The God who forgives

Forgiveness is a wonderful blessing to enjoy. But, when forgiveness is not available, or withheld, life can become bitter and dark. Humans have always struggled with the issues surrounding forgiveness and the lack of it from others. Some claim that forgiving yourself is all that is required, but this can only lead to self-delusion. The human heart, whether it knows it or not, craves to experience forgiveness in the highest court that exists, in God’s court.

While the Bible records many examples of forgiveness, there is a particularly beautiful expression of it found in Luke 7:36-50. Jesus, having accepted an invitation from a Pharisee to an evening meal with his friends, finds Himself reclining on His side, next to the low dinner table. Without notice, or invitation, there appears a woman who was known for her sinful lifestyle. She came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him (Jesus) at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them (Lk 7:37-38).

Obviously, this lady knew who Jesus was. She was conflicted in her heart by her sinful living and faith that caused her to desire forgiveness. As you can imagine, the legalistic pharisee host, Simon, objected to Jesus allowing this to happen. So, momentarily Jesus turns His attention to correct the wrong attitude of Simon towards Jesus, and towards fellow sinners. So, Jesus tells a short story; two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more? (Lk 7:41-42). To which the Pharisee rightly replied, I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven (Lk 7:43).

Jesus then makes application to both the Pharisee and the lady at His feet. Simon, you did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgivenas her great love has shown… (Luke 7:44-47).

No matter how repeated you are in life’s sin and failures, Jesus’ offers forgiveness and restoration. If your heart, your conscience, and your faith feel drained of life from the relentless assaults of sin, Jesus’ offers a declaration of innocence which carries authority from the Courtroom of heaven. Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, your faith has saved you; go in peace (Luke 7:48-50).

As the hymn by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell declares, “Our sins they are many, His mercy is more.” If you are crushed by the weight of sin, Jesus offers forgiveness in response to your faith in Him. It’s forgiveness that delivers peace into your heart and the assurance of never being reversed or undone. No matter what others say, Jesus has the authority to forgive because He carried our sins in his body on the cross… (1 Peter 2:24). The grace of Jesus’ repeated forgiveness for our repeated sin cannot help but grow our love for Him even more.

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