If you have followed Grace to You for any significant time, you know that current events rarely factor into John MacArthur’s Bible teaching. His sermons aren’t shaped by the news of the day, and the headlines don’t dictate his topics from week to week. With that said, there have been incidents through the years that have demanded a thoughtful, biblical response—and in those cases, John has broken from his verse-by-verse preaching to address them.
The recent riots and social outrage are one such example. In recent weeks, John has preached back-to-back sermons answering the vital questions, “Who’s to Blame for the Riots?” and “How Should Christians Respond to the Riots?” If you haven’t listened to both of those messages yet, I encourage you to do so soon. John speaks to the chaos and outrage dominating the world with keen, biblical insight and a plainspoken clarity many others can’t or won’t muster.
However, as I look at the anger and violence consuming so much of our society today, I am reminded of another of John’s sermons—this one from a few years back, during another outburst of social unrest and outrage. In “Forgiveness in the Age of Rage,” John begins by considering the cost of the anger and unforgiving spirit that dominates the world. By contrast, he points out the vivid ways the Bible describes the blessing of forgiveness.
To forgive is to turn the key, open the cell door, and let the prisoner walk free. To forgive is to write in large letters across a debt, “Nothing owed.” To forgive is to pound the gavel in a courtroom and declare, “Not guilty.” To forgive is to shoot an arrow so high, so far, it can never be found again. To forgive is to take out the garbage and dispose of it, leaving the house full of cleanliness and sweet-smelling fresh air.
To forgive is to loose the anchor that holds the ship, and set it free to sail. To forgive is to grant a full pardon to a condemned and sentenced criminal. To forgive is to loosen a stranglehold on a wrestling opponent. To forgive is to sandblast a wall of graffiti, leaving it looking brand new. To forgive is to smash a clay pot into a thousand pieces so it can never be put together again.
Our world is certainly in short supply of such forgiveness. Even those in the church can be adept at nursing a grudge, and too slow to show forgiveness when wronged. To that end, John gives ten “compelling, biblical, theological, and spiritual reasons why we are to forgive.”
“Forgiveness in the Age of Rage” is a convicting reminder that the chaos and division that dominate this world are not external issues—that they start in each of our hearts, and that God’s people must root out such corruption if we are to be salt and light to a world that desperately needs them.
Click here to watch or listen to “Forgiveness in the Age of Rage.”
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