Sunday Sermon Series – Forgiveness

Summary of the Book of Philemon - Bible Survey | GotQuestions.org

AMP and RVR 1960 


CONTEXT/SUMMARY

Summary of the Book of Philemon

I have been reflecting upon v.6 all week,  I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective and powerful because of your accurate knowledge of every good thing which is ours in Christ.  Paul says to Philemon that he prays that his ability to share his faith will be effective and powerful BECAUSE of his accurate knowledge of God’s Holy Word. 

I tried to find a sermon just upon that theme but could not (I may have to write my own), what I did find were many overarching themes about forgiveness. In the end I found the following the most complete.


SERMONS

Here is a three part series from John MacArthur that I hope you will be a blessing to you. 

The Beauty and Blessing of Forgiveness, Part 1  Philemon 1-3

The Beauty and Blessing of Forgiveness, Part 2 Philemon 4-18

The Beauty and Blessing of Forgiveness, Part 3Philemon 19–25

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/07/2020

PSALM 32 | CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS | RISE UP - YouTube

PSALM 32 

CONTEXT: Used as one of the early church’s penitential psalms (Pss 63851102130143), this thanksgiving psalm focuses on the forgiveness of sins. The psalmist begins by extolling the blessings of forgiveness (vv. 1–2). He then shares how he suffered until he acknowledged his sin and was forgiven (vv. 3–5). He encourages the godly to pray to God, who preserved him from trouble (vv. 6–7). Yahweh then speaks, encouraging people to follow His instruction and teaching (vv. 8–9). The psalmist concludes by encouraging the righteous to rejoice in Yahweh (vv. 10–11). Faithlife Study Bible, Ps. 32

I think their are three important points to make regarding this psalm I will try and be brief: 

v.1-2 Happy or blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven. As we noted in yesterdays devotional thought I can not remember ever meeting anyone who wants to be sad or unhappy. Here David says one key to happiness is confessing our sins and being forgiven by God.

Whose transgression is forgiven. We may lull the soul asleep with carnal delights, but the virtue of that opium will be soon spent. All those joys are but stolen waters, and bread eaten in secret–a poor sorry peace that dares not come to the light and endure the trial; a sorry peace that is soon disturbed by a few serious and sober thoughts of God and the world to come; but when once sin is pardoned, then you have true joy indeed. “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” Mt 9:2. Thomas Manton.

v.6-7 Prayer can never be under emphasized. C. H. Spurgeon said of prayer, the very act of prayer is a blessing” It is a twofold blessing in fact, for it blesses the person one is praying for and you who are praying. 

 For this shall every one that is godly. We are here furnished with a fact which does not appear in the history of David. It is commonly supposed that after his grievous fall, till Nathan reproved him, he had been careless and stupefied; and this has often been adduced as a proof of the hardening nature of sin. But the thing was far otherwise. He was all the while tortured in his mind, yet unwilling to humble himself before God, and condemn himself before men, as he ought to have done. He kept silence and endeavoured to pass off the distress by time, palliation, and excuse. But the repression and concealment of his anguish preyed not only upon his peace, but his health, and endangered life itself. At length he was reduced to the deepest penitence, and threw himself, by an unqualified confession, on the compassion of God. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee. Here we see not only that all the godly pray, but every one of them prays for pardon. This is the very thing which our Saviour teaches his disciples: “When ye pray, say, Forgive us our trespasses.” And this praying does not only regard the manifestation of forgiving mercy, as some would have it, but the exercise of it. William Jay.

v.10-11 Wicked vs. Righteous no matter the perils of life the Love of God for His chosen people will never fail. This gives us cause to rejoice even in the worst of times and especially in the best. 

O sing unto this glittering glorious King.
O praise his name let every living thing;
Let heart and voice, like bells of silver, ring
The comfort that this day doth bring.
–Kinwellmersh, quoted by A. Moody Stuart.

What is it today you need to confess and be forgiven of to be truly happy? 

 

What Does It Mean That God Chose Us?

