Walk This Way - In Forgiveness

David Magness

Matt continued his series "Walk This Way" this past Sunday, focusing on forgiveness. How are we able to forgive others as Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:32). As believers, our forgiveness comes with no strings attached and no contingencies; this is how we are to forgive others. The entire series is based on a couple of verses that I love and often pray for my boys. Colossians.2:6-7 reads, "As you received Christ Jesus, so walk in Him, rooted and built up and established in the faith…."
If we are called to "walk" in Christ just as we have received Him, it begs the question: how did we receive Christ? The simple answer - belief (Romans 10:9). We believe that Jesus is Lord, that He is who He says He is, and we believe that we are who He says we are as new creations in Christ. That's right; it's not based on our will-power or discipline to conjure up the strength to walk in a manner worthy of our calling (Colossians 1:10). It's based on Christ and the fruit of the Spirit overflowing from our lives (Philippians 4:13, Galatians 5:22).
The passage in Colossians goes on," established in the faith." Guess who does the establishing? Yep, it's Christ (2 Thessalonians 3:3). So, what are we supposed to do then? We must grow in our understanding of who we are in Christ by digging into the Word. This is so important for us as believers; it is for our benefit to be able to handle our bibles.

"Because of Christ, we are no longer under the law but under grace!"

Matt made a great point on Sunday about rightly dividing the Word as we read scripture. For example, in Matthew 6:14, Christ himself says that if we forgive others, God will forgive us, but God won't forgive us if we don't forgive others. Well, this seems contradictory, doesn't it?
Without understanding how to rightly divide the Word, you can find yourself mixing law and grace. I know I used to! Scripture is very clear that the cross dealt with sin once for all for those that believe (Romans 6:10, Colossians 2:13-14, Hebrews 10:10, 17). So it can seem contradictory that God will only forgive us if we forgive others first. What if there's someone I forgot about!? I mean, these are the words of Christ.
The answer: He wasn't talking to us. We must know who Christ was directly talking to: those under the law (Galatians 4:4-5). Because of Christ, we are no longer under the law but under grace (Romans 6:14). Christ taught those under the law, showing them they couldn't live up to the standard. Then He goes to the cross as the ultimate sacrifice and changes everything!
So if you ever feel like you are getting something contradictory from scripture, take a step back, and make sure you are rightly dividing the Bible. Ask yourself who the audience is. If you're just getting started on digging into the Word, I will encourage you first to spend some time in Paul's letters. They have so much practical application for us as believers today as he was writing directly to us (Romans 15:16, Galatians 1:15-16, 2:9, Acts 22:21, Ephesians 3:7-9).
Please understand, I'm not saying only parts of the Bible matter. That couldn't be further from the truth! All scripture is for us (2 Timothy 3:16), but context is key for application. The Bible doesn't contradict itself and is without error. I've found I can read the entire Bible more confidently as a result, and as the Spirit guides me through study, the most beautiful story the world has ever heard unfolds.
I hope this encourages you to dig deeper and remember "Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

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