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“Mercy and forgiveness must be free and unmerited to the wrongdoer. If the wrongdoer has to do something to merit it, then it isn’t mercy, but forgiveness always comes at a cost to the one granting the forgiveness.” Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God.

If the wrongdoer has to do something to merit it, it isn’t mercy. The essence of mercy and forgiveness is love. Love is free and holds no record of the wrong (1 Corinthians 13). Those are the things the forgiver must always remember and this is the cost which they incur. If you have invited Jesus Christ into your life and had been deeply rooted into the things of the world before, like me, you have certainly battled with different insecurities whereby you thought your past sins to be so great that some of them might be unforgivable, even by God.

At this point, most new believers tend to think they have to do more, pray more, fast more and do everything required twice more than the regular person in order to earn this mercy. On the contrary, scriptures constantly remind us that it is never about our works but all about His grace. Unfortunately, the church consistently falls into the temptation to scorn the new to the faith, implying that all this is the heat of the moment and eventually you will lose the wonder, be disappointed or persevere less because ‘we have been there, done that – but the end is disappointment.’

​​But we do [strongly and earnestly] desire for each of you to show the same diligence and sincerity [all the way through] in realizing and enjoying the full assurance and development of [your] hope until the end, In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises. Hebrews 6:11-12 AMPC

The Apostle Paul talks about fully realizing and enjoying the full assurance and development of your hope until the end, meaning that hope must progressively grow until it becomes an assurance – until a believer can unwaveringly say ‘I know this, because My God said so’. When the scriptures talk about walking by faith and not by sight, it implies that matured faith must have sight of its own. Therefore, it does not matter what it looks like on the outside, how long it takes or how foolish it sounds to others. If God has spoken it and you know you’re not building on error, it will come to pass.

Paul also warns us about the possibility of becoming disinterested in the members of the church who perhaps detached due to the monotonous sameness of the faith and slugged in the full assurance and development of their hope until the end. He encourages us to be imitators of those who fought through faith, by practice of patient endurance and waiting – inherited the promises. Patient endurance is first patient, then enduring. Some Christians wait but don’t endure., Their waiting becomes fruitless because they live as though their lives pause as they wait on what God has spoken to pass. For example, you may run into a believer who has a certain promise from God but has grown weary in the waiting therefore, they find it difficult to rejoice for others when they receive exactly what this believer is waiting on God for.

This kind most likely press pause on their lives and begin not investing in themselves, their studies or even taking care of themselves, basic grooming and self-care. God speaks to us of what is to come (Amos 3:7). As sons, we have the privilege and ought to know what is happening in the house of our Father. He promises that He knew us even before we were formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5), He knew exactly that at point C you will feel like you are fainting and has therefore made provision for that (Jeremiah 29:11).

I assure you by God, if you endure and lean in, He will prevail. He always does. One of the things that have made David the man after God’s own heart, is the consistent reminder in his heart that no matter what he does or what happens to him, he will come back to God – whether caught up in shame, joy, anger, lust,etc. Understanding the basic principles mentioned above, first as an individual and allowing them to take real root in your heart, allows you to extend more grace, love and consequently forgiveness unto others because it is true in your heart first (Romans 10:10).

On Holding No Record Of Wrong

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. Hebrews 8:12-13 niv

Before Jesus Christ made atonement for our sins by paying with His own blood, an appointed high priest went inside the holies of holies with a burnt offering and lamb to make atonement for sin. This was a repetitive practice because people never stopped sinning. After Jesus’ sacrifice, who is the Royal Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek, there is no greater atonement that can be made. Therefore, this costly grace has become the consistent forgiveness ever available to all men that are willing to receive it.

Once a believer is made new in Jesus Christ, God says ‘your sin he remembers no more’. It took me so long to understand this scripture because I was the one unable to forgive myself when my Savior himself assures me ‘my sin He remembers no more’. In the command from what love is, in 1 Corinthians 13, this is the significance of holding no record of wrong. Consequently, our Lord Jesus paid the price. He incurred this cost upon himself when He was hung on that cross dead and was raised from the dead burying my and your sin altogether. Have you fallen victim of holding your sin against yourself? I charge you by God to let it go, for He Himself remembers it no more.

There are great men of faith who have cemented the foundation which Paul has laid (1 Corinthians 3:11). One of the things I am learning, even as I walk this journey of faith with Jesus, is that to benefit from grace there is a death demanded of us. In this death, we gain the only true and complete life. In one of the most perfect works of evangelism ever written, ‘The Dietrich Bonhoeffer, clearly illustrates the kind of grace which was given to us in comparison to the grace which men take on as a license to sin guilt-free:

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.” 

In confessing that Jesus is the Son of God and has died so that you may gain eternal life, you are asking for this gift and in His coming to dwell with you, He is giving that gift. Likewise, if the owner of a home that has not been in it for a while returns from his travels, he must do some cleaning before settling properly. Jesus, in coming to dwell in your heart – his house, he brings along God the master,whom He is one with, (John 14:23 ; 1 Corinthians 11:3) and they clean up. This cleaning up is what we call convictions. This is when a transformed believer begins to make drastic decisions in their lives for the better.

This is where you’ll find, without any outward influence, a hot-tempered man begins to speak gently and be patient, a cheating husband honors his wife and rejoices only in her,a drug addict stops substance abuse and these transitions remain because they are not the work of men. The believer has revelation. Scriptures have a deeper meaning and speak immediately into your situation and rest becomes a continuous state of living where you are anxious for absolutely nothing. As certainly as God lives then brothers and sisters, He demands that we continuously be transformed by His Spirit at work in us that his unmerited forgiveness towards us becomes the very same we desire and extend towards those that wrong us. This is the new life, as certain as a mother’s love and beyond – which every man is guaranteed in Christ, and which no man should withhold from another.

If you have never given your life to Jesus Christ, and you feel that this is the perfect time, pray this prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I thank you because you died for my sins and you were raised for my glory. Today, I receive you as my Lord and Savior. I am born again. Amen.”

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