What Does It Mean That God Chose Us before the Foundation of the World? (Ephesians 1)

Benjamin L. Merkle

What does it mean that God “chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4a)? Why is this significant? What is God’s end goal in this?

READ MORE 

Ready to Forgive

There has been an abundance of stuff on the internet (and since it is there its all true 🙂  of course) regarding COVID-19 being God’s judgement on the earth. First off no one has anyway of knowing that to be factual. Could it be God’s judgement sure, do we, mankind as a whole deserve it, for certain. Does that mean God purposely brought this upon us; NO. As I noted in an early post the true cause (or blame if you insist) is man-made and man’s depravity (sinfulness) alone. 

I got this today in my inbox and was reminded of a few years back when I was Chaplain at the county jail and preached through Nehemiah. I love that book, it is about restoration and was (is) very appropriate for the setting but also for the world in general. 

Logos.com

No quisieron oír, ni se acordaron de tus maravillas que habías hecho con ellos; antes endurecieron su cerviz, y en su rebelión pensaron poner caudillo para volverse a su servidumbre. Pero tú eres Dios que perdonas, clemente y piadoso, tardo para la ira, y grande en misericordia, porque no los abandonaste. (RVR 1960)
CONTEXT:

In Chapter 8 Ezra has read the Law from the Holy Scripture this causes those assembled to realize their sinfulness and confess it before God. 

As part of that prayer we find the words above: 

MAN’S CONDITION 

They refused to obey Reference their forefathers who had fled Egypt, and now sinned against God’s Law

were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, They ignored all God had done for them, in this case Manna, Guidance, Red Sea, etc. Today it is the little things we attribute to luck and such.

they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. Instead of obeying God when they knew better they preferred the slavery of Egypt. Today man prefers his sinfulness over the light. Romans 1:18-22, John 3:17-20

GOD’S ATTRIBUTES

you are a God ready to forgive, Ezra confirms a truth seen throughout the bible, God is ready to forgive those who repent of their sinful ways.

gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, God’s character is such that He cannot help but be gracious and merciful to His chosen people all the more so if they will turn from their evil, sinful ways. 

and did not forsake them one thing we know for certain God will never leave or forsake His chosen people. He may discipline them, He may cast them to the winds, but He will never forsake them. 

Maybe it is time we as a community of believers turn and repent and start following God without any of man’s doctrines thrown in.

What Is the Unpardonable Sin?

FROM  Jul 09, 2018

What Is the Unpardonable Sin?

Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” (Mark 3:28–29).

I cannot tell you how many times in my teaching career very distraught Christians have come to me to ask about the unpardonable sin and whether they might have committed it. I suspect most believers have asked themselves whether they have done something unforgivable. It is not surprising that many people struggle with this issue because the precise nature of “the unpardonable sin” is difficult to discern and many theories about it have been set forth through church history. For instance, some people have argued that the unpardonable sin is murder and others have said that it is adultery, because they see the serious consequences that those sins wreak on the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage. But I can speak with full assurance that neither of those sins is unpardonable. There are two reasons for my assurance. First, Scripture shows us examples of people who committed these sins and were forgiven. Exhibit A is David, who was guilty of both adultery and murder, and yet, after his confession and repentance, he was restored fully to his state of grace. Second, and more important, when Jesus taught on the unpardonable sin, He said nothing about murder or adultery.

Amen

What, then, did Jesus say? He began in a radical way by saying, “Assuredly, I say to you.” Sometimes evangelical Christians who want to express agreement with something they have heard from a preacher or a teacher will say “Amen.” The word amen is transliterated from the Hebrew amein, which means “truth” or “it is true,” so those saying “Amen” are agreeing with what they have heard. But instead of giving His teaching and waiting for His hearers to say “Amen,” Jesus Himself said “Amen” before He gave His teaching. The word translated as “assuredly” here is the Greek equivalent of the word amein. In other words, Jesus announced that He was about to say something true. This was a way of saying, “Now hear this.” He was giving great emphasis to the teaching He was about to utter.

What is Blasphemy?

