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.
When the deciples heard Jesus teach on forgiving a person who sins again you seven times in the same day, they asked for something! Do you know what it was?
Watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4Even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times returns to say, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” 5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”… Luke 17
They said, “Increase our faith!” They understood that walking in fellowship with another takes faith. Faith to forgive. Jesus assumes that we will sin. And we will sin many times even in one day!
Do we trust God to walk with other humans in this kind of way? Do we trust God by giving forgiveness to those that seek it from us?
Many times we think that a good relationship is predicated on a lack of sin, yet Jesus indicates that even the act of giving a gift to our kids can be sinful!
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
That hits us a bit don’t it! You mean even my good deeds aren’t that good?
But think of this; if it is true that Jesus taught that we are sinners who sin, and would need mercy and continual forgiveness as we learned in 1st John, then do our relationships bear the mark of believing such a teaching? What would that mark look like?
The deciples knew in order to be like Jesus in our forgiving of others, we would need a ‘increase in faith!’
But think about it. Does your relationship with your spouse, your kids, your friends etc… bear the mark that you are a follower of Jesus? If so, then you will be asking for forgiveness regularly, and also forgiving those that sin against you. In doing so, we are showing our need for forgiveness and also giving forgiveness to those who need mercy. Showing our need for forgiveness takes a willingness to admit fault. This can be difficult as there are many excuses we can make for our behavior. And many of us do.
People struggle with hearing our sins, but God does not. God actually wants us to come to him in brokenness. You can bring your heart to the throne of grace the Bible tells us. Is your heart burdened by your sin? Bring it to the one who can forgive you completely. You family might not be able to! Neither your friends! But God will! Why? Because the Father loves the Son and will forgive anyone who comes to him in His Son’s Name.
We live in a culture that is unable to grant forgiveness well. Mercy and Grace have been removed words from our vocabulary. What a shame we could say. Jesus faced a similar culture in his day. And the culture that removed forgiveness, mercy and grace from there minds is the same one that crucified him. Maybe all we are left with is self righteous hate when void of these behaviors. Forgiveness, mercy & grace.
Looking to Jesus we are given wings to rise up from our despair to new heights that we could have never imagined. We can get up and we can help other get up as well! Praise God for His Son!