Matthew 18:35 “This is how My heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” (NIV)
The preceding verse is the end of a parable about a servant whose debt was so great he was unable to pay it. He and his family were to be sold as slaves to repay the debt when the king responded to his pleas for mercy by cancelling his debt. Untouched by the king’s mercy, the servant showed no mercy on another who owed him money. Matthew 18:33 reveals one of the most important principles for living the Christian life: “Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (NIV) Instead of the servant being transformed by the king’s mercy and grace, his heart remained hard and cold.
How have you been changed by God’s grace and mercy? Did you move on in life no different, or did God’s love and kindness in Ephesians 2:4-5a enliven you to Christ for transformation: “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.”?(NIV) It is easy for new believers in Christ to be caught up in the trappings of Christianity through
church, Bible studies, and Christian fellowship, but remain unchanged from their pre-Christian life. As a Christian your life has been profoundly impacted by God’s grace (His unmerited favor) described in Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (NIV) All the trappings of Christianity are good, but are you allowing God the opportunity to use them to take you deeper into the abundance of His grace? God calls you into total dependence on Him as you grow in thanksgiving, wonder, and transformation from His grace captivating you and changing your life. The servant failed to forgive because the abundance of the king’s grace did not stir his heart. The freedom and financial gain he enjoyed were lost because he lived untouched by God’s grace bestowed upon him. Christians who are untouched and unchanged by God’s grace miss the wonderful life God desires for them.
Live each day out of the abundance of God’s grace. Allow the Holy Spirit to live His life through you. Live not like one who is unfazed by God’s love, but out of a gratefulness that reflects God’s life in you. Live as Jesus did in Romans 5:10a: “… when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of his Son.” (NIV) You received God’s grace without deserving it, now give that same grace to others that don’t deserve it also!
Ephesians 2:6-7 “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “God’s Purpose For You” and “Knowing God’s Will.”
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