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Forgiveness

 

Forgiveness

            If the soap-opera ad writers were to compose a devotional, it might sound as sudsy as this:

            “Are you soft soaping God about your TEXIZE problem DUZ you DREFT along with the TIDE? VEL, you can CHEER up and have real JOY. The DOVE of peace is sending an S.O.S. to ALL. The TREND is to BREEZE to church regularly on Sunday morning. But, too many WOODBURY their heads in a pillow or work in the yard like HANDY ANDY, forgetting that the Lord’s Day was made for LESTOIL.

            “Don’t trust your LUX or wait for us to DIAL you and remind you of those IVORY palaces up yonder. This is not just idle BAB-O. Worship will add to your LIFEBUOY, so WISK yourself out of bed Sunday morning, dress up SPIC’N SPAN and DASH like a COMET to God’s house. You will feel as FANTASTIK as IRISH SPRING and will have new ZEST and PRIDE of conscience if you make this PLEDGE. You, too, can be MR. CLEAN.

            More than detergents are needed, however. The kind of filth that has soiled our souls demands some new miracle cleanser that Madison Avenue does not have. –John F. Anderson

 

Forgiveness

            An unmarked tombstone outside of Sydney, New York, has but one word on it, three syllables: “Forgiven”—Dr. D. James Kennedy

 

Forgiveness

            A father bequeathed a large inheritance to his son. Technically, it then belonged to the son, but the bequest was “in trust,” which meant that the son was not immediately allowed to withdraw the entire amount from the bank. The father had included a stipulation temporarily limiting the withdrawal privilege to the interest that accrued, although the son would eventually be entitled to the principal.

            So, also, when a person receives the grace of regeneration, this does not mean that all of that which Christ merited for him is immediately experienced by him. If it were, would it not overwhelm and crush his capacities? Rather, “He (God) giveth and giveth again.”

            In a similar manner, we need to daily ask for a portion of God’s forgiving grace.

 

Basis of Forgiveness

            Bondage to sin came by birth, deliverance from sin comes by death. But if we die, then what good is it to be delivered? There is another way to die and yet live. For example, consider a small piece of paper that is placed into a book. The paper has an identity all its own, separate from the book, but now it is in the book and shares something with the book. Let’s say that the book is then mailed to another person. The paper was not mailed, but it had been put into the book. So where is the paper? Obviously, whatever the book goes through the paper will go through as well, for it is still there in the book. When Christ was crucified, we who are “in him,” died and received all that he went through, including deliverance from the bondage of sin.

 

Difficulty of Forgiveness

            Many reconciliations have broken down because both parties have come prepared to forgive and unprepared to be forgiven.

 

Difficulty of Forgiveness

            A man named John Oglethorpe, in talking to John Wesley, once made the comment, “I never forgive.” Mr. Wesley wisely replied,

            “Then, Sir, I hope that you never sin.”

 

Forgetting and Forgiveness

            Prospero, when finally given a chance to punish those who had removed him of his rightful place as king, states, “Let us not burden our remembrance with a heaviness that’s gone.”—William Shakespeare

 

Forgetting and Forgiveness

            God is able to forget our past. Why can’t we? God throws our sins into the depths of the sea and puts up a sign on the shore that reads, “No fishing.”

            In ancient times the depths of the sea were completely inaccessible to us. The limits were how far a man could dive with one lungful of air. In modern times we have submarines that can go anywhere on or below the sea’s surface, so we do not fully appreciate this figure of speech. Perhaps the inaccessible aspect would be clearer if we changed the statement to “God has cast all of our sins into a nuclear waste dump.” That’s truly inaccessible! And that’s forgiveness!

 

Judgment and Forgiveness

            Some people try to punish themselves for their sins, as opposed to standing on the promises of forgiveness.

            The story is told of a time, many years ago, when a father and his daughter were walking through the grass on the Canadian prairie. In the distance they saw a prairie fire, which would soon engulf them. The father knew there was only one way of escape: they must quickly build a fire right where they were and burn a large patch of grass. When the huge prairie fire drew near, they could stand on the section that had already burned. When the flames did approach them, the girl was terrified, but her father assured her, “The flames can’t get to us. We are standing where the fire has already been.”

            So it is with the forgiven when they see the judgment of God approaching. They are where the flames have already been and therefore are safe.

 

Perfect Forgiveness

            A wealthy English merchant who lived on the European continent was satisfied with nothing but the best. This attitude extended even as far as the cars he owned. His pride and joy was a Rolls-Royce coupe that he had owned for years and that had given great service all that time. One day, while driving down a bumpy toad, his car hit a deep pothole, resulting in a broken rear axle.

            The owner had the car shipped back to the Rolls plant to England and was surprised by the quick repair that was performed. He received no bill for the work and, knowing his warranty had run out, he had expected one. He waited for months and still no bill came. So he finally communicated with the company about the bill for his car repairs. Again the response from the factory was immediate. The reply said, “We have thoroughly searched our files and find no record of a Rolls-Royce axle ever breaking.”

            This is a case where the integrity and excellence of that company would not permit a flaw in workmanship or materials to be made known. The excellence of Christ does not permit our flaws to be made known to the Father. He accomplishes our forgiveness.

 

Result of Forgiveness

            We all have seen and used those little electronic calculators. What happens if you get your information confused or make an error? You press the “clear” button and automatically all of the information is eliminated from the calculator. Then you begin again, without trying to sort out the previous mistake. In fact, there is no record of your mistake! It is forever!

            That’s what happens to our sins when God forgives us. The consequences may remain, but the guilt—the legal condemnation for the offense—is gone.

 

Result of Forgiveness

            Karl Menninger, the famous psychiatrist, says that if he could convince the patients in his psychiatric hospitals that their sins are forgiven, 75 percent of them could walk out the next day. So often we do not take God at his word!