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Forgiveness as a Kingdom Value

  

One of the most striking teachings of Jesus is about forgiveness. The Sermon on the Mount teaches simply that as we forgive others, God will forgive us. And if we refuse to forgive others, God will refuse to forgive us. This isn’t a karmic design of the universe. Forgiveness is part and parcel of the Gospel, of that we are sure. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are all about forgiveness as well. In Matthew 18 Jesus gives us a whole parable about forgiveness related to the Kingdom. There are a few notable parts:

“And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.” v27

“Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. ‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” v32-35

The reason for God’s forgiveness is because of compassion.  Our pleading, Him seeing our situation, ans His response to forgive us and set us free.  Any slave still in debt to his master would have that cost taken back when his term is up.  The forgiven slave can both go free, and go with earnings.  This isn’t a deistic karmic setup at all, but a very personal outlook.  And this personal outlook is seen in the life of Jesus.
The Kingdom age is where all of God’s goals are realized.  It is going to bring into reality all of God’s attributes.  Forgiveness is one of his attributes.  Jesus as the Son, sees how God his Father acts, and imitates Him.  Correspondingly we see forgiveness in his ministry.

Time and time again we see Jesus having compassion on people.  Jesus is concerned about the whole person.  When they bring a man with palsy to him, first Jesus forgives his sins, then heals him of his affliction (Mt 9.6, Mk, 2.10, Lk 5.24).  If our life is without compassion for people how can we ever claim to know God’s compassion on us?  If we know God’s compassion for us, then we know the compassion he will have on any of the people we come in contact to.

God’s Kingdom and his character are intertwined.  And as such, Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom and his life are intertwined.  As we have faith and expect the Kingdom to come, all the while imitating Jesus – we will have compassion on others.  To restore them as Jesus did.  To comfort them, heal them, and bring them back into true humanity.

One Response to “Forgiveness as a Kingdom Value”

  1. on 19 Feb 2008 at 3:19 pmVictor

    Luke 7:47 – “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

  

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