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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Paying it Forward"

Date published: 10/09/2017
Romans 3:25-26 “God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood.  He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (NIV)  

   Jesus calls every believer to treat others as He treated us.  Every Christian is saved while he or she is sinful and undeserving of forgiveness.  We also are to forgive others as He forgave us.  We often do not forgive because we are judgmental of the offender.  A judgmental attitude is harmful to your relationship with God. Some of the root causes of being judgmental are lack of understanding, lack of love, and lack of forgiveness for another. Most actions and attitudes that are worthy of judgment often arise from something occurring in a person’s life. Lack of understanding usually stems from indifference which is usually rooted in lack of love. Lack of forgiveness flows from our unwillingness to place another’s actions and offenses in God’s hands. Living life this way begins to harden a person’s heart. God described the devastating effect of this lifestyle in Isaiah 59:2 :But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (NIV) A heart that is filled with Jesus is a heart that seeks understanding, loves regardless of other’s treatment of you, and forgives as God forgave you. If Jesus could love you as Romans 5:8 says when you were dead in your sins, surely you can love and forgive others for things far less: “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NIV)  

   As a follower of Christ, you should make your life pursuit what Paul encouraged in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (NIV) The basis of God’s forgiveness of your sins has no basis of justice for what you have done. God’s forgiveness and reconciliation are based solely on the atonement of your sins through Christ’s sacrificial death and the blood He shed for your sins. God loves you not for any merit of your own, but out of His great sacrifice and love for you. 

   Next time your heart wells up with indignation because of another’s actions or offense, ask these three questions:

1)   Do I know what is happening in this person’s life?

2)   Do I have enough of Jesus in my heart that I can look beyond the offense and be a safe place for this person, so that they will not be further consumed by the tossing waves of life, but might instead be helped by God using me to help them find relief in Jesus?

3)   Can I forgive their offense, so that God can use the offense to work not only in their heart, but also in mine?

Allow the Holy Spirit to make your actions a fragrant offering and sacrifice towards the healing and transformation of the offending person. Let the offender see Jesus - not the world - in your actions. 

Philippians 2:5-8 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!” (NIV) 

 

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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Transformation: Part 1 and “Transformation: Part 2.” 

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