Revealing God's grace through the 

finished work of Christ!

 * All content from PBM is free to use and share with others *

The Grace Curriculum

"Knowing God's forgiveness inspires us to grow."

Look at what Paul said in 2 Tim 1:6-7 — “6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you ... 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Paul told Timothy to stir up the gift of God. When someone is stirred up, they are “fired up” or inspired, and that is the meaning here (which word he used later in 3:16). The kind of inspiration that I’m talking about is the kind that God gives us through Christ, see Eph 4:20-21. Inspiration is the way that God stirs us up. The word INSPIRATION literally means “God blowing”. Inspiration is paramount for all spiritual growth and maturity in Christ. True inspiration then, can’t be worked up by what we do, because it results from our faith (our spiritual response) to God’s promises — for this is when He breathes the life of Jesus into us. For the next few studies, I want to give you some major inspirations that result in our dynamic growth in Christ for this upcoming year.

The first inspiration I want to talk about is God’s complete forgiveness of our sins. Many people have a problem with God’s complete forgiveness of our sins; primarily, because they perceive His forgiveness as human forgiveness (which is partial and progressive). The writer of the book of Hebrews, contrasts 2 kinds of forgiveness: a forgiveness which was progressive, and then a forgiveness which is perfect and complete. The forgiveness in the Old Covenant, which was progressive, is what the people of Israel had (it was based on the blood of animals). The forgiveness in the New Covenant is a perfect kind of forgiveness, because it’s based on Jesus’s blood. Look at what we read about our forgiveness in Heb 10:14 — “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Who are the sanctified? Everyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ and are changed by the new birth; they are sanctified as God’s children. How long are they in this condition? It is FOREVER! As soon as one comes to Christ, he is completely forgiven and made Righteous. The word FOREVER means that even when we sin, we are still perfected and because we’re perfected, we stand forgiven (This perfection is not a matter of behavior, but of your new being — this is who you are in Christ). 

Many people have the idea that people will run wild and do whatever they dream, if you tell them that through Christ, they have been perfected forever. They think that if people are told that all of our sins — past, present and future sins — were forgiven by God, it would be dangerous, giving them a license to abuse God’s grace and sin. They call that doctrine, “Greasy Grace”. But I want you to see that instead of God’s complete forgiveness of our sins encouraging us to sin, it inspires us to grow up into Christ. Here are some ways that it does.

1) God’s forgiveness inspires one to live in the freedom of Christ. In John 8:1-12, we read a story of a woman who was caught red-handed in adultery. The religious Pharisees wanted to stone her, and according to the law, they had the right to. But Jesus had something else in mind (Evidently, this was what the Father wanted Him to do for her). Instead of implementing the law towards this woman and having her stoned, Jesus displayed God’s amazing grace towards her and told her that she was forgiven and free from condemnation. Then the master added these important words, “go and sin no more.” What this shows us is the power of receiving God’s forgiveness of our sins through Christ, and its result of no more condemnation. Feeling condemned causes us to sin, and the ministry of condemnation is the law, see 2 Cor 3:9. Condemnation comes from thinking that God is holding us accountable for the sins we commit, and that is the sole purpose of the law. Condemnation keeps people in bondage to repeat the same sins over and over, because self-effort is powerless against sin. But the inspirational power of knowing God’s complete forgiveness of our sins liberates us from condemnation and puts an end to the cycle of sin, because it causes us to embrace our freedom in Christ, see Gal 5:1. A few verses later in John 8, Jesus made this familiar statement — “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” In context, we can see where this freedom comes from. It comes from receiving no more condemnation through the power of God’s forgiveness; for whom the son sets free is free indeed, see v.36!


2) God’s forgiveness inspires our love for the Lord. There’s a story in Luke 7:36-50, where Jesus was invited to dinner at a Pharisee’s house whose name was Simon. While they were reclining at the table, a known sinner of the community, knowing that Jesus was in the house, came in and started ministering to Him with fragrant oil. With her tears, she started washing Jesus’s feet and wiping them with her hair. This was her way of showing Him great love, respect and devotion. Simon and the other Pharisees in the house were shocked over this, knowing what kind of reputation this sinner had. So, Jesus used this event to teach them a lesson on true devotion, by giving them a parable about forgiveness. In the story he told them, one guy owed a tremendous amount of money to a creditor, and another guy owed him half as much. But this creditor forgave them both of their debt. Jesus asked Simon who he thought would love the creditor more. Simon correctly answered Him that it was the one who owed the most. Then Jesus, after explaining the difference of respect between the Pharisees and the woman showed Him, said to them — “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Notice that last phrase, “to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little”. That one statement from the lips of the Master explains the lack of love, devotion and respect so many believers have for the Lord. It explains why believers live their lives “footloose and fancy-free”. If we don’t understand God’s complete forgiveness of our sins through Christ — that means our past, present and future sins are forgiven — we will display our “love-little” lifestyle. Only when we understand that Jesus, by one offering, absorbed our entire sin-debt on the cross, and that we stand completely forgiven forever, our love and devotion to the Lord will blossom.

3) God’s forgiveness inspires our correct behavior. In 2 Pet 1:2-11, Peter teaches on our spiritual growth, which comes by the dynamic working of God’s grace in our lives. The first few words of v.5 say, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith”. FOR THIS VERY REASON, means that because we are sharers of the divine nature, v.4, we are to give all DILIGENCE, not to give all EFFORT. Diligence deals with our attention to learn things. Our spiritual growth is a matter of being attentive to learn the things because we are sharers of the divine nature. So, we’re adding the true knowledge of Christ (His Redemption, v.2) to what we believe (our faith). Then, after Peter lists a few attributes of knowledge that we are to be diligent to know, he says — “For he who lacks these things (working in his life) is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” The most important piece of knowledge and the foundation which we are to build those other aspects on is that we’ve been cleansed from our sins. Without this important knowledge of God’s forgiveness, the other attributes of knowledge that Peter listed here will not be learned. Peter says that this believer is SHORTSIGHTED, even to BLINDNESS. Do you see from this how our understanding of God's forgiveness and cleansing of our sins is the springboard for our spiritual growth and maturity in Christ? Without this important fount of knowledge, believers will constantly stumble in their Christian walk, v.10-11.

4) God’s forgiveness inspires our forgiveness of others. Look at what Paul said about this in Eph 4:32 — “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Notice that we aren’t to come up with our own kind of forgiveness (“I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget!”), but we’re to forgive others EVEN AS God in Christ has forgiven us. If we’re to use His forgiveness towards us as our standard to forgive others, then it’s extremely important that we grow in the knowledge and awareness of His absolute forgiveness of our sins. 

Paul also said this in another way in Col 3:13 — “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” In the other verse, God was our standard of forgiveness. But here in this verse, Christ is our standard. Why did Paul switch this up? It’s not just because God and Christ are one of the same, but the context here in Colossians is that we are not to complain about others (Which we seem to be famous for doing). If anyone had a right to complain about people, it was Jesus as He was accused and sentenced to death on the cross. Even when the Roman soldiers beat and ridicule Him, He didn’t complain. Amazingly, He didn’t complain at all (There was no guile found in His mouth, see 1 Pet 2:22)! That’s the standard we are to use in our forgiveness of others, and it reflects from knowing how much we are forgiven. 

There’s no doubt in my mind, God’s forgiveness inspires us to grow up into Christ.


Make a free website with Yola