When we are deeply hurt, “Do I HAVE to forgive,” often comes to mind. In three passages, Jesus offers a clear answer and shows us how to forgive. Our struggles with forgiveness are real, but there are also real benefits to forgiveness.
As I look back over all the sermons I heard while growing up. I cannot remember a single sermon emphasizing the fact that we can have confidence in our salvation. On the other hand I remember many sermons telling me all of the ways that I can lose my salvation! I read passages like I Corinthians 9:27 where Paul says; “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” Paul here is telling us that he had to discipline his body to ensure he did not lose his salvation!
In court a man might claim he hit another fellow because he was defending himself. The judge or jury would look through his case, and if they felt he was “justified,” they might proclaim him not guilty. We use this word justification frequently in relation to our justice system. A man might commit an act that at any other time would be considered against the law, but if he is justified in doing so, the judgment will prove him free from guilt.
In Romans 6:1 Paul asks the following as a follow up to his previous point, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Chapter five explained that through Adam sin entered the world, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Sin is the breaking of law. “For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” There was offense before the covenant given through Moses. Sin was in the world, and death by that sin.
We have all sinned. Paul rightly illuminates that everyone in the world has sinned. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23 KJV) We have all sinned. We all need the forgiveness of the Lord. This is undeniable.
The Protestant Reformation is rightly viewed as a reaction against the theological, doctrinal and moral abuses of the Roman Catholic Church. Many educated members of the Latin church applied reason and scripture to what they witnessed in the common European religion of the day and saw that not only was the papacy and the bishopric corrupt, but it was also unscriptural.
In the letter to the Romans, after he had documented his own struggle with sin, Paul proclaimed, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” In the 38th Psalm David wrote, “For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.” In the 40th Psalm, “For innumerable evils have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; They are more than the hairs of my head; Therefore my heart fails me.” Peter told Christ in Luke 5:8, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Paul, David and Peter- These are all men that could be described as men of faith. They were men who followed the Lord, who did His works, who kept the faith and all three lamented of their sin. Paul called himself a wretched man. David proclaimed that his iniquities numbered beyond the number of hairs on his head. Peter described himself as a sinful man.
In Exodus 13:17 we are told that God led the Children of Israel in such a direction, as they were leaving Egyptian bondage, so as to avoid the Philistine army. God tells us why in the same verse, “Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war.” The word “repent,” as we see here in Exodus, carries with it a three part meaning. Firstly, the Children of Israel would recognize a problem or danger.
If someone were to ask you to explain how Noah and his family were saved from the flood’s destruction, what would you say? The answer may seem obvious, but what would your answer be? The Bible’s answer is instructive. By inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16), the apostle Peter wrote that Noah and his family were actually “saved through water” (1 Peter 3:20).