GodReflection: It’s Jesus Friday
Back in the early 1800’s one of my church tribal leaders arbitrarily divided his Bible into three distinct ages.
He label the time from creation through the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the Patriarchal Age. From Moses through Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 he called the Mosaic Age.
For my church tribal leader the Christian Age arrived in Acts 2 as the people responded to Peter’s sermon by repentance and baptism. Acts 2 gave birth to the church. Its story fills the remainder of the New Testament and continues through the final Judgment.
From Acts to Revelation my tribal founder focused on church rather than Jesus. Working from the New Testament Letters, he defined over a thirteen-year period what my church tribe labeled doctrine.
The result was a body of church doctrine created from the Letters rather than from Christ, the one who is the heart of the entire Scripture.
I find it ironic that other than Jesus’ reflection through the authors of the New Testament Letters my historical church tribal leader left Christ out of the Christian age.
Doctrine is a churchy word. Even though it is scarcely use in the political realm, I don’t hear it much in day-to-day conversation.
Doctrine is a rather archaic word to 21st century ears. It is used to define a set of guidelines, a set of principles, or perhaps enumerated truths.
Since I buy into Jesus as the only unique son of God, I want my sacred beliefs to flow from his birth, his life, his teachings, his death, his resurrection, and his ascension.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. . . For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
He taught forgiveness in his sermons, his parables, his life, and his death.
Forgive them, forgive them, forgive them, flows time after time from the heart and the lips of Jesus.
Jesus sets the standard high. Far higher than forgiving a fellow traveler seven times. It is an attitude and a posture that stands ready to forgive an offender seventy-seven times.
Here is what I think.
Forgiveness is a doctrine of Jesus.
His cross sets the bar far beyond my grasp. Forgiveness is a doctrine that causes struggle in my walk. It is not an easy doctrine to pursue. The more I cultivate the willingness to forgive in my own life the more I reflect Jesus.
You would think after his ultimate gift of forgiveness from a Roman cross and the gazillion times he’s forgiven me since, that I would catch on and do a better job at offering the gift of forgiveness to my offenders.
So here I am in the closing stages of my walk on earth still making the attempt to get forgiveness right.
Forgiveness is a doctrine that flows from the very core of Jesus’ heart.
The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that right Jesus makes right doctrine.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on Forgiveness as Jesus’ Doctrine.