The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Forgive - For Christ's Sake"
"Only God can truly pardon wrongs, both in His relationship to people as He directly forgives, and in our relationships with one another as His mercy motivates, guides, and empowers our own bestowal of pardon."
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32).
When someone wrongs us and we feel we cannot forgive, the truth of the matter is that we stand upon good and proper ground for embarking on a journey of merciful faith and obedience.
"Without Me, ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
Every command of the New Testament looms before us a summit unto which we cannot fully ascend. Only God can empower even the tiniest act of obedience. None more require God's enabling grace than the calling to forgive "as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" asked the scribes and Pharisees (Luke 5:21). While they asked in unbelief and rejection of the Lord Jesus, their question nevertheless bears truth. As the saying goes, "To forgive is divine." Only God can truly pardon wrongs, both in His relationship to people as He directly forgives, and in our relationships with one another as His mercy motivates, guides, and empowers our own bestowal of pardon.
"God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (II Corinthians 9:8).
Abounding grace bestowed and received leads to abounding good works directed and enabled. This includes our capacity to forgive as God forgives, that is, "for Christ's sake." Like our Father, we set our gaze on the Person and work of the Lord Jesus in times when we must bestow mercy to those who wrong us. Only such a focus of faith can make possible our fulfillment of a calling far beyond our own abilities. Indeed, the sole hope of "to forgive is human" rests in "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith," whose living and involved presence in trusting hearts can lead us to join our Father in forgiving for the sake of His dear Son and our dear Savior (Hebrews 12:2).
Nothing more reveals our need for the power of God to lead and enable us than His calling to forgive as He forgives. Remembering that "for Christ's sake" makes possible His pardon goes far in motivating and leading us to bestow our own. To forgive is indeed divine. But it became human also in the Lord Jesus, and it will do so in us as He lives in us, and we live through Him.
"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me."
Weekly Memory Verse
Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)