My meditations in Luke have come to the last chapter and I would like you to think on just two words from the risen Lord.
“Repentance” and “Forgiveness”
The need for repentance has been clearly highlighted in the narrative by Dr Luke. Jesus taught the need for a change of mind about money. He called for a change of commitment from self orientated things to total commitment to Himself. He denounced hypocrisy. His story about the Pharisee and the tax collector illustrates the repentance that counts. The Pharisee was all boasting in himself. The tax collector put briefly –“God be merciful to me the sinner” Jesus commented on this as the real way to blessing. Indeed the Lord made known what it was that caused joy in heaven – when someone like the prodigal son came to his senses and said “ I will arise and go to my father, and say I am not worthy..........”
It is wonderful that God grants us the opportunity to repent and it is wise for us to turn from our own way to choose God’s way.
Forgiveness in our world is often taken to mean ‘no revenge’, letting a hurt go so that we do not become embittered. On a human level that is true. With God it is somewhat different. He is and always has been a forgiving God, but He is wiser than to just let people get away with it. God is complete in holiness and calls each sin into account. Just like a speeding fine, the law must be applied and all my pleas for forgiveness will fail until the fine is paid. So it is with God. He who understands the debt of sin, the fine incurred, the consequences of an unpaid fine (the wages of sin is death), He chose not to overlook the debt, but chose to pay the debt Himself. The Old Testament sacrifices illustrate the costliness of sin, and Jesus here states that it was necessary for Him to suffer (on the cross) so that forgiveness might be freely offered to people of all nations. This is good news that “Christ died for our sins” and now that He lives, He is able to make the blessing real in the lives of all who choose to change (repent).
This forgiveness which is based on the debt of sin being paid in the death of Christ leads to God being triumphant in His holiness, His grace achieves its objective (reconciliation) and His love is satisfied (relationship of children) and His name is honoured in righteousness.
How good it is to see things as God sees them!
How good it is to respond in faith and be blessed by God.