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Forgiveness of WHAT?

With the exception of Jesus’s ministry, the Bible really doesn’t quote God very much. It’s pretty obvious from Jesus’s example, however, that God doesn’t ask us to do anything that He wouldn’t do himself.

So what are we to infer from Jesus’s exhortation [Matt. 5:43-45]:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

There’s a lot of really angry preaching against Satan in church, and after making this connection, I began to suggest that maybe we should think about Satan as the patient, not the enemy. People were pretty upset with me.

But Jesus came for the forgiveness of sin, didn’t he? We tend to think of that as our sin, but that follows a long progression. Think on what God tells Cain after his sacrifice is rejected [Gen. 4:7]:

If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.

Now the Hebrews eventually developed a lot of legal machinery to aid them in keeping sin away, but by Jesus’s time, it was pretty clear how that works out: the law was suborned by the monarchs and priests, and used to destroy him.

Maybe the only way to defeat sin is to declare unilateral peace, to forgive its transgression until its force has been spent against the power of the love that shines through us from God?

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