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FORGIVENESS…the road to Redemption!

BY

Bernie Lutchman

Cornelia “Corrie” Ten Boom was better known as the Christian Holocaust victim who helped many
Jews escape the Nazis during World War II, through the Dutch Underground. She is also the well-known
author of “The Hiding Place”, a book based on this incredible experience.

What Corrie struggled with later was unforgiveness. Knowing the entire story of her encounters with the
horrors of the Nazi Third Reich, this is understandable in the natural. In the supernatural, where the
LORD JESUS CHRIST lives – that is a different story!

Corrie said in her amazing book ‘The Hiding Place’: “It was
at a church in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man
who had stood guard at the shower room door in the
processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our
actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it
was all there - the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of
clothing, Betsie's pain blanched face.

He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and


bowing. "How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein," he
said. "To think that, as you say, 'He has washed my sins
away'!"

His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had
preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal on the need to
forgive, kept my hand at my side.

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw


the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I
going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and
help me to forgive him.

I tried to smile; I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt


nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so
again, I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give him Your forgiveness.

As I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my
hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that
almost overwhelmed me.

And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness, any more than on our goodness that the world's
healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the
love itself.
MORE PERSONAL FORGIVENESS:

It is easy (I hope) to forgive the rotten boss who favors another person over you, in spite of the quality of
your good work.
It is easy to forgive the rude sales clerk, who shortchanged you at the cashier register, and then you go
back and she is apologetic.
It is easy to forgive your own kids when they mess up, because we love them.
It is easy to forgive or be forgiven, by a spouse for an entire list of offenses…and on and on!

What about the drunk driver who killed your only son? It happened to my close friend and fellow
minister, Nick S. A drunk driver killed his 25 year old son in Pittsburg in 2008. Nick, a powerful servant
of Christ, went through all kinds of emotions, anxiety, trauma, tears and more.

During the trial for the drunk driver, less than two years, ago, when Nick forgave the woman who killed
his son in court, it made the news in Pittsburg. More importantly, it lifted a burden of pain off him, which
only Christ can do. The hurt and pain are still there, but the forgiveness Nick showed accomplished two
things – he allowed the Power of God to free him AND he gave that young scared woman, a chance at
redemption!

What Nick did here, was what Jesus Christ would have done! Remember what He said from the Cross
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do!”

A HARD MESSAGE TO HEAR:

Forgiveness is a primary message of the Cross where Jesus gave His All!! You see, sin is a
despicable thing to Almighty God. He has a serious problem with sin. Since the Original Sin of
Adam and Eve, all mankind has been born with an Adamic or Sinful Nature, whether folks
believe it or not.

God is so Pure, Holy and Just that He has to punish sin. Moses did not record the LAW (which
includes the Ten Commandments) until circa 1445-1410 BC when the Holy Spirit used Moses’
hand to record the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch). (The Holy Spirit led Moses to
record in detail events that had taken place from the Creation over 1000 years before Moses!!).
But sin and degradation had defiled God’s creation so much that He flooded the earth in Noah’s
time and rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. God punished sin.

When Pharaoh disobeyed God’s direct Command to “let His people (the Israelites) go”, Pharaoh
lost his only son and his army in the Red Sea. God punished sin.

When the Israelites, whom the Lord our God, led in His Power and Might from 400 years of
bondage out of Egypt, whined, complained, blasphemed and worshipped pagan idols in an
abomination. God made them wander in the desert for 40 years before 1 million plus died – God
punished sin.

When even Moses disobeyed God and in his anger hit the Rock that God – ADONAI – had
explicitly told him to SPEAK to, in order to get water for the whining Israelites (Numbers 20:
8-12)*, Moses was told that he will NEVER go into the Promised Land! Why? The Apostle Paul
records that the ROCK Moses hit was actually Christ (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)**!! Moses struck
the Son of God who was in that Rock that was giving literal living water to an ungrateful people!
Moses hit Jesus and was kept out of Canaan. God punished sin!!
You and I and every human who has ever lived are sinful beings who deserved nothing more
than eternal punishment from the Father. God, in His Infinite Wisdom, also knew that we could
never fulfill the requirements of the Mosaic Law of Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
There, God commanded various blood sacrifices for Atonement of Sin.

