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Forgiveness and Restoration

JailIn my last post I started writing about what forgiveness is all about. We saw that it was God’s idea that culminated in Christ on the cross. Now the penalty of our sin is no longer demanded.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
Colossians 2:13-14

We were dead – the penalty of our sin was looming over us. But now, because of grace, if we’re in Christ and there’s no more penalty. I can look to becoming clean without worrying about the mistakes.

As good as this is, forgiveness is much deeper than that.

The second definition that I found in Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary reads, “To grant freedom from the penalty.”

That means that forgiveness cancels the penalty. But wait a minute. Isn’t ceasing to demand the penalty and freedom from the penalty the same thing?

NO!!! The first stops the demand. Freedom is needed when you’re reaping the penalty. Forgiveness stops the penalty in its tracks.

The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.
1 Timothy 5:24

The problem is that not all sin has the same effect on our lives. Sometimes you reap the penalty here. Other sins will not bring a penalty until the judgment seat.

For example, the penalties associated with alcoholism can destroy your life right here and right now. The way is open for anyone to come to Christ as an alcoholic. But if all we had was the first definition – they would be on their way to Heaven, but their life would remain in shambles.

Our God is bigger than that. Because He grants freedom from the penalty, their life can be restored by the power of God.

We need to lay hold of this. Many times we find ourselves walking in penalties that we think we deserve. The forgiveness of the Lord stops the penalty. We don’t have to walk in guilt anymore. The blood of Christ removes the guilt.

…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:22

The writer makes a statement here that our hearts are sprinkled. Sprinkled with what? The blood of Christ that forgives us of our sin.

So the reality is that we’ve been forgiven by Christ on the cross. Now, in Christ, there’s no more penalty. We can have a clean conscience.

Unfortunately, as we look at the world around us, it seems that this forgiveness has very little effect in our society. That’s because there’s one more truth associated with forgiveness. It’s the part that makes all of the difference.

I’ll talk about that definition in my next post.

Question: In what ways has the forgiveness of God restored your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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The Revival Forgiveness Connection

Heart CellAmerica needs a spiritual revival.  That’s beyond question.  I believe that it’s coming.  But we as God’s people need to prepare ourselves for it.  I want to take a few posts to deal with an issue that I think is important for us to understand in this generation.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

The outcome of this verse is to forgive their sin and heal their land.  Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that these two concepts are linked with each other.  If we want to be positioned for revival, then we must grasp how the forgiveness of God figures into it.  In this post I want to talk about some principles of forgiveness.

Forgiveness was God’s idea.  Human beings would have never come up with this concept.  It was God who first approached us and told us that forgiveness was possible.  Only after seeing His example, could we try and forgive others in the same way He forgave us.

True forgiveness is freedom.  When we sin against God or another person, we place ourselves under the curse of divine judgment.  My sin has a penalty that must be paid.

We have watered down the scope of forgiveness.  Forgiveness ends the demand for the penalty.  Then it goes even further and frees us from the payment of that penalty.  Then, because of what Christ did on the cross, that sin is totally and permanently removed from my record!  Now that’s freedom!

Forgiveness is a process.  There’s a definite flow of events in order for forgiveness to take place.  First there is the sin that brings the need for forgiveness.  Then, forgiveness itself must be purchased.  In our case God purchased it by the precious blood of Christ.

The next steps are on my part.  First, I have to humble myself, admit what I have done, and turn from my sin.  That’s what true repentance it.

Next, I have to receive the forgiveness that was purchased for me.  This is probably the most overlooked step of the whole process.  Only when all of these things are accomplished can I step into the freedom of forgiveness.

There’s a link between revival and forgiveness.  Sometimes we miss the blessing because we don’t see the big picture.  America is in need of a great change.  We need revival.

We think the problem is that when we tell others about Christ, they don’t want to listen.  We need to see the scope of revival.  In the verse above we’re told that it comes when God’s people pray.

Revival comes when the church humbles itself.  Literally this Scripture says we need to search out, seek, and strive after the presence of God.  Only then will forgiveness and revival break out.

In the next posts I’ll deal with how and why forgiveness and revival work together.

Question: How often do you specifically pray for revival in our nation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in Prayer, Revival

 

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