Pastor Jim Hammond | June 6, 2021
Too many Christians focus on sin so much that they forget they were forgiven. They hold grudges and keep count of wrongs because they forget that God freely forgave them and enables them to freely forgive others. The laws of the Old Testament weren’t given so that we could fall on our knees in sorrowful repentance every time we break a law. They were given to expose our sinfulness and show our inability to keep the law. We are, instead, to turn to Jesus and see His sacrifice as enough to wash away our sinfulness and enable us to forgive others.
Repentance is a God-given tool for walking away from sin, but as Pastor Jim explained this past weekend, our understanding of it may be limited. Religion equates our emotional status regarding sin with our level of repentance. However, that’s not necessarily what we should be focusing on. Even more important than our emotional state is our mindset. When we repent, God wants us to focus more on changing our minds than on conjuring up an emotional jolt to get out of sin.
If you’re caught up in a cycle of unforgiveness, your body was not designed for that. You have been designed to express love and holding on to hatred will cause your body to break down. You’ll forgive much more quickly when you remember how much you have been forgiven, for we extend to others the amount of forgiveness we believe God gave us.
Everything looks different through the lens of the New Covenant. For example, the Lord’s prayer asks God to forgive us as we forgive others, but that request doesn’t take into account the forgiveness Jesus freely offers at the cross, for He hadn’t yet gone to the cross. The Pauline prayers in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians focus more on what Jesus did on the cross and through His resurrection and that we would have a revelation of the impact of these things in our lives.
So don’t work yourself into a fit trying to conjure up the right amount of emotion for repentance or right living. That will eventually come. Focus more on Jesus and what He already did for you and let God’s love for you become big in your heart.
2 Peter 1:2 Amp.
May grace (God’s favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 1:5-9 Amp.
For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), and in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), and in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love. For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, [spiritually] shortsighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins. … So I intend always to remind you about these things, although indeed you know them and are firm in the truth that [you] now [hold].
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Amp.
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
Acts 10:43-46 Amp.
To Him all the prophets testify (bear witness) that everyone who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him, giving himself up to Him] receives forgiveness of sins through His name. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all who were listening to the message. And the believers from among the circumcised [the Jews] who came with Peter were surprised and amazed, because the free gift of the Holy Spirit had been bestowed and poured out largely even on the Gentiles. For they heard them talking in [unknown] tongues (languages) and extolling and magnifying God.
Luke 7:47-48 Amp.
Therefore I tell you, her sins, many [as they are], are forgiven her—because she has loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little. And He said to her, Your sins are forgiven!
Mark 11:25-26 KJV
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Hebrews 8:12 Amp.
For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more.
Galatians 3:23-25 Amp.
Now before the faith came, we were perpetually guarded under the Law, kept in custody in preparation for the faith that was destined to be revealed (unveiled, disclosed), so that the Law served [to us Jews] as our trainer [our guardian, our guide to Christ, to lead us] until Christ [came], that we might be justified (declared righteous, put in right standing with God) by and through faith. But now that the faith has come, we are no longer under a trainer (the guardian of our childhood).
Galatians 3:24-25 KJV
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Matthew 6:9-13 KJV
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Matthew 9:10 KJV
And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
Matthew 6:14 KJV
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Ephesians 1:17-20 Amp.
[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, by having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), and [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places],
1. What keeps you from forgiving others? How does focusing on Jesus’ sacrifice make forgiveness easier to give freely?
2. What do you find most compelling about the prayer Paul prays in Ephesians 1:17-20?
3. What do you see as the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant?
4. How does focusing on Jesus’ sacrifice change our perspective?
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