In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus prays, “…Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…”

Have you ever wondered how to do that?
What does it mean to forgive as He has forgiven us?

Well, how did God in Christ forgive us?

He forgave us before we sinned.
He bore our sins in 33 AD, on the tree, in the garden.
He forgave us before we could even ask to be forgiven.
He forgave us . . . knowing that we would sin…
He forgave us before we sinned and before we were even made.
Actually, it’s how we were made and are being made.

But we say stuff like, “I can’t forgive that person unless they ask to be forgiven.”
Yet, we couldn’t even ask for grace unless God had already given us grace.
And Scripture reminds us: “Forgive, as God in Christ forgave you.”

How did God in Christ forgive us?

He forgave us before we sinned . . . and . . .
He forgave us completely.
Scripture says, “On Him the Lord has laid the iniquity of us all” …

And . . . He forgave us by giving His life and dying for us.
His body was broken; His blood spilled out, shed for us. He gave His life for us, and He died for us. And we were already dead, “dead in our trespasses and sins,” wrote Paul.
Wow! He died for the dead.

Jesus says, “Unless you drink my blood you have no life in you.” We’re already dead and yet terrified to die. Scripture says, “The devil keeps us in life-long bondage through the fear of death,” and yet we’re dead.

Remember what the snake said to Eve? Literally, “Dying you will not die.” God had told Adam, “The day you eat of it, you will die.” We eat of it on the sixth day of creation. That’s the day we are made. And this is that day for we’re still being made. On the Seventh Day, we have been made–finished, and we’ve entered God’s rest; that’s the New Creation.

At the tree in the garden…, we took The Life and cut ourselves off from the Source of Life. The Bible calls this the first death. “In the day you eat of it you will die,” so if you eat on the sixth day, you must be dead by the Seventh Day, the Sabbath Day. “Dying but not dead,” is to be stuck in the sixth day the 666 day. “Dying you will not die,” sounds like Heaven, but it’s the definition of Hell. Death is separation.

We’re like an appendage that has been “cut off…” It may contain blood, but dead blood, rather than blood—life. We’re like a part cut off or a vessel that’s clogged, like a heart that’s suffering from perosis, hardening of arteries.

In the Old Testament, God says to Israel, “You have a heart of stone but one day, I’ll give you a heart of flesh.” If you have a stone heart, you’re dead. That’s the first death, and we think it’s Life.

So, what’s the second death? In the Revelation, it’s described as a “lake of eternal fire” and God is Eternal Fire. His breath is Fire and Life, Eternal Life. And the second death is “the death of death”: Death is destroyed in the lake of fire; so, the death of death, is the death of what you think is life; the death of that arrogant, self-centered, independent old you.

Jesus said, “Believe in me and you’ll never die,” maybe because you’ve already died. Believing in Him is dying to your self. 1 John 5:14 and Revelation 2:11 say that if we have faith we won’t be hurt by the second death because maybe we’ve already died the second death.

Revelation 14:13 says, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.” Paul wrote, “It’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” Eternal Life in me, Spirit in me, Fire in me, flowing through my veins.

So, the first death is being cut away separated from the Life, the Body of Christ. The second death is being connected to the Life, the Body of Christ. The second death is the death of death, which is Life–Communion.

So, how did God in Christ forgive us?
He forgave us before we sinned . . . and . . .
He forgave us completely. . . and . . .
He forgave us by giving His life and dying for us. . .

And . . .
He bleeds for us, and He helps us bleed. At the tree in the garden, which we call the cross, we took His life, and yet He forgives His Life, and there He helps us to forgive.

He delivers up The Spirit.
He bears our toxic old man to destruction.
He descends into the “lower parts of the earth.”
He descends into the dark dead tombs that are our hearts, where God raises Him from the dead. “If we’ve been joined with him in a death like his, surely we will be joined with him in a resurrection like his,” writes Paul.

Forgiveness is the death of death; forgiveness is Life.
Forgiveness is the dance of Grace…
Forgiveness is losing your life and finding your Life.
In Heaven, it’s constant joy, and here on earth it often feels like death…on a tree…death on a cross.

And Paul writes, “Be tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.”

If you’ve ever truly forgiven, you know that it sometimes feels like death because you are actually giving your life…

So, how on earth can we find the strength to forgive? Maybe we can’t . . . but Jesus can; our old man can’t…but the New Man can…

If someone takes your Life, they’re not taking your Life, they’re taking Christ’s Life because “He is the Life.” So, if someone sins against you, they’re really not sinning against you; they’re sinning against Jesus.

If you forgive, it’s not you that’s actually doing the forgiving; you’re letting Jesus forgive in you. If you give your Life, it’s not your Life that you are giving, it’s Christ’s Life, because “He is the Life.”

To forgive is to be “joined with Him in a death like His and joined with Him in a resurrection like His.”

To forgive is to die with Christ and rise with Christ.
Forgiveness is bleeding, but it’s not your blood that you’re bleeding.

People will sin against you, and I don’t think it’s an accident.
They may intend it for evil, but God intends it for good.
He’s teaching you to forgive. It feels like death, but it’s the death of death: it’s life.

Some folks think that Jesus died so we wouldn’t have to die. But Jesus died to help us die . . . so dying we would live . . . so we would forgive as we’ve been forgiven.

God is making you in His image and God is Grace.

This devotional was prepared by Kimberly Weynen, Peter Hiett’s assistant. It is primarily a compilation of excerpts from the sermon TheoLogic and a few devotional thoughts from Kimberly. You can read, watch or listen to the full sermon here: Theologic 

*Discussion questions are available for this sermon here: 3.10.2013 Discussion Questions

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