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Faith Matters: The blessings of forgiveness

  • Pastor Brett Reitenbach of the Greenfield Baptist Church on Main Street in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Pastor Brett Reitenbach of the Greenfield Baptist Church on Main Street in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ



Greenfield Baptist Church
Friday, November 09, 2018

(Each Saturday, a faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal perspective in this space. To become part of this series, email religion@recorder.com)

By PASTOR BRETT REITENBACH

Most of humanity is well-acquainted with wrongs being committed, both what they’ve experienced themselves and have witnessed regarding others. Many of those who wrong others never take the step or even recognize the need to apologize to those who’ve been hurt. Though not the same as reconciliation or trust, forgiveness makes those at least possible if one is truly sorry for what they have done. Forgiveness means “the pardon of an offense or crime.”

Forgiveness can result in great blessings, the first of which is eternal life based on God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ. This forgiveness remedies the eternal consequences for man’s sin problem. The Bible describes the standing before God that a person has when they trust in Jesus Christ as their one and only Savior. Jesus died “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10) to pay the price for sin. Colossians 1:12-14 says, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”

Becoming part of God’s spiritual family is a one-time event which means that a person’s past, present and future sins are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. Though relationships between people are not instantly and completely mended when forgiveness is sought and granted, reconciliation with God comes with His forgiveness. God saves people from the eternal punishment for sin so that He can have a relationship with them.

The second blessing of forgiveness from God is the restored relationship that results after failing in the Christian life. No one reaches sinless perfection in this life, including the believer in Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Committing sin does not take away a Christian’s salvation or change their eternal standing before God, but it does hinder that person’s relationship with God. For the Christian who wants to experience God’s presence and have God’s peace and guidance evident in their life, confessing sin to God on a regular basis keeps the Christian humble their relationship with God healthy. This type of forgiveness received from God affects fellowship, not salvation.

The blessings of forgiveness can also be experienced between two or more people. Though the pain of a hurtful word or act can linger depending on the severity of the offense, genuine forgiveness lightens the burden. Forgiving another person does not mean completely forgetting or trusting, but it does mean not holding the offense over the offender’s head and not having an attitude of hostility toward them. Some people wonder what should be done if the offender never admits wrong. Though the greatest extent of exercising forgiveness first requires an apology, it is still possible to have forgiveness in the heart and be ready to forgive an offender.

For Christians, the greatest reason to forgive others is the forgiveness that God has already granted us. Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Have you ever recognized your sinful condition and sought God’s forgiveness based on what Jesus Christ did on the cross? If not, I urge you to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be forgiven of all your sins. Is there something hindering your existing relationship with God which you need to confess to Him and experience his forgiveness? Is there someone whom you need to forgive or ask for their forgiveness? No matter how others might respond, seeking and granting forgiveness lifts burdens and brings personal blessings.

About Greenfield Baptist Church

Greenfield Baptist Church is an independent Baptist church founded in 2015 and which meets at 138 Main St. in Greenfield. The weekly Sunday schedule includes a Bible study at 9:30 a.m. and worship services at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. A prayer meeting is held on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. The church’s greatest priorities are to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to promote the strengthening of lives and homes through the practical teaching of the Bible. For more information, call 413-356-0150 or visit www.greenfieldbaptistchurch.net.