07 February 2008

Assurance of Forgiveness

Forgiveness means that we are not going to allow the experiences of the past to dominate our future and to prevent us from becoming all that God has planned we should become. There may well be memories we are unable to put out of mind, but we choose not to allow them to control our attitudes and behaviour in the future, even toward those who may be responsible for those memories. Two New Testament words we translate "to forgive" mean literally "to let go" and "to cancel a debt". I found that at times the phrase "I forgive you" seemed empty, so I said, "I release you. I let you go. I let go of this offence. I cancel your debt. You owe me nothing now. I renounce my desire to get even with you." That way, the imagery of this biblical language filled the word "forgiveness" with a more specific and concrete meaning.

The basis upon which all sin is forgiven is found in Matthew 26:28: " This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

What must we do in order to have our sins forgiven? Answer: 1 John 1:9 " If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

The consequences of unconfessed sin:

Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces then finds mercy.

Psalms 66:18 If I cherished sin in my heart the Lord would have not listened.

What attitude of heart characterizes confession?
Psalm 38:18 I confess my iniquity, i am troubled by my sin. Confession as described by David Psalm 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and you did not cover up my iniquity. I said " I confess my transgressions to the Lord" and you forgave the guilt of my sin. David's prayer expectation after confessiong his sin.

Psalm 52:12 Restore to the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain.

Our attitude towards others:
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgive each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Why forgiveness matters?
1. Unforgiveness will hurt no one more than myself
2. Unforgiveness will often hurt others
3. Unforgiveness may deny healing to another
4. Unforgiveness affects my relationship with God
5. Unforgiveness is readily exploited by the Evil One
6. Forgiveness demonstrates Christ's presence
7. It shows our own experience of God's forgiveness

We never touch the ocean of God's love so much as when we love our enemies.
It is a joy to accept forgiveness, but it is almost a greater joy to give forgiveness.
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