“bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.”
Colossians 3:13 CSB
The Gospel is not just for the unbelieving world. The Gospel is very much for us believers too. We must never stop remembering. We must never stop preaching the Gospel to ourselves first, because we are indeed forgetful creatures. We must never stop looking to the cross in awe and wonder of what God has done, at the fact that we ourselves can be forgiven.
It was Charles Spurgeon who once said,
“While others are congratulating themselves, I have to lie humbly at the foot of Christ’s cross & marvel that I am saved at all.”
The pardon we receive really is very humbling, but it is also very liberating. How so you might ask? This Gospel mentality frees us and reminds us of the extent of God´s grace towards us in the death of His Son on the cross. It also reminds us of the depth of our own sin and the offense it is to God. Far more offensive and wicked than any sin anyone else has ever committed against us. For our sin is ultimately against our Creator, a God so Holy, so absolutely set apart, and with infinitely more worth than we as mere creatures have in and of ourselves.
But when we “get” the Gospel, really grasping why the death of Christ was necessary and it´s implications, we are freed from thinking higher of ourselves than we ought to. We also must recognize that unforgiveness and bitterness is a poison that is most toxic to our own hearts. And it is often our pride that is at the root of it. We should definitely be humbled by the grace demonstrated at the cross, but this grace should enable us to truly forgive others too. We may struggle at times, when the hurt is deep and person who hurt us is someone near and dear. We may get things wrong and go about things imperfectly. But the Spirit of God in us will cause us to desire to forgive, and we will eventually come to a place of true forgiveness towards others.
As Christians, we should be a forgiving people. Preaching the Gospel to ourselves and meditating on our own standing before God is most helpful when we struggle to forgive others, for it is a constant reminder of God´s grace towards us, AND the depth of our own sin. A sin so wicked and deep rooted in our own hearts, that it was only by the death of the Son of God that it could be paid for.
And it is indeed paid for. There are no more consequences or wrath reserved for us because Christ took it all upon Himself. All of it. For this reason ” there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” For those who are in Him. Yes, even those who you are having a hard time forgiving, if they are believers, their sin is covered. We have been shown a grace so wonderful and a love so transcendent, so beyond our understanding, that we will worship for all of eternity absolutely amazed that we actually were forgiven.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!”
Ephesians 2:4-5 CSB
So pray, then go ahead and forgive that person. Don´t waste anymore time feeling bitter´and harboring such feelings. Your wounds will heal, and you will grow from this experience. Be “imitators of God,” by showing grace and being forgiving.
Along with Spurgeon, I too must often..
“..have to lie humbly at the foot of Christ’s cross & marvel that I am saved at all.”
If we are in Christ we are forgiven, completely, fully, perfectly. Therefore, one of the distinctive marks of being a Christian, is to forgive others, just as we too have been forgiven.
Written by Antonio Salgado Jr.