| If a man finds himself standing at the edge of a cliff, looking down into eternal darkness with flames reaching up to him and licking at his feet, and God says, “I forgive you. I do not hold your sins against you,” that man will know forgiveness. He will go to his wife and say,
“You are my wife, and your sins are nothing to me.” This is the only possible response to such an experience. A man who does not love his wife like this has not been reconciled to God.
I could say that a man ought to forgive as God forgave him; the Bible says so, but that’s not the point here. I’m saying that he would necessarily respond this way. If he truly stood on that cliff and saw the seriousness of his sins and experienced that forgiveness, he would not be able to count his wife’s sins against her. A man who does not love his wife this way has not been reconciled to God.
God teaches reconciliation to all of his children and only to his children. Those who do not belong to Him cannot experience it. They don’t know what it is.
If I belong to myself, I bring people in and out of my life. If I belong to God, He brings people in and out.
I sinned against God. I deserved eternity in hell. I owed everything to Him, even life itself. I turned away and acted as if it was mine. Christ fulfilled the law that I broke, and He paid the price. He died on a cross, and I belong to Him forever.
Now if the Lord reconciled me to Himself, it is not up to me whether I will be reconciled with those who sin against me. It is not my decision to make.
Reconciliation is like the gospel, and it is the gospel. It reflects salvation, and it is the very essence. God reconciled you to Himself, and that, not owed to you but given freely. Likewise you will not make someone earn it from you. To be reconciled to God is to seek the same with those that He places in your life.
To refuse is to deny Christ. To refuse is to deny that salvation was a gift. To refuse is to assert that you earned something that is yours to give or withhold.