Forgiveness Creates a Living Sacrifice

God is reproducing Himself in His elect. That is what it is all about.

This is His “eternal purpose,” to magnify His nature of agape love through a body of consecrated human beings. God’s elect are the ones He has chosen for this honor, long before the worlds were created. “He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world…having predestinated us” for this honor (Eph. 1: 4-5; 3: 11). One cannot work for this honor of being used by God for His self-reproduction. One can only respond to the calling and election.

To expedite all this, He has forgiven us our sins and trespasses and has commanded us to walk in the Spirit that He has given us. The “Spirit of truth” will lead us into all truth about this process and will take us to a spiritual place where His eternal purpose takes center stage in our earthly sojourn.

Since “God is [agape] love,” and since He desires to reproduce Himself in us, then it is evident that we need to manifest agape love. Actually, we are given a command to add to our faith agape love.

We the elect are to add seven attributes of God’s “divine nature” to our faith. These are lined out in II Peter 1. We call them the additions to the faith (vs. 5-7). Adding them is being “partakers of His divine nature” (v. 4). Adding them is how “to make your calling and election sure” (v. 10). Adding them ensures an entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ/Yahshua (v. 11). So, yes, they are extremely important.

The greatest of the seven additions is agape love. If we do not have this one operating in our lives, we will live in vain. Our words about God to others will be just a “sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.” Why? Because we will have come up short, having not done what was needed in order to add agape love, thus fulfilling God’s purpose of reproducing Himself. But if we are part of His elect, we will respond. He has a way of getting what He wants out of us. He knows how to tighten down the screws. Just think of the prophet Jonah, who was chosen and sent to Nineveh, but refused to go. Look what he suffered. And, yes, he finally went after his ordeal.

How to Add Agape Love

When we suffer wrongs against us, God has provided an opportunity to forgive the person who wronged us. Only agape love—God, in other words—can forgive a betrayer. Only the love that God is can forgive someone who has destroyed your reputation with lies. Only God-is-love can forgive them for being Adamic old nature men and women.

In order to grow agape love within our new heart, He asks us to forgive…everyone. All seven billion of them. Every human being on the face of the earth, and some who are under six feet of earth. He is asking us to forgive everyone who hurt us in any way, and forgive those who we imagined had hurt us. I am learning to just pre-forgive everyone who I might meet today. That changes me and alleviates the problem that I create when I do not forgive that person for just being a flawed human being. Love alleviates the problem. For the problem is me—when I do not forgive [1].

By forgiving, we sacrifice our old self, letting it die on the cross with Christ. To forgive is the principal power that God has given us. If we do not forgive others their trespasses against us, precious little other powers will be entrusted to us.

By forgiving others, we “present our bodies a living sacrifice” thereby adding agape love to our walk in Christ. When we deliberately go about our day forgiving our parents, our spouse, our children, our siblings, our friends (oh, yes), our acquaintances, we will have an opportunity to “love our enemies.” What? Yes, our enemies. Christ warned us that “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matt. 10: 36; Micah 7: 6).

Furthermore, as we practice forgiveness, we become more like Him, for He forgave us all. In so doing we become that living sacrifice and a servant to others. Christ is our example and we are admonished to have the same mind. He did not make a reputation for Himself. He became a servant and humbled Himself and became “obedient unto death.” He has given us the power to be that “living sacrifice,” to be dead unto our old self, but alive unto God.

He urges us to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is [our] reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Rom. 12: 1-2). This places Christ’s mind within us—when we forgive.

Kenneth Wayne Hancock

[1] Russell, Garrison. SonPlacing, pp. 364-390.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Forgiveness Creates a Living Sacrifice

  1. I cannot refute or offer an alternative to your presentation about Christian forgiveness. It is the truth. My problem is that I accept this truth but there are several individuals I cannot forgive. Won’t even pray for the willingness to forgive. Just can’t do it. I have moved beyond revenge, however.

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