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Communion Meditations (2016)

Bury the Hatchet - Handle Up

Isaiah 43:25

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.

(Isaiah 43:25)

 

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.

More than 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.

If that 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 weaknesses.

As Isaiah 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 This is not just an instantaneous forgiveness, it is the promise that the forgiveness will never be withdrawn.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 forgives.

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.

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