Why does God Forgive?
Why does God Forgive?
In his book “My Utmost for His Highest,” Oswald Chambers reminds us that at the crux of the whole issue of forgiveness, is the cross of Christ. “There is no forgiveness possible apart from the cross – and the cross is no trifling matter.” We come to the question “Why does God forgive?” It would be shallow to say that God forgives us because He is love. Without the events that happened on Calvary – the love of God was completed at the cross and nowhere else. God cannot forgive us apart from the event that happened at Calvary. We tend to forget that. We somehow have the idea that God has forgiven us purely out of His kindness, just because He wanted to. Forgiveness is what we sort of expect from a God who wouldn’t mind going out of His way to be extra nice to us. But when we stop and think about what really happened at the cross we realize the ground on which our forgiveness is accomplished. If we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us, we need to understand how God has forgiven us.
It’s very difficult – maybe impossible – for us to understand the agony that God went through to accomplish our forgiveness. It’s difficult for us to understand that Jesus took our sins upon Himself, enduring the consequences of our broken fellowship with God – our sins – and experienced a broken relationship with the Father whom He had never experienced a moment of separation with. Can you fully grasp that concept?
I think the best that I can do is only imagine what the Father and Son must have experienced when, for the first time ever, their eternal fellowship had been interrupted. What a tremendous tragedy Chambers writes, that our forgiveness was won. “To put forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy.” Paul reminds us in Ephesians what was accomplished at the cross: Ephesians 1:77 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, Ephesians 2:1414 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
Forgiveness isn’t easy and it’s not free. It is hard. It is costly. It is painful. But this is the only way it can be real – real like God’s forgiveness of us is real – real enough to truly change our lives.
When we apply forgiveness to our lives and apply it to others that have offended us it will change our attitudes towards other people, and it will change our attitudes towards ourselves.
Can you implement a plan of forgiveness in your life?
Let me conclude with a quote from Martyn Lloyd-Jones. “I say to the glory of God and in utter humility that whenever I see myself before God and realize even something of what my blessed Lord has done for me, I am ready to forgive anyone anything.”