Working it off, or holding it against

Based on Hebrews 4:14-16

We do not understand grace. We don’t want to accept forgiveness. When we sin, we want to work off our debt ourselves, so we aren’t obligated to others, or to God. Many good works we do motivated by a sense of guilt and debt. In this, we lack faith in the death of Christ to fully pay for our sin.

We have the same problem when others sin; we want to see them face the consequences. It is hard to accept that Jesus paid it all, for them, as they repent. It is very easy to say you forgive, while you hide an unforgiving heart that keeps pointing out real consequences they must face. This doesn’t mean that if you point to consequences you must be unforgiving, just that it is easy to use the partial truth of consequences to justify your bitterness, especially when you keep laying the consequences on them yourself.

Of course, none of this applies if they won’t make a clean and full confession, acknowledging they understand the sin or offense, and are seeking to change. We all need a great deal of practice in confronting the sins of others lovingly and forthrightly, having an honest dialogue about the situation, acknowledging our faults to others humbly, and forgiving and staying in close relationship with those who have hurt us. We practice and improve upon this each Lord’s Day here, in God’s call to confession, our confession, His assurance of forgiveness, experiencing His ongoing communion with us, and His commission to continue serving Him, in spite of our past failures.

This reminds us of our need to confess our sins.


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