Forgiveness! Bearing the marks of Jesus in our body.
Galatians 6:1-2 KJV  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
I think there is more to bearing one another's burdens then has traditionally met the eye!
Would you be free from the burden of sin? We sing it In our churches regularly. Is there a link though? Is there a part for us to play in the bearing of the burdens of one another? We all know that the provisions for the forgiveness of sins is only accomplished through the work of Christ Jesus on the Cross and the power in His blood but was the model we were given through this glorious work intended to be lived out practically through us? Was the example by Christ set so that we would forgive, bear, forget, restore, and do life with one another without the expectation of any consequences that could come culturally on the chance that we were to forgive the wrong person? (Can that even happen?) Did it include bearing the burdens of the sins of those who have wounded us! Finally, does this fulfill the law of Christ?
I would venture to say that we all believe that the list of our sins, shortcomings, and stupidity are blotted out in totality by the blood of the Son of God. But I also think that many Christians aren’t healthy because they fail to understand this foundational and profoundly simple truth in its totality.
For example, many know they’re forgiven—but they have a hard time believing the one who hurt them is. “You can’t ignore the abuse, the trauma, and the anxiety that has been inflicted upon you,” they are told. “It must be dealt with.” But wait a minute! It has been dealt with by Jesus’ blood on the Cross. He hung on the Cross of Calvary dying for the very sin that bugs us in others. To say that an all knowing God forgot my sins to some would diminish the very nature of God. So let's properly define what "Your sins are remembered no more" means. The intent of scripture is to say that our all knowing God no longer holds our sins against us. Now that would be a biblical truth that would provide actual results in the healing process.
If we are to be honest, I think that all of us identify that a certain amount of risk comes when we say "I forgive" because it means that we are willing to bear in our body's the marks of Jesus, the memories of sin and hurt, for the sake of His amazing work of Grace. Otherwise we diminish the full work that Christ did on Calvary. Make sure that the work that was done for all does not become selective in scope. We all hurt Him, and we all have offended Him! He cried, “It is finished,” It’s done! It’s paid for. He no longer holds the sin against us. That means for those of us who are offenders and also for those who have been offended. So be forgiven and forgive one another. Bear the burdens and memories that are evidence of God's amazing Grace to heal us and not hold anything against us. The facts show that you and I were both in the wrong, we all sinned, and He bore the burden of our sin and it left scars on His body. He did it without any regret, no longer holding an account against us, or even saying Ooops!
Galatians 6:17-18 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
Is this too dangerous to teach in today’s church? I know it may sound risky to some but to me, there is only one question of any importance and that is... Did Christ take that kind of risk on me? Did He take upon Himself the scars that were the result of my sin, memories of His amazing grace? If the answer for you is yes then, it may just radically reform your perspectives on grace therefore fulfilling the Law of Christ.
Food for thought! When we are under the load and the heavy burden of sin, my prayer is that as believers we would carry one another though, bearing the marks of Christ in our body, even when we’ve been hurt, even when it is an inconvenience, or an imposition. Even when our reputation is at risk, or those around us think it abuses the some law of grace. With grace the laws have been done away with! By bearing one another’s burdens in this way we fulfill the law of Christ.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
So many Questions to ask ourselves...
How and in what fashion did the Lord forgive you?
Was it complete, were you justified, were you restored to a state of righteousness?
Did Christ change the record on your past sins to show not guilty?
Were you the one who hurt Him like so many of us, all of us have?
Do I forgive others in the way it was modeled through Christ?
Do I keep a record of my sins and the sins of others without confession and repentance?
Am I willing to die to my selfishness, selectivity, spiritual pride, dogma, and religiosity, in order to bear the burdens of those who sinned against me?
Do I practice selectively in matters of forgiveness and bearing someone's burdens?
Is it easier to forgive someone who confessed their sins to you than it is to forgive someone who has sinned against you personally? There is no difference in the Christ model!
I'm just saying!
I know these are hard questions but, I have been contemplating them and I think they are all important to ask if I am to see the law of Christ fulfilled in the way it was intended for me. Let this challenge our thinking and root out any signs of religion, legalism, or hurts that we place on one another. And more than anything else may it change the way we respond to one another, causing us to see each other through the lens of Jesus who lavished us with His love and compassion while we were the biggest risk He could have ever taken.
Food for thought!
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John is Pastor at The Redeemed Adventure Project and Author of various Adventure Journals, Fireside Challenges, and Blogs excerpts from books he written over the last 12 years.