THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT [2]

In this parable we are confronted by our true spiritual state: in the presence of the ultimate Judge, the King and Lord of all, we are debtors - with a spiritual debt so immense that we do not understand how terribly destitute we really are.

God is holy. God is perfect. His standards are holy and perfect.

At every point of our lives we fail not only to obey his commands, but also to live at the standard of excellence for which he created us. Even when we think we are righteous and good, he knows that we are not.

Here in this parable the servant, ignorant of the immensity of his debt, ignorant of the depth of his destitution, speaks with naïve and foolish bravado of his determination to pay back the debt - this enormous, impossible debt. He really thinks he can do it - if his master will only give him time.

The master, however, knows the size of the debt. He knows that it is impossible, even with all the time in the world, for this servant to ever repay this debt. Knowing this, in an act of overwhelming compassion, he cancelled the debt.

Similarly, God, knowing the immeasurable greatness of the guilt and condemnation that is loaded on us by our sin, and knowing the absolute impossibility of our ever being able to get ourselves out of this pit and reinstate ourselves into his acceptance by our own goodness, cancels the record of our sins through the death of Jesus Christ.

This is the grace of the Gospel, that God, out of sheer and overwhelming compassion, forgives our sin.

He understands the depths of our need and the completeness of our inability. In his wisdom he sees what we in our ego-centric ignorance cannot see: that we do not have what it takes to right all the wrong we have done, that we do not have what it takes to cancel our sin, that we do not have what it takes to be 'good enough' - even if we tried for a thousand years.

This is the Gospel: that in Christ we have the forgiveness of sins - as limitless as the amazing grace which God has lavished upon us in deep compassion and understanding.

Scriptures: Matthew 18:21-26; Romans 3:9-20; Ephesians 1:7,8.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004, 2010.