“I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one comes to the Father
except through Me”
Pastors Noreen & Henry Kevern
The Forgiveness Of God In The Gospel Of Matthew
6Remember, LORD, Your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. 7Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to Your love remember me, for You LORD, are good. 11For the sake of Your Name, LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
Psalm 25:6-7, 11
Forgiveness is probably the hardest concept that we are to learn. How can we forgive those who hurt us, who kills loved ones, who spreads lies about us, who abuse us, who go out of their way to injure us? We spend years holding on to the hurt that has been inflicted on us. Sometimes it is a minor thing; something that the person who did it to you may not even know that they hurt you. But instead of going to talk with them about it, we hold onto the hurt and unforgiveness becomes like a cancer in our hearts. We can grow bitter and become depressed and then we begin to blame God for not avenging us. We convince ourselves that we have a right to not forgive. It is especially hard to forgive someone who has abused us and when we bring the abuse to light, the abuser gets away with it. Or if we hid it, we grow to even hate ourselves and we can even blame ourselves for the abuse as if it were our fault somehow.
Forgiveness is not for the one who offended us; it is really for our own sake, to
take the burden of pain away. That may sound strange but let’s be honest, does the
offender really care that they have hurt you? If they had remorse, they would come
to you and seek your forgiveness. To forgive someone does not let them off for what
they have done. Forgiveness empties you of the pain and fills you with the peace
of Christ. And when we sin against someone, we are to come to them and seek forgiveness
from them. We are called to follow Jesus, His way, His truth and His life.
Let’s think about history for a moment. As we know, the Bible is the history of God and His relationship with man, whom God created to love Him since He created us in love and to be loved and to give love in return. But as we know, man was not very successful in following God. Almost from the very beginning humans have failed to love God in return for His love. Really, how stupid humans are. God created us, put us in a garden and provided everything for us. We didn’t have to work, cook, clean or have pain. God walked in the garden and had a personal relationship with humans. The Bible teaches us how God never has given up on us, how He has called out time and time again; calling us to come back to Him and to love Him with all that we are and to love one another as we love ourselves. He punished people falling away from Him and their worshipping false gods and their selfishness. He never stopped loving and He relented punishment sometimes even before He brought it on us. God continued to forgive us and tried to teach us through prophets and at times humans came back to God but most of the time, they just continued in their sins.
So as God promised, He took matters into His Own hands. When the time was right, He decided that the only way to teach us was to become one of us. To show us that we can choose to love God with all that we are and not to sin. He began life as a baby just as we do and grew up to an adult just as we do. He took our sins and gave His life, accepting our punishment. He forgave us our sins on the cross.
All He is asking of you is to love Him with all that you are and to love others as you love yourself. Treating Him the way He deserves and treating others in the way that we want to be treated. If we would only love God and each other, there would be no sin, no pain, no being sinned against; no need for forgiving each other.
So let’s look at God’s Word and what Jesus taught while He was here on earth.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
God wants us to forgive those who have done something against us before we come to Him and offer our gift of praise and worship to Him. We may not be able to go to the person, but we can forgive them in our hearts. God understands that the pain inflicted may be too great to be around the person who hurt us as in the case of abuse. God knows that we need to heal in order to be able to be around that person. Forgiveness is the beginning of healing; we surrender our pain to God, we speak forgiveness over the person and in doing so, our forgiveness becomes our gift to God.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
This is from the prayer that Jesus taught us. Some say forgive us our sins, some say forgive us our trespasses, and here, our debts. Sin is trespass (invading, intruding, disrespecting, violating, assaulting) against another and it puts us in debt (obligation, responsibility, payment, toll, accountability) to another, whether we are the sinner or the offended. This simple prayer is a laying out of our life with God.
“14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
This is the simplest way for us to understand forgiveness. We are all sinners. We cannot expect God to forgive us our sins, if we cannot forgive those who sin against us. Jesus died for you and for me, for our sins; before we were even born Jesus did this. If God can forgive us, how can we not forgive one another?
1Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to His Own town. 2 Some men brought to Him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
You may be asking, “How does forgiving sins heal a person?” When we refuse to forgive one another, it can affect our health. If we continue to live in sin, refusing to acknowledge our sin, if we stand in opposition to God through our sins; sin will begin to haunt you and you will begin to worry and stress. Granted there are some people who do not care that they sin. Faith in God is our healing and surrendering our sins and forgiving others, are the steps we take to grow in our relationship with God. Jesus came to teach us to reconcile with God. He came to teach us to repent of our sins. When we come and accept Jesus as our LORD and Savior, we confess our sins and He forgives us. Healing is for both the body and our souls.
4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So He said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
Jesus seems to be doing the opposite of the former Scripture but in fact He is not. The Pharisees believed that they were more righteous than others. They were full of themselves, very prideful and because of that they were unable and unwilling to accept Jesus. Pride caused them to hear the devil instead of God. It is only when we open ourselves to Jesus, surrendering our lives to God that we realize that God is more important than ourselves and that because He is the Creator, all authority belongs to Him. Coming to God and asking Him to heal us means that we must be forgiven as well. If you have faith to ask to be healed, you have faith to surrender your sins to God and accept His forgiveness.
31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Jesus is telling us that we cannot say anything bad against the Holy Spirit. This is the only unforgiveable sin. Everything else God will forgive. In saying this, Jesus is telling us that there is nothing that another can do to us that cannot be forgiven. Paul tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit because in doing so, we cut ourselves off from God. The Holy Spirit is our Counselor, the part of God Who lives inside us when we accept Jesus and the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins. So if we grieve (sadden, distress, hurt, complain, grumble) the Holy Spirit, we are separating ourselves from God.
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]
a. Matthew 18:22 Or seventy times seven
Jesus is making a point that forgiveness is a continuing action towards one another. When we repent, it may take time to stop doing the sin we are repenting of. Just as God knows it may take time for us to learn our lesson, He is patient in teaching us to stop sinning and we should be patient with each other. Like Peter, we have the need to justify ourselves; we want to feel good about ourselves; we think we are being generous, but God calls us to even greater generosity towards each other.
3 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[a] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[b] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how My heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Those bags of gold, those are our sins. When we go through life and refuse to come to God, our sins fill those bags. We can think that we are doing good things, but what we do actually is believe that our good things are good but when we compare them to God’s goodness, we find that they are actually sin. When we stand before God, He is going to open our bags of gold and we are going to see they are actually lumps of coal. God loves us and wants us to be His children and to live in love with Him. Sin is not love and separates us from God’s love. His love never ends but our sins make us distant ourselves from God; sin makes us afraid to come to God; the devil tries to convince you that God does not love you in your sin. God wants us not to sin and He is waiting for each of us to come to accept Him, to repent (confess) our sins and to ask Him to forgive us and God will forgive us. When we refuse to forgive others, we sin. We have to forgive each other from our hearts and mean it. Sometimes we have to keep saying we forgive someone until we finally do forgive because the sin is so great. We have to forgive seven times seventy times so that our hearts are purified.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Many people do not understand this parable. What Jesus is teaching us here is that we should come to God the first time He calls us. Because God is a loving God, He continues to call out to those who refuse to accept Him. And up to our last hour, God will continue to pursue you in His love because He does not want to lose anyone to the devil. When we have been with God all our lives, we are to show compassion to those who do not know Him and to show Him to them by the way we live and the way we love. If we show God’s grace to others, they will see how loving God is. We become for God a living example of His amazing love. We are not to be envious that God accepts sinners’ repentance up to last because of His love. He is generous with His love.
