The gospel song, “He’s Alive,” popularized by the Gaither Vocal Band, dramatizes the moment when Peter found forgiveness.
Suddenly the air was filled with a strange and sweet perfume,
Light that came from everywhere drove shadows from the room,
Jesus stood before me with his arms held open wide,
And I fell down on my knees and clung to him and cried. . . .
Guilt and my confusion disappeared in sweet release,
and every fear I’d ever had just melted into peace.
The chorus exclaims,
He’s alive and I’m forgiven,
Heaven’s gates are open wide.
We have been forgiven, and that realization is life-changing! In our passage today, Paul explains, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (v. 3). While we may not be dead physically, we are dead to sin and have been given new life in Christ. We are no longer controlled by our sinful nature, and we need to live as citizens of heaven.
Paul describes the “earthly” things that need to be erased from our behavior: “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed” (v. 5). We must watch the way we speak (vv. 8–9). In other words, our redemption in Christ should be evident in the way we live.
In verse 12, Paul shifts from what we should not do to describing behaviors that should characterize followers of Christ. The list is far different. We must be clothed with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (v. 12). And he mentions once again that we are to forgive one another. The ability to forgive others is a direct result of our own salvation. Simply put, we are to forgive just as the Lord has forgiven us. It is part of living as a Christian.
We hope this study of forgiveness has emphasized that you are deeply loved, completely forgiven, and are able—through God—to forgive others. Accepting and practicing forgiveness transforms our lives. Celebrate today that you are forgiven, and may the knowledge of God’s forgiveness transform your life.