God is the God who buries the hatchet on sin. He did so by sending His Son to earth to eradicate the power of sin and darkness. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, He became the bridge that every forgiven man can walk across and now abide forever in the presence of God. This intimate relationship is for today while you are on earth, and it takes you beyond the grave when God comes for you.
Forgiveness. What does it look like in the light of everyday life?
Jesus teaches His disciples in Matthew 18:21-35 about this important virtue that characterizes a believer. Peter asks Jesus a question on how many times should he forgive someone? He mentions 7 times, but commentary mentioned that traditional teaching back in their day was 3 times (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, page 62). Notice what Jesus had to say about forgiveness in verse 22, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven!” No limit should be set.
In light of who Christ is, why do you think this is?
To help the disciples understand what forgiveness looks like in everyday living, He gives them a parable. There was a man who owed the king a vast amount of money. It was so big that it would be impossible to pay back so the king had him and his family sold so the debt could be paid. For this to not happen, the man begged and pleaded, “Please be patient with me and I will pay it all.”26
The king was filled with pity for him. He had compassion towards the man. He released him from his looming debt and forgave him.
So, here’s a man that just experienced grace and mercy. He did not deserve kindness from the king. He had a bill that needed to be paid. It had gotten so big that even with his own resources he would never be able to pay it off. He was forever in debt.
Leaving the king as a free man, he went to one of his own servants who owed him a lot less money, grabbed him by the throat, and demanded that he pay him back. The servant pleaded for grace and mercy just like he did with the king. Unfortunately, the man didn’t respond in the same manner. Instead of having compassion and pity for his servant, he had him arrested until his debt was paid.
Others saw what had happened, so they reported it to the king. The king asked the man to see him. When he did, the king called him evil. “Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?”33
What happened to the man who tasted mercy, grace and freedom, see verse 34? He lost it all. His life was worse than before.
My friend, look at Jesus’ reply, “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”35 Look at Matthew 6:14-15, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.”
Let’s apply this to life in 2022. The king is Jesus. The man represents you and me. We are sinful and our debt is incalculable, and we have insufficient funds to pay our debt back. No matter how hard we work or no matter the wealth we accumulate, we cannot free ourselves from the debt of sin.
We need a Savior who can erase the incomputable debt we owe to God.
When you go to Jesus and ask for mercy and grace as you confess your sins, you will receive it. No questions asked. He does not judge nor ridicule you. Study the passage of the woman at the well in John 4:1-42. She deserved to be judged by her sins, but she found understanding and compassion from Jesus. He will do the same for you, and when He does, you are called to love others in the same fashion.
In Matthew 19:27-30, Peter asks another question, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What do we get?” What he is asking is, “What is the payoff for walking in mercy and grace?” This is a legit question that every person asks at various times. My selfish flesh asks, “What’s in it for me? Is being a forgiving person going to pay off in the end?”
God understands this so He gives the Holy Spirit to awaken your heart, mind and soul to His presence. He does this first and foremost in His Word. He also makes Himself known in nature, the world that He created. Every sunrise, sunset, a butterfly flitting about, a thunderstorm, a pregnant woman, someone holding the door for you, you name it God is in it wooing you to go to Jesus.
Your hatchet is buried, no more to be seen. Jesus washes away your sins, see Hebrews 9:22, Acts 2:38 and 1 John 1:7. Jesus shares the payoff for walking like Jesus, “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man (Jesus is talking about Himself) sits upon His glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for My sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be the least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”28-30
Live like the King set you free from all the debt that was piled up against you, and love others in the same fashion. Jesus is calling you and I to live united in love.