The Spirit of Forgiveness Part V
Today’s blog post is the fifth and final post in a series on The Spirit of Forgiveness by Marc Fisher, my husband, for the week of Advent.
“There I will meet with you and, from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are upon the ark of the Testimony, I will speak intimately with you of all which I will give you in commandment to the Israelites” (Exodus 25:22, AMP).
And what comfort.
One place I will be available to you in counsel, in whatever situation, here is where I will be and in no other place. I will meet with you in the place of conflict and opposition and not in any other place.
Here is where God’s sanctuary is to be found.
If we refuse to enter in to such a place then we void our ability to have counsel with God and that is why we see so much unresolved conflict without resolution.
So much brokenness in the church and our relationships, a repetition of the same issues over and over but always lacking any resolution.
To be delighted in the entirety of the mystery of this passage though requires a remarkable security in God.
So many of the tears in our relationships are nothing more than us speaking out of fear and insecurity.
Where is our confidence in our God?
Can’t you trust and wait on God?
It is fear and insecurity because we do not come to the realization that it is one piece of gold, making the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat.
We are made out of the same piece and He is the gold!
He Himself is inclusive of all contradiction for He has designed all opposition. [Colossians 3:11, Corinthians 12:13] That which seems in opposition to us is as far from God as we are. Don’t just let that statement pass over you without wrestling with it!
That which seems in opposition to us is as far from God as we are for we are out of the same gold.
That is the church my friends, a sinew of human relationships under one King for the sake of one Kingdom, that is the way it was designed to be.
Can you place your faith in a God who promised to bring about the completion of His bride?
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13:, NIV).
What is even so much more glorious in all this is that this was all in God’s design so that the Church could be to the world as a statement of the greatest of all acts of reconciliation, of divine forgiveness!
What is the answer for our relationships, for the church, is also the answer for the world!
Let us rejoice in that!
We must be as reconcilers or what else do we have to offer to a Rwanda? It was in His sovereign plan to reconcile both the Jew and Gentile. [Romans 1:16]
We have the solution.
It is in the reconciliation that has begun at the cross and will be completed in the end!
It is in the God, who gave His only Son to reconcile the world to Himself, in which reconciling not just black with white would be possible but even black with black.
I thought it was best to end with a true story to drive home this truth, a story of how two men arose from a surrounding opposition among their brothers and sisters in the Lord and as they were reconcilers at home became reconcilers among the lost.
“In 1722, persecuted brethren began to gather on an estate owned by Count Zinzendorf, a wealthy governor in Germany. They were part of the remnant of their day, fleeing persecution. They were Lutheran, Anabaptist, Moravians, and even converted Catholics. They all converged together at Herrenhut because the Count was willing to give them a place of refuge where they could live peacefully and serve the God of heaven. This little group quickly grew to several hundred people, but those first five years were very shaky. Several times it seemed the whole community would be totally destroyed as the strong opinions of this diverse group continually clashed with one another. In May 1727, after much prayer, fasting, admonition, and teaching from the Word of God, Zinzendorf persuaded them to lay down their theological guns, to look to Christ, the Head of the body, and to love one another just the way they were. From that point, the Holy Spirit began to brood over their meetings in a new way. Unified prayers began to rise up out of the hearts of this divided people. In August 1727, a visitation from God came, and they were never the same after that. The whole church was baptized in the fullness of Christ. Then in 1732, the first of many missionaries rose up, as two young Moravians heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist British owner had 2000 to 3000 slaves. And the owner had said, ‘No preacher, no clergyman, will ever stay on this island. If he’s ship wrecked we’ll keep him in a separate house until he has to leave, but he’s never going to talk to any of us about God, I’m through with all that nonsense.’ Three thousand slaves from the jungles of Africa brought to an island in the Atlantic and there to live and die without hearing of Christ. The two young Moravians heard about it and sold themselves to the British planter. As the ship left its pier in the river at Hamburg and was going out into the North Sea carried with the tide, the Moravians had come from Herrenhut to see these two lads off, never to return again, for this wasn’t a four year term, they sold themselves into a lifetime of slavery. The families were there weeping, for they knew they would never see them again. And they wondered why they were going and questioned the wisdom of it. As the boat drifted out the young boys saw the widening gap, and one lad with his arm linked through the arm of his fellow, raised his hand and shouted across the gap the last words that were heard from them, they were these, ‘MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!'” — Taken from “The Radical Example of Moravian Missions” by Denny Kenaston
Further Questions to Study
1. Why would God have their wings touching?
2. Read Romans 8:28, if God authored all contradictions among us, what does that say about opposition we perceive among each other? Can you embrace that type of understanding and disposition?
3. Why would God have put this passage so early in Scripture?
4. Are you quick to see man as the threat? What does Scripture say is the threat?
5. Read Revelation 5:9. What can you say about God’s love of diversity? How does it currently impact your life? How should this impact your life?
6. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-28. As the Church, God’s hands and feet, how does our lack of a spirit of forgiveness cause harm to the body? Can harm come to the body that does not also pain the head of the body?
7. God being infinite means much will remain mysterious to us, how do you deal with the extensive mystery of who God is and His ways?
8. When did you last pass judgment on someone and then later find out there was more to their story?
Bonus! I encourage you to read about the Moravians and how it relates to reconciliation and forgiveness. It will change your life and ministry forever.
Recommended sermon by Marc on Sermon Index from John Piper called “At The Price of God’s Own Blood.”
[Photo taken from Pinterest]