FORGIVENESS: A KEY OF GOD’s KINGDOM
Wednesday, 7 November 2018
Matthew 18 : 21-35
"Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven?” -Matthew 18:21-22
Jesus gives His disciples some of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 18. One of the keys is Forgiveness of which Jesus explains as an answer to Peter’s question. Apostle Peter may have struggled with his inability to forgive, which triggered this very crucial question.
The word “forgiveness” has several synonyms: “mercy, compassion, understanding, pardon, reconciliation, acquittal ….” These words should ring a bell in our hearts. Salvation is a gift of God-we did not deserve it but He gave it to us- Ephesians 2:5: “…even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…” So forgiving someone who has harmed us/done us wrong, reveals the Christ in us and shows that we are indeed children of God.
Inside the question that Peter asked there lies another question. Should we forgive someone for the same sins over and over again? Just think of how many times we have repeated the same sins and asked God to forgive us and the word of God says that He does! True repentance cannot be seen in here. But God, still does forgive and waits patiently until we overcome.
Out of the 10 essential elements of a prayer in Matthew 6:9-14, look into this: “ …. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Jesus only picks out Verse 12 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” to expound on it in Matt 18:14-15. This in itself should give us a clue as to how important it is that we forgive all.
Matthew 18:23-34 gives a graphic picture of the end of a forgiven person who is unable to forgive. Vs. 35 is a warning, “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”
In Genesis 3:15 God gives the promise of a Redeemer, Christ Jesus who would forgive the world of their sin. We ought to forgive when we have been so forgiven!
Examples of Forgiveness:
Jesus forgives all those who were instrumental in His crucifixion while still in excruciating pain on the cross. Luke 23:34 “…. Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Jesus forgives the sinner who repented at the last minute on the cross. Luke 23:40-43, “Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Stephen forgave all those who stoned him. Acts 7: 60 “Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Joseph forgave his brothers even when they had done him great wrong.
David forgave King Saul who hunted after his life.
Reasons to Forgive:
For your own good: If you refuse to forgive you allow unforgiveness to have free access to your heart and mind as you nurse the hurt the entire time and even lose sleep over it- inner peace is impossible. Forgiveness brings freedom to move on. Remember, Joseph’s act of forgiveness- he was blessed in all that he did.
Forgive because you have experienced God's grace for your sins. In Luke 7:36-50, the woman understood how grossly she had sinned and how generously God had forgiven her. Her action speaks volumes.
"There is no one righteous, not even one"
- Romans 3:10
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