- Psalm 32 (VU p.759)
- Galatians 2:15-21
- Luke 7:36-8:3
Early Thoughts: For many people these words lie at the very heart of Christian theology. And of course there are several sermons that can be spun out of each of those words.
One of the meta-stories of Scripture is the story of the God who forgives us when we miss the mark. Some people will try to claim that this is THE story of Scripture. I disagree. There are other meta-stories about being released from bondage, about being made well/whole, about being in exile and coming home. These are all images on par with forgiveness when it comes to talking about renewing our relationship with God, with being the people God would want us to be. But certainly the question of forgiveness is a key point in Scripture.
God is one who forgives. In both Jewish and Christian Scriptures God is one who forgives. Jesus proclaims that fact in his ministry. Paul proclaims that fact in his ministry. The writer of Psalm 32 proclaims and celebrates that in his poem/song.
God forgives not because of anything we do. God is not bought off by good or merciful acts. God does not forgive because of what we believe. Nor, in my belief structure though others will call what I am about to say heretical, does God forgive because the death of Jesus on the cross paid a blood price on our behalf. God forgives because God is gracious. God forgives through the Grace of God.
In his book Free of Charge (see a review I wrote of this book here) Miroslav Volf describes forgiveness as acknowledging that a wrong has been done but then setting it aside without punishment. This is an act of grace. The challenge for us as people of faith is that we are called to forgive as God forgives. God's grace is abundant enough. Is ours?