WHEN are WE Most Like God? Could it be We Are Most Like God: AS SOON AS WE ARE BORN?
When are we most like God? Not sure that there is a definitive answer to this great question, but I would like to consider it briefly in this article. I suspect one correct answer would be as soon as we are born. At that particular point in our development and growth, we have not sinned. God and sin are not compatible! God can’t even be in the presence of sin according to Isaiah 59.1-2. Even though our Calvinist friends consider that little baby to have inherited Adam’s sin and that the baby has sinful blood running through the veins, they CANNOT sustain that presumptuous idea with book, chapter, and verse. Also, if this Calvinist position were true, how is it that Jesus could make the following statement: SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN AND FORBID THEM NOT, TO COME UNTO ME: FOR OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (Mt 19.14)? Obviously, Jesus does not consider little children to be mired in sin!
Could it be We Are Most Like God: WHEN FORGIVING SOMEONE?
When are we most like God? If we search for another point in time when I am most like God (not exactly, but most like), perhaps we would suggest: THE TIME WHEN I AM FORGIVING SOMEONE. Isn’t that a fairly obvious answer? Isn’t the entire Bible about forgiveness. Searching for a theme or purpose line for the Bible, it would be hard to beat the one I was taught at the Brown Trail Preacher Training School. I think the original source of this statement might have been Roy C. Deaver. The purpose line that runs throughout the Bible from Genesis 1.1 through Revelation 22.21 is: The glory of God and the salvation of man through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Yes, we serve a God who loves us and who wants every single one of us to be saved. He actually wants to forgive us of our many sins. Can we substantiate that claim? Yes, of course we can. Notice 2 Peter 3.9… The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Notice here that the inspired Apostle Peter wrote that God does NOT will that any of us should perish! The Apostle Paul wrote—1 Timothy 2.1-4… I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. Through the writing of the Apostle John we are informed that WHOSOEVER WILL can come and take of the water of life freely (Rev 22.17).
God is willing to forgive; God desires to forgive. How can we conclude anything except that from these three passages, and then added to them, statements that we find on just about any page to which we might casually open up our Bibles?
Matthew 18 is a great chapter about FORGIVENESS. It is the chapter where Peter asks the important question of Jesus: HOW OFT SHALL MY BROTHER SIN AGAINST ME, AND I FORGIVE HIM? TILL SEVEN TIMES? (Mt 18.21).
Does God REALLY CARE if I AM LIKE GOD–FORGIVING?
In the study guide for Matthew 18 which I sent to the website today, I have included a rather lengthy discussion about the question: Are we to extend this forgiveness without limit and condition as some claim? The answer to that question is NO, but I will let you read that discussion on your own (You can find it by clicking H-E-R-E). What Matthew 18 is chiefly concerned about is getting you and me to understand how very important it is for us to be working to develop a FORGIVING ATTITUDE. Does God really care all that much if we are forgiving of others?
There is no way to read and study carefully Matthew 18 without coming up with a resounding YES as answer to that question. I would just challenge you to open up your Bible to Matthew 18 when you get home from the assembly and read these 35 verses.
After Jesus gave Peter an answer to his question (UNTIL SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN), He presented The PARABLE of the Unforgiving Servant (Mt 18.21-35) as a further magnification of that answer.
How crystal clear Jesus was as He presented this parable to His precious disciples! Do we think enough about forgiveness? Do we understand it well?
If we are lacking in our understanding of the importance and value of forgiving others, one great place to begin a study is Matthew 18.21-35.
As I was studying this great chapter this week in preparation for the radio program, I came to appreciate more fully a certain fact revealed in this parable about forgiveness. That is: what the REAL PROBLEM was that was plaguing the unforgiving servant. His real problem was that he lacked understanding of HOW VERY MUCH HE OWED. Burton Coffman, in his commentary on Matthew put it this way: “The fault of the unmerciful servant was his failure to realize the enormity and absolute hopelessness of his debt. His earnest promise to repay it showed that he did not have the slightest conception of how much he owed.”
In another reference I included in the study guide, there was an attempt to put into focus how great that debt owed by the unmerciful servant really was. If we put it in years of work it would take to repay the debt, one estimate has it as: 273,973 YEARS! In other words, Jesus was telling us we owe a debt that we cannot pay for being able to get forgiveness of our sins.
Let’s all think seriously about the matter of forgiveness. Isn’t it truly the case that when we are willing to forgive a brother or sister or a neighbor or friend, that this is the very time that we are MOST LIKE GOD?
–by David Lemmons