THE ATONEMENT!

The key word here is “ATONEMENT” which implies a temporary forgiveness for a specific act.
From Moses onwards, the Jewish people based their religious life on the legalistic observation of
blood sacrifices of bulls and goats and the Temple life….many of whom disgraced the Lord their
God by worshipping Baal gods etc.

Dr. Robert Clinton, a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, once did a study of how all major
Old Testament leaders ended their days and found that 75% of them died disobeying God!! Yes,
75%!

It was not until the Supreme Sacrifice of the Creator, the Word, the man who Isaiah talked about
in almost every chapter of His Beautiful Oracle of a Book, that God provided a single Act that
was more complete and final than Atonement. The Bible is specific that Blood is demanded for
the forgiveness of sin.

In February 2004, the world complained that the movie “the Passion of the Christ” was too
bloody. Without debating the merits of the movie, the fact is that it had to be bloody! Roman
execution/crucifixion was a sick, bloody thing. But most of all God the Father demanded blood
for a one-time, complete, forgiveness of all sin for all time!

This Blood had to be innocent and so, He sent His Own Son to do a Man’s job. The first man,
Adam, had let Him down. This is Grace beyond all measure!! We could never fathom, in our
own puny, little minds, what that really means! All I know is that we have to accept it, love the
Lord for it and share it with the lost, which we were once like, before He saved us…by His Grace.

Many people asked why God would turn His back on His Own Son in Mark 15:34 (“my God, my
God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” King James Version) Why? Well, because a Holy God looked
at the sin load, past, present and future, that His Son, Yeshua (Jesus) the Lamb, was bearing and
could not stand to look at it! Past, present and future? What does that mean?

What Jesus did when He died on the Cross, was die for the Forgiveness of Sin for all who
believed, from Abraham and all the Old Testament Saints like David, Isaiah and Jeremiah, to us
here in 2011 and to all our descendants in the future who will be saved, before the Return of the
King of Kings. This is a Mystery and a Truth that those in the World could never understand. It
is only through the Power of the Spirit of Christ in us, that we can even glean a sliver of
understanding of it. The Old Testament saints only had their sins covered by the blood of bulls
and goats, but it was not until Jesus’ on the Cross that they were completely forgiven.

PAID IN FULL:

Well, how does this apply to us today in these last days, around the globe? Well, I wish to share a
true story told by the Father of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, who exposed the
bankruptcy of the corrupt state church by nailing the Famous 95 Theses to the door of Castle
Church in Wittenberg, Germany!
Martin Luther said that one night he awoke to find Satan at the foot of his bed with a huge scroll.
Satan, who is called the Accuser of the Brethren (amongst other things in the Bible!!) started
reading off Luther’s sins one by one off the scroll. After each sin, the Accuser would say, “do you
remember this sin, Martin”…and Luther would say “yes!” This went on for what Luther said felt
like an eternity. The Scroll of Sins listed so many sins that he committed, that Satan accused
Luther of, whom Martin acknowledged that Luther said he felt so guilty, unworthy and heading
straight for hell!!

Just as Luther began feeling that way, Almighty God spoke up and said:” Martin, tell the devil to
unroll the scroll all the way to the end!!

Martin said, “Devil, unroll the scroll all the way to the end!” The devil said “shut up, Martin!!”

He said it again. Same result. Finally Martin firmly told Satan, “Devil, in the Name of Jesus, I
command you to unroll the scroll all the way to the end!”

Reluctantly, the devil slowly unrolled it to the end and there at the bottom of the scroll
WRITTEN IN BLOOD were these words: “THIS ENTIRE SIN ACCOUNT OF MARTIN
LUTHER HAS BEEN PAID IN FULL!!”

You have an account like that, mine is as long as the Mississippi, but because of the Cross, our
sin accounts have that same SEAL, SIGNED IN BLOOD BY THE SAVIOR!! Now, ISN’T THAT
WORTH JUMPING AND SHOUTING FOR??!!!

There are no better worship songs like some of the Old Hymns. You may not find them on
today’s power point jumbo TV screens in our churches, but the old hymn says “what can wash
away my sins – NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!” Oh! The Sweet, Sweet Blood of
Jesus!! Hallelujah!

