Forgiveness #3: Spiritual Exchange

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isa. 61:10)

Forgiveness is a spiritual exchange… our filthy rags for the riches in Christ! Its the letting go of our guilt and shame, and the accepting of our freedom in Christ! Freedom is beautiful, in that it reveals the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life! When we confess our sin, heaven touches earth for the cancellation of a debt (1 Jn. 1:9)… “sins are blotted out” and “times of refreshing” are experienced (Acts 3:19-21). As we confess our sin and wrestle through the mixed emotions of shame and hurt, we find the wonderful embrace of the Holy Spirit. I believe it’s necessary to set aside time where we talk with God, reasoning together and waiting for His response (Isa. 1:18), so that this exchange becomes a source of strength and confidence.

Breaking the Grip of Sin:

In seeking forgiveness, we are not just trying to “feel better”; but break a covenant agreement that has been set in our heart. As a Child of God, we will never find freedom to live without shame and guilt until we break the power of sin (Rom. 6:11-14). By confessing our guilt and letting God deal with our shame, we are removing everything that hinders love. We are breaking covenant agreement with sinful behaviors that try to rule our hearts and minds and committing ourselves in the spirit to the “New Covenant of Love” in Christ Jesus. Forgiveness is not really about what we “release to God” but what we receive from God in prayer and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Our agreement with God transforms our thinking, restores wholeness to our relationship and times of refreshing break forth from the Presence of the Lord.

Unhindered Love:

Freedom to love God without hindrances, while loving others out of that same resource is the measure of our spirituality in Christ. We experience His love, affection and tenderness towards us and love begins to “abound, still more and more” (Phil. 1:9). The love of Christ has power for the heart and soul of a man in a way that is different from any other force on the earth. It’s actually more than what we feel and think, when the love of Christ touches our heart; it’s how we see and what we become. This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he prayed that love would abound “in knowledge and all discernment, that we would approve the things that are excellent…” (Phil. 1:10). Forgiveness allows us to see into the excellent things of God and appreciate them as a lifestyle… Jesus said, “abide in My love” (Jn. 15:9).

Spiritual Pits:

The grace of God is the only way to truly escape the spiritual pits and snares of sin. Attitudes of bitterness, cynicism and anger rise from shame and guilt ridden hearts. The Bible calls it a “yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). Yet the promise of God is that His anointing breaks every yoke and removes it from our shoulders (Isa. 10:27)… so we bear it no more. He tells us He will remove our sin and cast it as far away as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12).

“In Him [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:7-8).

The Great Exchange – Our Rags (Isa. 64:6) for His Riches (2 Pet. 1:2-4): Jesus became our Substitute in the battles that overwhelm us.

• Jesus took our sin, so that we could receive His righteousness! “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5). “He (God – the Father) made Him (Jesus – His Son), who knew no sin to be sin for us; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
• He took our sickness, so that we could be completely whole! “By His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). “Who Himself bore our sins in His Own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).
• He took our grief and sorrows, so that we could have peace! “Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…” (Isa. 53:4). “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you…” (Jn. 14:27).
• He took our poverty, so that we could be rich in Him! “He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9).
• He suffered fear and became separated for us, so that we could be united in His love! “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice… My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mk. 15:34). (Now, in Him) “…we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Eph. 3:12).

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