Close Second - Matthew 6:14-15

I cannot think of a greater need for sinners than to have 
(and know) the forgiveness of God.   Man’s greatest problem is sin.   No problem is greater, none.   David needed it, and David knew it.   “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Ps. 32:1).   David was so blessed.   Paul quotes this wonderful truth in Romans 4.   Paul was blessed as well. It is wonderful to know that our sins are forgiven.   We find forgiveness only in Christ, and only at the cross.   It is the intersection where truth and mercy met in time and make a way for all eternity (Ps. 85).   There, at that crossroad of the cross grace took my place and Jesus died in my stead.   I am still sobered at the sight.   My greatest need was met at Calvary.

As the greatest commandment (Love God) is followed by a second (love man) the first and greatest need is followed by a second.   If the first and greatest need is forgiveness, then our second greatest need is to forgive.   Men have as much trouble with the second as they do with the first.    I think however, the proof of the one is evidenced in the other.  

Jesus told a story of a man who after experiencing the forgiveness of a debt grabbed another man by the throat and demanded payment for a much lesser debt.   This behavior was so outrageous that the ungrateful man was thrown into prison.   There are many who claim they have been to Calvary and yet they are quick to seize, by the throat, any who “owe” them a debt, or apology.   The forgiveness of Salvation is so large and their willingness to forgive so little, one must wonder if they have ever discovered how great a debtor they were or are.  

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”   Matt. 6:14-15.

Faith is required to see the second need as much as the first.   When we see ourselves as hell deserving sinners pardoned (like some Barabbas) at the eleventh hour, we could hardly believe it.   Never for a moment did we think we were worthy, but on the basis of Christ’s word, we knew were saved.   Likewise, it is only the grace we found at the cross that prepares us to pass through a world filled with other sinners who will sin against us and we against others.   Real faith trusts the God of grace to be our shield and defender.   Only God can forgive sin.  Only the blood of Christ can blot out our transgressions.  We must forgive because we are forgiven.  Some smart person thought to put an eraser on the other end of a pencil.  One side is for our "writes," the other is for our wrongs. If someone wrongs me grace must turn my face, and grace alone can do it. Strike a saint on the right cheek (Matt. 6:39) he will turn  the other also.  

The world will not know peace until it knows forgiveness.   First it must know the forgiveness   and grace of God that can only come by Jesus Christ, then it must know that that very same grace supernaturally shall enable us to forgive.   First comes peace with God, then the peace of God.  Without Christ there will never be peace in this world.   The war in Afghanistan will go on forever because men cannot forgive.   The war in   Palestine will go on until the second coming because men cannot forgive.   The war in men’s hearts will go on because men will not forgive.  

In the very answer to our greatest need God has provided the secret of the second.