“Every citizen of heaven is debt free. We’re not talking about financial liability. We are referring to the debt of sin.”
The crux of understanding forgiveness begins at the Cross where Christ paid the debt of our sin and proclaimed ‘It is finished!’ We have been justified. Christ’s righteousness imputed. God’s wrath appeased for those abiding in His Son.
This is where Pastor Gale begins in his book, Why Must We Forgive? He explains that there is no other means by which we might be saved. No other means for our debt to be paid to a Holy God. No other means by which we might be FORGIVEN.
The reader is guided through how our positional forgiveness of justification relates to our progressive forgiveness of sanctification.
“We uncover our sin, admitting it, refusing to hide it by rationalizations, blame shifting or euphemisms. In turn, God covers it by no longer imputing iniquity or reckoning debt.”
In, Why Must We Forgive? we are equipped with a poignant lesson in kingdom economics. In which we learn that those who are truly forgiven, will obediently and graciously, truly forgive others.
“A heart awash with awe of God’s forgiveness, accosted by the unreasonable grace of God in its doing, and aware of its cost in the giving of His Son will be inclined to operate on the principles of kingdom economics.”
We are provided practical guidance as to what forgiveness look like in action.
“So often, we remove an offense but want to keep it in a drawer to retrieve when we want advantage. In fact, we may well have a drawer full of such transgressions, neatly organized by offense like so many pairs of socks. But genuine forgiveness owns no such drawer.”
We are cautioned to avoid the pitfalls of bitterness and the hollow premise of worldly cliché’s.
“’Forgive and forget’t is not a biblical concept. It sounds good and appropriate on the surface, but it presents us with an untenable demand.”
And instead, we are encouraged to discipline our minds just as the Apostle Paul exhorted the Philippians.
“Rather than thinking destructive thoughts, we want to fill our minds with constructive thoughts. The thrust is not so much positive thinking as it is profitable thinking, thinking that edifies and contributes to the goal of peace.”
Forgiveness is a subject that many wrestle with, including myself, to grasp what it means Biblically and what it looks like walked out in faith as a Christian.
“Forgiveness takes work. It cannot be flippant or perfunctory.”
In this brief but concise book, Pastor Gale describes the difference between unilateral forgiveness and transactional forgiveness. He reminds us that forgiveness is not the end but is the beginning of reconciliation and restoration of our relationships.
“Forgiveness is not an end point; rather it is a pivot point. It paves the way for something new.”
Why Must We Forgive? helps us to grasp how repentance is tethered to forgiveness as well as sin is to unforgiveness; with a reminder that forgiveness is not a guarantee of trust, induced naiveté or a call to ignore tendencies. Neither is forgiveness a summons to be dismissive of, make excuses for or enable sin.
“Only by the grace of God bound up in Jesus Christ can we approximate such forgiveness.”
It is a call to Love. The love of Christ, an outworking which Pastor Gale has shown faithfully through his writings and Why Must We Forgive? is no exception.
“Christ is our example. We are to forgive as we have been forgiven. Forgiveness is neither easy nor cheap. It comes at a great cost and requires great purpose. Christ is our strength. We are to find our ability in Him. Only by abiding in Him can we root out spiritual cancer, find healing, and be instruments of healing. Christ is our Lord. We are to follow His desire for our lives and not our own. Our feelings and preferences are real, but they cannot rule the day. These are the sorts of things we remind ourselves of as we cultivate a forgiving spirit in our hearts in running the race set before us, a race that involves relationships.”
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Pastor Stanley D. Gale in exchange for my review.
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