Fatherhood In Forgiveness

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Throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible we see one pattern in Christ-centered hermeneutics. The pointing and direction of God to a past, present, and future Messiah. The great King who would save Israel, restore balance, and surpass the great reign of King David.
During the time of Christ it was expected that the prophesied Messiah would look quite different than Jesus Himself looked. The Christ was not expected to reign on earth as a servant but as a conquering king of the Jews.
When Christ arived on the scene instead of a great politician we see a humble missionary. While being a teacher who could have attracted many great and rich leaders to support His cause, He instead chose to dine with the undesirables, losers, and sinners. Could you see a man who is a possible United States presidential candidate dining with bank robbers, prostitutes, and drug addicts? I think that if we saw this that man would not even make it near the primary election.
This is the way that Jesus was. The preachers of that day expected their Messiah to fulfill the the law of Moses by improving them to perfection. But being that the law had been sufficient to bring a lost, abused, shaken, and enslaved Israel just out of Egypt back to Himself and set them up apart from the other nations as a missionary nation to the other nations so that, once again, all nations could recieve salvation and praise God, it was not the same way in the time of Christ.
This law had been sufficient for enslaved, idol worshiping, and pagan Israel to see God; but it was no longer sufficient for an Israel who believed that it was not a sinful nation because it worshiped the Name of God but did not carry a real image of Him. During the time of the prophet, Daniel, we see Israel carried away into exile, to the great sorrow of God, by their rivaling nation, Babylon. After being ruled by Babylon, they were ruled by Greece, Persia, and Rome. It was during Rome that Christ came to die on the Cross and found the church among the gentiles.
However, throughout both the Old and New Testaments, the picture of God’s character remains the same: to restore lost mankind to Himself by enabling and commissioning missionaries to spread the glory of His Name to all of the nations of the earth.
God’s plan is so great that it is completely unmeasurable by any living creature including Satan himself.
We see that in the early chapters of Genesis that the heart of man is is wicked from birth and only seeks evil from the beginning of it’s existance. This is proven through the story of Noah and the great flood. All of this was to the sorrow of God who was grieved that He had made man. But God was by no means done when He wiped out the earth. He was just getting started on a new plan. This new plan was to be fulfilled and to to end with, Jesus Christ. Why? For the purpose of forgiveness.
Through the ministry of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Himself, we see that baptism is a great simbol of repentance and forgiveness of sins.
Sin is the violation of God’s eternal law in which provokes His great wrath, which is sufficiently worthy of eternal damnation. Sin putting anything else other than God Himself, above God. It also ensnares us into slavery of the sins that we have been a part of. Sin’s snares enslave us so deep that we never really realize that we are enslaved at all until we are actually redeemed from the snares themselves. Slavery is manafested through blindness and ignorance of the truth.
Salvation, atonement, redemption, and fulfillment are only found through the baptism and forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Bearing the image of Christ is the evidence of our forgiveness. When we live, look, act, and operate like Christ in His obedience to His Father, we find the peace and assurance of our salvation. And being that Christ was absolutely sinless and perfect and that we are not even close, we are in such need of Him that it is insanity to try to bear Christ’s image without Christ Himself. But how do we do this? The answer is very simple. We cannot! But the good news is that God’s great gift of the Holy Spirit who resurrected Christ Himself is able to resurrect our deadness and blindness in order to bear the image of Christ and to fulfill His mission on earth!
This makes me want to pray non-stop so that I can be in such constant prayer and knowledge of His Presence so that I will always know for sure that my Father is keeping me on the narrow path of His calling for me. When I have His Holy Spirit I know that everything is okay. I know that I am loved. That there is peace that I don’t quite understand why I have it. That I am safe in His life, death, and resurrection. That I am not beyond forgiveness. That I am accepted, beloved, and even spotless.
These are some of the greatest blessings in the universe. The most important part of recieving forgiveness is forgiving others! (Matthew 6:14-15) (1 John 1:9)
When we forgive those who have wronged us we find love, peace, and understanding of our personal relationship with Christ.
For those of us who have grown up in performance based homes with strict priority driven parents, forgiveness can sometimes be hard to understand. For those who still live under these conditions, I pray for the grace and unending mercy of God to purpue you through those trials. When perfection out ways power, we find our earthly authorities never recognizing our greatest accomplishments, even when we are practically screaming out for them to do so. Lately, I have been teaching my son to walk. Instead of trying to see how long he can stand and how many steps he can make before he falls in order to complete my own expectations of his record; I try to help him up every time he falls and be the balance for him whenever he needs it. I praise him when he succeeds, and encourage him when he is failing.  Were I to push some “outstanding” record upon him so that he would outlast his sister or other children his age, he may learn to walk, but he will hate doing so.
Part of our repentance releases us from attempting to set a record for ourselves and instead, resting in Christ’s perfect record. We find our outstanding accomplishment through His and the release of ours into His death. Because our greatest recorded day in history is as filthy rags to God. This may sound harsh to some, but it is actually merciful! Our filthiness is not God’s fault, but our own embraced nature. God’s love exceeds His wrath in His great pursuit of us in our lostness and the sacrifice of Christ for the atonement of our offense to Him. The least and greatest of us have the opportunity of abiding in His sacrifice of perfection, and power of His resurrection from death.
When I pursue my son’s love and enable him for Christ’s mission in his life, I don’t teach him how to find Christ, I teach him where to find Christ. I am there to pick him up after his fall and hold him, I am there to balance him while he figures out the essentials of walking, and I am there to encourage him while he walks in the direction that he should go.
I want to be like Christ and pursue him like the Good Shepherd. I want to forgive him when he wrongs me. Even when he is trialed I want to have a plan for protecting him and pursuing him back during the pain and to bear it with him. And when he pleases me I want to show him how proud of him I really am!
When we are forgiven of our sins we will forgive others of their sins against us.
Forgiveness and grace reveal the character and the love of the God of the universe Himself. Christ made the first step. Let’s make the next steps to follow him and do the same as He did for us. And let us depend on God’s Holy Spirit to guide us as a father guiding his son how to walk for the first time and to fulfill his created purpose for us. In Christ we find the forgiveness of our sins and the release of our yoke. In Christ we find a loving Father. And in Christ we find the enabling to complete a true purpose.

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One thought on “Fatherhood In Forgiveness

  1. Excellent insights, Joel. You are showing the right priorities by pursuing relationships with others, especially your son, as the Father does for us. His desire for reconciliation with us prompted Him to sacrifice His own Son so we could be brought back in and be called sons. He pursued us in Christ, so we, in Christ, can pursue others, God, as it were, calling others to be reconciled to Himself through Christ. (2 Cor. 5:14-21) No greater calling. No greater joy. No greater purpose or satisfaction to be found in this life.
    I love the illustration of teaching your son to walk. How important and precious is it to maintain grace-filled relationships of mentoring and discipling. Oh to be more like the Father and abide in His love. Then we are never afraid to acknowledge our shortcomings or failures, because we know our Father’s love is everlasting and His grace measureless.

    So glad to be blessed to have you as my son, Joel. Continue to shine for Him!

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