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Forgiveness with Momentum

Paul is teaching in a synagogue in a place in Asia Minor named Antioch in Pisidia. He brings up something that all have longed for up to this time in history but that, even for those faithfully practicing Judaism at the time, was unattainable. That topic is the forgiveness of one’s sins.

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;” (Acts 13:38)

The New American Standard Version says this a different way:

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,” (Acts 13:38 – NASB)

The first seems to make it look like the preaching of forgiveness is through Jesus, while the second makes it look like forgiveness is through Jesus and, is being preached through Him that day. Do you know what I think? I think BOTH are true.

The verse is literally saying the second one: that forgiveness comes through Jesus but it is also true that the preaching of truth IS through Jesus and Jesus through us, if we allow Him to operate through us.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

As Paul speaks in Acts 13:38 it is truly Christ preaching this to them through Paul, since the apostle is walking in the Spirit.

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;” (Acts 13:38 – NKJV)

It is through Jesus that our sins are forgiven. The word “forgiveness” is often taught in Christendom as only meaning “pardon”, but it means more than just that; it is FREEDOM, deliverance, and liberty. This means that we no longer HAVE to obey sin, although, we still remain free to sin if we so choose as Paul so clearly teaches in Romans 6:3-17.

Forgiveness of sins not only removes the offenses from our record (and this is cool) but, it also gives us liberty from those offenses and their effects. It is amazing how few Christians seem to understand that there are many sins we have committed and many committed against us that can have a lasting effect on us. This doesn’t just mean the earthly consequences. What I’m talking about is the lasting bondages to those sins that take root in our hearts, making us slaves to them. These cause us to think, decide and feel things that affect our behaviors – for our whole lives if left unaddressed.

When Paul says “that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins” he means that forgiveness also addresses this. Forgiveness brings liberty and freedom from having to obey those things and from their negative effects.

Forgiveness of sins is HUGE.

When we receive this truth, and that IS our primary responsibility in this, it is important that we walk in it (our secondary responsibility) and apply it to those besetting sins and the resulting bondages (our tertiary responsibility). A lot of what we call “deliverance”, in fact, is just that: applying the freedom we have in Jesus to the leftover bondages in our souls and allowing the Lord...and walking in partnership with Him...to work HIS freedom all through our lives.

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 13:38)

Paul is preaching to people who were like he had been: people who really had no hope of that kind of freedom but now Paul has experienced something new. Now, as a Christian, he has tasted real freedom from sin through real forgiveness. How alien it must have

been for them to hear of such a thing!

Think about this possible aspect to all this:

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” (Ephesians 4:31-5:1)

I have come to understand a deeper implication of forgiveness. That forgiveness can have a MOMENTUM that can actually extend its effects into the lives of those we forgive. When we forgive people we not only get to enjoy freedom ourselves, but we also actually minister freedom to them so they would not have to remain in bondage to whatever it is they have done to us.

“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:23)

This frees them from a bondage that might very well have kept them trapped in a cycle in which they would continue doing it to us and to others and, perhaps, even to themselves…over and over should they never have been freed. What a sobering thought!

When I forgive someone, isn’t what they experience actually the forgiveness of Jesus...flowing THROUGH me...to that person since it is HE who lives in me?

So, when we forgive someone, the forgiveness of Jesus gets to them and that means the liberty of that forgiveness does too. If this is correct then when we forgive we minister liberty to those who offend us…liberty from whatever controls them that has resulted in them offending us in their sin against us in the first place.

If this is true, it is also true that when we choose to not forgive we minister continuing bondage to those who have offended us. Imagine that; ministers of reconciliation and holy priests of the Most High God (Christians) ministering bondage INSTEAD of freedom.

Can you see how that might delight the devil?

We are here to help people become free through Christ to minister freedom. We can no longer allow ourselves to be used to help the enemy conduct war against people.

This word is an encouragement to forgive others and ourselves. Let’s step into that part of our destinies in Christ: ministering freedom and not bondage.

When Jesus spoke out His purpose statement, if you will, He quoted from Isaiah 61:1.

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” (Luke 4:18-19)

The word translated as “captives” describes what we would call “prisoners of war”. I find that to be intriguing.

Of the 17 times this word translated as “forgiveness” is used, 12 of those times it is followed by the term “of sins”. The war began with the temptation of Eve, was fruitful (pun intended) when Adam also fell and has continued ever since. Everyone ever birthed was born into the culture of a “prisoner of war” camp, which was the entire world. That culture, like all cultures, had accepted beliefs and practices and this is why we instinctively hurt one another, look to the earthly for satisfaction, distrust God, think like orphans, hold grudges and so on. That is how that culture operates.

Being spiritually dead, we lacked the discernment to even know we were prisoners of sin. Jesus, though, was the ONLY human ever born who did not lack that discernment. He was also the ONLY human ever born who had what it took to lead Mankind out of the prison camp. This is what Paul is telling those people in that synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia…and us.

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 13:38)

What was being preached in that synagogue that day, and is still being preached by ethical Christian ministers today, is forgiveness of sins. Paul says that it is “through this Man” that this happens.

Brothers and sisters, we have the amazing privilege of leading others out of the “prisoner of war” culture and into a totally different one. We represent and function as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) of a culture that brings a kind of LIFE that is deep and wide and never ending: the Kingdom of God.

We live in a world in which satan routinely uses the entertainment industry and social media, in particular, to actually disciple people to survive through practicing unforgiveness as a lifestyle. MEANWHILE, he also tempts us to offend one another. This not only insures that people will have an unending supply of raw material for holding onto offenses but also that they WILL retain them. In other words, satan causes the problem and then leads people to handle it in the worse possible way – unforgiveness which only amplifies the damage the offenses bring into their souls.

It is clear to me that one of the best weapons in our arsenal is to forgive others by giving the offenses away to Jesus. We can not only model a lifestyle that is SO different from the one we know in the “prisoner of war” culture, but also bring Jesus into the souls of those who have offended us. They don’t have to “retain those sins” (John 20:23).

This brings a whole new understanding and dimension to this statement by our Lord:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45)

John the Baptist said something curious just before he baptized Jesus.

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’” (Matthew 3:1-2)

That term “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” could be rephrased like this: “Its time for us to rethink how we think about everything. The order of heaven is about to show up here in this prison camp and bring freedom into it!”

Jesus said the same thing: “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 4:17)

It’s time for us to aggressively seek to live out this new Kingdom culture.

Let’s close this article by praying aloud to the Lord:

“Lord Jesus, I ask You to teach me how to live as a natural forgiver. Renew my mind. I want to be a good ambassador and bring the culture of Heaven into my own life and into the lives of all who come in contact with me, including those who have chosen to sin against me. I want to love those who make themselves enemies to me. Please cause the forgiveness that I have experienced to gain momentum in my life, rolling through my own soul – bringing healing and restoration to me, and then on to those around me. I’ll do my best to partner with You in that. I pray this in Your powerful name. Amen.”

May it be so.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

May the comfort we have received flow to all around us and…gain momentum.

Amen.

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

Decatur, TX

© November 19, 2019

©2018 by Mike McInerney Ministries