Forgiving As Christ Forgave
Developed by Elder Bro. Dan Kilgus
Laying the Foundation
The topic of “Forgiveness” really applies to how we interact with one another. Although the Scripture warns us to walk a separate distance from the world, we really treasure the opportunities we have to relate and have different experiences with one another. We begin to lay the foundation for this topic of forgiveness by asking ourselves the question, “Was there a need for Christ to forgive me?” I hope we would all agree that the answer is, “Yes, there certainly was a need.”
Let’s start out with a definition. The Greek word that is most often translated “forgive” literally means “to release, to hurl, to free.” So to understand “forgiveness,” let’s consider two words that begin with the letter “r” — “remove” and “release.” Together they form a two-step process that must be followed for forgiveness to occur.
In order to continue laying the foundation for this topic, we need to travel just a little bit on the “Romans road.” We are told that no one is righteous: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10) all of us are sinners: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) and that the sinner must die: “The wages of sin is death . . .” (Romans 6:23)
If we stopped reading at that point, we would conclude that there’s no hope. But as we travel further on the “Romans road,” we do have hope because we read about God’s gift of life: “. . . but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) and His gift of love: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
The Example of Christ
God didn’t even wait to see what our response would be, did He? Jesus Christ died for us while we were yet sinners! He was falsely accused, unjustly convicted, beaten unmercifully, and cruelly mocked. Then with spikes through His hands and feet, He was nailed to a cross and hung up to die. His precious blood ran freely from the wounds on His forehead, His arms and feet. With His back deeply scourged and bleeding, He looked down from the cross on the hostile crowd who put Him there, and He prayed: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Not a twinge of bitterness, but only love and forgiveness were in the words He said to those men who had placed Him there. Can we forgive as Christ forgave? We can if we have the mind of Christ: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5).
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For Further Information:
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