Today’s devotion is an excerpt from a Bible Study Series taught at Fellowship Baptist Church, titled “Biblical Building Blocks for Strengthening Relationships.”
Biblical Building Block #16 Forgive One Another (Colossians 3:13) – PART 2
Colossians 3:13, Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
How does God forgive us for Christ’s sake?
2. God Forgives Eternally.
He doesn't forgive like the man who said, "I have buried the hatchet but marked the spot." Romans 4:8, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” The word impute means "to count". It is the same word found in I Corinthians 13:5, where we are told love thinketh no evil. I Corinthians 13:5, “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil...” When we confess and forsake our sins, God doesn't impute our sins against us, which means He doesn't count them against us anymore, and He will never bring them up again. God convicts, or reminds, us of our sins for only one reason: to cause us to repent and become usable in His service. It is actually impossible for us to forgive and forget because while we can forgive the act, we can't forget the hurt. As someone has said, "Love does not forgive and forget; it remembers and still forgives." Love lets go of the hurt.
If we have sins we have confessed and forsaken that keep coming to our minds, it is not God harassing us. It's Satan trying to make us feel guilty and unusable in God's kingdom. When that happens, we need to say to Satan what Jesus said to Peter. After Jesus begins to tell His disciples about how He will die, Peter rebukes Jesus and tells Him he will never let Him die. This would have circumvented God's plan of salvation. Matthew 16:23b, “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Jesus isn't calling Peter "Satan," but instead, Jesus is telling Peter he is playing the role of Satan because Satan always tries to circumvent God's plan. Satan does that by trying to make us feel guilty and useless because of confessed past sins. When he does this, we must say, "Satan, get behind me! God has eternally forgiven me of that sin."
Unforgiveness is a terrible thing. Let me tell you why your unforgiveness will not only effect you but mess up your theology.
When you say, “I have forgiven them all I’m going to”, what you’re saying is that there is a limit to your forgiveness. When you do this, immediately the devil comes through the back door of your soul, and he makes you think that because you limit your forgiveness to others that God is going to limit His forgiveness to you. This grieves the Holy Spirit of God. He grieves when we don’t fix relationships in life. I wonder what our Heavenly Father sees when He looks down upon His children and sees that we won’t forgive one another. If we hold onto it, it will hinder the power of God and the love of God in this church. God wants us to forgive one another so that we don’t grieve the Holy Spirit of God. When a church has the Holy Spirit grieved in it, there will be no power, peace, blessing in the church. When the Holy Spirit of God is grieved you can’t sing with all your heart, you can’t get anything out of worship. God will not allow it because He is grieved. Grieve is a love word. You don’t grieve over people you do not love. The Holy Ghost of God loves you. Whenever you will not forgive other people, He is grieved. And when the Holy Spirit of God is grieved, you’re not going to have the joy, peace, vibrancy of life that God wants you to have. Love will grow cold, joy will be gone, and peace will be disturbed.
Have you noticed that people who irritate or hurt us often do so more than once? Peter must have had a person like that in his life. Matthew 18:21, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” Jewish rabbis taught that a person had to forgive only three times, but Peter doubles that number and adds one for good measure. He obviously thinks seven is a very generous number. Jesus tells Peter he must forgive how many times? Matthew 18:22, “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” By answering with this number, Jesus is saying we must not keep track, or count, because there should be no limit to the number of times we forgive someone. What does I Corinthians 13:5d tell us about love? “...thinketh no evil...”
The word thinketh is a bookkeeping term that means "to account or calculate," as in putting figures in a ledger or on a spreadsheet. Don’t file part of it back. Don’t hold any part of it. Never put a limit on your forgiveness because God never puts a limit on His forgiveness for you. Peter said 7 times. If a person is counting, they are not forgiving. If you've forgiven somebody 490 times, it a good sign you have gotten into the habit of continual forgiveness. Most Christians know I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” He says, “you come to me, you confess your sins, I will be faithful.” Faithful means every time!
Prayer, Father God, please reveal those I need to forgive. Shine the bright light of Your truth into the dark corners of my heart, where I hide unforgiveness. I choose today to forgive. Because it’s something You commanded me, I know it’s possible. And because it’s something that pleases You, I beg You to help me. Please help me to forgive, deeply, from my heart, as You have forgiven me. Wherever possible, and as much as it depends on me, please heal my relationships. In the name of Jesus, who paid the highest price for my forgiveness, amen.
Thank you for reading PART 2 of Biblical Building Block #16 of this series. Please visit this website tomorrow for PART 3 of Biblical Building Block #16 of this series.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.