Unlimited Forgiveness

KEY VERSE: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” —Luke 6:37

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Matthew 18:21-25

IN TODAY’S LESSON, the Apostle Peter asks a hypothetical question of our Lord, about how many times a person might trespass against him and then ask forgiveness, and yet be forgiven. Would seven times be the limit? The Master practically declared that there could be no limit, and that anyone confessing his fault and asking forgiveness must be forgiven. He answered, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”—Matt. 18:22

Then our Lord gave a parable to illustrate this matter in respect to the kingdom of heaven class, saying that a certain king had a reckoning with his servants to square up all their accounts. Among

those servants was one who owed ten thousand talents, but because he could not pay, the master commanded him to be sold, including his wife and children, and all that he had, until the payment was made. But the servant fell down at his master’s feet and asked him to have compassion on him and he would eventually pay the debt. The master did have compassion and mercy on him, and canceled all his debt.—vs. 27

Being released from debt, he looked to find some who were indebted to him, and found a fellowservant who owed him a hundred pence—a very insignificant sum in comparison to the one which he had owed the master. He then took his fellowservant by the throat, saying, “Pay me that thou owest.” (vs. 28) His fellowservant fell at his feet crying out: “Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.” (vs. 29) Nevertheless, he cast him in prison until the debt was paid. When this matter reached the ears of the master, he called the man and said, “Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee: … shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?”—vss. 32,33

The lesson for us, well expressed in our text, is that we should have compassion upon one another, even as we desire that God for Christ’s sake should have compassion on us—that we should be kind to one another, tenderhearted—even as God through Christ forgives us our debts. (Eph. 4:32; Matt. 6:12) The trespasses of others against us are trifling indeed in comparison to our obligations to the Lord. We should, therefore, forgive all who ask us, until ‘seventy times seven’.

In exercising mercy we will be copying the divine character, and the influence upon our hearts and minds will be ennobling, making us more Christlike, and therefore a praise to our Heavenly Father.

Our Lord Jesus explains that his parable teaches the principles of how God deals with the members of the body of Christ. If they are harsh and unsympathetic, if they hold others to a strict account along the lines of justice, then the Heavenly Father will so deal with them, and will hold them to account for all their shortcomings.

It is for us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and show our appreciation of God’s mercy toward us by being merciful, sympathetic and generous toward all. It is these qualities that our God delights in. Those who cultivate the graces of the Spirit will be pleasing in the Lord’s sight, and will be fitted and prepared to have a share with Jesus on his throne of glory during the great Messianic kingdom.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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