Wednesday, July 6, 2016

P2 How forgiveness is the key to accessing God's power for daily living

Philemon 1:25 "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit."

Yesterday we began considering how forgiveness functions as a key for the Christian gaining access to daily empowerment for godly living. We noted yesterday how God's grace is like a door through which one enters to gain access to all of God's power and presence. For the Christian, nearly every day is filled with opportunities to choose forgiveness or the taking up of offense. Each time we turn the key of forgiveness, we walk through the grace God grants to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells the Christian in their human spirit. Not only does He so desire the Christian to walk in His power and presence, but He so desires to walk forth in the Christian. Paul reference to Philemon's spirit indicates the arena in which he expected God's grace and power to operate once Philemon forgave Onesimus. Today we continue on looking at the relationship between forgiveness and the experience of God's power for daily living. 

How forgiveness is closely connected to texts that teach on God's power in the Christian life
When forgiveness is regularly practiced by the Christian, the doorway of the grace of the Spirit-filled life is immediately accessed. I find it interesting that in key New Testament passages where the Spirit-empowered, Spirit-filled life is mentioned, forgiveness is close by. For example, Romans 15:7 states: "Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God." This verse is another way of expressing what we find in forgiveness passages such as Colossians 3:13 and Ephesians 4:32, wherein we read in both those texts: "forgive as the Lord forgave you". It is not even several verses later that we find Paul mentioning in Romans 15:13 "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Within the human spirit of the Christian the Holy Spirit indwells. The Holy Spirit so desires to work forth His power in my life. However, when faced with the prospect of holding onto bitterness or exercising forgiveness - which will I choose? By accepting one another or forgiving one another as God in Christ accepted and forgave us in salvation, we gain access to His power.

We could go on noting how other key passages connect this key of forgiveness to the graceful doorway of God's power. Galatians 5:13-15 is warning people to not operate in unforgiveness, since the urgency of the Spirit's leading is commanded in Galatians 5:16. Ephesians 4:32 urges forgiveness and in the same context, we find the command given in Ephesians 5:18 to be "filled with the Holy Spirit". Or consider Colossians 3:13, wherefore the Christian is to "forgive as the Lord forgave", and then find the principle of the Spirit-filled life spelled out in Colossians 3:16-17. The Apostle Peter includes within his teaching on the Spirit-empowered life in 2 Peter 1:4-11 the practice of "exercising brotherly-kindness" in 2 Peter 1:7. Again, the key of forgiveness is needed to access the doorway of grace placed before the Christian, behind which lies the treasures of living and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Why forgiveness was necessary for Philemon and why it is necessary for the Christian to regularly access the power of the Holy Spirit for daily living
As we return back to Philemon 1:25, we can see why Paul closed out his short letter to Philemon the way he did. Paul was not only eager to see Philemon walk in the power of the Spirit, he was confident that Philemon would follow through in forgiving Onesimus (compare Philemon 1:21). For Philemon to enjoy the grace or power of God working forth in his human spirit, he needed to forgive. In what we have noted in other New Testament passages, Christians today need to regularly practice forgiveness if they expect to walk forth in the power of the Holy Spirit. Too often, we as Christian walk in defeat or live mediocre Christian lives due to the fact of retaining bitterness for the offenses we take up in the course of life. If we will but take God at His word and forgive as He forgave us, the doorway of grace He places before us to walk in and commune with the Holy Spirit residing in our human spirit will be readily accessible. Forgiveness is the key we need to turn to access His power for daily living.  

1 comment:

  1. Dashing quote. such saying really touches heart! Forgiveness Quotes at its best is always impressive.