Forgive as God Forgives

As those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, the way we live should not be as it was before we believed in Jesus. We should not live like the ungodly, giving ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. That is not how we should have been taught the truth that is in Christ Jesus. We should have been taught that we are to die with Christ to sin and to live to him and to his righteousness, in obedience to his commands (New Covenant), all in his power and wisdom and strength, and for his glory.

Ephesians 4:25-27 ESV

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”

So, lying should never be our practice. Truth telling should be our practice. We should not even tell what some people call “white lies.” And we should not give people false impressions, which is still lying, nor should we withhold from them the truth that is due them (that is owed them). And we should not mislead them in any way nor tell lies to cover for secret sins. Now this doesn’t mean we tell everyone everything we know, but it means we are not being deceptive, but that the words we speak are the truth that we know.

Some anger can be righteous anger, like the anger God has, but even there we should not sin in our anger. We should not do what is wrong just because we are angry, even if we are angry for the right reasons. And some anger is rooted in sin, because it stems from hearts which are bitter, unforgiving, hateful, prideful and resentful. So the anger itself is sinful. But anger can be a natural human emotion given to us by God to move us to some type of action, and there, again, we must not sin in our anger.

Ephesians 4:28 ESV

“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”

We are not to take from other people what is theirs and which is not ours to have, because they have not offered it to us nor given us permission to take it. And this isn’t just about stealing things, like material possessions, but you can take from someone his dignity, or steal from him his joy by being mean and hateful. And you steal someone’s spouse from him via extra-marital affairs. And you can steal from him his honor and his reputation if you slander him and falsely accuse him of wrongdoing.

Instead we are to be people who are generous and who give to other people’s needs, even sometimes at our own expense, i.e. via self-sacrifice in giving to them what we may have wanted for ourselves. We should not be stingy people, for we only have what we have by the grace of God and it can all go away in an instant. Yet, we need to exercise wisdom in this for there are many con artists out there ready to cheat us and steal from us. And they are very skilled at manipulation and appealing to your compassion.

Ephesians 4:29-30 ESV

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

We are not to be people who speak what is foul, immoral, vulgar, crude, dishonest, crooked, perverted, and the like. We should not be given over to off-color and inappropriate humor or similar conversations of any kind. We should not be people who use cuss words, especially not to use the name of God or the name of Jesus as a swear word, and not to dishonor God/Jesus Christ. If we use the Lord’s name in conversation, let it be because we are literally sharing the gospel and speaking of God’s divine character and will.

Instead, we are to be those who speak the truth in love, one to the other, and who encourage (exhort, holy urge) one another in our walks of faith in holiness and righteousness. And we should be those who give out godly counsel to help others to walk faithfully to the Lord and to not go astray. For when we live or when we speak what is contrary to the will of God, and that which is evil in God’s sight, yet while we profess faith in Christ, that grieves the Holy Spirit, like it grieves a person whose spouse is being unfaithful.

Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

No matter what other people do to us, no matter how badly they hurt us or damage our reputations or are mean and cruel to us, we must love them in return, and we must forgive them. For we are to love even our enemies, and we are to pray for them and do good to them and speak what is beneficial to them and not evil. Now forgiveness means we refuse to get even with them and we continue to show them love. But forgiveness is not permission for them to keep on sinning, for Jesus’ forgiveness is not permission to sin.

And we must guard our hearts against bitterness and wrath and anger, but we can confront others with their sins against us, and the Scriptures teach that we are to do so, but first make sure they really did sin against you, for sometimes we get things wrong. And biblically we can withdraw from fellowship with those who profess Christ but who are still living in deliberate and habitual sin without true repentance. But we should not do so out of bitterness, but with the goal to hopefully move them towards repentance.

Full Release

An Original Work / April 15, 2012

Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.

Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
through salvation,
By His Spirit, from above.

Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.

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