“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty,” – Exodus 34:6-7a ESV
Today’s focus: “Long-suffering, forgiving iniquity, transgression, sin”
Long-suffering: slow to anger, fore-bearing nostril-flaring worthy offense. Psalm 86:15
“You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Look down on have mercy on me. Give your strength to your servant; save me,” – Psalm 86:15-16
God clarifies in Ezekiel 18:19 that a person who turns to God in wholehearted devotion will not be punished for their parents (or grandparents) sin.
“’What?’ you ask. ‘Doesn’t the child pay for the parent’s sins?’ No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done. Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? Says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.” – Ezekiel 18:19-23
Through Jesus Christ, God did what was needed to repair the damage that our mistakes did to the relationship.
“He, Jesus, personally carried our sins in his body on the cross, so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24
Forgiving – to lift, to take someone else’s burden on yourself,
“If we claim we have no sin we are only fooling ourselves, and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – 1 John 1:8-9
Jesus taught us to pray, “Father, forgive us as we forgive,” – Luke 11:4
David’s prayer (based on what he had learned about God to be true): “O Lord you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.” – Psalm 86:5
Solomon’s prayer (at the dedication of the Temple referring to the character of God): “May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, year us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.” – I Kings 8:30
Forgiving (to lift): one time, repeated mistake, habit original incident leads to turning away and then lifestyle
- Iniquity: wickedness, perversity, mischief, fault
- Transgression: rebellion, trespass
- Sin: habitual “missing the mark”
What do we learn?
God is slow to anger, and constantly forgiving.
What should we do?
- Believe. Repent. Receive. (believe Jesus as Savior, repent: apology, turn, receive forgiveness daily)
“You will perish too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.” – Luke 13:3
- Give Thanks.
“Don’t worry; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
- Share Your Story.
“And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.” – Revelation 12:11 in John’s vision of believers walking in victory prior to the return of Jesus and culminated in the return of Jesus.
God has placed you near someone who needs this message. …near someone who needs to see the evidence of this truth actively at work in your life.