Bible Society of South Africa

Hope through Forgiveness – 29 January 2020

Neville Turley

Bible text(s)

23everyone has sinned and is far away from God's saving presence.

Romans 3:23GNBOpen in Bible reader

6All of us were like sheep that were lost,

each of us going his own way.

But the LORD made the punishment fall on him,

the punishment all of us deserved.

Isaiah 53:6GNBOpen in Bible reader

18The LORD says, “Now, let's settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow. Although your stains are deep red, you will be as white as wool.

Isaiah 1:18GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9Jesus also told this parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else. 10“Once there were two men who went up to the Temple to pray: one was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector.

11“The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, ‘I thank you, God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like that tax collector over there. 12I fast two days a week, and I give you a tenth of all my income.’

13“But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his face to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, ‘God, have pity on me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you,” said Jesus, “the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For all who make themselves great will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be made great.”

Luke 18:9-14GNBOpen in Bible reader

12Forgive us the wrongs we have done,

as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.

Lk 12.33–34

Lk 11.34–36

Lk 16.1312.22–31

Matthew 6:12GNBOpen in Bible reader

“… everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence.”  Romans 3:23 (GNT)

Even though sin has separated us from God, He still loves us. So much so, that God offers forgiveness to us through faith in his Son who died for our sins.

The Bible makes it very clear that we are all sinners. “All of us were like sheep that were lost, each of us going his own way. But the Lord made the punishment fall on him, the punishment all of us deserved.” (Isaiah 53:6)

The revelation of the Gospel is that God is eager to forgive sins and his forgiveness is full, free and forever. It does not matter what you have done. The Lord says, “Now, let’s settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18)

However, the Almighty, all powerful God does not forgive unrepentant sinners. Repentance means being so sorry for your sins that you stop sinning and open your heart to the Holy Spirit.  Denial of the Holy Spirit is the one unforgivable sin.

Two men went to pray in the temple. The pompous Pharisee boasted of what he did. The tax collector humbly prayed, “God have pity on me as a sinner”. “I tell you,” said Jesus, “the tax collector and not the Pharisee was in the right with God when he went home.” (Luke 18:9-14).

“Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.” (Matthew 6:12)In teaching us how to pray, our Lord’s instructions are very clear. Our Father will not forgive us if we do not forgive those who have wronged us. We need to do that for our own sake.

Cherishing hatred towards those who wrong you is understandable but you need to put it behind you, forgive, and move on.  Otherwise you remain a victim.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive us for our many sins and failings. This we ask for Jesus sake.Amen

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