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  • Writer's pictureOlufunmilayo Adekusibe

FORGIVENESS SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN

Today’s Reading:

Matthew 18:21-35 (32-33)

 

“Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” (vv. 32-33)

 


Forgiveness is the act of excusing or pardoning others in spite of their slights, shortcomings, and errors. Forgiveness is a theological term for God’s forgiveness of mankind. The Bible teaches about God’s complete forgiveness of man’s sins (Ps. 51:1, 9; Isa.38:17; Heb. 10:17) because the initiative is from Him (Jn. 3:16; Col. 2:13).


Sin deserves divine condemnation and punishment, and the penalty is death, in that it is a violation of God’s holy character and commandment (Gen. 2:17: Rom. 1:18-32), but God is gracious in mercy and pardoning (Ps. 130:3; Rom. 5:6-8). In the Old Testament, for God’s forgiveness, two conditions must be met: a) a life must be taken as a substitute for the sinner (Lev. 17:11, 14; Heb. 9:22); and b) the sinner must come to God’s sacrifice in humble repentance and faith (Mk. 1:4; Acts 10:43; Jas 5:15).


In the New Testament, forgiveness is directly connected with Jesus Christ (Act 5:31; Col. 1:14); His sacrificial death on the cross (Rom. 4:24); and His resurrection (2Cor. 5:15). Jesus was the morally perfect sacrifice (Rom. 8:3), the final and the ultimate fulfilment of all Old Testament sacrifices (Heb. 9:11-10:18) because He bore the law’s death penalty against sinners (Gal. 3:10-13). And when we trust in Christ’s sacrifice we are freed from the penalty and consequence of sin. By faith, we are forgiven and justified (Rom. 3:28; Gal 3:8-9). Having been forgiven the penalty of sin, we also die to sin’s controlling power in our daily lives (Rom. 6:1-23).


Jesus has the authority to forgive sins (Mt. 1:21; Heb. 9:11-18). Forgiveness is an integral part of the gospel message (Acts 2:38, 5:31). But blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an unpardonable sin (Mk. 3:28-29) because such a hard-hearted person has put himself beyond repentance and faith.


The Pharisees taught that forgiveness should be offered three times. But Jesus has not placed any limit to the number of times we must forgive. But Jesus answered ‘No, not seven … but seventy times seven! In other words, account of offences may by kept for four hundred and ninety times. By not forgiving offences, we open doorways of affliction to the enemy, thereby forfeiting our Salvation (v. 25; 1Corin. 5:5). This is why Jesus teaches us to grant our fellow men the gift of forgiveness.


In any relationship, there is bound to be misunderstanding and it is better to quickly resolve such misunderstanding before the Satan takes charge of the situation. There is a wise saying that: if the teeth bites the tongue, do we remove the teeth or decide we are not going to use it again? The truth is that if we do not forgive, we will never be happy in any relationship – be it marriage between husband and wife, between siblings, neighbours, business partners and associates, between employers and employees, between colleagues and friends, between groups and associations, even in the household of God. We will then find out that we cannot get along with other people. We will find out that we will, throughout our lives be looking for, and expecting a perfect person, and we will find that there is none. No one is perfect; only the Creator God is.

  1. Jesus forgave Peter when he denied Him (Jn. 18:16-18, 25-27; 21:15-19).

  2. The thief on His right-hand side at the cross (Luke 23:39-43)

  3. The people who crucified him (Luke 23:34).

  4. Today, we crucify him, over and over again, and when we ask for forgiveness and mercy, He forgives us.

Olufunmilayo Titilola Adekusibe


Prayer:

  1. Father, thank you for the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. Fill me with your love, empower and encourage me to always forgive those who have offended me, in Jesus name.

  2. Father, by the power of your Holy Spirit, break every unbroken area of my life and remould me to retain your love.

  3. Father create a pure, new heart within me and renew a right, humble, teachable spirit within me, in Jesus name.

  4. Dear Lord, grant unto the body of Christ the mind of Christ, forgiving spirit, tolerance, genuine love, genuine repentance, understanding spirit, discernment, submission, humility, brokenness, watchfulness and insight and the mind to commend others more fairly than themselves, in Jesus name.

  5. Father, give us God-fearing leaders who will be filled with divine understanding, wisdom, and knowledge of You, in Jesus name.

  6. Father, let our leaders see their roles as a calling and not as opportunity to amass wealth; let them always be able to obtain your direction and leading in governance, in Jesus name.


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