Forgiveness And Faith
By W. C. Moore
Forgiveness and faith are closely knit together.
"Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
"And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment" (1 John 3:21-23).
It is remarkable that in outlining the manner of our approach to our Heavenly Father, after Jesus had closed the Lord's Prayer and said, "Amen," (Matt. 6:13) – He repeated only one of the instructions of this outstanding prayer, and that one repetition had to do with our own actual, genuine, from-the-heart forgiveness of trespasses. "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:14-15).
In Mark 11:22-24, Jesus gave another intensive word on prayer – effective prayer – the prayer of faith that accomplishes things. And immediately he follows up his teaching in the very next two verses with these words: "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." (Mark 11:25-26).
These precious words of Jesus, our Lord, are indeed for us today, friends. Oh, let us heed them heartily!
Further Words of Jesus
"Again I say unto you," Jesus says, "That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven. For where two, or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:19-20). Then follows that wonderful lesson on forgiveness in the parable of the servant who owed ten thousand talents, etc., and winding up the lesson, Jesus says, "So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses" (Matt. 18:35).
"He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination" (Prov. 28:9). "The Lord is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous" (Prov. 15:29).
We cannot expect God to fellowship sin, and if we permit sin to rule in our lives, we rule out – expel – grieve away the Holy Dove of God's Spirit and fail to have His wonderful help in prayer. Oh, how we need that help! "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought" (Rom. 8:26). "Without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:2). "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you…If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love" (John 15:7, 10).
Sometimes we find our prayers unanswered and ourselves out of victory and we wonder why. Let us see if some "root of bitterness" has not sprung up in our hearts and defiled us (Heb. 12:15); or some "little foxes" (Song 2:15) have been at work in our lives and spoiled the fruit of our lives and made us and our testimony to be sour and repulsive to God and to others.
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Eph. 4:32).
Oh, may God help us in these last days to glorify Him – not glorify ourselves. Let us cry out to Him for grace to love one another and to be tenderhearted.
If we backbite and condemn others – perhaps they are better than we are. "An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor" (Prov. 11:9). "Thus saith the Lord…thou…hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself" (2 Chr. 21:12-13).
"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Luke 6:37).