33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
This parable is the story of the Hebrews whom God chose to use to show all mankind what He wanted of us. But the Hebrews allowed the devil to deceive them. They took pride in themselves and forgot that God is the Provider of all things. Pride and self-reliance tears us away from God. We think that we do not need God and that we can do things on our own. We say to ourselves, “I earned this, I made that. God did not help me so why should I share with Him.” So mankind sins against God and take and do whatever they want no matter who they hurt. The Hebrews were so full of themselves that they ignored the prophets that God sent and listened to those who spoke what their ears wanted to hear. When Jesus came, they were not will to give up their sins and accept God’s forgiveness, so they killed Jesus. So those who were blinded to His coming will die in their sin and go to hell. The same applies today. If we refuse to accept Jesus and to repent and live a life in His way, His truth and His life we will go to hell. That will be the wretched end. But through Jesus, God has given us a way to reconcile with Him. Even though we were not the original chosen people, when we accept Jesus, we are grafted into God and will share our heavenly home with God for eternity.
43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
When we accept Jesus, we will live lives that will produce godly fruit. Love (God’s), joy, peace, perseverance, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the fruits that come from living in God. Do not let your sin rob you of these.
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
God calls us to share in His banquet. But when we refuse to accept to have a personal relationship with God, we lose being able to share in His banquet. God will allow you to stay in your sin and lose your reward with Him. This parable is also about the Hebrews and their relationship with God. And when they were called, many decided not to believe in the Son of God. God always knew that He wanted all His children to come to know Him and so in His earthly life, He opened the way for all to come to God. So when we are called and we say yes to Jesus but make no attempt to surrender our lives to God, to change and follow God’s way, but instead follow what we think is right, we are not clothed in God. So we will not be able to enter into heaven but will be in the darkness of hell. For we are invited to live with God; but few of us chose to follow the way of God.
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
God is always calling out to us, to gather us to Him.
38 Two rebels were crucified with Him, one on His right and one on His left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at Him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You Who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! Come down from the cross, if You are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked Him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but He can’t save Himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue Him now if He wants Him, for He said, ‘I AM the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him.
Jesus took all the insults and our sins and died on the cross, so that we may be forgiven. Only in accepting Jesus do we have forgiveness. When Jesus was being crucified, those who were children of the devil mocked Him. So many people today mock Jesus with the way that they live their lives. They brazenly live immoral lives, flaunting their sins proudly and mocking God. Jesus did not answer them but died for our sins. He forgave them for what they did for killing Him. Jesus teaches us to forgive as He forgave and died for.
46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[a] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”).[b]
a. Matthew 27:46 Some manuscripts Eloi, Eloi
b. Matthew 27:46 Psalm 22:1
When I read this, I think to myself how wonderful Jesus is. Imagine God becoming one of us and feeling searing pain, His skin torn and His body beaten. His hands and feet nailed to the cross because of His love for us. To the end of His earthly life, Jesus taught us from the cross, that in our sin we are forsaken but in His forgiveness through the cross, we are saved and no longer forsaken. Would you have taken Jesus’ place? If He called to you today, to give your life in exchange for a stranger’s, would you? Thank You Jesus for the cross and Your forgiveness.
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His Spirit.
And Jesus died for you and me. He gave His life, His Spirit to forgive us.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split
Creation reacting to the death of the Creator, the curtain that veiled humans from seeing God, ripped apart as God’s love is exposed in His death and forgiveness.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, Who was crucified. 6 He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ Now I have told you.”
The promise of our forgiveness, a resurrected life after death is what God has for us who accept Jesus, His way, His truth, and His life. We need not fear death because Jesus has risen from the dead and buried our sins and made us righteous in His resurrection.
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell His disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” He said. They came to Him, clasped His feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see Me.”
The first people who saw Jesus were the women who had been forgiven and followed Him. When they saw Him, they clung to Him and worshipped Him. There is no fear in Jesus. Go and tell others about Him.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I AM with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We are all disciples of Jesus when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Forgive for your sake in Christ. Satan takes advantage of us when we have been wronged and fill us with hate against the person who sinned against us. Forgiving someone frees you from the chains of the devil. By baptism we are washed clean and the Holy Spirit comes and lives in us. By our lives let us teach others about God. God is with us always and loves us. May all surrender their lives to His cross, His love and live in His forgiveness. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.