GETTING OFF THE HIGH HORSE
Forgiveness is Not Optional
(for those who love Christ more than self)
"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Matthew 6:12
If we claim to walk with Christ and yet do not forgive others, we deceive ourselves and do not know the love of Christ. Murders and adulterers who repent go free while those who have never outwardly done anything much sinful, are unforgiven for their sin of unforgiveness. Their own sins (namely the self-righteous pride and arrogance) now stack up against them and will condemn them on Judgment Day if not repented of.
In preparation of that great and fearful Judgment which lies just ahead, read carefully the following words of the LORD from Romans 2:1-11:
"Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God." Romans 2:1-11
Those who judge harshly and quickly (without allowing for due course), usually do the very same things they judge others for doing (v1-2). This passage of divine truth is an insight into the sinful nature and how it operates when not mortified. No matter what kind of Christian one may claim to be, if he is living a life of condemning others wrongly, his sins pile up against him every day until he repents (v5). Yes, this is how God's kingdom works. He made up the non-negotiable rules, so mine and yours are a non-issue. If we do not live in His love, forgiving others of all offenses (against us, others, and God), we are lost in our sins and no different than the religious Pharisees Jesus condemned for their hypocrisy (Matt. 23). If we choose to harbor unforgiveness, bitterness will set in and defile us and those around us (Heb. 12:14-15).
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Hebrews 12:14-15
Our LORD instructed us to pray this way: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.…forgive us our debts, AS we forgive our debtors.” (Matt. 6:9-12) The second thing Jesus says about the Father in Heaven, is that He is hallowed - holy! Unforgiveness is sin and violates our relationship with Him. Our own forgiveness from Heaven above is conditional upon our obedience to release others. What makes this so easy is to realize just how sinful and “desperately wicked” we ourselves have been (Jer. 17:9).
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
The forgiveness of our own sins is contingent upon our willingness and obedience to forgive all others of their trespasses/debts. Jesus came to set people free, and those who are truly in communion with Him possess His heart and set others at liberty every time and in every way they can (Lk. 4:18). It is the person who refuses to let God’s love fill His life and forgive others that is actually the one in the gall of bitterness and bondage (Matt. 5:20; 18:21-35).
Our LORD told us that He desires to answer our prayers, yet He requires that we forgive others in order to do this:
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 25And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:24-26
Jesus is coming. Are you ready?
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.” James 5:7-9
If we need mercy (oh do we!!!), then we must give it to others:
“For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” James 2:13
Forget the past! I must ask myself: Am I truly walking in God’s love today? We must keep ourselves in His love – the love walk.
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Je
sus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 21
When we walk in His love, we can be assured of and look for His mercy at the appearing of our LORD Jesus Christ.
How do we get more of God’s love in us?
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, please forgive the hardness of my heart. Grant me a heart of flesh Jesus. I now repent of the audacity of not forgiving others, in light of my own spiritual poverty and wickedness. Heal the soil of my heart LORD. I love You and choose from this day forward to live in the open-handed forgiveness you have shown me. Amen.
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