SPOTTER, LESSON 4: GOD IS FAITHFUL TO FORGIVE
“Be imitators of GOD, therefore, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1)
The Bible makes plain that, when we are reborn in Christ, we are called to be “imitators of GOD,” that is, imitators of his communicable character attributes, those attributes GOD “shares” with his adopted children. We can know the character of our GOD because it is clearly revealed in scripture. Among his many qualities we find that God is loving, patient, kind, good, joyful, faithful, righteous, generous, courageous, creative, and, not least of all, forgiving. These are traits we should strive to imitate. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
Forgiveness is sweet and grace is a great virtue when we are on the receiving end. It is something to rejoice over. But how things change when we are the “offended” party. Suddenly justice takes center stage and we begin to entertain thoughts about whether the offender “deserves” our forgiveness. We focus on our wounds and wallow in our injuries. We think that the kind of forgiveness Jesus offered his enemies on the cross, “Forgive them for they know not what they do,” is impossible for us to imitate. After all He is God. But this excuse falls apart when we look a few pages further on into the book of Acts and we see Stephen imitating his Lord in the face of a brutal death by stoning. “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Can we hope to attain to this level of forgiveness? I’ll let Jesus answer that one. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” With God’s indwelling Holy Spirit all things are possible.
As we close out this section on forgiveness, we should seek to help the children understand that, on this side of heaven, we are striving to imitate Christ, knowing we will stumble and fall, trusting in his forgiveness when we do, and letting Him pick us up and urge us on to continue the climb He has called us to.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
BIG IDEA: Forgive others as God forgives you.
But God is faithful and fair. If we admit that we have sinned, He will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure. – 1 John 1:9
Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive each other, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done. – Ephesians 4:32
Thank God that He is faithful to forgive us when we choose sin instead of Him. Ask Him to forgive you today for where you have fallen short of His standard. Thank Him for his abounding love for you.
- During our study has God shown you any sin in your life? What should you do?
- Share a time when someone was unkind or unfair to you. Your response?
- Read and discuss Matthew 18:21-35.
- What does it mean to imitate someone? How can we imitate Jesus?
LIVE IT OUT!
- Practice your memory verse (1 John 1:9).
- Check with your family members to see if you need to forgive or be forgiven by anyone.
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ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader. In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.