Every believer in the Body of Christ has been made a king and priest by the King of Kings and our once and for all High Priest:
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a
peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called
you out of darkness into his marvellous light:" (1 Peter 2: 9)
We are kings in Christ's kingdom, members of His heavenly realm. Jesus instructs everyone of His followers to establish their membership in His Kingdom above all else:
"But seek ye first
the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added
unto you." (Matthew 6: 33)
For those in Christ, this Kingdom has been given to us:
"Fear not, little
flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12: 32)
What is the evidence of the Kingdom of Heaven in our lives. Paul explains:
"For the kingdom of
God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy
Ghost." (Romans 14: 17)
The Holy Ghost brings the Kingdom of Heaven into our lives!
The first element is righteousness, which we receive as a gift:
"For if by one man's
offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace
and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 17)
Jesus' death took away our sins (1 John 4: 10), which permits Him to live in us, our hope of glory (Colossians 1: 27)
As Christ is King and Priest, so are we in this world (1 John 4: 17).
Now, the Holy Spirit reveals to us not only that we are righteous (John 19: 6-10), in fact, we have the same righteousness as Jesus Christ Himself:
"For he hath
made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the
righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5: 21)
Because of this gift of righteousness, we reign in life as kings, and Jesus is our King, the King of Kings!
Now, what is the most important thing that we as kings can do in the kingdom of heaven? Forgive!
Let us look at Matthew 18 for clarity on this truth:
"Therefore is the
Kingdom of Heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his
"And when he had
begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. " (Matthew 18: 23-24)
We are members of the Kingdom of Heaven through the Holy Spirit, and we are kings by virtue of Christ living in us. Now, what did this king do when confronted with a servant who owed him a debt beyond his capacity to pay?:
"But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his
wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me,
and I will pay thee all.
"Then the lord of
that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the
debt." (Matthew 18: 25-27)
This is what we are called to do and to be in the Kingdom of heaven, believers! Because God has forgiven our sin debt in full, once and for all:
"But this man [Jesus, our King and Priest], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on
the right hand of God;" (Hebrews 10: 12)
When we receive the growing revelation of all that God has done for us, that we have received in this life through the forgiveness of our sins, we reign as kings and deign to forgive all sins, all wrongdoings perpetrated against us.
Now, consider what happened to the first servant. In Matthew 18: 26, clearly this servant still believed that he could pay off the debt, and even when the kind had compassion on him and loosed him from his debt. He then right away hit up another servant, one who owed him practically nothing compared to the debt from which the king had looosed him:
"But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed
him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the
throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience
with me, and I will pay thee all.
"And he would not:
but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt." (Matthew 18: 28-30)
The second servant begged for the same mercy in the same exact manner as the first servant, yet the first servant, still conscious of paying a debt, felt justified in putting the second servant into prison.
Jesus taught on how the measure of forgiveness that we receive will then enable or hinder us to forgive others:
"Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved
much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." (Lluke 7: 47)
Of course, in the parable of this unmerciful steward, the unforgiving steward did not get away with anything:
"So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and
told unto their lord all that was done.
"Then his lord,
after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave
thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
"Shouldest not thou
also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
"And his lord was
wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due
"So likewise shall
my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every
one his brother their trespasses." (Matthew 18: 31-35)
Before I continue, I must make clear that Jesus gave this parable before He died on the Cross, where as God in the form of a man still under law, He was bringing the Law back to its ultimate standard, one which no one could ever fulfiill. First of all, Jesus says that we must forgive everyone "from the heart", yet man before he is saved has only a wicked heart:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:
who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17: 9)
Yet God promised to His people then, and to the world now, that He would give us a new heart:
"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I
will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of
flesh:" (Ezekiel 11: 19)
We receive this Spirit by faith in the Finished Work of Jesus Christ, who then writes in our hearts and mind God's laws of life and liberty:
"For this is
the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith
the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts:
and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
"And they shall not
teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord:
for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
"For I will be
merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I
remember no more." (Hebrews 8: 10-12)
Now, we are called to forgive others because we have been forgiven, not in order to be forgiven:
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God
for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4: 32)
"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel
against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." (Colossians 3: 13)
Now, returning to the parable in Matthew 18, to the extent that we do not feel forgiven of all our sins, to that extent that will not forgive others for their trespasses against us. The result will be prison for us as much as prison for those whom we have maintained in bondage, for notice how in the parable the king did not release the second servant from bondage, but put the first servant into bondage.
So, believers, if you choose not to forgive others, it is because you have not yet received the full manifestation of God's forgiveness for you. Paul announced at the outset the immense riches we have received because of God's grace:
"To the praise of the
glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to
the riches of his grace;" (Ephesians 1: 6-7)
This redemption which we have received, we receive according to God's riches, not merely out of his immeasurable storehouse. We are inheritors of great wealth because we have been born again:
"For ye have not
received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
"The Spirit itself
beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be
that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8: 15-17)
We are inheritors of an immense kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven, in which we reign in life as kings. Even Paul pointed out the same to the Corinthians:
"Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I
would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you." (1 Corinthians 4: 8)
If you struggled with forgiving others, it is because you do not know or believe the immense riches, --- starting with forgiveness of all your sins past, present, and future -- which have been bestowed upon you as a child of God. We know this grand wealth accorded to us to the extent that we grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3: 18).
John explained the cycle of love which we understand in greater measure through faith:
"Herein is love, not
that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the
propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4: 10)
That is love: more than feeling, not an action which we initiate in our own strength, not a set of ideas, a code of conduct, or a set of happy peppy positive-thinking affirmations. Love is Jesus, the Beloved Son of God, dying on the Cross to take away our sins and give us His life.
How is this loved perfected in us? John explains"
"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)
To the degree that we understand that God's love, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has not only paid for our sins, but has also presented us with Himself, our Eternal Life (John 3: 16; John 14: 6), then we realize also by faith that we receive Jesus' standing and blessings also in this world!
When we see how God's love has transformed us from prisoners of sin and death to prisoners of hope and righteousness -- including the inexhaustible supply for all our needs, we find that we have nothing to fear
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath
torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1John 4: 18)
John then reminds us the source of this perfect love:
"We love him, because
he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19)
In the original, "him" is not written there. We love God, ourselves, and everyone else because He first loved us, at the Cross!
Paul prayed that the Ephesians would also understand this enhancing and every-enriching love:
"That the God of
our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of
wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
"The eyes of your
understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his
calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." (Ephesians 1: 17-18)
We are called to reign in life through God's grace, which we receive by faith in His love, demonstrated forevermore to us at the Cross. We have received forever forgiveness for all our sins at the Cross, where God more than paid our debt, according us also His infinite riches (Ephesians 1: 3). Since we have been so blessed, since we now reign in life as kingly priests, let us behave as becomes kings in the Kingdom of Heave, let us forgive everyone who has wronged us, knowing that we have been more than cleared and compensated for our sins.
If we choose not to forgive, we make ourselves prisoners who frustrate the grace of God in our lives (Galatians 2: 21; 5: 4), because we are convinced that we must work and strive for what we need. The more that we understand our royal standing before God, the more that we rejoiced in His restoration and promotion through the blood of His Son, and therefore we can easily forgive others!
Forgive, Beloved -- Because that is what blood-bought and grace-enriched kings in Christ do!