Advent Study – DAY 6
HOPE GIFT #1:
the Gift of Forgiveness!
Forgiveness brings the “Gift of Healing”: The possibility of Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts Jesus brought to us at Christmas. It is always a great weight off our shoulders when a debt is forgiven. Forgiveness is a powerful and necessary ingredient in all relationships. No relationships are perfect – with self, others, or our Creator. No one is without debts to someone at some time in their life. Forgiveness is referred to and used over 64 times in the New Testament, nearly twice as many times as it is used in the Old Testament.
Forgiveness is “Never Easy”: Forgiveness is part of the Good News Jesus came to bring. Forgiveness can be tricky. You can forgive someone freely, but they do not receive it until they acknowledge their debt. It can be offered, but it does not have to be realized or accepted. In the Old Testament. forgiveness was time consuming and often involved rituals. When it concerned the Father, it demanded sacrifice as well. The Good News of Christmas HOPE is that Jesus changed all that. With his death to pay the price for our sins, sacrifice was replaced with love, faith, and forgiving others - as Christ exampled with his grace. Jesus stated, “My grace is all you need.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT). His Grace is sometimes remembered by the acrostic, “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”. When reading Jesus’ Forgiveness Messages of HOPE below, and the Other Forgiveness Messages of HOPE at the end, you can see why those who do not seek forgiveness for their sins from Jesus struggle with forgiving others. You can also see why forgiving others is an act that keeps our relationship with our Heavenly Father strong. Forgiveness is linked to repentance. You can also see why forgiving has a cleansing power that is linked to Jesus’ Gift of Freedom (our next bulb # “7”).
Messages of HOPE:
- Luke 6:37 NLT “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.”
- Matthew 9:6 NLT “’I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.’ Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’”
- Matthew 6:12 NLT “… and forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”
- Matthew 6:14-15 NLT “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
- Mark 11:25 NLT " But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
- Luke 7:47 NLT “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
- Luke 17:3-4 NLT “So watch yourselves! If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”
- John 20:23 NLT “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
- [NOTE: Forgiveness is a step toward Freedom.]
The HOPE of Forgiveness:
Forgiveness “Connects” us in relationships: On the Advent Card, the Gift of Forgiveness follows repentance, and comes before the Gift of Freedom. Although they can happen simultaneously, they are also a progression in relationship building. As such, they all must be maintained. God can forget. We cannot. He can forget our sins when forgiven, as well as the sins of others. We cannot – thus, when our memory reminds of a transgression of our self or of others, we simply need to “repeat” the process to stay “Hooked-Up”. Because the Kingdom of God dwells within us, and is no longer designated at any special place of ritual, we can do it in an instant – anytime, anywhere, and as many times as needed. What a privilege we have! Since true forgiveness is a gift linked to the blood of Jesus, do not expect the same forgiveness from unbelievers. Those who have not received Christ’s forgiveness do not have the power or understanding of God’s Spirit to completely forgive.
Messages of HOPE:
- Ephesians 4:32 NLT “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
- Colossians 2:13 NLT “You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.”
- 1 John 1:9 NLT “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
- 1 John 2:12 NLT “I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.”
You Forgive Me
Maker Fun Factory
Your Grace Still Amazes Me
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