[324] Forgiveness is Conditional
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[324] Forgiveness is Conditional

How important is forgiveness?  One of the last sentiments uttered by Jesus during the crucifixion was “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Them means us, not just the first century rowdies engineering his physical demise.  He was not crucified just for their sins. He was up there because of you and I.

Forgiveness is the cornerstone of the gospel.  Christ’s Easter resurrection enabled this Good Friday forgiveness petition to take place, because he conquered the only thing that could stop it–death.

But that is not the whole story. Our forgiveness is conditional. It depends on our willingness to forgive. The Lord’s Prayer includes the request that God will forgive our trespasses, as we forgive others. In Matthew 6:14-15 Christ sets the terms. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

The Christian world is filled with I’ll-never-forgive-him grudges. In other words, sinful people who believe they can be forgiven for killing the innocent son of God, without forgiving the petty sins of fellow sinners–people no worse than themselves.

That thought scares me.

When is the last time you heard a sermon on that?  There should be many such sermons, because there is no gospel without it. DC

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