2 Corinthians 5:18-19 — 18Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation, 19that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation (NKJV).
Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, God the Father was reconciling the world to Himself. The word reconcile means to exchange. Jesus made a way for mankind to trade enmity toward God for intimacy with Him. He now receives us into His favor.
Paul also wrote that God does not impute our trespasses to us. In other words, He does not take into account, or make account of, the sins we commit. Love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV). God doesn’t write daily entries in His Diary of a Filthy Sinner journal, and the only label He has ever placed on anyone reads: “Forgiven.” It’s not in His character to hold our sins over our heads; it’s in His character to love. And we have the same charge.
God has given every believer the ministry of reconciliation. That means we are to help bridge the gap between Him and those who are separated from Him. The only way to do that is to call them forgiven ourselves. Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offenses should come” (Luke 17:1, NKJV). You will never lack for opportunities to practice forgiveness, and every time you refuse to hold the sins of your offenders against them, you represent Jesus well.
Don’t label people according to their sins; label them as forgiven. When you do label someone by the sins he has committed, in your mind, you leave him no capacity for change. But if you call him forgiven, you believe in the finished work of Christ for his life. Jesus already did everything He’s going to do to reconcile people to Himself. Now He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. If we refuse to forgive, we portray God as unforgiving. And if they don’t see Jesus in us, they might never see Him at all.
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