From “Secret Sources of Power” by T. F. Tenney: Purchase this book in our online bookstore!
Our Lord on Calvary spoke the words, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” It seems that many in this generation pray, “Father, forgive us. We know exactly what we are doing and are doing it anyway.”
Forgiveness is an essential grace of God. Forgiveness is one of the necessary components of salvation. Forgiveness is one of the fruits that should be evident in the lives of Christians. All of these statements are true. However, what has been illuminated to my thinking is the tremendous power of forgiveness.
In one sense of the word it was an ignorant crowd that gathered around the cross that day. We know so much more about Him than they did. When Jesus said “forgive” there was a tremendous release of energy and power that permeated the universe and funneled down to earth. Grace was released to do its mediatorial work. Jesus was not just speaking of those gathered around the cross. Potentially, if it is accepted, the sins of the ages prior to Calvary and from Calvary forward to the coming of the Lord, were forgiven with His shed blood.
When people forgive one another, the power of God is released. Individuals, families, churches all experience revival when forgiveness is present. When such an outpouring of grace is given, the principalities and powers of hell are neutralized. The enemy has to back up without a word being said to him when forgiveness is present. His hands are tied and he cannot work in the presence of forgiveness. Forgiveness puts the handcuffs of heaven on hell itself.
When Jesus said, “Forgive…” hell was bound. The veil in the temple was ripped in twain and mercy came dancing out from between the mercy seat, jigged down the streets of Jerusalem and touched a thief on one side and reached down and took a Centurion by the hand. She continued her dance of joy to the graveyard, kicked over several tombs. Certain of those who had been dead, enjoyed a mini-rapture and went in and appeared to those who were in the city. Mercy dove into hell and wrestled the keys from the devil himself and came out triumphantly shouting, “I am He that liveth and was dead but behold I am alive forevermore.” Jesus brought with the keys to death, hell, and the grave. What power was released in the universe when Jesus said, “Forgive!”
We must come into the presence of forgiveness. You can culturally enjoy church and not be changed by an experience with God. Nothing typifies the transforming, cleansing power of God experienced when a soul gives and receives forgiveness. There is the power of a new life, the power of new hope, and the power of new joy.
When Jesus said, “Forgive” three worlds were affected. The world before His incarnation, the present world in which He dwelt, and the world that would be after Him. When He forgave, flesh was affected, angels were affected, Hell was affected, demons were affected, and the devil himself was bound. The river of God flows again into cold, bitter, hardened valleys when we come into the presence of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the spirit of revival itself. Why is it that the most persecuted countries on earth today are among those experiencing the greatest revivals? Reports of great revival are coming out of countries formerly living under the oppressive yoke of communism. The Chinese are coming to the gospel at a rate of 23,000 per day! My ministry in the country of Ethiopia has been enlightening. Virtually every full gospel preacher there has been in jail, beaten, persecuted in some way. I personally know one of the church leaders whose infant was thrown through the window of their church by a soldier and died of the injuries sustained in the fall. That same leader’s wife has been in jail. Yet thousands of people have come the Lord in Ethiopia. It is one of the greatest revival nations in our world today. Why?
People in persecuted countries have to live in a constant spirit of forgiveness. They could not survive if they did not get up every morning and say, “I forgive this system. I forgive these soldiers. I forgive this government. I forgive these circumstances.” There is a tremendous power surge of the Holy Spirit that accompanies a spirit of forgiveness.
Jesus Christ comes into our lives equipped with forgiveness. To walk in the power of His might, you have to live in a spirit of forgiveness. When Jesus said, “I forgive…”
You may ask, “How can I forgive someone who doesn’t ask for that forgiveness?” Show me one man or woman kneeling at the cross of Calvary, looking up into the face of the dying Savior and asking, “Forgive us.” They weren’t there. It didn’t happen. He just said, “Forgive them…” anyway. No one asked for it. No one negotiated for it. The very ones who were putting Him to death could have cared less at the moment whether He forgave them or not. It wasn’t the usual chatter at crucifixion time.
Colossians 2:15 says that at that moment when Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them…” that he spoiled the principalities and powers. He triumphed over them. There is power in forgiveness.
Sometimes you have to forgive circumstances. I’ve known people who had no trouble at all forgiving other people, but struggled intensely with forgiving circumstances. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I am just a victim of my circumstances…” Remember the Gibeonites in the Old Testament? They deceived Israel by entering into a covenant with them saying they came from a long way off, when in fact they were really next door neighbors. Israel promised, “We won’t hurt you.” Suddenly, Israel woke up one morning and found out that the Gibeonites had deceived them. Circumstances. They made the Gibeonites hewers of wood and drawers of water. They said, “We cannot change this circumstance, but we are going to make it serve us.”
Spikes were driven into the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. While that was happening, He was pleading, “…for they know not what they do.” He forgave them. Hell’s gates were unlocked and tombs were opened. The veil in the temple was rent as Heaven itself opened. All because He said, “…forgive….”
Forgiveness is not cheap. What Jesus gives is not a gimmick to give you goose bumps. It is not the product of a pep rally. It is not a positive mental attitude that you can prime. The kind of forgiveness Jesus brings is radical reconstruction of the human heart. Circumstances cannot always be changed. But I will not become a slave to unforgiveness. I will forgive.
In Luke 17:4, Jesus said, “…if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” Peter said, Ah-hah! I’ve got it. Seven times in a day. Jesus began talking about forgiveness again in Matthew 18 and Peter said, I’ve got to forgive seven times a day, haven’t I?
Jesus said, No, Peter. You’ve missed the spirit. You’ve got a calculator heart. You’re trying to put the ruler to God and you can’t do that. Peter, it’s seventy-times seven.
Some of us think we have it figured out. Peter thought he had it figured out. All I have to do is forgive them seven times and then I can kick them in the appropriate portion of the anatomy.
Jesus keeps raising the ante on forgiveness until He gets beyond us. He gets in such high capitol, like thirty-five million that we just can’t pay it, we’ve got to forgive. He fixes it to where we’ve got to forgive. Seventy times seven in a day. Do you know that is four hundred and ninety times? If you are only awake sixteen hours a day, that is thirty times an hour. That is once every two minutes. Forgiveness is a full-time job! Forgiveness is a lifestyle. You cannot keep score on it.
And keep on forgiving.
I forgive. If I am never asked, I forgive. I am not going to keep score.
You will be crossed up if you operate in anything but the dimension of love. I forgive. Who is right and who is wrong is not important. I forgive because I’ve got to have the power of God in my life.
Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.
Are you looking for hope in life? The missing link that will release you? Somehow you have found it. I’ve held people in bondage. I have been held in bondage. The armies of the enemy are encamped around me and how can I disperse them?
Sin cannot stain so deeply that the blood of Jesus cannot penetrate and eradicate the stain. What can make me white as snow? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is offering to release you, if you will forgive. If you need to ask Him of forgiveness, He that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. Potentially, you were forgiven on Calvary. Come appropriate it. Find the sweet release that comes when the God of heaven forgives you.
I’ve been wronged. Who hasn’t?
Life’s dealt me a bad hand. So what? Join the club.
I was lied on. You’re not the first one. You won’t be the last one. You’re master was lied on. Are you any better than he is?
Those that were supposed to have been my friends forsook me. Join the club. Jesus is president. They all forsook Him and fled.
Do you want to be a Christian? Take up my cross and follow me.
Experience the power of forgiveness.