PART 25 – THE COST OF FORGIVENESS (30/3/20)
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“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
Forgiveness (aphesis) is a term that we use, often without knowing what it really means. Vines word studies explains forgiveness: “to send forth, send away” It is to ‘send away’ forever, the guilt of our (or another’s) sin.
When we talk about forgiveness, it’s easy to think that we can just say sorry to God and He will overlook our sin. However, Sin cannot just be forgiven (sent away) - anyone whose ever brushed something under the carpet knows that it just goes under the carpet! Sin is a ‘debt’ that must be paid. This may sound harsh, but can you imagine living in a universe where God just overlooked the wrong that people did! God is a perfect judge who will judge all of us perfectly. So, how can we hope to pay our debt and gain forgiveness? God teaches,
‘For he has rescued (transferred) us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.’ (Colossians 1:13-14)
‘In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…’ (Ephesians 1:7)
Jesus has paid our debt; the word ‘redemption’ means “a releasing, on payment of a ransom” (Vines). - Jesus has paid the cost for our forgiveness.
The Day of Atonement
Each year the Israelites were to celebrate the Day of Atonement. The details of this event were prophetic - foreshadowing what Jesus would achieve for us. On the Day of Atonement, we are told that the High Priest was to take two goats: one was sacrificed as a sin offering, on the second,
‘He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness… the goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place…’ (Leviticus 16:5-22)
Our forgiveness was paid for with Jesus’ blood as symbolised by the first goat on the Day of Atonement. ‘Propitiation’ means that Jesus Jesus took the wrath of God upon Himself in our stead.
Forgiveness also carries the idea of our sins being ‘sent away’ as symbolised by the second goat (the scapegoat) that was sent into the wilderness. ‘Expiation’ is a word which means that our sins have been sent away; for our forgiveness, our sins were placed on Jesus’ ‘head’ and He was sent away; He was rejected on our behalf.
When we ask the Father “Forgive us our debts…” we are doing so on the understanding that Jesus has paid our debt on our behalf. From God’s perspective, now you’re a Christian, you never carried out your past sins - they have been laid on the ‘scapegoat’ – on Jesus. Take a moment to meditate on, and worship out of the words of this psalm,
'As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.’ (Psalm 103:12)
During this series, let's aim to memorise and meditate on The Lord's Prayer.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – COMING SOON.