Forgiveness - Begins with God
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Because the gift of forgiveness from God to a rebellious people was always part of his plan, he is the one who takes the initiative and makes it possible for us to have a relationship with him. As promised in Genesis 3, the head of the serpent will be crushed and there was victory over Satan. In the meantime, animals were sacrificed and skins provided to cover up our nakedness and shame.
The mission of God the Son to crush the head of the serpent was accomplished on the cross and nowhere in scripture is the reader allowed to entertain the notion that they had any part to play in making this happen. Jesus alone provided the purification for sin. (Heb 1:3)
Forgiveness of sin is a free gift from God, offered in love.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)
The above verses sit in contrast to the ‘gods’ worshiped in the Ancient Near East. They were fickle, demanding, angry, greedy, sexualised and more importantly, made of wood and stone. They simply reflected the darkness that resides in the human heart. ‘Gods’ made by human hands are only able to reflect the likeness and limitations of their creator. Terms like forgiveness and love would have had no place in their world - appeasement and bribery would be more appropriate.
Can you ever imagine inventing a god who would willingly offer himself as a substitute for difficult and stubborn people? And this, so that they could have forgiveness and be reconciled unto a relationship that offers every spiritual blessing in Christ? (Eph 1:3) And this without payment? Quite simply, no. This is what makes the God of the bible so extraordinary – he couldn’t possibly be made by human hands! Because Jesus Christ is the one who offers the gift of forgiveness for our sin, we can have confidence in its effectiveness and its guarantee. God made a promise in Genesis 3 and it was fulfilled on the cross in love. Should not this reality not bring us to our knees in thanksgiving?
Give thanks that God is a forgiving God, and ask for help to be true image bearers, forgiving as he forgives us.
Pray with us today's prayer request:The East African Christian College opened on March 18, 2021. We had previously prayed about the accreditation process and this was approved and granted on December 14. Among other things the College has the task of training the clergy of the Anglican Church of Rwanda to degree level in Theology or Biblical Studies, since this is a legal requirement. Pray for the College staff as they fulfil this great task. 'Your kingdom come'.
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