Thursday, August 8, 2013
"Vessels of Mercy"
Seeking to inculcate bitterness in born again believers occupies a great deal of Satan's time and energy.
"To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices" (II Corinthians 2:10-11).
"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:26-27).
The serpent infects us with a spiritually paralyzing venom when we allow him to inject us with resentment and unforgiveness toward those who offend us. The mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ provides the only antidote,beginning with the remembrance of how much for which we ourselves have been granted pardon. Indeed, the sins of others toward us pale in comparison to our offenses toward the Savior. As in His parable of the debtor servants, our obligation to God involves a vast fortune. Conversely, small is the debt, relatively speaking, of those who may owe us apology and/or restitution (Matthew 18:21-35). Let us recall that God's beloved Son was tortured to death and forsaken on the cross of Calvary for our sins. From the wounds inflicted thereupon, forgiving and redeeming pardon enveloped us when we believed. Remembering such mercy received establishes the basis for mercy bestowed.
Overcoming the temptation to bitterness also involves the aforementioned truth that the enemy of our souls always plays a role in the challenge. "I forgave... lest Satan should get an advantage of us" declared the ApostlePaul. Moreover, Paul taught that wrath allowed to fester in us beyond the setting of the sun provides opportunity to the devil. Thefailure to forgive involves not only the weakness of human flesh, but also the wickedness of Satanic attacks upon the realized love of Christ in our hearts. Ongoing bitterness indicates that we believe the devilish lies of one in whom there is no truth, as opposed to trusting the Word of the God who "cannot lie" (John 8:44; Titus 1:2). Certainly,the recognition of a lying devil's involvement inmatters of unforgiveness helps motivate us regarding the overcoming of bitterness toward others. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).
Finally, the mercy we have received fromGod is now His mercy revealed in us by theindwelling Holy Spirit.
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).
It matters not how strongly we may feel the inclination to remain in unforgiveness and bitterness. The love of God in us transcends the power of the world, the devil, and the flesh. Through Christ, we can bestow pardon and blessing on our offenders. "Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world" (I John 4:4). This we must believe about God and about ourselves in order to honor Him, to maintain our experience of His peace in our hearts, and to effect reconciliation with those offenders who respond to our bestowal of grace. Thereby, the works of Satan crash on the rocks of God's truth as our Lord enables us to know and practice the truth of being His"vessels of mercy" (Romans 9:23). Few more important aspects of Christ's presence and working grace our trusting hearts, and fewtruths more instill in us the realization of His salvation freely bestowed upon us and within us when we believed.
"Freely ye have received, freely give."
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."