Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness

How many times shall we forgive our brother? Seven times a day? Jesus said: "Up to seventy times seven". Does this seem absurd? Not to God. This is taught by Jesus in the parable of the uncompassionate creditor (Mat. 18:21-35).

In this parable, the first thing that Jesus does is make us look at ourselves. How much did God forgive us in his grace? It is a debt that could not be paid, "for the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever" (Psalm. 49:8).

If we make the calculation, based on the parable, we would have to live 164.000 years to be able to pay the debt. Not even by selling all that we posses would we be able to pay up. Is it not incoherent that the slave, in verse 26, had lost patience to be able to cancel the debt? Nevertheless, his lord, full of grace and mercy, knowing that he was never going to be able to pay up, forgave his debt.

Was it not the same with us? Our Lord, full of grace and mercy, canceled the certificate of debt, which was hostile to us, on the cross. Yes, completely, "having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way , having nailed it to the cross" (Col. 2:14).

Jesus continues to say that the slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him 100 days of work. Only 100 days. If he had gone to collect before, when he had his pending debt, it would have been acceptable. But he did this after he himself had been infinitely forgiven!

In verse 30 his fellow slave’s plea was the same plea he had just made to his lord; but he did not accept it; in exchange, he threw him in prison. Jesus goes on to teach that when the slave’s lord found out, he was moved with anger and handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. He then says: "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart" (v. 35).

Adding to our calculations, if this slave forgives his fellow slave’s debt seventy times each day, for a period of more than 50 years, forgiving 490 times per day, even so, his fellow servant’s debt would be 25 times less than his own.

The mystery of godliness, found in 1 Timothy 3:16, teaches us that the God of grace, lovable, merciful, and righteous, was manifested in flesh. Jesus is the exact representation of his nature (Hebrews 1:3). In Jesus Christ we see all of God’s kindness (Tim. 3:4). In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form (Col. 2:9).

This mystery of godliness continues. The kind and gentle God, who was revealed in flesh and was vindicated in the Spirit, now wants to reveal his godly life through his people, his church (Ef. 2:10).

We must take this into account in order to see how merciful and graceful our God has been towards us, and how much he wants to reveal, through Christ, his godly life in us. "I desire compassion and not sacrifice", says our Lord.

Now, If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words , those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing (1 Tim. 6:3-4).

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