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14 September, 2013

Condemnation of an Unforgiving Spirit

Excerpt from Forgiveness of Injuries By John Angell James

.....The warning shows that unforgiveness from God is the doom of those who forgive not heartily, gladly, universally, unreservedly, every offending brother his every offence. To withhold forgiveness from offending man is proof that there is not forgiveness from the offended God. "Whatever measure you use in giving-large or small-it will be used to measure what is given back to you." Such is the inference. It is most distinct. May an expository review of the story instructively impress it.

At the entrance a caution may not be ill-timed. The parable teaches that the unforgiving shall not find forgiveness. Such is the appalling truth. But misapprehension must not here delude. It would be grievous error to infer that forgiveness on man's part constitutes in any sense the originating cause, and moving spring of divine pardon. God is not thus actuated. But still none have a saving interest in His absolving grace whose hearts are stern in unforgiving hardness.

Let discrimination analyze the case. The fountain of forgiveness of sin is grace--the purchasing price is the God-man's blood; the recipients are the children of eternal love--the flock given to Christ in counsels of eternal wisdom. They are loved, because God willed to love them. They are forgiven, because Christ's blood has paid the total of their debt. They have washed in the fountain opened for all sin and uncleanness, because the Spirit has made them willing in the day of His power. They have, also, forgiving hearts, because the same Spirit has softened, melted, hallowed them, and established His reign of gentleness and love.

This forgiving spirit is sweet evidence that they are sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of the heavenly inheritance. Without Him, there is no scriptural warrant for joying in the remission, which belongs only to the family of faith. He, who forgives not from his heart his brother all his trespasses, bears on his front those unrelenting features which exclude from fellowship with the forgiven.

These thoughts lead to the graphic lesson of the parable. Let advance be made with eyes fixed on the focus to which the rays tend, and only pausing to gather warrantable improvement from the embellishing circumstantials.

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The scene thus opens (ver. 23)--"the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him." The reflecting mind instantly turns to our heavenly Father, arrayed in all power--the sovereign Ruler of the universe--who distributes to his servants their several talents, arranges their opportunities, and is about to institute the scrutiny of final reckoning. They are wise who walk and speak and live and work as they who know that they must be made manifest before the judgment-seat, and that everyone "must receive the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it be good or bad."

(Ver. 24.) "When he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought unto him who owed him ten thousand talents." Enormous is the amount. Astounding is the debt. It almost surpasses calculation. A terrifying thought arises--All men are debtors to God's justice, and who can reckon the inconceivable immensity of the obligation? Illustrations fail to span infinity--no words can paint a boundless magnitude. Count all the stars which sparkle on the breast of night--count all the sands which form the ocean's bed--count all the drops which constitute its billows--super-abounding sins exceed. Pile them, and the pyramid overtops the highest summit of the heavens. Let the ten thousand talents of transgression be estimated, and terror must petrify all hearts. Despair must sink into the lowest dust.......