Thought of the Day September 26, 2018 The joy of forgiveness

By 10:47 AM

However, by grace I come to know the full revelation of God’s merciful love, shown me in the death and resurrection of Jesus, my Reconciler and Redeemer. By grace, I can choose to align my will with God’s and thus live eternally, but in glory with God and all his saints and angels. Listen to the joy which Paul came to as he reflected on this mysterious  truth: “All of us were once of their company; we lived at the level of the flesh, following every whim and fancy, and so by nature deserved God’s wrath like the rest. But God is rich in mercy; because of his great love for us he brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin. By this favor you were saved. Both with and in Christ Jesus he raised us up and gave us a place in the heavens, that in the ages to come he might display the great wealth of his favor, manifested by his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. I repeat, it is owing to his favor that salvation is yours through faith” (Eph 2:3-8).

Fact: I can’t earn salvation. Fact: It is a free grace/gift from the Father, in Jesus, through the Spirit. Fact: On the cross he took away sin and guilt, shame and the effects of the second death. Fact: He nailed my sins to the cross. Fact: He became sin for us. Fact: He became the scapegoat sent into the desert with our sins heaped upon him. Fact: He became the Paschal Lamb, slaughtered for our sake and offered in sacrifice. Fact: His life for our life. His forgiveness, my cleansing; his healing, my restoration; his mercy, my newness.

Was not this realization of unconditional forgiveness the explicit joy of one of the thieves on the cross?  He heard Jesus say: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they do.” At first, he couldn’t believe what he heard this Jesus say.  He couldn’t help but be aware of the verbal attacks and the blasphemies of the bystanders and of his fellow criminal. Any yet, this Jesus, who is mocked as the Messiah, hanging on the cross like himself,  forgave them. Those words and the grace they released stirred this man of crime to first confess his own sins.  First he addressed the other criminal: “Have you no fear of God, seeing you are under the same sentence? We deserve it, after all. We are only paying the price for what we’ve done, but his man has done nothing wrong.” Then, in anticipation of Paul’s words in Rom, he professed  on his lips what was in his heart:  “Jesus, remember me when you enter upon your reign” Lk 24:40-42). (To be continued)


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