Jesus said that repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations (Luke 24:47) and so that is what we should also preach today as Christ’s disciples. The good news is that God has already forgiven us of all our sins—past, present and future. That is truly good news. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). God has already forgiven us even before we were born. God has already forgiven us before we said “Sorry”—before we asked him for forgiveness. Christ did it for us some 2,000 years ago. It’s been done. It’s an accomplished fact and it’s for everybody.
The Gospel to be Preached
The good news therefore that we need to preach is that: since we have already been forgiven of all our sins, let us therefore repent and turn to God.
But wonder of wonders, why is it hard for us humans to forgive our fellow human beings? That is the message that Christ wants us to learn in Matthew 18:21-35. In this story, a king wanted to have an accounting and he called one of his servants who owed him millions. This servant begged for mercy and extension to be able to repay his debts. The king had mercy and actually cancelled the debt! He was freed from all obligations.
And yet this same servant could not extend the same love and mercy to a fellow servant who owed him just a few coins! Aren’t we all like that when we don’t forgive our fellowmen who trespass against us? Why?
The reason we can’t forgive is because of our pride, our sense of justice, our need for vengeance—revenge! Christ warns us against this kind of attitude. We would rather hang on to our pride than give it up. We wouldn’t want to lose this something we “value”—our pride and the need to take revenge.
Christ teaches us to forgive others unconditionally just like he forgave us even before we asked for his forgiveness. This is illustrated wonderfully by the Lord Jesus himself in the Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-31). Even before the lost son could say “I’m sorry,” the father has already forgiven him. This is the gospel. This is truly good news. The gospel is also about the gospel of forgiveness. Since we have already been forgiven, let us therefore turn back to God and repent.
Please be sure to read the “suggested reading” below. Highly recommended!
- Is God’s Forgiveness Conditional? (August 9, 2010)
- Is God’s Forgiveness Conditional? (August 20, 2011)