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{Lessons Learned} Forgiveness Flows Out of a Changed Heart – Part 1

Posted on: May 9th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 2 Comments

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Forgiveness––true Biblical forgiveness––requires that we have encountered and experienced the risen God. [Tweet that] It requires a changed heart.

Truly, prior to forgiving one another, we need to understand and receive the forgiveness of God. For, we cannot give something we have yet to receive, and we cannot receive apart from understanding. [Tweet that]

As I’m sure you know, the term Gospel––which refers to the work of Christ––literally means “good news.” I’ve heard many pastors say that in order for there to be good news something bad would have to be true. And until we understand the bad news, we cannot fully grasp how good the good news is. [Tweet that]

This is why we all must come to understand who we are apart from Jesus. We need to understand just how sinful we are so that the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf––and consequently, the forgiveness He made possible––can be understood not only in our minds but in our hearts as well.

It is only when head knowledge moves to our hearts that we can fully live out of God’s truth. But until we experience this heart change, our efforts to live out the Christian life will remain frustrated. We will be unable to effectively carry out the commands of the Bible.

It is possible for us to know God’s truth––to know that Jesus died to reconcile us to God the Father. To know that Jesus forgives us through His sacrifice on the cross. To know that we are loved. To know that we are saved, and that we are forgiven. But we will never live the life God has for us until this knowledge moves to our heart and transforms us.

Remember, we must understand the bad news in order to fully grasp just how good the good news is.

And the bad news is very bad indeed. Scripture tells us that apart from Jesus, we were dead in our sin. Scripture paints a very real picture of our state outside of Christ. God uses words like dead (Ephesians 2:1), sinner (James 4:8), wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, naked (Revelation 3:17), enemies of God (Romans 5:10), having no hope and without God (Ephesians 2:12) to describe our pre-salvation state.

Believe this about yourself.

But don’t stay there. The moment you gave your life to Jesus you were made new. All that was true of who we were apart from Jesus was made void. God now uses words like new (2 Corinthians 5:17), chosen (1 Peter 2:4), saved (Ephesians 2:4), son or daughter (Romans 8:15), saints (Ephesians 2:19), beloved (Romans 9:25), and righteous (Romans 5:19) to describe those who love Him.

Still, allow your understanding of the depths of your wretchedness apart from Jesus to compel you to run into the arms of Jesus, filled with thanksgiving, love, and adoration, knowing what He has saved you from.

Never forget where Jesus found you. [Tweet that] As Martin Luther said, “Remember your baptism.”

And then from there. Pray for His grace and your relationship with Him to transform your heart and your mind. Then and only then will you be able to live out of your new nature, your new self, and extend grace and mercy to those around you.

Your ability to forgive others comes from your changed heart.

{Allow Jesus to show you the bad news in order that you might be able to experience all the joy and blessings the Gospel has to offer!}

Question: What are your thoughts? Share in the comments