Matthew 18:21 - 22
ESV - 21 Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
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God's forgiveness and mercy towards us is endless. God loves to forgive us - but we must acknowledge our missteps and ask for His forgiveness. God already knows our sin. In order to reconcile the relationship that we broke - through broken promises - we must take the initiative and see restoration. We do that through the following: Confess - show God that we can acknowledge our sins. Repent - turn towards the proper path Seek forgiveness (1 Kings 8:33-34) At the same time, we must remember that God does rebuke those whom He loves (Prov. 3:11-12; Psalm 118:18; Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:4-13). So don't be surprised that God would be teaching you lessons (disciplining) along the way. We never enjoy it when God disciplines us for our wrongdoing but His discipline is always for our benefit (Heb. 12:13). What other lessons can we learn? If God is willing to forgive us, then how much more should we be willing to forgive those who hurt us. Matt 18:21-22 addresses our need to practice forgiveness towards others and to continually forgive those who upset us. Jesus teaches the path to peace is through forgiveness - not through anger or judgment towards others. Forgiveness is like a muscle that must be exercised. We must practice forgiveness so that when the day comes that someone betrays us in a significant manner we are conditioned to respond with forgiveness.
Why do you keep making promises to God? Should God accept you and forgive you because of your performance? Jesus came to die for our sins because none of us human beings could perform up to God's standard of perfection. We all have to admit our failures (sins) and throw ourselves on the mercy of God. The good news is that when we confess our sins and repent (desire in our heart to turn away from them) God will always forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (not just seventy-seven times but an unlimited number of times). Why, because we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour and we want him to be the Lord of our life. The moment we believed in Jesus, his blood washed all our sins away - past, present and future - and Jesus clothed us with his righteousness. So now when God looks at us, he sees Jesus. Isn't that great news? God loves every Christian (including you) "passionately, wholeheartedly and continuously". There is nothing we can do that would make God love us any more. What God longs for is that we would experience his love every day of our lives. That means all we have to do is spend time in his presence and our love and devotion for him will grow in return. We spend time in God's presence in the following ways (which have nothing to do with making promises to God): 1. Reading our bible As we read the Holy Spirit affirms that we are dearly loved children of God and reveals God's incredible plan for our lives, to build his kingdom and give him glory 2. Prayer As we have daily conversations with God through prayer, we bring all our issues and burdens to him and allow him to give us the wisdom and power that will transform our lives 3. Worship As we attend church services every week, we can give God praise for who he is and thanks for what he has done. We can have fellowship with other believers and develop true friends who will walk with us through the challenges of life 4. Christian service As we spend time helping other people in need, we see what happens when we deliver the love and blessings of God to other people, how it fills their lives with encouragement and hope. 5. Sharing the Gospel As we share what Jesus has done in our lives and the good news of the gospel message in the bible, we see the transformation that takes place when people's eyes are opened and their hearts are softened to the love of God. The performance that God desires from us is that we would fulfill the good works that God has prepared for us in advance. God will deal with the sin in our life as we spend time in his presence. It is God who will take away the sinful desires and fill us with his purity and holiness. All we have to do is "Love God" and "Love Other People".
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