Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Perfect Gifts: Forgiveness

Christ came to forgive.

Hebrews 10:4-10  For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  That is why, when Christ came into the world, He said to God,

"You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But You have given Me a body to offer.  You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin.  Then I said, 'Look, I have come to do Your will, O God--as is written about Me in the Scriptures.'"

First, Christ said, "You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were You pleased with them" (though they are required by the law of Moses).  Then He said, "Look, I have come to do Your will." He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect.  10  For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

We talked about the "Perfect Gift of Love" in the previous post, today we see that God's love has prompted him to do something for us, isn't that what the lover is supposed to do for the one that it loves? Our God is a generous lover, his love isn't a passive love that looks on as the object of his affection heads for trouble, his love motivates him to take care of us.

Ever since the Garden of Eden there has been blood shed to cover for sin, animals were killed to make clothes for Adam and Eve to cover the shame of their nakedness and after the nation of Israel leaves Egypt, God gives them the sacrificial regulations that are a foreshadow of the work of the coming Messiah. My need for forgiveness is never going to stop while I am here on this earth, but the need for a sacrificial lamb has been taken care of forever, Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of the shedding of innocent blood to cleanse us from sin.

God has so been so merciful to offer forgiveness to us so freely and he expects us to do the same for each other. How willing to forgive would we be if somebody had done us wrong hundreds of times? Yet Isaiah says that God will forgive us generously. (Isaiah 55:6-7)

Re-gifting is required

Colossians 3:13-14  Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
God forgave every single one of the crimes that I committed against him, how can I possibly refuse to forgive those few people that have done me wrong? The people around me haven't done as much to offend me and their offenses are so minor in comparison to the way that I have treated God.

Christmas is all about forgiveness, God sent his only son to earth so that we could receive this gift and now that we have it we need to also give it to others. It may take some work to consider letting somebody off the hook, to swallow our pride and allow somebody to wrong us without seeking justice but we need to follow God's example and restore broken relationships. (John 3:16, Ephesians 4:32)

Thank you Lord for the gift of forgiveness, thank you that you never stop giving it, forgiveness is something that I am never going to stop needing.