Jesus then stated that “all sins” can be forgiven, including “whatever blasphemies”—except for the specific blasphemy of the Spirit. Luke’s account of this teaching is even more specific: “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven” (Luke 12:10).

At this point, we need to define blasphemy, and this verse from Luke gives us a clue as to what it is. The two phrases “who speaks a word against” and “who blasphemes” are parallel. Blasphemy, then, involves speaking a word against God. It is a verbal sin, one that is committed with the mouth or the pen. It is desecration of the holy character of God. It can involve insulting Him, mocking Him, or dishonoring Him. In a sense, it is the opposite of praise. Even casually using the name of God by saying, “Oh, my God,” as so many do, constitutes blasphemy. We can be very thankful that the unpardonable sin is not just any kind of blasphemy, because if it were, none of us would have any hope of escaping damnation. All of us have, at many times and in many ways, routinely blasphemed the name of God.

Blasphemy Against the Son of Man

Jesus’ statement that “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him” seems shocking in light of the abuse and mistreatment He later went through, culminating in His execution on a Roman cross. But we must remember how, as He hung on the cross, Jesus looked at those who had delivered Him to the Romans and mocked Him as He was dying, and said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Even though these men opposed Christ to the point of executing Him, there was still hope of forgiveness for them. Likewise, in the book of Acts, Peter told the people of Jerusalem that they had delivered Jesus to the Romans and denied Him, but he added, “I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers” (Acts 3:17), and he called on them to repent. So, on at least two occasions, the New Testament makes it clear that forgiveness was possible for those who despised Christ so much that they killed Him. These accounts verify Jesus’ assertion that any sin against the Son of Man could be forgiven.

Blasphemy Against the Spirit

But what of blasphemy against the Spirit? To understand this difficult saying, we need to see that it came in the context of Jesus’ opponents charging Him with doing His work by the power of the Devil rather than by the power of the Holy Spirit. However, they were not slandering the Spirit—not quite. Their statements were directed against Jesus. So, He said to them: “You can blaspheme Me and be forgiven, but when you question the work of the Spirit, you are coming perilously close to the unforgivable sin. You are right at the line. You are looking down into the abyss of hell. One more step and there will be no hope for you.” He was warning them to be very careful not to insult or mock the Spirit.

Christians and The Unpardonable Sin

Humanly speaking, everyone who is a Christian is capable of committing the unforgivable sin. However, I believe that the Lord of glory who has saved us and sealed us in the Holy Spirit will never let us commit that sin. I do not believe that any Christians in the history of the church have blasphemed the Spirit.

As for those who are not sure they are saved and are worried they may have committed the unpardonable sin, I would say that worrying about it is one of the clearest evidences that they have not committed this sin, for those who commit it are so hardened in their hearts they do not care that they commit it. Thanks be to God that the sin that is unpardonable is not a sin He allows His people to commit.

This excerpt is adapted from Mark St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary series by R.C. Sproul.

Daily Devotional – Don’t Be Defined by Your Past

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Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just [a]when You speak,
And blameless when You judge. (NKJV) 

Contra ti, contra ti solo he pecado, Y he hecho lo malo delante de tus ojos;
Para que seas reconocido justo en tu palabra, Y tenido por puro en tu juicio. (RVR 1960)

Some folks refuse to accept God’s gracious invitation of eternal life through Christ because they “feel” they are unworthy, their past “sins” are too great.  Yet here is King David calling out the the Lord in probably the greatest recorded confession and repentance letter (Psalm) ever, acknowledging his sins, pleading with God for forgiveness. 

David understood that above all else we sin against the Holy God of all creation. He also understood that a Holy God is a merciful God and Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins [a]and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

No matter your past (Adulterer, Arsonist, Murderer or even Rapist) if you are a truly converted and redeemed child of God (producing fruits of the Spirit for all to seethen it is time for you to move on from your past offending behaviors. You must resist Satan’s attempts to keep your mind behind Isaiah 43:18 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old” and look to the future. 

That does not mean that you completely forget or ignore your past mistakes. How stupid would that be? In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul makes the following statement: Brethren, I do not count myself to have [a]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” He is not dwelling on the past (Paul was a mass murderer of Christians) in order that he may carry on the work of Christ Jesus. 

