Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The link between Forgiveness and Love.


Luke 7:40-43, 47

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
 
“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
 
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Want to love God more? Understand the gravity of sin and how much he has forgiven us.

This whole passage is absolutely beautiful. Jesus is invited to the house of a Pharisee to eat, and while he is there a 'sinner' (perhaps a prostitute) comes, weeps on his feet, dries them with her hair, kisses them and pours perfume on them. That sounds a bit weird in our culture, but it is beautiful.

The point of the passage is that she realises her sin, and she repents of it. She turns to Jesus even though she is a wretched sinner and she knows it). She seeks mercy from him and he grants it freely. This is juxtaposed to the pharisee who is 'righteous' by the standards of the time and looks down on her. Ultimately it links our recognition of how sinful we really are with how much we love God.

God forgives us even though we could never ever repay the debt we owe him. We sin and we deserve his wrath eternally, yet in Jesus there is forgiveness: Jesus is God, he lives perfectly and when we put our faith in him he takes our sin. On the cross he died and paid the penalty for our sin, suffering God's wrath in our place. He is the link between love and forgiveness. We need to love him more and more and we can do this by realising how sinful we are more and more and reflecting on how much we have been forgiven. In honesty it is those who have sinned more who realise more how much they have been forgiven and it makes sense that they would have a greater love for God because of it. Obviously this is not an excuse to sin more though - if we love God we will do what he says and we will stop sinning. We can;t use the excuse of sinning more so we will be forgiven more and love God more. It doesn't work like that.
There is complete forgiveness in Jesus. No matter what you've done, no matter who you are, God is willing to forgive anyone who turns to him. We cannot have sinned so badly that God won't forgive us. He is God, he is powerful enough and merciful enough to forgive us completely. To doubt if he would be able to forgive you is to doubt that he is God, because God is the most powerful and merciful being in the universe, and he is certainly more powerful and merciful then our sin. Repent and Believe! Put your faith in him! Only Jesus can save, and he does so freely. Turn to him, he will forgive. Love and obey him. Praise Him!

How much do you owe the moneylender? How much have you been forgiven? How much do you love God as a response to that?

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