“... for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
~Matthew 26:28 (NRSV)
Free to anyone—upon acceptance of God’s forgiveness for their sins, and a responsive act of, and ongoing commitment toward, repentance—is salvation; though it was, is, and will never be cheap.
Forgiveness has the same effect: the bliss of grace for all. But it is not cheap. It costs.
It cost our incarnate Lord his earthly tenure. What was intended by Satan to kill God worked precisely to the reverse—it liberated humankind; anyone prepared to exemplify true forgiveness.
Forgiveness is about liberation; not simply for one party, but for both or all concerned regarding the conflict. Forgiveness is all about redemption, reconciliation, the glory of God.
Blood, sacrifice, and redemption are connected all the way through the Old Testament and, indeed, they signify today the very same thing. Whenever forgiveness is to occur it will be costly—it will require ‘blood’ and our sacrifice—in order for the redemption of relationships; the forgiveness of sins; a clean slate.
Entreating the Depths of Forgiveness
Most people will have great difficulty with the practice of forgiveness; the depths of forgiveness are lucidly sparing in the context of our typically brash humanity.
The precious humility of Jesus, realms beyond our skinny understanding, is not found easily, and it makes itself invisible unless we come bearing the sanctity of unconditional surrender.
Forgiveness is not about us; it’s about God. It’s not about them; it’s about God. It’s about the glory going to God by way of unreasonable grace. Such grace wins hearts.
The moment we truly and desperately become ensconced to establish the purity of the practice of forgiveness, the time when surrender before God becomes intrinsically essential, is the instant the meaning behind a blood-spilt sacrifice becomes more fully known and appreciated within our inner beings.
Such forgiveness, just like grace, is not cheap. We must beg for the capacity for it, if necessary.
The depths of forgiveness, if we struggle to attain them, really have to be entreated to the point where our own selfish agenda is set aside unreservedly.
God loves such a heart—one so contrite it cannot set itself against the will and purposes of the Lord. When God receives such humble obedience we can know, in fathom-depths of faith, our Lord will bless us with powers of forgiveness so far beyond our understanding and explanation we will not be tempted to take credit; we will, instead, simply praise God.
Life Where It Hurts
Forgiveness helps most where life hurts like hell.
It is a miraculous outcome to absolutely shelve all thought of self for the greater gain of God—to maroon ourselves from the safety of caution, and martyr ourselves to pride.
Did Jesus truly want to drink from the Holy Grail? He did not; but, our Lord knew it was the only way to reconcile a seriously interrupted partnership: humanity with its God. Jesus chose to obey the Father to give beyond what even the devil could foresee.
Jesus gave. So must we.
If God is to win in our contexts, today, we must give—and that, without thought for portions of our self-designed victory. In the completeness of forgiveness, the depths of sacrificial love, is victory beyond the mind’s comprehension. We will never look back. Forgiveness is healing for all, and yet still such loving power for the forgiver.
© 2011, 2012 S. J. Wickham.