Mark Driscoll: Forgiven People Should Forgive People

If you belong to Jesus or give your sin and self to Him right now, you are forgiven by God. You’re forgiven for everything you have ever done or failed to do — past, present, and future. Jesus died so that you and I could be forgiven. To ensure He was dead, they took a spear and ran it through Jesus’ side. It punctured His heart. We broke God’s heart. You broke God’s heart, and from it poured forth water like the days of Noah as the judgment that came upon sinners now came upon their Savior.

Christians call this good news and celebrate it every year on Good Friday. Have you ever wondered how the worst treatment of the greatest person could be good news? It’s good news that Jesus died in our place for our sins as our substitute. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (NIV). Jesus died for you. Jesus died for your forgiveness. In giving His life, Jesus was forgiving your sin and giving you the ability to forgive others. Ephesians 4:30–32 is a remarkable section of Scripture.

The big idea is that “God in Christ forgave you.” Because God forgives you, you can follow God’s example by “forgiving one another.” How is this possible? How did Jesus forgive you? How can you forgive others? Forgiveness is made possible solely by the “Holy Spirit of God.” The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to die in your place for the forgiveness of your sins. The Holy Spirit then brings you the forgiveness purchased by Jesus and enables you to forgive others as He did Jesus.

Subsequently, when we refuse to forgive someone, we “grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” When we are unforgiving, the Spirit is grieving. He always stands ready to empower us to experience the forgiveness bought by Jesus and share that forgiveness with others. To reject His help is to break His heart. Had Jesus grieved the Holy Spirit rather than surrendered to the Holy Spirit no one would be forgiven.

Here are some important things to understand about forgiveness.

Forgiveness is often a private matter between you and God. Often the other person does not even need to know about it.

Forgiveness is both a one-time event and an ongoing process. In Matthew 18:21–22, Peter asks Jesus how many times we should forgive someone. People apparently debated this in that day, with the most liberally loving people saying that seven times was the maximum anyone could be expected to forgive someone else. Jesus said the limit was seventy times seven — or in other words, limitless.

Forgiveness is the opposite of vengeance. Romans 12:19 says, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (NKJV). To seek vengeance is to climb down to the level of your offender — and further from God — to punish them by making them pay in some way. To forgive is to rise, moving away from your offender and closer to God and letting God handle them.

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Source: Christian Post