"I am sorry, will you forgive me?" With those words, we humble ourselves and ask someone for forgiveness for something that we have done to them and when they accept our request, we and they feel better and have started the process of renewing our relationship with one another. Likewise, when we are the offended party, when we say, "Yes, I forgive you," we have exemplified one of the most wonderful teaching examples that Our Savior offered in his most tragic of moments in his short thirty-three year time on earth as a man and a God. Even though he was in the final moments of his pain and suffering on the Cross, just before His death He asked for the Father to "forgive them, for they know not what they do."
How many of us fail to recognize the wonderful gift that Christ gave us when He forgave us for our sins just before He died? How many of us don't realize that even though He took that step, we have to accept His offer of forgiveness and accept it by making the decision to live our lives for Him? Finally, how many of us don't even realize that making that commitment with our own free will is the only way to receive Salvation and the gift of Eternal Life? Sadly, there are many of us who claim to be Christians who say we understand these questions yet have given them only lip service, not honest commitment to what is required.
The words of the Apostle Paul at the opening of this discourse make it very clear what Christ wanted from us for He was a writer who drew His words from the direct inspiration of the Living God. Christ forgiving us for our sins, meaning all of mankind past, present, and future means we must forgive those who sin against us. The Living God our Creator expects us to live for Him, so it is clear that having love in our hearts and a willingness to forgive others is part of that arrangement. That is a choice that each of us must make, as we decide to either use our free will to choose Eternity in the Kingdom of God or Eternal darkness in a place that will cause us to agonize for Eternity. Life on earth is very short on the scale of Eternity and it is our training ground to determine our future. Choose wisely, my friends, and be blessed in a new life so grand, so glorious and so peaceful that the richest Kings, business executives or world leaders and others with opulent earthly lifestyles can not, just like us, even come close to imagining how wonderful it will be. Whether or not we make it there is our choice, our decision and our permanent outcome. Here's praying that we all make the right decision. Live for God and live with Him forever in peace.
Perhaps there is no better way to close this edition of Sunday Morning Coming Down than to offer one of the most popular benedictions in the Christian Church and one which closes every Sunday service in my small, rural church. It comes from the Book of Numbers (6:24-26) in the Old Testament:
May the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
All I need to add is Amen. Be blessed this Lord's Day and spend some quality time with Him in His House of Worship.