Unconditional Love – BT20
Forgiveness is our witness and the essence of the gospel logos message of The Truth
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Our only real evangelistic witness, the “much fruit that glorifies My Father to wholly/definitively/already be His disciples” (a) that shows, demonstrates, or proves that we indeed are meno abiding/connected-to/cohabitating/remaining IN the Vine of Jesus (b) that is related to the “New Man that you have already put on [like fresh, never-before-used, clean clothes]” (c) is “NOW beyond ALL these [previous things to wholly/definitively put on, like brand-new clothes], this unconditional-love, which IS the bond of perfect unity” (d). Certainly our “much fruit” is related to the “[singular] fruit of the Spirit IS-defined-as/exists-as unconditional-love” (e). Certainly this is our “labor of unconditional-love” (f). Certainly it is “your unconditional-love toward all the saints” that Paul even “heard of” (g). The Lord “eido mentally ‘sees’ to perceive/know your works: your service [of] unconditional-love and/coupled patient-endurance [of] trusting-relying-faith” (h). <Notes> a) John 15:8, b) John 15:5, c) Colossians 3:10, d) Colossians 3:14, e) Galatians 5:22, f) 1 Thessalonians 1:3, g) Ephesians 1:15; Colossians 1:4; Philemon 5, h) Revelation 2:19.
After all, it is Christ’s “completely-different-in-kind, superior New Commandment” (a) as we discussed in the last BLOG, the “Law of Christ to bear one another’s burdens” (b) – the only NT commandment given to saved people per Logos Word of God – BT16. Jesus came to “save the world, absolutely in fact not to judge or even condemn the it” (c) thus “giving us the example” (d) “to learn from by the yoke [of discipleship connection]” (e) “to walk in the same ways in which He walked” (f), and in context (g) of “routinely unconditionally-loving one’s brethren [to be the ones] ongoingly meno abiding/connected-to/cohabitating/remaining IN the Light (g)” (h). This is part of the “loosing/untying” we saw about forgiveness in the previous BLOGs (i), whereas the Pharisees and scribes of the Law were only good at “binding/tying up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and laying them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves were not willing to move them (untie/loose) them with their finger” (j). <Notes> a) John 13:34, 15:12; 1 John 3:23, b) 1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2, c) John 3:17, 12:47, d) John 13:15; 1 Peter 2:21, e) Matthew 11:29, f) 1 John 2:6, g) another common term for Jesus: John 8:12, 9:5, 12:35, h) 1 John 2:10, i) Matthew 16:19, 18:18, j) Matthew 23:4; Luke 11:46.
The “forgiveness of sins” is actually the essence of the preached gospel logos message of Christ and His disciples as “witnesses of these things” through ‘the great commission’ they faithfully preached (a) under a completely-different-in-kind, superior New Covenant based on the blood of Jesus (b), just as John the Baptist prepared the Way for this by his preaching of salvation (c). Only this leads to “deliverance from captivity, reconciliation between people, restoration to wholeness of health,” the definition of soteria salvation, which only comes from Christ. It was one of the “keys to the kingdom of heaven” given to His disciples to “build My church on this [massive, foundational] Petra Rock” of Christ, not the “little, chipped-off stone” of Petros Peter, that “whatever you bind-tie on earth shall be bound-tied in heaven and/coupled whatever you loose-untie on earth shall be loosed-untied in heaven,” because in context this is clearly speaking of forgiving “your brethren that sins against you” (d). Is this the gospel logos message that we represent by our lives as “witnesses of these things?” Are we using this “key to the kingdom of heaven?” <Notes> a) Luke 24:47-48; Acts 2:38, 5:31, 10:43, 13:38, 26:18; Colossians 1:14, b) Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:11-28, 10:1-18, c) Mark 1:4; Luke 1:76-77, 3:3, d) Matthew 16:18-19; 18:15-20; John 20:21-23.
Our forgiveness of others can actually lead them closer to Christ to ultimately receive their complete forgiveness. How? We are praying for grace instead of wanting the justice of Law, returning kindness and goodness for persecution, and returning blessing for cursing. This will “heap burning coals on their heads” (a). Too many Christians think this means making them feel ‘flushed’ with shame for treating you so badly, but this guilt is exactly the ‘pointing finger’ of the Law and Satan. Jesus would never view this as being kind! This is a lack of cultural understanding! Actually, in their culture ‘hot coals’ would be needed for cooking and as a source of light at night and heat on cold nights, even to keep them alive. If you had to carry ‘hot coals’ you would not carry them by hand as the heat would rush onto the hand and arm. For this reason, people carried them safely on their heads in a pottery urn. Thus, a ‘kind or good person’ would give coals to the neighbor who is lacking. This is truly is a witness of unconditional-love! <Notes> a) Romans 12:20 citing Proverbs 25:21-22.
