Bury the Hatchet - Handle Up
Originally scheduled for December 18
"I, even I, am the one who
wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not
remember your sins.
Most of us
like to think of ourselves as forgiving human beings. We are
perfectly willing to forgive — but not forget. The transgressions in
question may be in the files, but there’s always a little tab
sticking up to tell you where they are. That’s how human beings
forgive; they file away the offense, but they know where to find it.
that, we tend to base our forgiveness of someone else on such things
as the quality of their confession. If someone is eloquent and
pleading with you for forgiveness, you’re more likely to do so. If
they can show some form of repentance and trying to make things
right, that inclines us to forgive even more. Conversely, if they
don’t, we are rather reluctant to forgive. We believe there are a
set of conditions that need to be met before we forgive someone.
weren’t sufficient, we also tend attach an age to forgiveness.
Things that are very recent we tend to look at as being something we
will forgive in the future, after the passage of time has dulled the
pain. Similarly, we tend to overlook our own sins of the past
because so much time has passed by. Man’s forgiveness carries man’s
tells us here, God’s forgiveness is quite different. I would point
out to you the motive that God tells us for his forgiveness: “for My
own sake.” God forgives us because it’s part of his nature to
forgive. Philosophically, it is one of his attributes. The reasoning
is fairly simple. God’s character cannot change; He is eternal. He
is eternally righteous, and cannot abide the presence of sin. So
therefore, for his own sake, he blots out our sins. Thus he removes
them from his presence. He does so completely and permanently. Note
that he tells us that he “will not remember your sins.” This is not
just an instantaneous forgiveness, it is the promise that the
forgiveness will never be withdrawn. Your sins are gone when God
This is not
handwaving or magic; there was a price to be paid for this
forgiveness. Christ paid it on the Cross. We know this; but like
most human beings we much more need being reminded then instructed.
Communion is that reminder of the price of God’s perfect
forgiveness. The body of Christ, the blood of Christ, were given
voluntarily so that you might be saved. This alone should have
communion impel us to be thinking about our own forgiveness. It’s a
good occasion to remember that Christ told you that you are forgiven
as you forgive. So I ask you: is there someone today that you have
not forgiven? Consider what your Lord God has done for you — then
go, and do likewise.