BY: JOANNE ANSTINE – OCTOBER 12, 2008
The thought came today about forgiveness, and all that it means, implies…Are we forgiven… or still unforgiven? In the prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples (which was HOW to pray, NOT what to pray), He ends it (see Matt. 6:14, 15) with these words: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
I am not sure why so many Christians seem to latch on to this as something for today. It is no longer in effect. This was said BEFORE the cross. On the cross, Jesus took the sins of ALL – “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” John 1:20.
NOW, as Paul reminds us in Eph. 4:32, we are to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, JUST AS GOD IN CHRIST ALSO FORGAVE YOU.” Past tense. Done!!
Again, in Col. 3:13 (and thus by the mouth of two witnesses), these words: “…bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has complaint against another, even as CHRIST FORGAVE YOU, so you must do.”
One more after-the-cross word (the third of “2 or 3 witnesses”) is in 2 Cor. 5:19, which reads “… God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES (SINS) TO THEM…”
These are the words of Christ, by/through His Spirit, to Paul, who was not taught by “flesh and blood,” but by the Spirit of his Lord (Gal. 1:11-12, 16-17).
Truly this IS the “good, glad, merry news that makes a man want to leap for joy!”