Forgiven

I.  We are forgiven by God through Christ.

A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament.  The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ.  I pray, “Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer-I will walk rightly before You if You will help me.” But I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect.  I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift.  Am I humble enough to accept it?  I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort.  I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life out in the priestly work of intercession.  There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement.  Jesus is not just beginning to save us-He has already saved us completely.  It is an accomplished fact, and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.

—Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest: Special Updated Edition, June 20th entry

II.  We are forgiven so we can experience the deepest dimensions of Christ’s love.

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT)

14 When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,° 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. 17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. 21 May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.
Ephesians 3:14  Some manuscripts read the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

III.  We are forgiven so we can express Christ’s love so that others will know they can experience His love too.

1 Timothy 1:12-17 (NLT)

12 How thankful I am to Christ Jesus our Lord for considering me trustworthy and appointing me to serve him, 13 even though I used to scoff at the name of Christ. I hunted down his people, harming them in every way I could. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how kind and gracious the Lord was! He filled me completely with faith and the love of Christ Jesus. 15 This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-and I was the worst of them all. 16 But that is why God had mercy on me, so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Glory and honor to God forever and ever. He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.

Questions:

  1. Have you ever felt like something from your past was/is unforgivable?
  2. How did/does this feeling of unforgiveness hinder your spiritual growth?
  3. How has God shown you more about His love through this experience?
  4. Have you ever had a trial in your life where God later used what you learned to minister to someone else?
  5. Do you think your ministry to this person would have been as effective without that experience?
  6. How can you experience and express God’s forgiveness and love for both believers and the community?