Love cannot flourish when we won’t forgive.
- We harbor anger and resentment.
- It will come out.
- God’s goal for us is that we forgive.
- Then we can love.
He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I need forgiveness. I have missed God’s goal for my life (aka sin). I am guilty.
Forgiveness in the Bible is a “release” or a “dismissal” of something. The forgiveness I have in the Messiah involves the release of sinners like me from God’s just penalty and the complete dismissal of all charges against me.
- Consider this from the Apostle Paul. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in the Messiah Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in the Messiah Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1).
- Colossians 1:14 says that in God’s beloved Son “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” The Amplified Bible translates the last phrase like this: “the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty].” God’s gracious forgiveness of our sin is to be the measure of our gracious forgiveness of others (Ephesians 4:32).
Jesus the Messiah’s ministry of forgiveness was foretold. God has a plan. God executes in His son Jesus. Jesus paid the penalty for me. Amazing!
- But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Master appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” | Matthew 1:20–21
- Now here is some good news! The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! | John 1:29
Divine condemnation averted through the work of Jesus the Messiah
Because of the work of Jesus, there is no condemnation. None! Nada! The basis for this wonderful assurance is the phrase “in the Messiah Jesus.” In Adam, we were condemned. In Jesus, there is no condemnation!
The verse does not say “no mistakes” or “no failures,” or even “no sins.” Followers of Jesus do fail and make mistakes, and they do sin. Abraham lied about his wife; David committed adultery; Peter tried to kill a man with his sword. To be sure, they suffered consequences because of their sins, but they did not suffer condemnation.
The Law condemns; but the believer has a new relationship to the Law, and therefore he cannot be condemned. Paul made three statements in Romans 8 about the believer and the Law, and together they add up to: no condemnation.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in the Messiah Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in the Messiah Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Romans 8:1–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
- The Law cannot claim you (v. 2). You have been made free from the law of sin and death. You now have life in the Spirit. You have moved into a whole new sphere of life in the Messiah. “The law of sin and death” is what Paul described in Romans 7:7–25. “The law of the Spirit of life” is described in Romans 8. The Law no longer has any jurisdiction over you: you are dead to the Law and free from the Law.
- The Law cannot condemn you (v. 3). Why? Because Jesus has already suffered that condemnation for you on the cross. The Law could not save; it can only condemn. But God sent His Son to save us and do what the Law could not do. Jesus did not come as an angel; He came as a man. He did not come “in sinful flesh,” for that would have made Him a sinner. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh, as a man. He bore our sins in His body on the cross. The “law of double jeopardy” states that a man cannot be tried twice for the same crime. Since Jesus the Messiah paid the penalty for your sins, and since you are “in the Messiah,” God will not condemn you.
- The Law cannot control you (v. 4). The believer lives a righteous life, not in the power of the Law, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Law does not have the power to produce holiness; it can only reveal and condemn sin. But the indwelling Holy Spirit enables you to walk in obedience to God’s will. The righteousness that God demands in His Law is fulfilled in you through the Spirit’s power. In the Holy Spirit, you have life and liberty and “the pursuit of happiness” (Rom. 8:4).
The legalist tries to obey God in his own strength and fails to measure up to the righteousness that God demands. The Spirit-led disciple, as he yields to the Master Jesus, experiences the sanctifying work of the Spirit in his life. “For it is God that works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
- John 3:16–18 (ESV) — 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
- Romans 8:1–4 (ESV) — 1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in the Messiah Yeshua [Jesus]. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
- Romans 8:31–34 (ESV) — 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? The Messiah Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.