In conclusion the next time you are tempted by Satan or his minions (that is anyone doing his bidding telling you you’re unworthy) to Be Defined by Your Past I want you to remember these verses:

You are a new person in ChristGalatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  

Satan and his minions future is setMatthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:”

 

 

Who is a God like You

Micah 7:18

Image result for Who is a God like You

Who is a God like You, who forgives wickedness
And passes over the rebellious acts of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He [constantly] delights in mercy and lovingkindness. (AMP)

¿Qué Dios como tú, que perdona la maldad, y olvida el pecado del remanente de su heredad? No retuvo para siempre su enojo, porque se deleita en misericordia. (RVR1960)

     Have you ever stood by the edge of the sea and felt the power of under tow. Or maybe you have never ventured to an ocean but have stood at the base of a mountain (or better on top) and taken in all of it’s majesty. Some have never left the great plains but have seen them rolling on what seems like forever. All of these are just a portion of the many ways we know there is no God like the God of the Bible the creator (Genesis 1) of all things. 

In our text this morning Chapter 7 begins with the prophet Micah crying out “Woe is me” because the nation of Israel has once again gone astray and failed to follow God’s commands. He goes on in v.7 to say Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. 

We know that salvation comes from God alone, by Faith alone through Christ alone Micah did also. He will look to the Lord, and he will wait for the God of my salvation. But he did not sit idly by (waiting) he confessed  v.8-13 of the sins of Israel. 

In v.14-17  Micah calls upon the promised comfort of God for those who turn (repent) from their evil ways. Then we get to our main text v.18: 

Who is a God like You, What other (false) god could compare to a God like you who has come through for this nation of sinners so many times, never wavering on your promises

who forgives wickedness; Time after time you are ready to forgive our transgressions, when others are so ready to condemn us

And passes over the rebellious acts of the remnant of His possession? This is not to imply God did not or does not require payment or actions for our sins. Christ paid the Sin penalty for God’s elect, we must act accordingly and ask forgiveness whenever we sin (1 John 1:9)

He does not retain His anger forever, God hates sin (and the sinner) but a loving God does not retain that hate against those who repent.  

Because He [constantly] delights in mercy and lovingkindnessMicah tells us why God does not hold a grudge or retain anger, it is because His nature is one of mercy and lovingkindness. The Psalmist put it this way Psalm 147:11 The Lord favors those who fear and worship Him [with awe-inspired reverence and obedience], Those who wait for His mercy and lovingkindness.

There is no other God like that of the Bible; one so ready to forgive those who are so ready to offend. 

This Sunday: A Call2Fall for God’s People

June 25, 2019 – Tuesday / By FRC’s National Prayer Director, Pierre Bynum

As of the end of Calendar Year 2017 the Gallup group put out information from a survey stating the following:

Protestants continue to make up the largest religious group in Americatotaling 49% of U.S. adults interviewed as part of Gallup’s Daily tracking in 2017. Catholics are the next-largest group, at 23% of the population, with Mormons accounting for about 2%. This means that about three-quarters of Americans, overall, identify with a Christian faith.

With an estimated population of 326,971,407 can you imagine if just 10% of these folks participated! 32 and a half million people crying out to God, glory!

Samuel Huntington: Signer of the Declaration of Independence, president of Congress, judge and Governor of Connecticut – March 9, 1791

It becomes a people publicly to acknowledge the over-ruling hand of Divine Providence and their dependence upon the Supreme Being as their Creator and Merciful Preserver . . . and with becoming humility and sincere repentance to supplicate the pardon that we may obtain forgiveness through the merits and mediation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A Call2Fall for God’s People

Amid the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln called all Americans to a day of prayer, fasting, and “humili[ty].” The Prophet Joel, called Judah, the Southern Kingdom of a divided Israel, to a Solemn Assembly, saying: “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity” Joel 2:12-13. We need such times of prayer and repentance in America today — we have strayed so far from God and his ways.

