Monday, October 25, 2010

Living Reconciliation - Pt. 2 "The Hope - Forgiveness"

Three principle elements define the hope of reconciled living; forgiveness, redeemed-restored relationships and sanctified lives. All demand consideration and application. So, let's begin by examining Forgiveness- we'll unpack the other two in subsequent posts...


Forgiveness at its core is a "God task". It's not something we on a human level muster or sustain. The power to forgive and maintain a life of forgiveness is solely driven by the emboldening force of the Holy Spirit in the believer's heart and mind. We are called to a choice of the will- I must decide to draw upon the Holy Spirit's power and choose to forgive those who offend or sin against me. Divorcing oneself from the act of forgiveness only renders reconciliation impossible. To obtain the one, you must maintain the other.
Essentially, divine love propels forgiveness - the cog that turns the wheel or "will" as it were. The bible states very clearly that we have the ability to love because He [the Father] first loved us (1 John 4:19)...we forgive because we have first been forgiven (Col. 3:13) and as we forgive so we will be forgiven (Matt. 6:14-15; Mark 11 :25; Luke 6:37). Jesus died on the cross so that we might receive lasting forgiveness for our sins (Acts 10: 43; Acts 13:38; Eph. 1:7)and in doing so, be completely and eternally reconciled back to the Father. By accepting this free gift, we enter into fellowship with the living God and, in turn, possess the Spirit with which to extend the same forgiveness to others.
As believers, when we operate in forgiveness, we become a conduit of God's life-changing power to those we encounter. Out of our choice, flows Holy Spirit power to effect eternal change in those we influence as well as our own righteousness. Careful here -lest anyone think that our actions lead to righteousness - THEY DO NOT! Ephesians 2:8 and Titus 3:5 echo this truth saying, " ...he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy...". We are made right with God through Jesus alone but, we have the capacity, by our deeds, to squelch the Spirit (Eph. 4:30) and render His power ineffective in our lives and subsequently our circle of influence. The antithesis of reconciliation!
"Keeping short accounts" with Father God and man allows the reconciliation fountain to flow freely. Confess quickly and often (Matt. 5:23, Luke 17:4, 1 John 1:9) - do not harbor unforgiveness in your heart! To do so, would give the enemy a foothold and stir up a bitterroot(Acts 8:23, Eph. 4:27). Any hope of reconciliation hangs on this balance. Grace-filled lives, willing to forgive even the most grievous offense, demonstrate the Father's glory and empower the Spirit to accomplish His work in and through us. The goal is not that we would be justified or treated fairly but, that we would surrender our own reputations to the care of the Father and seek His kingdom above all else!