I think it is utterly fascinating to take Scripture literally. Not mechanically, like you take the owner’s manual of your car, but rather literally—according to the author’s literal intent.
Jesus said, “I am the life,” and I think He meant, “I am the life.” So any life in you must somehow be Jesus in you!
In Leviticus 17:11 the Lord says to Moses: “… the life is in the blood, and I have given it for you all, to make atonement for all your lives.”
Put your hands on your carotid artery. Feel your pulse. You’re feeling the life circulate in your flesh. Look at the veins in your arms. They’re full of life. It’s life, but not your life . . .
You know? If you really believed that your life was indeed Christ’s life—that your blood was His blood, no one could take your blood. So you might feel pain but you would be impossible to offend.
Jesus appears to be impossible to offend. He got angry on behalf of others. And He certainly didn’t mince words when speaking to whitewashed tombs, but when people sinned against Jesus, how often did He say, “You know…I’m just really offended!”? Can you think of a time when Jesus got offended?
Actually, the whole world is offended that Jesus wouldn’t get offended. That’s called “the offense of the Gospel.” When the sin of the world was loaded on His back, when His own people nailed Him to the tree, when His Bride stripped Him and drew His blood, He cried out, “Father, forgive them.”
And yet there does seem to be one place in Scripture that speaks of one thing that is unforgivable in God’s eyes:
Therefore, I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people [that’s a huge statement!], but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks against the Son of Man [Jesus] will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either in this age or the age to come.
Yikes! We call that “the unforgivable sin.” We wonder what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit actually is. And we wonder if we’ve committed it. So, what is this sin that won’t be forgiven?
People debate, but Jesus tells us what won’t be forgiven. Jesus said, “If you don’t forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” He said to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
Have you ever not forgiven someone?
Maybe we’ve all committed the unforgivable sin! And maybe that’s why people don’t state the obvious: that unforgiveness is the unforgivable sin. Well, if a sin is unforgiven, if a debt is unforgiven, what does that mean? Well . . . it means you have to pay!
If the bank won’t forgive you a debt of $10,000, it means you have to pay the $10,000 or be thrown in prison until every last penny is paid. If God won’t forgive you the life of His Son, it means you have to pay the life of His Son! BUT from the foundation of the world, He forgave the life of His Son and all things with Him. Everything is forgiven you! It’s His Spirit that testifies to forgiveness. If I blaspheme that Spirit, I refuse forgiveness and don’t forgive. Perhaps that unforgiveness is unforgivable, which means one must pay for unforgiveness with forgiveness.
So, you can’t wish people to Hell and go to Heaven. For “the measure you give is the measure you receive.” If you give Hell, you’ll get Hell. And you’ll remain in Hell UNTIL you pay for unforgiveness with forgiveness. You’ll remain in outer darkness UNTIL you surrender to the Light.
Lost until you acknowledge the way.
Trapped in a lie until you see the truth.
Dead until you surrender to life.
And Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and the Light.
Ephesians 4:9 says that Jesus descended into Hell, “the lowest parts of the earth.” And we know that one day “every knee will bow and every tongue give praise, for Jesus is Lord to the glory of God” —the glory of God’s grace.
But the process of bending our knees and surrendering our hearts so that his life freely flows through us and out of us in forgiveness is hard. Forgiveness is hard and it can be painful. It can feel like a call to bleed when we feel like we have no blood to give.
You might say, “I’ve been so wounded I don’t have any blood to give.” But that is a lie because, in reality, we never had any blood to give. We don’t own the blood. It’s not our life and not our blood. And when we think it’s our blood, when we refuse to bleed Christ’s blood it’s the unforgivable sin. It’s death.
Do you see? Forgiveness isn’t a theory to be argued but a life to be lived—His life to be lived, His blood to be bled. His blood never runs out; it’s eternal.
Think about your own body: all the members of your body constantly forgive. It’s called life. But there’s one thing that cannot be forgiven, and that’s when one member calls the life its own, claims the blood as its own, and refuses to bleed. If a member refuses to give blood, it can no longer receive blood.
So each member must lose its life in order to find its life, forgive life to be given life. And if a member seeks to save its own life, it dies.
God will unite all things under one head making peace by the blood of His cross. And already God is uniting us who have hoped in Christ as one Body, under one wounded head—His head. And that means my life is not my own. It’s my flesh—my pride—that tells me not to bleed. But if I don’t give blood, I can’t receive blood.
Whenever someone has taken life (what you thought was your life), you can choose to give Christ’s life and redeem the time; you can choose mercy over resentment, you can choose to bleed Christ’s blood. It was always His blood, and He has rivers of blood. You can choose to forgive in Jesus’ name and fill your empty time with meaning.
And wherever you draw someone else’s blood, you can choose to receive Christ’s blood. You can be forgiven. It was Christ you sinned against, and Christ forgives you.
So the meaning of our time—the meaning of life is about receiving His blood and bleeding His blood. We are His Body in this world. Forgiving and being forgiven—circulating His life, is the meaning of life.
Maybe while reading this you are thinking of a person you need to forgive. Maybe that person is you. You can forgive you. But maybe it was somebody else. You have enough blood to forgive, for all the blood has been forgiven you, and the source of blood is your Creator.
I encourage you to think about those people you need to forgive and say this: “In the name of Jesus and under the authority of His blood, I forgive.” In your heart offer up those people to the Lord. And now say, “Let it be.”
It kind of hurts at first. But hang in there. It’s just the edge of life. Forgiven, you can forgive. It’s not bad news; it’s the best news. For a moment it is sad…but for all eternity it’s unspeakable joy! There is life, and power, and joy in the blood.
This devotional was prepared by Kimberly Weynen, Peter Hiett’s assistant. It is primarily a compilation of excerpts from Peter’s sermon titled “Forgiven Forgiver” and devotional thoughts from Kimberly. To read, watch or listen to the sermon in its entirety click here: Forgiven Forgiver
Discussion Questions are available here: Discussion Questions “Forgiven Forgiver”
Image credit: www.LumoProject.com & K. Weynen