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We must, by faith, live in full appreciation of being forgiven.

Years ago I traveled to Oregon on a Saturday, waking early Sunday local time because of the 3-hour time change from Connecticut. So with my rental car, I visited an evangelical Lutheran church for an early service and the renowned Village Baptist Church for the 11 o’clock service. Interestingly, both messages were on the exact same passage beginning at Luke 7:36. The Lutheran pastor focused on the woman, a “sinner,” that demonstrated faith that Jesus is Lord. The Baptist preacher focused on the Pharisee, who questioned Jesus authority and the need for faith.

Forgiveness by Faith

For both the woman and the Pharisee, Jesus discerned what they were thinking, as He does for you and me. The woman washed Jesus feet with her tears and expensive ointment. She did not say a word, but Jesus knowing her heart of repentance and faith, forgave her sins.

The Pharisee, a religious leader and host of the dinner party, thought Jesus must not be a prophet since he allowed this sinner woman to touch Him. But, Jesus, the Prophet, knowing his thoughts shares a parable. A creditor forgave two debtors. One owed a lot, the other a little. Jesus asks, “Which would love the creditor more?” (Notice that both needed to be forgiven.)

Immediately following, Luke gives us insight that people of an elite class supported Jesus out of their means. The amount of devotion to Jesus is a choice we have to make, regardless of social status. How much we honor Jesus should not matter how much we perceive we have been forgiven. We must, by faith, live in full appreciation of being forgiven. That translates to being fully engaged to expand the kingdom with our time, talent and treasure. 

Nelson Malwitz, MissionNext Founder
February 2015

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