A couple of days ago, I watched a YouTube put out by Bethel’s own Kris Vallotton. And in it, was THE BEST illustration of true forgiveness I have EVER heard. He spoke on the power of forgiveness and how Christ paid it all for us. And it really is worth watching.
You can watch it on YouTube HERE. Which I would highly encourage.
Or you can watch it on his site and get the recap in his blog post HERE.
In the video, Kris speaks on forgiveness, and how Christ paid it all on the cross. And he gives some really great illustrations of forgiveness in his own life. And how we can apply it in our own.
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Forgiveness is one of the founding principles of Christianity. And the power of forgiveness is so important that the Bible mentions it on multiple occasions.
In fact, we are commanded to forgive others so that God our Father will forgive us.
In Romans 5:8 (NIV) , it says that “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christ died FOR us. And He died AS us. In our place, on the cross.
Forgiveness and the Cross
The wages of sin is death, meaning we should have died a sinner’s death. We should have died on the cross.
But Jesus, in His mercy, took our place on the cross.
Christ loved us. Even when we didn’t deserve it.
Can you imagine loving someone without an agenda? That is true love. Loving them as they are, flaws, and imperfections and all. And expecting nothing in return.
How many of us can say that we do that?
Romans 5:7 (NIV) says, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.”
And yet, Christ, who was without sin. Jesus, who was blameless. He became sin. He paid the ultimate price on the cross. And Jesus Christ’s sacrifice paid for our sins. All of them. Past, present, and future.
Judge and Jury
In Kris Vallotton’s YouTube video, he uses a story about a judge. Who is God, in this story. And he talks about how someone wrongs you. Someone kills your brother.
So you take your brother’s murderer to court…. and in the first case, the killer gets off Scott free. No charges.
Mercy is getting what you don’t deserve. And before you take off on me, there’s more to the story.
No, in today’s world, never would I think a killer should be set free as in the example Kris gave. But it was to demonstrate, for purpose of illustration, mercy. But there’s more.
God sits on a mercy seat. That was the illustration and example given.
But His throne is built on righteousness and justice.
Psalm 89:14 (NIV) “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.”
The movie, The Shack, comes to mind. When talking about the power of forgiveness.
The Shack and Forgiveness
The Shack is a book by William P. Young that has also been turned into a movie. A movie about the power of forgiveness. And you can watch the trailer for it HERE.
In the movie, the main character,Mack, played by Sam Worthington, loses his daughter. The case of her kidnapping quickly becomes an abduction turned murder. And her body is never found. Nor her killer.
And the little girl’s family, especially her dad Mack, take it hard. And the book and movie both follow the journey of her dad in him finding healing.
But healing comes in the form of God intervening.
God, played by mainly Octavia Spencer, invites Mack to return to the shack in the woods where the murder took place. And when he accepts, so begins his healing journey.
You can get a copy of the book HERE. I do highly recommend it.
What reminded me of the Shack in Kris Vallotton’s message on forgiveness, was that at one point, Mack is asked to assume the role of judge and jury over his daughter’s murderer.
But black and white turn to gray when he’s then asked to do the same for his abusive dad… and then his own son and daughter.
Spoiler alert for the movie. In order to obtain healing, and begin moving forward. Mack must learn the power of forgiveness.
He forgives his daughter’s killer.
And before you say, well how could he?! How could he or anyone else forgive a killer!?
Mercy, Righteousness, and Justice
God’s mercy was personified in Jesus Christ for all of us. All of humankind. Mercy none of us deserved because the wages of sin is death.
Ever since the fall and sin entering the world, we have all been deserving of death. We have all sinned. All of us.
But thankfully, God in His mercy and love for us, gave His son. His son died on the cross for us so that we wouldn’t have to.
So there’s the mercy. But there’s more.
His throne is built on righteousness and justice. God’s throne.
And there will still be a judgement day.
So how then can God give mercy, without violating righteousness and justice?
This part is a bit complicated. And I will allow that I did not 100% with Kris on his explanation. But I still think the entire video on him talking about forgiveness is worth watching. Make your own decisions after you watch it.
If you, or rather God since He’s the judge, He lets someone go with no consequences. That’s mercy.
Christ Paid For Our Sin
We are on death row for our sins.
You and I were guilty of death in the worst way. Because sin separates us from God.
The payment for sin is death.
The judge is God.
But. Our judge, in His mercy, allowed someone else to die on death row in our place.
The Son of the judge, is Jesus. And He was and is the only person who can pay for your sins. For my sins. Because Jesus is the only one who is blameless.
I can’t pay for my children’s sins. Because I’m not blameless. If they were to commit a crime, as was the case in Kris’s imaginary story. Even a parent willing to die in place of their child can’t take their place.
Because of sin. Our sin. We, too, were destined to die on death row for our actions.
The only person who can die for our sins, is someone without sin. Jesus.
Old Testament Versus New Testament
People ask where the contrast came in.
You have the God of the Old Testament, who is full of wrath.
Then you have the New Testament, which is heavy on the forgiveness.
When Jesus died on the cross, we entered into the new covenant. New Testament equals new covenant. New agreement. And under the new agreement, blood was shed. Jesus’s blood on the cross. And this new covenant with Jesus ushered in a season of grace, mercy, and yes, forgiveness.
The forgiveness of our sins. All of them.
I’m of the belief that we are living in the last days. And this is a time of grace. A season of grace.
Old covenant, new covenant.
Justice for the world. Jesus died for the whole world.
He fulfilled justice.
The wrath of God was taken out on the cross of Jesus.
Power to Forgive
With all this grace and mercy and forgiveness, does God and can God still discipline people?
Yes, God can discipline someone. And I personally think that often comes in the form of natural consequences.
Jesus created justice. So God can give us mercy.
God, through Jesus, forgave my sins.
And in John 20:22-23, the Bible explains that I was given something in addition to forgiveness for my own sins.
Jesus through His resurrection gave me the power to forgive others of their sins.
“And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven’.” John 20:22-23 (NIV)
The power of forgiveness.
We were given that power. The right. The responsibility to forgive others.
That is the inherent power of the cross.
Power of the Cross
I have the will and the power to forgive. I am a new creation in Christ. And I died and was resurrected with Him. Past tense. And in John 20:22-23, I was given the power to forgive sins.
Jesus breathed on disciples and said to forgive sins.
You may recall that earlier in the New Testament, there were some Pharisees that were all in a huff when Jesus said He forgave the man who was lowered through the roof of his sins. The paralytic.
Mark 2:5 (NIV) “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, ‘Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, ‘Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ So he said to the man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!”
That… is the power of forgiveness.
Be sure and watch the original message for yourself by Kris Vallotton by clicking HERE. And feel free to leave your thoughts below.