According to the Riches of His Grace

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…" -Ephesians 1:7-8

Category: Grace

Tug of War and Forgiving Others

tug-o-war1

In the past year, I have been wronged by a lot of people, whether it was a big offense or a very light offense. In fact, nearly every person in my life has sinned against me in some form or fashion in the past year.

But worse than that. I have surpassed all their sins in the sins I have committed against them. If I were to post the top 10 sins I’ve committed in the past year on this blog post, it might be flagged by certain parental control programs for inappropriate content.

The fact is, I am a sinner. Jesus summed up the law in two sentences. Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. So when I fail to love God fully at any point and when I love myself more than my neighbor in any way, I sin.

But despite how putrid my soul is, despite how stained with sin I am, God didn’t hold that against me. He didn’t let that interfere in his love for me. Rather, he came into my realm as the man, Jesus Christ. Instead of holding my condemnation against me, he took the punishment for my sins upon himself and died the death that I completely deserve. He forgave the massive debt that I owed.

If you are a Christian, this is your story. You have been forgiven by an immeasurably great God! He has cast your sins as far as the east is from the west. He has forgiven all of your sin past, present, and future. There is no more condemnation for you. He will no longer have anger against you. Now, you can know him! You can love him!

With that in mind, I turn to a passage of Scripture I have been dwelling on heavily for a long time now. “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Do we grasp this? God in Christ has forgiven us so immensely that we will praise him forever for it! And that is our example of how we are to forgive other people. I understand it’s hard. And I have no idea what other people have done to you. I only know what I have done to other people and what others have done to me.

God has forgiven me for everything I’ve ever done wrong. So why in the world would I not seek to forgive others. It doesn’t necessarily happen right away. I don’t always just decide to forgive right when I am wrong. Sometimes it takes me days or weeks to work it out in myself. Sometimes, I have to stay up for an hour past when I was going to go to sleep just to spend time in prayer and not let the sun go down on my anger.

But forgiveness is the only route to go. The alternative is to hold a grudge against a person for your entire life and hate them, which is disobedient to the Lord and will tear you apart on the inside until you are a very bitter and cynical person.

A mentor of mine was preaching a couple weeks ago on forgiveness and he made an incredible statement regarding it. Forgiveness is like tug-of-war. As soon as you finally let go, the war is over.

Dwell on the fact that God has completely forgiven you, if you are in Christ, and then let go of the rope.

Advertisements

The Extravagant Grace of God

Ephesians 1:7-8 says “In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…”

Ephesians 1 is one of my favorite passages in Scripture and it is often overlooked because of a few controversial words within it. But all controversies aside, I don’t want to take Ephesians 1 out of the Bible. For those who believe the Gospel, God lavishes grace upon them. I love the word “lavished.” Extravagant. Overflowing. Immeasurable.

This passage cannot be applied to those who are not believers. Those who do not believe the Gospel are still under the wrath of God (see Romans 1-2). At the cross, Jesus endured the wrath of God for all who would ever come to faith in him. If you are a believer in Christ, do you realize what this means? There is no more wrath! It has all been poured out upon Christ!

This is great news because you don’t have to feel guilty when you slip into sin. Christians will still fall from time to time. We are being conformed into the image of Jesus, but we aren’t there yet. We seek to flee sin because we love Jesus. In loving him, we are drawn to obedience. But we don’t have to feel condemned when we do fall. In fact, even after our salvation, God continues to lavish this extravagant grace upon us. He pours an overflowing cup of it out upon us and delights in doing it!

So when you slip and fall into sin, get up and keep running the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.