As we all know, America’s problems and divisions are not political at their root — but spiritual. They can be resolved only when God’s people choose to honor God, believe, and obey Him.

The Call2Fall is a reminder of the Biblical Solemn Assembly, prolonged seasons of prayer, repentance, fasting and returning to God. It is a powerful token that God has honored by His presence in churches and homes, again and again. Amid our personal, cultural and national sins, it is a reminder of the kind of prayer we need every day. It is not a fancy program or a big show. It is a time for churches to set aside time during their Sunday services, for all the people who can, to bow their knees before the Lord in humility and unite in repentant prayer for our nation. God’s people have the answer. The Call2Fall Declaration, taken from 2 Chronicles 7:14, reads:

I will answer God’s call to fall on my knees in humility and seek His face in repentance so that He might forgive my sins and heal our land.

If your pastor has not planned a Call2Fall in your church, its not too late. Give him a call or send him a note pointing towww.Call2Fall.com.” Urge him to watch Tony Perkins’ short video (for the congregation) and Dr. Ronnie Floyd’s short video “for pastors only. Though the hour is late, your pastor and church can still join thousands of pastors and churches across America to observe the 11th Annual Call2Fall this Sunday, June 30th. If the church schedule simply cannot be adjusted, you can still network with believers across the land by taking time to humble yourself and pray — on your knees by yourself at home — or with your family, or friends. Given the great moral and spiritual need of our nation, let’s humble ourselves before the Lord, together, before we break out the picnic gear and fireworks, and like our Forefathers, acknowledge our dependence upon Almighty God, before we celebrate our Independence on the 4th of July!

From the website:

“The Call2Fall national prayer initiative is based on Scripture, from which we envision three essentials necessary for God’s blessing: a proper attitude, a prayerful action, and a promise-based anticipation.”

A Proper Attitude: Humility and Dependence Upon God

Why we do things is of great concern to God. God looks upon our hearts. We believe God requires genuine humility in His people before He intervenes on our behalf.  The foundational Scripture for the Call2Fall is 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament comments upon the word “humble” (kana) in this text:

It denotes bringing a proud and recalcitrant people or spirit into subjection…Of the eighteen references to a spiritual submission, fifteen relate to the actions of a king in submitting himself and his nation to God (1 Kings 21:29, etc.). The emphasis is upon a proud and independent spirit abasing itself.  Two key references are in Lev. 26:41 and II Chron. 7:14 which indicate that so long as a person, or nation, is arrogant and self-sufficient, God can do nothing for them.

The Call2Fall must begin with an attitude of humility before God, a willing acknowledgment of our need for God’s mercy and grace.  If we remain self-sufficient in our attitudes, we cannot expect God to give us the help we so desperately need.

A Prayerful Action: Kneeling Together Before the Lord

The Call to Fall is a call for God’s people to publicly, corporately manifest humble, dependent hearts by bending our knees before Almighty God on July 3, 2016.   In Scripture, bending the knee is an act of humility, reverence and submission.  Some of God’s greatest leaders demonstrated their deep humility by bending their knees in prayer before Almighty God.

Abraham: Then Abraham fell on his face, and God talked with him… (Gen. 17:3)

Moses: Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. (Exod. 34:8)

Solomon:  Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread out his hands (for Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt down on his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven). (2 Chron. 6:12-13)

The Psalmist:  Oh come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. (Psalm 95:6)

Elijah: And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel ; then he bowed down to the ground, and put his face between his knees. (1 Kings 18:42)

Ezra: At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God. (Ezra 9:5)

Daniel:  Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home.  And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem , he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10)

Peter: They caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break…When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”   (Luke 5:6, 8)

Paul: For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 3:14)  “And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayer with them all. (Acts 20:36)

A Promised-Based Anticipation: God will Answer

We believe that God Himself is the originator of the Call2Fall.  If we will do our part, we can surely anticipate that He will do His.  In fact, Scripture is filled with promises for those who humble themselves before the Lord:

[T]hen I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.” (2 Chron. 7:14-15)

Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions…And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road. (Ezra 8:21, 31b)

For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks. (Psalm 18:27)

The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way. (Psalm 25:9)

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation. (Psalm 149:4)

Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble. (Prov. 3:34)

But on this one thing I will look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word. (Isaiah 66:2c)

Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice.  Seek righteousness, seek humility.  It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger. (Zeph. 2:3)

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. (1 Peter 5:5-6)

Who is a God Like Unto Thee

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Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?(*) He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

 – Micah 7:18-19 (KJV)

(*) At first glance many will just read over this (and much of the Old Covenant/Testament with little thought other than ‘that’s nice’ or ‘I knew that’ or some such thing. But pause a moment to really thing about what is written here in these two verses.

God pardons, that is as He did not see it, completely ignoring it forgiving it having compassion upon those who have transgressed (sinned against Him). There are few questions that arise from these passages of scripture; 1) Who is it that God forgives and has compassion for and 2) Why does God choose to does this. 

First; this is clearly aimed at God’s chosen people,the remnant of his heritage”, His elect. The bible in Verses like Isaiah 1:18, Acts 3:19 and 1 John 1:9 make it clear that only those who repent and ask for forgiveness will receive it. The unregenerate, unbelieving do not see their sinful ways and will never do this. 

Second: God is both a just and merciful God. He does not simply overlook our sin for all transgression must be punished Num 14:18Romans 3:22-26 (AMP). So why does God forgive any sin, because he delighteth in mercy.” Think on that a moment and realize once again there is nothing you can do it is all about God and God alone, Sola Deo Gloria!

Third: I forgot to mention the implied third question these verses leave us with. If God only pardons His elect that is His chosen people what happens to the remainder of folks?  Romans 1:18-32 makes it clear man is without excuse and .v32 “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”   -Mike

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Unlimited Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21–35 “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (v. 35).

A discussion of church discipline must recognize two errors often made in the interpretation of Matthew 18:15–20. First, we err if we divorce the church’s authority from its biblical basis, since this inevitably exalts church tradition above Scripture and binds people to confess many unbiblical doctrines. Yet as the Westminster Confession of Faith aptly states, church authority is inseparable from the Word of God, which alone binds the conscience absolutely (1.10). Scripture, and the events it records, establishes the church; therefore, Scripture stands in authority over the church. Church decisions bind only when they are biblical; to violate God’s Word for tradition’s sake is evil (Matt. 15:1–9).

The second error thinks 18:20 guarantees Jesus’ approval of anything two or more believers agree upon in prayer. However, the verse’s context refutes this view. Indeed, Jesus is present when believers congregate, but verse 20 promises that He backs up the church’s authority when it makes decisions in accord with the Bible, not that He will do whatever a group of Christians asks of Him.

Forgiveness and the restoration of relationship is the goal of discipline — from the first step to the last step of excommunication. Peter understands this partly; he will forgive a person up to seven times, more than the three times the rabbis prescribe in his day (v. 21). That Peter’s comprehension is incomplete is revealed in the Savior’s command to forgive “seventy times seven” (v. 22). According to some Reformed New Testament scholars Jesus really says, “seventy-seven times,” but the precise number is unimportant. Either way, as seen in the parable that follows, Christ is actually teaching that forgiveness must be unlimited.

Ten thousand talents is upwards of a trillion dollars in modern currency. It is an amount the servant could never repay; only by the king’s grace can this debt be canceled (vv. 23–27). As imitators of the true King, we, the recipients of grace, must show mercy, for Jesus will condemn all who are unmerciful toward their debtors (vv. 28–35). Believers, collectively as the church and individually, must always forgive penitent people. How can we possibly be Christians if we, whose unpayable debt has been erased, refuse to pardon those who have wronged us?

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

It is not as if unforgiving people lose their salvation, Matthew Henry says, for “those who do not forgive their brother’s trespasses, did never truly repent of their own, and therefore that which is taken away is only what they seemed to have.” Henry also gives a great principle for the Christian life: “God multiplies his pardons, and so should we. We should make it our constant practice to forgive injuries, and should accustom ourselves to it until it becomes habitual.”

For further study: Genesis 45:1–24

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.