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Forgiveness: Double grace, a new creation, and eternity (3/3)
VIDEO: Life is a series of opportunities that we can choose to use to serve God.
Most people are familiar with the concept of forgiveness. Jesus gave His life for us, so that we could receive forgiveness for our sins. Of course, that doesn’t give us a license, but if Jesus died for both those sins we have committed and those that we will commit, why is it so important to overcome sin?
In Part 3 of our series on forgiveness ActiveChristianity editor Milenko discusses how grace is more than just forgiveness, the changes that should transpire in our lives as a result of forgiveness, and the eternal consequences this has for our spirits.
Make sure to watch Part 1 (Forgiveness: Sin, Jesus’ love for us, and a clean slate) and Part 2 (Forgiveness: Conditions, reaping, thankfulness, and love) of this 3-part series for the full conversation on forgiveness.
(Audio transcript for this video at the bottom of the article)
Further reading about forgiveness:
Visit our topic page on forgiveness and guilt.
In Part 2 of this series on forgiveness we spoke about conditions, grace and the reasons we should overcome sin. In Part 3 we talk further about how we overcome sin, and why we should do that if we receive forgiveness regardless.
Grace is actually made up of two parts. The first part is this enormous gift that we’ve received, through Jesus sacrifice, that our sins are actually forgiven. They’re wiped out, we’ve got a clean slate, and God doesn’t reckon that against us.
But Jesus did much more than just die that we should receive forgiveness. What He did was He opened a way for us, a way we can follow. He overcame sin, the sin in His own nature, and He wants us, His brethren, as He calls us, He wants us to follow Him, so that we can come to where He is. And this grace to overcome sin, to actually do something about it, that is the main part of Jesus’ work. That’s what He came for, that we can follow Him.
But that’s actually a whole separate topic, isn’t it? We could talk for hours just about that part of the grace.
Definitely. That is a really big topic.
Overcoming sin means I have to against my own will, give up my own egotism, like you say, and it actually causes a , doesn’t it? You have to actually give something up, and give something of yourself. And it’s not something that comes naturally to humans, so it actually means there is a battle. So, why would I choose to do that if I know that at the end of my life, I can just ask for forgiveness, the slate will be wiped clean, and I can just go into Paradise anyway?
Well, God is willing to forgive all those who ask and repent. So even if you’ve lived a life of sin your whole life, God’s grace and goodness and love is so abundant that all that can be wiped clean and you can enter into heaven without having anything more to show for it.
We can see that from that example where Jesus was on the cross on Calvary, and the robber next to Him repented, Jesus said to him, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Jesus could forgive him because of his. And that was a huge thing. But he went into heaven with nothing more than that. He was given life, but he didn’t have anything with him.
If you think what life is, it’s a series of opportunities; situations we come into. And if we then choose to use those opportunities to serve God, to show our love for Him by denying thosethat we notice, then then we do something for Him. Because, by doing that, we can partake of Jesus’ virtues. Then we’re actually getting something. We’re getting content in our life.
Every time we sin we lose an opportunity. If we have a fall, we actually lose an opportunity. We have to look at it that way, and we have to see the opportunities to gain something, to do something, to really serve God, to show our love to Him. It’s all by grace, but we still have to work on it.
So as I overcome that egotism, then does something else come and take its place?
Well, if you think what I’ve been forgiven for, that egotism, or we can say selfishness, that still dwells in my nature, and now when I’m tempted to give in to that, and I instead follow Jesus, and deny it, then it actually dies. And what comes instead is that new creation that God puts there. That’s generosity, for example, or love for the others. They are the fruits of the Spirit that we can read about in Galatians. And that is what I will have with me in eternity.
So, as one goes, as one dies, the other one comes and takes its place.
Yes, exactly. One takes its place. It’s a new creation.
So we get that actually while we are here on earth?
Yes, that’s the incredible thing, we do! Fighting against sin, if we overcome it, it doesn’t just leave a void, but something else is born in us. And it talks about God, who is a faithful Creator, who creates a new thing in us, we become a new creation. And that new creation, that’s those virtues that weren’t there before. We talked about lying before. Where I had this tendency to lie, I become truthful. Where I had a tendency to be bitter and critical, I become loving and kind. That is God’s work in us.
So, it’s not something magical that happens when you get to heaven, that all of a sudden you get these virtues?
No, this content is something that we gain here on earth. It’s by being faithful, being obedient, loving Jesus, walking in His footsteps. And then you see, it’s written there in Corinthians that there’ll be a difference in glory between the sun and the stars and the moon, and so on, and in the same way, we will differ from one another in glory. And that’s got to do with personal faithfulness and how much we’ve given ourselves for this life.
So, it’s actually up to us, the amount of glory that we get when we go into heaven.
It’s totally up to us, in that respect that we need God’s grace to do it, we’re totally dependent on that, but I have to make those steps to be obedient with my own free will. I do it because I love God, and that’s what’s so precious for Him.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.