We see Jesus,
who was made a little lower than the angels
for the suffering of death,
crowned with glory and honour.
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"And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17).
I heard of a Christian man who was dying and not happy. The cause of the unhappiness was that for years he had nursed unkind feelings towards a fellow Christian. Some quarrel had happened between them, and neither had had the grace to forgive the other. Conscious that he was soon to be in the presence of the Lord, he sent for the brother, and confessing his hard feelings besought his forgiveness, and at the bedside of the dying man these two, long divided in heart, were reconciled, and with the reconciliation returned the joy of the Lord's approval and of happy, holy fellowship with each other. It is probable that the lack of joy and freshness in many Christian lives, and much of the futile energy put forth in service, can he traced to the same sort of spirit that had robbed these two of joy for years. It is a matter about which every Christian heart should be exercised, for the fact is, we are not in communion with the Lord if we nurse an unforgiving spirit. If I have hard feelings on my heart against any saint on earth, I am out of communion with the Lord no matter how great my zeal may be in His service or extensive my knowledge of His truth. And the things of God cannot prosper in the hands of anyone who is out of communion with the Lord. The deadness in many companies of Christians may be traced to this same cause; roots of bitterness have been allowed to develop and bear their horrid fruit, and what is of Christ has languished and died. Ecclesiastical correctness will not compensate for this. God looks at the heart, and to be externally right and inwardly wrong is an abomination to Him.
Forgiveness is the very genius and spirit of Christianity. It is the way that God met us at first. He forgave us for Christ's sake. We could not have been in His presence at all, and certainly could not have been happy there on any other ground, but if we do not forgive one another we cannot have the joy of the place grace has given us even though we cannot lose the place. And Christ has forgiven us, and as He has forgiven us we are to forgive one another (Col. 3:13). Think of the measure of His forgiveness, He has not only pardoned all our sin and enmity against Himself, but He has made us members of His body; this is the measure and character of His forgiveness, and this is the force of the passage in Colossians 3. He can have nothing against us for ever since we are members of His body, for how could the head of a body maintain a quarrel with or have hard feelings against any member of it. How intimate is our relationship with Him, it could not be closer, for we are part of Himself; this could not have been had not all our transgressions been forgiven and all distance and reserve removed. But equally so are we members of one another, and to be unforgiving, impatient and hard toward one another is to deny in practice the whole truth of the body of Christ. To be unforgiving disturbs everything, throws everything out of gear, hinders all joy and progress, grieves the Holy Spirit, dishonours the Lord and delights the devil.
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May the Lord bless and encourage you to go on in the pathway of faith for His glory.
Yours in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ,