“God…has forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14
Forgiveness is the bread and butter of Christianity. ‘Jesus died so that we could be forgiven.’ It’s so easy to say but do we live like its true? In particular, do we really believe that God has forgiven all our sins, as we heard last Sunday evening? Let’s take a moment to reflect on the extraordinary promise of this verse; if we really believed it, how would it change our lives?
1.We would stop trying to pay God back. We know we’re forgiven, but we still think we’re in debt to God. So we act like we’re paying him back. Everything we do (coming to church, joining a Bible study group, reading our Bible, praying) is marked by an underlying hope that we’re reducing the debt. Things that are meant to be about our relationship with God become means of getting in his good books. But the debt has been cancelled at the cross!
2.We would stop comparing ourselves to other Christians. We’re all prone to this sort of thinking: “Those Christians are the good Christians; they’ve never done anything really bad. I’m not as good as them.” The reality is that there aren’t good Christians and bad Christians, only totally forgiven sinners.
3.We would have peace about the past. Do you stay awake at night replaying one event in your mind? Do you think about a past lifestyle with regret? In the small hours of the morning when we feel most plagued by events of the past, we need to remember the one past event that has dealt with it all; Jesus death on the cross is the place where forgiveness becomes a reality, and if there is forgiveness then there is peace with God.
4.We would put all our trust in Jesus. Where do you find your assurance? Do you search for it in the things that you do? In the affirmation that others give you? If you’re not sure whether you do these things, ask yourself how you react when those things are taken away. When we know that our forgiveness is found only in Jesus’ death, then the cross will become the only place we look to for our assurance.
5.We would freely extend forgiveness to others. Knowing that we are totally forgiven by God liberates us to be generous with our forgiveness towards others. We know the freedom that comes from having the record against us declared null and void. The consequence is that we seek to be quick to forgive those who wrong or hurt us.