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Reflections... on

FORGIVENESS



I marvel at God's infinite patience with me. When I do wrong, he could so easily turn away, but instead, when I seek forgiveness, he never fails to give it. Such love is truly divine (Aileen Williams).1

The moment a person is born again, forgiveness is provided for all the sins he ever has committed. This is the true meaning of justification (Donald Grey Barnhouse).2

There is an art of forgetting, and every Christian should become skilled in it. Forgetting the things which are behind is a positive neces­sity if we are to become more than mere babes in Christ. If we cannot trust God to have dealt effectively with our past, we may as well throw in the sponge now and have it over with. Fifty years of grieving over our sins cannot blot out their guilt. But if God has indeed pardoned and cleansed us, then we should count it done and waste no more time in sterile lamentations (A. W. Tozer).3

Forgiveness is an eraser which removes ugly blots from the pages of life (Janice Wise).4

The Bible commands us to put bit­terness away; we are to forgive others whether or not they solicit our forgiveness. Yet many Christians believe that they can't forgive until they feel like it! They think that if they forgive when they don't feel like it, they are hypocritical.

You know that you cannot switch your emotions on and off. You can­not develop the right feelings on your own. But God is not mocking you when he tells you to forgive; you can choose to do so, whether or not you feel like it (Erwin W. Lutzer).5


When God forgives a man, he not only alters him but transmutes what he has already done. Forgiveness does not mean merely that I am saved from sin and made right for heaven; forgiveness means that I am forgiven into a recreated relationship to God (Oswald Chambers).6 .:••:••:••:••>•:»:•♦•:»:•♦•:••:♦♦♦:••>•:♦•>•:••:••:••:••:••:•

When man understands that sin opposes God, he should have no dif­ficulty in recognizing that forgive­ness of sin can come only from God. It would be ludicrous to suggest that a man, having sinned against God, could then have it within his power to forgive his own sin. If one man desires to punch another man on the nose, only the man. with the broken nose can forgive his assailant! It would be ridiculous to suggest that the attacker could look at his bat­tered opponent and say, "Don't wor­ry, old fellow, I forgive me!" How­ever, many men today appear to have the impression that they are quite capable of forgiving their own sin, and saying in effect to God, "Please don't worry—I am quite ca­pable of forgiving me!" No—quite logically we must arrive at the con­clusion at which the scribes arrived: "Who can forgive sins but God only?"7 (D. Stuart Briscoe).8

:••:••:••:••>♦♦:«:••:••:••::••::••:♦♦♦:••:«:♦♦

(1) ©1985 Aileen Williams. (2) From "God's Methods for Holy Living," by Donald Grey Barnhouse, ©1951 Donald Grey Barnhouse Jr., Trustee; Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub­lishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. (3) From "That Incredible Christian," by A. W. Tozer, ©1964 Christian Publications, Inc., Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. (4) ©1985 Janice Wise. (5) From "How to Say No to a Stubborn Habit," by Erwin W. Lutzer, ©1979 SP Publications, Inc., Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois. (6) From "The Place of Help," by Oswald Chambers, original­ly published by Dodd, Mead & Company, 1936; copyright ©Oswald Chambers Publications Association Limited, South Croydon, Surrey, England; to be published in North America by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. (7) Mark 2:7, KJV. (8) From "The Fullness of Christ," by D. Stuart Briscoe, ©1965 Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All selections are used by permission


 


DECISION October 1985


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