“Forgiveness of sins” is actually the essence of Christ’s model for prayer in bringing God’s kingdom and will “on earth as it is in heaven.” It is 23% of the Matthew 6:9-14 and 38% of Luke 11:2-4 prayer models and in Matthew’s account Jesus immediately adds verses 15-16 to teach more about it! Mark 11:24-25 links forgiveness to answered prayer. This is NOT a side issue but at the CORE of how God’s “kingdom comes and will is done on earth as it is in heaven” AND directly coupled by the use of kai to “in possibility not being eisphero lead-brought-unto-the-result-of peirasmos [singular] testing/trying-to-prove-genuineness” and in Matthew’s account “but deliver-save us from [singular] evil [one].” Satan is the “accuser of the brethren” in Revelation 12:10 who uses the “pointing finger” of the Law to do it!
A ‘key heavenly’ part of our salvation from the definition above is “to be delivered from the captivity or slavery” of the Law (a) that Satan uses to accuse us, and so 97.4% of the OT would never be preached or taught in the NT church – see Logos Word of God – BT5a and Logos Word of God – BT8. That is because the Law empowers sin (b) since it arouses sin (c) and multiplies it (d), for “where there is no Law there is no transgression” (e) for “sin is NOT counted where there is no Law” (f). All rules-based religions of the world, like the OT Law, are based on these “weak and worthless stoicheion elementary-rudimentary ‘abc’ fundamental principles” that through Christ we were supposed “to have died to” (g). Even if the rest of the OT (2.6%) consists of prophetic “stoicheion doctrines of Christ” to help convert Jews to Christ (h), it is still “milk” for babies compared to the “solid food of discernment of the Holy Spirit” (i) – see New Covenant Ways – BT16, Least Among You – BT8. <Notes> a) Galatians 2:4, 4:3, 24, 5:1; Romans 8:15, b) 1 Corinthians 15:56, c) Romans 7:5, d) Romans 7:8, 13, e) Romans 4:15, f) Romans 5:13, g) Galatians 4:3, 9; Colossians 2:8, 20, h) Hebrews 6:1 – see Logos Word of God – BT6, i) Hebrew 5:12-14.
Forgiveness doesn’t “deny, suppress, sublimate, or deflect the evil of others’ as the world deals with it,” just as we shouldn’t with our own sin if we want to “walk in the light of Christ.” No! It brings it into “The Light” of Jesus for examination to reveal “The Truth” of it. It totally-surrenders to the Lord by confessing that sin to Jesus, by agreeing with God’s assessment of our sin and its due penalty. We were not faithful, but Jesus is “faithful to forgive us our sins!” How? Because He is “also just to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness!” How? That is the gospel logos message of The Truth, Christ: “One man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” per Romans 5:19. How?
“We are justified/made-declared-righteous by God’s unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace as a grace-gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation through-the-realizing-channel-of trusting-relying-faith in/by/with His blood towards-reaching demonstrable-proof of His righteousness through-the-realizing-channel-of the forgiveness of sins that were [with ongoing effects] previously-transpired” (a). Jesus is “a merciful and/coupled faithful High Priest in the service of God to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (b). How? “He IS-defined-as/exists-as the propitiation for our sins, and/but not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (c). <Notes> a) Romans 3:23-25, b) Hebrews 2:17, c) 1 John 2:2.
This is the gospel logos message of God’s Unconditional-Love: “This IS-defined-as Unconditional-Love: absolutely in fact NOT that we have unconditionally-loved [with ongoing effects] God (that’s the OT Law) but that He already unconditionally-loved us and/specifically-by already having-sent His Son, a propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God SO already unconditionally-loved us (a), and/also we opheilo are-indebted (b) to ongoingly unconditionally-love one another” (c). There are 2 Greek NT nouns hilasterion or hilasmos and 1 verb hilaskomai that speak of a divine “propitiation” or “atonement” that is an exchange of our unrighteousness for Christ’s righteousness by the death and resurrection of Jesus (d) that brings us the indwelling enabling-power of the Holy Spirit that makes us “belong to Him” (e) as “completely-different-in-kind New Creations” (f) during our saving water-baptism (g). Repentance by confession is our “obedience of faith” – see Surrender Control – BT3. <Notes> a) cf. John 3:16, b) opheilo: owe, are indebted or obliged to rectify/pay-off a legitimate debt, even of moral responsibility. The NT use of this word it not a “work to remove debt” because that’s what the “propitiation of Christ” did. It is a 1 Thessalonians 1:3 “labor of unconditional-love” act of gratitude or thanksgiving. See Unconditional-love – BT10, c) 1 John 4:10-11, d) see Surrender Control – BT2, e) Romans 8:9, f) 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15, g) Romans 1:4, 6:3-6; 1 Peter 3:21; Ephesians 1:19-20; Philippians 3:10; cf. Revelation 20:6 – see Water-Baptism and Spirit-Power.
