Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want.   -Martin Luther 

 

Forgiven

There may be no bigger word in the English language other than say—lovehatefreedomhope—or gas prices. 

Forgiveness is no small item.

Clint Eastwood knew a little about the power of the word back in 1992.  His modern-day classic western Unforgiven was his first film to break the $100 million threshold.  The film scored big with four Oscars.  Originally the movie was going to be titled The William Munny Killings—but someone on the marketing side of things had a better idea I’m assuming. 

Forgiveness isn’t just the stuff of movies—it is the stuff of life. 

King David knew a thing or two about the kind forgiveness only God can grant—the sort that leaves no doubt if understood correctly—he wrote: 

 6 Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!  

8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. 9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. 10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. 

11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. (Psalm 25:6-11, ESV) 

Although David asks for forgiveness—and so he should—he has assurance. 

You either are or you aren’t forgiven.  There’s no multiple choice on this one.  God never plays a sort of guessing game with us here.  Forgiveness is free of charge for the asking to the most undeserving.  No public penance, alms in the coffer, or Hail Mary’s necassary.  We don’t even have to confess our sins to a priest.  How the enemy of our souls wishes it were so—and goes to any length he can to convince us that our being forgiven is somehow in the balance.  It is on this truth that our peace with God is derived and so it is no wonder with all of the watered down teaching we subject ourselves to that we might be unsure about the forgiveness that is already ours—a forgiveness never to be undermined or stolen. 

Forgiveness is not one of those abstract concepts such as your feelings in comparison to your husband’s feelings (if you have a husband who acknowledges having them that is)—what’s the difference between tall and short—or not-so-good versus not-so-bad.   

You can’t be kind of, almost, or just about forgiven. 

Half measures avail us nothing.

And that is why God sent Jesus to a bloody cross to purchase our forgiveness—no one and nothing else would do.  Our forgiveness didn’t come cheap.

Forgiveness is not only a large component within the life of the follower of Jesus—but it is a basic need and a much over-looked facet of the Christian life.  Those who downplay or minimize the teachings of Jesus and the apostles in regards to the subject of forgiveness not only are disobedient but they do their listeners a disservice.  To preach judgement and forget forgiveness is to miss the gospel message entirely.  Jesus never came to judge or condemn the world—far from it.  He came to forgive and save sinners. 

One would be hard pressed to argue that the forgiveness we relish in—due to Jesus alone—could ever be appreciated too much.  When I read the New Testament—the letters of Paul in particular—it becomes clearer than clear to me that to the extent that we understand the forgiveness we have received and continue to receive—the more freedom we experience in our walk with God and with others. 

I’m not going to tackle forgiveness in the context of inter-personal relationships here—I’ll leave that to the relationship guru’s—and more importantly to the Bible for now.  However—I am going to take the next few blogs to uncover what it means to be forgiven by God. 

And God knows we all need to be forgiven on a continual non-stop basis.  While hopefully we know we need God’s forgiveness, more importantly—hopefully we know it is ours unequivocally.

No question about it. 

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