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One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city [who was a sinner[1]] heard He was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind Him at His feet, weeping. Her tears fell on His feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing His feet and putting perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this Man were a Prophet, He would know [who and[2]] what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” He said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied. Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly [graciously[3] and freely[4]] forgave them both, cancelling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the larger debt [the one he forgave more[5]]. “That’s right [You have judged correctly[6]],” Jesus said. Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer Me water to wash the dust from My feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet Me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing My feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint My head, but she has anointed My feet with rare perfume. I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven [for she loved much[7]], so she has shown Me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this Man, that He goes around forgiving sins?” And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”[8]

This part of Scripture shows us that the sign of a person who has been forgiven much is that person showing much love, and the reverse is also true, for Jesus said, a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” How come the sinful woman showed so much love to Jesus? It is because her many sins have been forgiven, and thus she showed much love. Her many sins were forgiven even before she went to the Pharisee’s house to show her love for Jesus. How can I say that her sins were forgiven before that? The answer is in the Holman Christian Standard Bible of Luke 7:47, in its footnote: Her love shows that she has been forgiven.[9] …that’s why she loved much.

Maybe the woman did not know that her many sins were forgiven prior to Jesus telling her so in Luke 7:48, but it was her faith that saved her, for Jesus said to her, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” So then, what did her faith save her from? Her faith saved her from the destruction of sin. She probably had faith to believe that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins and to heal her from the effects of sin in her life. Note that by then, Jesus had already said and confirmed with signs that He has the authority to forgive sins.[10] Maybe she was there when some people brought a paralysed man to Jesus and Jesus declared his sins forgiven and then healed him of his paralysis. Or maybe she had heard about it but had not witnessed it in person. Or maybe the love in her that came from the forgiveness of sins was so overpowering that she had the faith to go and anoint Jesus with perfume. Maybe she had the faith to believe that Jesus knew who she was and what sort of woman she was, and that He is a Man of forgiveness and love.

She had so much love in her that she took a jar of expensive perfume with her to go and see Jesus. She did not just sit in the background, but she sat at His feet and listened to Him. She washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. She also kept kissing His feet and anointing them with perfume. She probably knew that Simon the Pharisee, whose home they were in, and some of the others would know who she was and what sort of woman she was. But she took the risk of being judged and sneered at by those who think she had no right to touch Jesus. Then again, maybe that did not bother her, for she had much love in her and was not ashamed of her love for Jesus.

The love that comes from the forgiveness of sins is the love for the One who died to seal the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins that was forged between Him and His Father. The Father’s love for the world is that He sent His One and Only Son into the world to save the world through Him.[11] The Son’s love for His Father is that He did exactly as the Father commanded Him, even death on the cross for sins that were not His. Their love for One Another and for the world was shown through the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins. The Covenant was forged between the Father and Jesus, and we are beneficiaries of it. Our many sins are forgiven under the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins so that we might show much love to Jesus. Those who love Jesus will be loved by Him and the Father, for Jesus said, He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him…”[12]

The Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins shows the love of God. That is why, under the Law of Forgiveness, we are to love our enemies and to love one another as Jesus has loved us. To love our enemies is to forgive them of their sins so that through the forgiveness of their sins, they might show much love. The same applies to the love for our fellow disciples of Christ. We are to love one another by forgiving each other’s sins, and as a result of that forgiveness, much love will be shown to Jesus.

We ought to see the forgiveness of sins as God’s love for us. Remember that forgiveness is the key to inseparable love.[13] God who is Love, gave His One and Only Son, who laid down His life so that we can have the key to inseparable love. The Lord has graciously, kindly and freely forgiven us of our many sins, and thus, we ought to forgive as He forgives. Likewise, we ought to love as He loves. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are inseparable in Love with One Another, and so we, who desire to spend eternity with Them, should have inseparable love for Them and for each other. That is what remaining in Love is—love, which is so inseparable, that you remain with one another in Love.

The forgiveness of sins can generate enough love in a person to bring him or her to repentance. And not just to repentance, but also to the point of forgiving according to the commands of Jesus. The woman in Luke 7 was weeping as she knelt behind Jesus at His feet. Why was she weeping? She was probably at the point of full repentance. Have you ever experienced being brought to tears in your repentance? It is like having your heart ripped out, knowing that you hurt someone else, perhaps even more than the hurt you are feeling then. And knowing that the Lord forgives you of your sins seems to make you feel worse in a way because you reckon you do not deserve it, although at that point you are probably feeling like the worst wretched sinner ever!