By this propitiation “forgiveness of sin” we are not condemned with the rest of the world (a). Likewise, by “throwing-away” the “books of the Law” through forgiveness that teach “eye-for-an-eye judgement of sin” (b) and the keeping of “records of kakos inward-foul-rotten-malicious-evil” against us and others (c), then we not only become “free from the yoke of slavery to the Law” and have enabling-power to rebuke the accusations of Satan and his demon-lawyers “in the name/authority of Jesus” (d) as part of the “greater works than these the ones routinely having trusting-relying-faith in Me shall he actually poieo make-to-do” (e). <Notes> a) John 3:16-18, b) Matthew 5:38 citing Exodus 21:24-25; Deuteronomy 19:21, c) 1 Corinthians 13:5, d) Zechariah 3:2; Matthew 8:26, 17:18; Mark 1:25, 4:39, 8:33, 9:25, 16:17; Luke 4:35, 39, 41, 8:24, 9:42; Jude 1:9, e) John 14:12.
This is how to deal with Satan’s accusations and the guilt we and others feel from sin. And when Satan brings it back up, we again take it back to Christ’s cross for cleansing to “rebuke those demons,” just as Jesus did, for repeated freedom and healing – salvation as “restoration to wholeness” is not an event but a process! This is what it means to “submit ourselves to God” or surrender-control and relatedly “resist/stand-againt the devil so he will flee from us” per James 4:7. This is our Matthew 6:13 Lord’ Prayer for God’s kingdom enabling-power and glory: “in possibility not being eisphero lead-brought-unto-the-result-of peirasmos [singular] testing/trying-to-prove-genuineness but instead wholly/definitively rhuomai ‘snatched or drawn up/out from, rescued, delivered’ from the evil [one].”
As Christian musicians, do we want to represent the OT Law of just, equitable, fair judgment – an eye for an eye or the NT unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace through trusting-relying-faith in Christ to satisfy the Law’s just judgment against us? We can’t mix Law and Grace! We will have one or the other for us. If we want the Law for others to punish them for the “record of wrongs” we have kept against them, then we get the Law applied to us as well. It’s ALL or nothing as the NT says over and over. But if we want Grace, then we are rightfully indebted to give Grace to others. Unconditional-love is what really distinguishes us as a disciple of Christ for forgiveness is central to the New Covenant, ‘Great News’ gospel logos Word of God, Great Commission, Lord’s prayer, and the ‘much fruit’ of actual disciples that glorifies the Father. It is the singular fruit/essence/nature of Christ living in us as the Holy Spirit overflowing from us to others – it is our only witness! It’s a witness that can bring Grace instead of Law to people for their salvation! It is how we “dwell in The Light” and “in The Truth” that is Jesus!
Thus this ‘unconditional-love in action’ is key to the kingdom of God coming and God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven – it central to ‘the binding and loosing’ we often hear about. It is the only NT commandment given to saved people! The process of “restoration to wholeness and health” that is integral to salvation involves our “reconciliation with God and people.” We cannot separate any of this! Sin, shame, and guilt aren’t “denied, suppressed, sublimated, or deflected” as the world does. Christians aren’t to treat symptoms! No, we forgive or “throw away the Law of justice” against ourselves and others at the cross, nailing it to the cross, through total surrender by repentance, confession, and water-baptism to Christ’s blood-redeeming justice to cleanse US from ALL unrighteousness so He can be faithful to keep His promise to forgive US. Yes, we can “loose” this forgiveness on ourselves and even on those who sin against us!
Lord, thank You for fulfilling the Law perfectly so that we can be free from its judgment against us. When we are tempted to do Satan’s work of holding others to the justice of the Law, remind us of Your great unconditionally-loving-favor-of-grace shown to us and that if we want this for us, we are indebted to give it to others. Remind us to bless those who curse us, to give kindness and goodness in place of evil, and to intercede for others so that they will be led away from Law to Grace for Your kingdom to come for them as well as for us.