|From the Christadelphian Office.
Thoughts about the sufferings of the Ukrainians prompted me to wonder how they could ever forgive Vladimir Putin and his invading army. Such terrible things have been done that forgiveness must be a great challenge.
The Lord’s prayer teaches that forgiving others is essential if we wish to be forgiven ourselves, but that can be rather troubling, especially if we find it difficult to forgive others. If we cannot forgive others, does that mean God will not forgive us? If He won’t forgive, all hope is lost.
We need to be careful how we interpret this part of the Lord’s prayer. Christ is not teaching a transactional relationship – I forgive others so God is obliged to forgive me. That is not how forgiveness works. If we are to benefit from forgiveness there are some conditions we have to follow. These are listed in John’s letters and elsewhere.
- We must confess: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
- We must try not to repeat our sins: “If we walk in the light … the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (verse 7)
- We must try to forgive others because we have been forgiven. “Then his master … said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’” (Matthew 18:32,33)
This third point explains the clause in the Lord’s prayer. God is not waiting for us to go first – He forgives and then invites us to behave in the same way. Because God has forgiven us we should be forgiving of others. He is giving us the opportunity to emulate His character. Paul summarises this;
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Every time someone sins against us we are being given the opportunity to show the same forgiving compassion that God has shown to us. This is a high standard, but one we should all aspire to.
This month’s newsletter contains the following items:
- Signs of the Times – Tensions between Russia and Israel
- Online discount weekend – July 1-3, 2022
- Special Offer – ‘God’s Spirit in Work and Word’
- Magazine: Prompted by an enquiry published in April, seeking information about the Forest Oak ecclesia, this month supplies the answer with the unusual history of the Elwood, Forest of Dean ecclesia. Three brothers met to break bread at a convenient location under the Charles II oak, which prompted locals to think they were tree worshippers.
In exposition we consider the structure of the epistle of James (Brother Stephen Palmer) and begin a short series looking at the gospel from Eden to Abraham (Brother Andrew E. Walker).
Sunday morning is based on Isaiah (Brother John Owen) and the editorial looks at God’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. Amongst other things the latest update on the merger between the Testimony and The Christadelphian is given.
- Increased paper prices: Readers will not be surprised to hear that production prices are increasing considerably. Our printers have increased the cost of printing The Christadelphian each month by 15% as their costs of energy, fuel and paper have all risen significantly. The trustees have agreed to absorb these additional costs for the rest of 2022 for the magazine, although some modest increases are being considered for books. One option also being discussed is a small change to the size of the magazine. It seems that more economical prices can be obtained if the dimensions of the magazine are reduced modestly. This proposition is under consideration as part of our merger plans with Testimony and if implemented would commence in January 2023.
- Second-hand children’s books: Our thanks to everyone who has responded to the request for donations of second-hand books for children. This is proving to be a popular area of activity and we will be pleased to receive more – in reasonable condition please. For more information on the children’s section please contact Sis. Carmel Payne (email@example.com).
- Deuteronomy for Disciples – Deuteronomy 27
- Diary dates:
- May 26: Publication of June’s issue of The Christadelphian.
- May 29-June 3: Bookstall at Swanwick Family Bible School.
- May 30-June 3: Bookstall at Hertfordshire Spring Bible School.
- June 2-5 inclusive: Office closed for Spring and Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday.
- June 4: CMPA AGM.
- June 8: Distribution of Testimony Special issue.
- June 10: Deadline for submission of news items for July’s issue.
- June 13: Circulation of June’s Newsletter.
- July 1-3: Online discount weekend.
As always, all our plans and endeavours are intended for the glory of Almighty God and are subject to His blessing.
The seven last sayings of Christ discussed in the new edition of the Christadelphian
Today’s thought “Forgive … from your heart” (January 16)
Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love
Matthew 7:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #1 The Narrow Gate and the way to destruction
Taught by God to love one another
The Greatest of These is Love
Forgiveness always possible
Not Your Own
Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!
Atonement and the race been bought
Parable of the Unmerciful Servant