Wesleyan Accent


Saying Yes to Forgiveness by Maxie Dunnam

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Recently This Week magazine reported an amazing story of a Pakistani election commissioner admitting that he had participated in what he called the “rigging” of a parliamentary election. “We converted losers into winners,” said Liaquat. He confessed that he couldn’t sleep after what he called “stabbing the country in the back.” He resigned and was arrested. (March 1,2024, p. 9) 

It was an intriguing story, climaxing with two rival political parties planning to govern in coalition.

It certainly doesn’t always happen this way, but when I read that story, a passage of Scripture grabbed my mind and clamored for attention, 2 Cor. 5:11-21. Here is the “heart” of it’s clamor and challenge:

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. 

Let’s begin with this core truth: Saying yes to forgiveness is saying yes to God. Get that now: Saying yes to forgiveness is saying yes to God. Clement of Alexandria, one of the early church fathers, said all Christians should “practice being God.” When I first read that, it shocked me. Me? Practice being God? But the more I thought about it, the more palatable and gripping the idea became and challenging it became. Practice being God.

Now don’t close your mind, thinking I’m irreverent when I ask, “How do I practice being God?” Focus on this word of Paul, “From now on, therefore, we regard none from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer.” He was talking about practicing being God – not viewing persons from a human point of view, but from a God perspective. And when we have that perspective, the ministry of reconciliation follows.

Come at it from a slightly different way. When are we most like God? We are most like God when we are most like Christ. And when are we most like Christ? We find our answer in the verses quoted above. Read again verses 14 and 15: “For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And He died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.

Instead of saying, “the love of Christ controls us”, the King James Version says “the love of God constraineth us.” In either translation, it’s powerfully challenging. The love of Christ constrains or controls. Why? Because we are convinced that Christ died for all.

What an encompassing statement! “We are convinced that (Christ) has died for all.” That means that since He has died for all He has died for each. Yes…the whole world!  

Reconciliation… that’s the ministry to which all Christians are called. It’s an action we take as we are obedient to God in our Christian journey. The dynamic of reconciliation is forgiveness. Saying yes to forgiveness is saying yes to God.

This post is part I in Maxie’s series on Saying Yes to Forgiveness.  Join us next week as we learn more about how Saying Yes to Forgiveness is When We are Most Like Christ. 

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