The world we live in and our own evil desires (James 1:14; 1 Jn 2:15–17) agree that we ought to set the world straight, starting with those who have sinned against us! The gospel of God’s forgiveness, however, calls us to reflect the God we serve (Eph 4:1,2; 5:1) and let righteousness reign in our lives (Rom 6:16b, 18), so that we may forgive those who sin against us. Jesus gives us a perfect illustration of what those forgiven by God should do in return:

                  21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

                  22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

                  23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

                  26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

                  28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

                  29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

                  30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

                  32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

                  35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matt 18:21–35 NIV) 


            Sin makes slaves out of those who succumb to its desires (John 8:34; Rom 3:9), and the only escape we have from sin’s dominion is the gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:16; 6:16–18). The Bible says, “. . . for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (2 Pet 2:19b). What is it that has mastered you? Is it the sin of others against you that you will not forgive? Is it your own sin that you will not let God, or yourself, forgive? Has the gospel of God’s forgiveness mastered you? Come join us on Sunday morning, and figure out how to let God’s forgiveness master you!


                                                                        Jay Don

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