We talk a lot about experiencing God’s transformative power in our lives as Christians. We sing songs that remind us of how our God is mighty to save and how he can break every chain. We preach sermons which recall His continued deliverance of His people and we offer an “Amen!” whenever anyone proclaims His victory over our enemy, but I’m wondering if we are guilty of downplaying the most powerful of all His acts: forgiveness.
When we think of powerful acts of God and His Spirit working through us we don’t often think of forgiveness, yet consider the transformative power it plays in our life. First, forgiveness takes us from the realm of darkness and brings us into His glorious light – into the Kingdom of the Son (Col 1: 12-13). We can become adopted sons of our Heavenly Father and joint heirs with Christ (Eph. 1:5; Rom. 8:17) because of the work of reconciliation accomplished by our forgiving God. Forgiveness begins in our hearts as we surrender our lives to God, trusting in the grace of God and the saving work of Christ. Through His forgiveness our relationship with our loving God can be mended.
The transformative power of forgiveness doesn’t stop there. Because we are forgiven we are capable of forgiving others. It takes being forgiven to truly understand how to forgive – it is experiential. We can look up the definition of forgiveness. We can read stories of someone forgiving another. We can do full studies on the emotional and mental effects that occur from being forgiven, but unless we are forgiven we cannot fully comprehend what forgiveness is and, further, we cannot offer it to another. But God’s forgiveness is so immense, so amazing, that it empowers us to forgive those who would wrong us. Jesus taught that the one who is forgiven much will in turn forgive much, and we who were helpless to right the offense to our Creator God have been forgiven a multitude of wrongs and in turn can now forgive those with whom we have minor complaint. Through His forgiveness, our relationships with others can be mended.
And still, the transformative power of forgiveness does even more. As we practice forgiving others from the gift of divine forgiveness we have received, we become more and more like our Savior. Our goal as members of His Church is to incarnate Christ for the world to see. The best way to do this is to practice those disciplines which He practiced. Forgiveness is certainly one of those disciplines. Even as He was bodily suffering on our behalf, he prayed for those who were persecuting Him, saying “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Every time we follow His example, we become more and more like our Master. So forgiveness not only transforms us at the instant of our salvation, when we are reconciled to God, but it continues its transformative work all along the entirety of our Christian journey.
Forgiveness when it is received from God is powerfully transformative. Forgiveness when it is shared with our fellow man is effectively restorative. Forgiveness when it is offered as an example of our Savior is beautifully perfective.
Are you experiencing the benefits of His forgiveness?
NEWS AND NOTES:
October 22nd – Element Kids day. Our children will lead us in worship as we focus on our youngest worshipers at ROS
October 22nd, 5:00pm – 3rd Annual ROS Got Talent Show. We rescheduled this event. So there is still time to sign up to put your talent on display. Singing, dancing, juggling, acts of illusion, or maybe something we’ve never seen before, all talents are welcome. Sign up in the connection center or see Jonathan for more details.
Thank you, and I look forward to worshiping together soon!
In His Service,