JOHN SHIRK – Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things to do and one of the most powerful things we can do.
God sent His Son to die a cruel death on the cross, and as He was dying, Jesus prayed for those who were putting Him to death. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Someone nearby was noticing that Jesus was different, not like the others who were crucified. The centurion, who was a commander of 100 men in the Roman army, was near Jesus. When he heard Jesus cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely, this man was the Son of God.” He probably would have heard that prayer for forgiveness that Jesus uttered on his behalf.
Forgiveness does not excuse sin as okay. Forgiveness does not give someone license to hurt us with the same actions again. Forgiveness does give someone a second chance, and forgiveness does release us from the attempt to seek revenge. Because we are sinners, we have a great need to be forgiven, and we have a need to forgive others.
In Luke 17:3 and 4, Jesus taught, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent’, forgive him.”
Forgiveness is a quality of love and is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – From First Timothy 1:15.
Words from the Apostle Paul, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst.”
There are times in the New Testament when Paul gives us a window into his tainted past. His conversion to Christ was a dramatic transformation of character in a short time. In reflecting on his life, Paul realized that there were many sins of his that Jesus had forgiven.
In this verse, we can put our personal name in place of the word “sinners”. Christ Jesus came into the world to save….me. His grace is a gift for me to receive. There is nothing I can do to earn it, but I can receive His forgiveness by trusting in the name of Jesus and what He did for me at the cross.
When we experience His forgiveness, our burden of guilt is removed and we can truly appreciate and celebrate what Jesus has done for us.
Recognizing Jesus as our Savior from sin is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.
JOHN SHIRK – From Hebrews 9:22b.
“Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.”
This foundational truth points us to the reason why Jesus came to shed his blood for us. We have sinned against a holy God, and cannot save ourselves from the wages of sin, which is death. Only a hand beyond us could rescue us-a hand that is holy and nail-scarred. Up until the time of Christ, the blood of bulls and goats were sacrificed, but that was not really effective to forgive people’s sins. The Bible tells us that it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That sacrificial system was only a shadow of things to come, not the real deal.
Verse 26 says that Christ has now appeared at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. His blood, shed on the cross, was a sufficient payment for our sins. Because of what Jesus did at the cross, we have forgiveness of sins through faith in His name. With the guilt of our sins cleared away, the barrier has been removed, and we have freedom to walk with God as His follower and friend.
Trusting the blood of Christ for forgiveness is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.