October 30, 2014

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Most of Paul’s letters have a “theological” section at first and then a “practical” section toward the end. For a thinking person, once you have the theological/theoretical framework, the practical stuff almost goes without saying. However, most of the time most of us don’t really think! We take God’s blessings for granted and fail to apply His truth to our daily living. What foolishness! This verse is certainly a case in point. When Jesus said that if we fail to forgive one another, we ourselves will not be forgiven, (Matthew 6:14-15) Paul’s exhortation would seem to be unnecessary. Sadly, though, it is very needed. Society exhorts us to “Look out for number one,” and we roll over those in our way, trying to get whatever we think we want or need. That’s no way to receive the blessings of God! It really comes down to faith. If we think it all depends on us, then we will be ruthless in pursuit of our goals. If we really believe that God is our loving heavenly Father, and that we exist only because of His will and His grace, then our focus will be on pleasing Him, rather than on getting or achieving for ourselves. This is again what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 6:33, spoken right after His words on forgiveness. If we see God as sovereign and ourselves as His children, then our focus will be on being good children and pleasing Daddy, and that’s the way it should be. Paul is simply reminding us of God’s grace toward us so that we may respond appropriately.

Since I grew up immersed in Biblical teaching, I have less excuse than most for failing to live up to it. When I have known from infancy that God loved me, I have no excuse at all not to express that love toward those around me. I find that people are surprised at how I live and act. Just yesterday I was asked by someone who was doing visitation rounds with me if I considered such ministry a matter of course. The answer was obviously yes, because I had never thought about it! I will not lead others to know the love and grace of God if I don’t express those qualities in my daily living. As John said, “Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)

Father, thank You for Your overwhelming love and grace toward me. Help me be an open conduit for that love and grace to flow to those around me, drawing them to You, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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