Satan can’t stand up to that! His lot was whipped at the Cross and at the Name of Jesus, even
that old fox has to bow

The Standard for Forgiveness was set by Jesus Himself here: “Then Peter came to him and
asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? "No, not
seven times," Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22).

Now, did Jesus just tell Peter to forgive someone 490 times (i.e. seven times seventy)? No, He
was just illustrating the very magnitude of God’s forgiveness and therefore what is expected of
us. When my friend Nick forgive the drunk driver who killed his only son, it was similar to 7
times 70 because of the enormity of this act from the heart. Something like this cannot be
measured!

THE STANDARD:

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it!” This
anonymous quote is almost analogous to the message of the Cross and our Inheritance in Christ
Jesus!

Genesis 3:15b KJV says “He (Christ) will crush your head and you will strike His Heel.” God
told Satan way back in the Garden of Eden what the Living Son will do to him. Isaiah 53:5 KJV
says the Jesus was “bruised for our iniquities” Subsequently, in John 13:18, the Lord Jesus
Himself told of his betrayer (Judas) as one “who hath lifted up his heel against Me!”

Why this entire “heel” talk in the Bible? The word itself can mean anything from a part of the
human foot to a metaphor for oppression as John 13:18. The latter verse almost shows the kind
of person we were; before the Lord called us to Salvation…our sin lifted our heels against Christ!

Look briefly at Romans 6: 1-9 *** and see how to live in “new lives” (vs. 4)! What the Apostle
Paul, the chosen one of Christ, meant was our old evil nature - the Adamic nature man was born
with – was killed, dead and buried when we accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, through true
repentance and acknowledgement of the Work of Christ on the Cross. We threw off the old
clothes. We are now free from sin. Do we still sin? Yes! But we are saints who sometimes sin.
When we accepted the Cross, we died with Him and when He rose from the dead, we ROSE
WITH Him. TO ETERNAL LIFE!!

This means Sin has no hold on us! Death, the wages of sin, was conquered at the Cross. The
Cross meant that all sin from time past eternity (from Adam, Abel and Abraham to us now to all
in the future) has been forgiven. Because of His forgiveness, we inherited all Christ was from
Ancient Eternity to His Glorious Appearing in the future!! If a person does not understand,
appreciate or become so totaled awed and humbled causing him/her to weep at the thought,
one’s position in Christ should be reexamined!!

SHORT ACCOUNTS:

One positive application to take from this is deploying something that Brother Lawrence, the 17th
Century monk, called “Short Accounts” (itself a variation of the Biblical exhortation about not
letting the sun go down on your anger.) Almighty God has put away our sin because Jesus did
what we could not do for ourselves – appease God’s anger against sin (Hebrews 2:17) or the
word PROPITIATION. Therefore to keep a “short account” with God, use the Brother
Lawrence and confess your daily sins right before bed at prayer time. All of them!! Then begin
each day anew, renewed by the Spirit of the Living God who lives inside each believer. The
blessings of such a simple discipline brings so much joy and peace, it will lead you to want to fall
in love anew each day in Him, through His Word. Not a day will go by when you would not want
to delight yourself in Scripture and fellowship with HIM because He walks with you and He
talks with you!!

Believers will then want to practice the same forgiveness to those who have done us wrong! God
forgave us and truly loves us, so no matter what the person has done to us, forgive them just as
Christ forgave us. Remember when we got saved, The Lord Our God accepted us just the way we
were!

* Numbers 20: 8-12 NLT: “You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire
community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You
will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.
So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord.
Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you
rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” Then Moses raised his hand and
struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their
livestock drank their fill. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me
enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I
am giving them!”

** 1 Corinthians 10: 1-4 NLT:


I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All
of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry
ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the
same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual
rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

*** Romans 6:1-9 (NLT):

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful
grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten
that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and
were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of
the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that
our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no
longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we
died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from
the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.

- New Living Translation (NLT)


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale
House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

- King James Version (KJV) of the Bible – Public Domain.

- Image of “The Hiding Place” courtesy Google Images.