Having come to full repentance and knowing that her sins are forgiven her by Jesus, she might then have gone on to forgive those who have sinned against her. It is like when you know the Lord forgives sins graciously, kindly and freely, and He forgives you of all your sins, and you realise that God Himself personifies Love through the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins of which you are one of its many beneficiaries, do you not then feel like showing the same love to others as the Lord has shown you? Do you not feel like you also want others to have their sins forgiven them that they might show much love to the One who is the First to show Love? It is like you want to share the good news about the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins with the whole world! You want the whole world to know who Jesus Christ is and how amazing God’s Love is.

Jesus said, “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you.”[14] These words of Jesus show how much the Father loves Jesus, and in turn, Jesus loves us in the same way. Therefore, Jesus commanded us to love one another as He has loved us.[15] I need not remind you again that we were all once enemies of Jesus, and even then, He loved us. Yes, Jesus loves His enemies, for He took on the sins of men who are His enemies and nailed them to the cross. If He did not love His enemies, He would not have taught us to love our enemies. Some men would say, “Practise what you preach,” but Jesus did better than that. He did everything perfectly and exactly according to His Father’s commands. Jesus said, “…the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what My Father has commanded Me.”[16]

Last Wednesday night, we were taught that forgiveness is a stronghold, which Jesus prepared for us.[17] Forgiveness is also a form of offence. Forgiveness attacks by destroying sins and it defends from all weapons of the enemies. If sin was a sickness, then forgiveness is the perfect cure for it. Forgiveness heals a person from the ravages of sin and gives the person a clean state of which to start over again. On the other hand, unforgiveness weakens your offence and it will leave you standing naked before your enemy. If the wages of sin is death,[18] then the gift of forgiveness is life.

Forgiveness is offensive to the enemies of Jesus Christ, and even to those who call themselves Christians yet do not listen to Him and thus do not know Him. When Jesus forgave the sins of a paralysed man, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This Fellow is blaspheming![19] Who can forgive sins but God alone?”[20] Likewise, there will be many who will be offended by disciples of Jesus Christ who forgive sins. Those who were offended by Jesus because He was forgiving sins were ever hearing but never understanding… ever seeing but never perceiving.[21] They heard what Jesus said about His authority on earth to forgive sins, but they never understood it. They saw the paralysed man healed as proof of his sins being forgiven by Jesus, but they never perceived it. “For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to [Jesus] and let [Him] heal them.”[22]

We, who had many sins forgiven and thus show much love to Jesus, should not be afraid to show our love for Him, like the immoral woman in Luke 7 who was not afraid to show her love for Jesus. We must not be ashamed of our love for Jesus, for without Him, we would not have the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins, from which we benefit. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.”[23] “Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me.”[24] “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching.”[25] So, if we love Jesus, we will obey all His commandments, not just a few. We will even obey the hardest teachings, which we have been privy to for nothing can be harder than Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God the Father, dying on the cross for sins that are not His. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”[26]

Therefore, those of us who have the authority to forgive sins should forgive much in order that much love is shown to our Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit on which sins are to be forgiven and which sins are to be retained. May today be the day when the Ark of the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins is filled with sons and daughters of God who love the Lord and who do exactly as they were commanded; yet call themselves unworthy to be even servants. Amen.


 

[1] NASB, ESV, NKJV

[2] NASB

[3] NASB, HCS

[4] NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV

[5] HCS, NKJV, NASB

[6] NIV, NASB

[7] NJKV

[8] Luke 7:36-50 NLT

[9] Luke 7:47 footnote HCS

[10] Luke 5:24

[11] John 3:16-17

[12] John 14:21

[13] http://www.holyspiritsworkshop.com/word2007/24.03.2007_TheGreatestLove.pdf

[14] John 15:9

[15] John 15:12

[16] John 14:31

[17] http://www.holyspiritsworkshop.com/word2007/02.05.2007_HardestTeachingsXI.pdf

[18] Romans 6:23

[19] Matthew 9:3

[20] Mark 2:7

[21] Matthew 13:14

[22] Matthew 13:15 NLT

[23] John 14:15

[24] John 14:21 NLT

[25] John 14:23 NLT

[26] Luke 12:48

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