Forgiveness is Sacrificial

“And he shall cause all its fat to go up in a smoke offering upon the altar as the fat of the sacrifice of the peace offering, and so the priest shall make atonement for him from his sin, and he will be forgiven.”

(Leviticus 4:26)

 

“If then the blood of male goats and bulls and ashes of a heifer sprinkled over the ones who are defiled sanctifies the flesh for purification, how much more the blood of Christ, which through the eternal Spirit, offered himself blameless to God, will cleanse our conscience from the dead for serving the living God?”

(Hebrews 9:13-14)

 

            Forgiveness does not come easily, but comes at a great cost.  Even unintentional or accidental sins (which the passage from Leviticus is dealing with) are not dismissed without cost.  And though the one who is asking the forgiveness may have to pay a cost, ultimately it is the one doing the forgiving that pays the greatest cost.  It is dangerous to forgive someone because when you do that, you open yourself up and make yourself vulnerable to being hurt again.  Yet, God paid the ultimate cost to offer you and I forgiveness—he sent his son to die on the cross to pay the blood penalty for our sins. 

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,

What wondrous love is this, O my soul!

What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss

To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,

To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

            This sacrificial nature of forgiveness is not something that our culture values.  People usually end up on one of two extremes.  The one who has offended usually wants to take no responsibility for their offense, wanting a “get out of jail free pass” as part of your forgiveness.  In contrast, the one who has been harmed usually wants the person to pay, and pay, and pay, whether that be in a huge monetary settlement or by laying a burden of guilt upon the other party.  This is not the model that God sets for us.  While we were still rebelling in sin, he sent his son to live and to die on a cross to bring atonement.  He has promised us that if we repent of our sins, he will forgive us, the price of the sin being already paid by the blood of Christ. 

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing;

To God and to the Lamb, who is the great I AM,

While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,

While millions join the theme, I will sing!

            If our Lord, full of holiness and grace, would choose to sacrifice himself to bring us forgiveness, should we not also model this in our lives? One of the greatest ways that we can demonstrate God’s love and forgiveness is by forgiving others with the same sacrificial willingness that our Lord demonstrated to us.  Friends, this life is short and passing away.  Though the hurts and injuries caused by others my seem insurmountable now, in the scope of eternity, they are insignificant and will pass away with this life.  What better way can you bless someone than by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with them through your forgiveness—as much as that forgiveness might cost you to give.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on;

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be,

And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,

And through eternity I’ll sing on!

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