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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Friday-Forgiveness Frauds

 

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—

 

Colossians 1:22

 

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to forget things that hurt. Whenever something happens that physically hurts, I don’t let it out of my mind. It seems like I can easily and quickly remember each and every one of the 15 operations and procedures I’ve gone through.

 

And don’t get me started about the people who’ve hurt me emotionally. I have a great storehouse of memories packed with details about those people and how they punched me in my emotional gut. But that’s not the worst.

 

The absolutely biggest thing that’s hardest to forget is people that have hurt the ones I love. Hurt me, sure, I’ll feel it and remember it. But hurt my family and it’ll be burned into my memory like nothing else.

 

As I write these words, there’s a short list running through my mind about people that have deeply disappointed my family. At the top of this list, or should I say bottom of this list, are people who’ve emotionally hurt members of my family by threatening them.

 

Funny thing though, it’s easy to encourage everyone else to forgive the people that have hurt them. I can’t imagine why they just can’t get over what’s happened and move on. I mean, what’s their problem? Are they too weak to forgive?

 

It’s oh so easy to pull out my spiritual big-guns and tell them to forgive others like Jesus forgave them. If Jesus could forgive their horrible offences against a holy God, shouldn’t they forgive the people that have hurt them?

 

Yes, it’s easy to tell others to forgive. But it’s oh so hard to do it yourself. I can’t tell you how many Bible Studies and Small Groups I’ve led where the topic of forgiving other’s came up. It’s so easy to encourage people to forgive others. But on the inside, there’s a boiling kettle of hate and revenge.

 

That’s not how we want God or people to forgive us. We like that “if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness[1]” kind of forgiveness. We want our slate immediately wiped clean. We want instant forgiveness and restoration.

 

But when the shoes on the other foot, look out. We want the full, atomic bomb, wrath of God. Fire and brimstone falling on their heads. We want the earth to open up and swallow them whole, taking them down to the depths that they deserve.

 

But when I read how Paul describes what God has done for you and me in Jesus Christ, I just about lose it. How he wrapped up all our sin and selfishness on the cross and paid for it all, once and for all. And he now can look at you and me with his Heavenly Father loving gaze and sees us like he sees Jesus. I just melt.

 

There are three ways that God sees us in Jesus.

 

  • Holy in his sight – When it says that we are holy, it means that we are separated to God. God remade us. He’s made us different, unique from the normal, garden variety of people in the world. We’ve been made new. We’re now his sons and daughter in Jesus. But this isn’t because of anything about us. It’s not because we bring something to the table. Just the opposite. The only thing we bring to God is ourselves, and we know what stinkers we truly are. But in Jesus, God says that we’re holy in his sight. The only eyes in the universe that really matter.

  • Without blemish – All of us, every last one of us has blemishes. Marks of imperfection. Scars from falls. Scars from attacks. No matter how hard we try, there’s no makeup, no plastic surgery, no way to delete out past. Someone always remembers. There’s a copy of it somewhere. We’re all afraid to be exposed for the frauds we are.But in Jesus Christ, God sees us just like he made us. Without any marks of imperfection. All flaws and falls have been paid for. All the blemishes that used to cover us all over have been totally healed because of who Jesus is. What Jesus did. What Jesus is going to do.

  • Free from accusation – All charges against us haven’t just been dismissed. No, they’ve been stamped “Not Guilty.” It’s better than acquitted which means that they couldn’t find enough evidence to find us guilty. It doesn’t mean that the fix was in and someone got to a juror. We are completely and totally free. Not only free from any accusation of wrongdoing, but from the charge of it. In Jesus Christ, there’s no record of our sins. Past. Present. Future. There’s no hidden tape. No lost record of our past that could leak out. It’s all gone. Once and for all, covered over by God himself.

 

At the end of the pilot episode of The Chosen, a shepherd is asked by a priest, “Have you found a perfect lamb for sacrifice?[2] I’m asking you the same question. Have you found someone to fully and freely cover your sins? All of them. Jesus is the only person in the history of the world to make that claim. To make that offer.

 

All others are forgiveness frauds.


[1] 1 John 1:9

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