The Biblical Mandate to Forgive
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:35 So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
Mark 11;25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Luke 6:37-38 Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
Ephesians 4:32 And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.
A Forgiveness – Love Connection
Luke 7: 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The Biblical Mandate to Love
1 Corinthians 13:13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Ability??? It is God’s Love “Poured Out” that must fuel our love and our forgiveness.
Romans 5:3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
We love Him because He first loved us, 1 John 4:19 (it seems to imply in the context that we love others out of His supply as well – vs 18 says “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” and vs. 20-21 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also)
Paul was such an illustration of this principle – He was a murdering zealot before Christ stopped Him and revealed Himself to Him. I usually think of the bright light and him being blinded but He was the one who wrote the Romans 5 passage – and I believe when He was baptized in the Holy Spirit that love was poured out into his life. Out of that love He could write 1 Corinthians 13 and live it out to such a stubborn and unfaithful church.
The woman who loved much because she was forgiven much was really forgiven a huge debt. In my own life I know I really become more like Christ when I truly grasp the greatness of my own sin problem and the lengths Jesus has gone to help me and what it cost so He could forgive me.
WE all must contemplate the great love that has been poured out and continually drink from the river of His grace, being repeatedly filled with the Spirit of God which means that His love is continually filling us up and giving us the ability to love others. If they receive it that is great. If they ignore us that is hard. If they despise us and hurt us in return we are to turn the other cheek and overcome evil with good. This is the shocking reality of living in obedience to His command. WE become like our Lord who when He was mocked did not retaliate. When He was hit He simply took it. That is not to stay in a truly dangerous situation if we can escape danger. Paul many times escaped the wrath of the Jews but he also took a lot of abuse and found a way to love as His Savior taught him.
1 Peter 3 is a shining light of this very thing with a woman winning her disobedient husband without a word – simply by shining the light of Jesus from her heart of love seen in a gentle and quiet spirit. The really interesting thing is that in verse seven that has a big break in it for readability says Husbands, likewise – giving honor. If it is likewise then it might mean loving honor given to someone who is disobedient and doesn’t deserve it. The Sword of God’s standard seems to cut both ways. The ground is all equal at the cross. When both spouses are loving and living obediently then the proper roles really take on their deeper significance of illustrating the church and Christ in proper servant-leader and submission aspects that is consistent with the other passages in the Old and New Testaments.
The crowning revelation of the NT is found in the passage of 1 John 4:8 – NASB version says it this way, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” God is love doesn’t negate His holiness – but His love is pure love and therefore He hates sin because it is a marring and corruption of true, holy love. Truly we have only scratched the surface of God’s love in outlining these verses. They apply to all family relationships and friendships in the Body of Christ and have implications for the way we live among people of this world. We must preach God’s view and disdain for sin and the impending judgment upon it. At the same time the antidote for that sin has been made at the Cross. This is the pinnacle of God’s love being poured out. The early church in Corinth called a Love Feast, the Lord’s table. They messed it up for sure but it is truly the greatest picture of genuine love – “greater love has no man this that He lay down His life for His friend.” I capitalized the “h” in the last sentence because Jesus Christ is the only one who has ever laid down His life for me. That is what won my heart and that love is that which enables me to love the unlovely.
The Cross is that connection that makes real love possible and forgiveness so powerful. It is this love that was poured out so graciously and because of that we can not withhold it from those who ask of us.
Oh God – give us a glimpse of your love – give us a little of what you have poured out each day. With You, even a little of your pure love is a lot!