Forgiveness was the focal point in Christ’s teaching because he knew that without profound “to the bone” forgiveness, there is no freedom, no real joy, no peace, and no release from the pain and the root of bitterness that destroys nations, families and individuals. He understood that the key to everything important in life is forgiveness.
Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books; New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 884
If you’ve been bludgeoned by that text (Matthew 7:21-23), I have some astonishing news for you: Jesus was not talking about getting better, working harder and being more religious so that, when the end came he would recognize you. He was talking about what he had set loose in the world – the love and forgiveness that he had made possible. Jesus was talking to the most faithful and most religious people in his culture, and he called them false prophets. Immediately prior to that text, Jesus said that we would know the false prophets by their “fruit”. And then Jesus said, “So, every healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit” (Matthew 7: 17-18).
Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books; New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 1191
One of the names given to Christ Jesus was Emmanuel, or “God with us.” Christ lived into his name. He was “with us” in that he took on human flesh and walked among us. He was “with us” in carrying both our sins and our sorrows to the cross. When God raised this man, Jesus Christ, from the dead, he didn’t take away his scars. These scars testify to his pain, to his love, and to the extent to which God will go to conquer the evil of the world through the active suffering of forgiveness. Only through such active love can such scars of horror be transfigured into emblems of triumph…Pain does not have to have the last word. Forgiveness can push out the borders of what we believe is possible. Reconciliation can offer us a glimpse of the transfigured world to come.
-Catherine Claire Larson
as quoted by Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books; New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 843
There is a lot of zeal today for religion, spirituality, and moral crusades. Yet when we are ignorant of the righteousness that God demands in his law and the righteousness that he gives in the gospel, we are farther from his kingdom than the prostitutes and tax collectors (Matthew 21:32). This is the message that the prophets brought and that Jesus proclaimed in his ministry.
- Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 48
When we finally acknowledge our need for forgiveness and come to God in repentance, we find true power: for we now have nothing to hide or protect, we don’t care what people say or think about us, we are willing to speak truth gently and we are enabled to speak it with tremendous supernatural power.
Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books; New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 689
Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Even though my conscience accuses me of having greviously sinned against all of God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.
- Heidelberg Catechism
as quoted by Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books; New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 608
Our contact with the holy is not merely an encounter with a different diminsion of reality; it is the meeting with Absolute Reality. Christianity is not about involvement with religious experience as a tangent. It invovles a meeting with a Holy God, who forms the center, or core, of human existence. The Christian faith is theocentric. God is not at the edge of Christians’ lives but at the very center. God defines our entire life and worldview.
- R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Ill., Copyright 1985, Kindle Edition