We have all seen television commercials for various products that tell us that if we lease or buy the product that there will be no interest charges for so many years. The problem is that although we do not pay the interest on the loan for those years, we still owe the interest and we will receive a bill for that interest after the period oftime expires… Many people are shocked when they receive that bill but it is only because they did not read the contract thoroughly. They felt that they were getting some sort of great deal and their emotions overcame their intelligence because nothing is for free in this world !!! They never read the contract…
But, the gift that God has given to us is free… Well, that is true, however we must read the agreement to find out how we obtain this free gift and the Bible is the contract that we make with God. In this agreement are all of the conditions of obtaining our free gift because there are conditions !!! There should be no argument that we must receive forgiveness in order to be redeemed. Jesus paid our penalty for our sins but there seems to be more to it than just accepting His actions on our behalf. If acceptance is all that is necessary, then it would be pretty easy to get into heaven, but He tells us that only a few will pass through the gate. The answer to everything is in the Bible, so that is where we go to discover the answers to all of our questions.
If we concentrate on just forgiveness, we will find one of the conditions of salvation. But, it is important to recognize that forgiveness is not just words but it is an action, and it must be sincere, God is not going to be fooled by mere words… It might be helpful to understand that the act of forgiveness is not the important part, although necessary, but it is our demonstration of faith in the promises of God that we are showing.
Matthew 6:14-15 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
It is not difficult to see the problem here. We must forgive everyone that has hurt us in some way, regardless of how serious their trespass may be, in order to receive the requirement for our own salvation. This is not an easy thing to do, especially if we consider the worst possible situation of one of our loved ones being murdered by someone. It is hard enough to forgive people that hurt or deceive us on small events, but if any of us are hurt in a major way, this becomes a different story. Our courts allow family statements to be given before a convicted criminal is sentenced, and we seldom if ever hear from these people that they forgive the convicted individual. What we hear is anger and a desire for revenge… But, the Bible tells us that we must forgive all people that trespass against us and this is where faith comes into play. We must have faith that God will deal with this person as He sees proper and trust in His judgment. We are not saying that the criminal should be forgiven by the State, the person broke the law and will receive punishment for his or her actions, but we must walk away from the situation having forgiven that person. We must learn to let go and let God do His work otherwise we will become overcome with hateful feelings and open the door for Satan to control our lives. Forgiveness is not forgetting, but we must walk away !!!
Since we used murder as our example, it opens up an interesting question and somewhat of a hypocritical situation for those States that allow capital punishment. These States consider murder and a few other crimes as being so heinous that the punishment is to murder the criminal. This may make sense to some, but we fail to see how killing the person who killed as not being the same crime, but committed by the State…
It is not easy to forgive but it is a necessary condition to receive forgiveness of our sins and without that forgiveness, we cannot pass through the gate. Many believe that salvation is automatic upon acceptance of Jesus taking upon Himself our punishment, but any reasonable person can understand that there is more to it than just that. The Bible gives us the conditions of salvation that require no actual physical activity from us. We ask God to make of us a new person, and we will find that the conditions are meant to cleanse our hearts from evil feelings and create a new and better person !!! God knows what He is doing and we must trust in His judgment as to what is in our best interests, so it is a pretty good idea to personally read His agreement with us so that we do not find the gate shut when we approach it !!!