The Way of Forgiveness
Intro; All of us have been hurt by someone before and have had a hard time forgiving them. When we don’t forgive, the memory of the hurt darkens our past, clouds the present and shackles our future.
Forgiveness is an integral part of the Christian’s life. We have been forgiven in Christ therefore we must learn “The Way of Forgiveness”.
Text; Col. 3:1-3, 13
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Forgive- stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, releasing people from obligations incurred by their wrongs against you.
Unilateral forgiveness; forgiving someone who has not asked for forgiveness. Transactional forgiveness; involves the confession of the offender, his repentance, and reconciliation.
1. The Way; 1-3
1. The Way; 1-3
Way- a method or manner of doing something, manner of behavior
Last week we talked about kindness and being tenderhearted towards one another. I believe that is the “way” we forgive.
In verses [1-3] Paul plainly points out that we are in Christ now so we must take on the mind of Christ so we can reflect His attitude in forgiveness.
First, the way of forgiveness is love. The love of Christ for us is undeserved, and so we shouldn’t insist that people earn our love to be forgiven. Love doesn’t keep a list of wrongs done to one!
John 3:16 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Secondly, forgiveness comes from above, not from self. If our life is not hidden in Christ then we don’t have the capability to forgive.
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
2. The Depth of Forgiveness; 13
2. The Depth of Forgiveness; 13
Depth- the quality and complexity of forgiveness. Its not an external forgiveness of words, but an internal change of heart. We are to forgive others the same way God forgave us in Christ.
1. God’s forgiveness takes sin seriously and so should ours.
Forgiveness is not being frivolous/careless toward sin. It sees it and names it—but then covers it. God forgives what he hates. We must do the same.
16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
2. God’s forgiveness reckons with a real settling of accounts and so should ours.
Every sin that has ever been committed will be justly punished—either in hell or on the cross. God never sweeps sin under the rug. Someone always pays. So when are to forgive a wrong that has been done against us, we are bound and sustained by the truth of God’s holiness.
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Jesus settled all mankind’s account of sin on Calvary’s cross. But each individual must acknowledge this through repentance unto salvation in Christ. When we forgive someone, that account is settled and we cannot bring it back up when it’s convenient for us to use against them! If that was the case then God could do that against us.
3. God’s forgiveness was costly and so is ours.
It cost God his Son to forgive us our sin. It will cost us nothing compared to what God gave up, but it will cost. It will cost the sweet taste of revenge.
Matthew 5:38–39 (NKJV)
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
4. God’s forgiveness is genuine and ours should be too.
When God forgives, we are genuinely restored. There is restoration in a broken fellowship. Nothing is held over our heads.
12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Forgiveness of sins is the very heart of Christianity. Nothing causes us to so nearly resemble the Lord as when we forgive one another. Forgiveness is not an occasional art, it is a permanent attitude. [Martin Luther]