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The Ripple Effect of Christ’s Forgetfulness

Faith looks at the cross differently than the eyes of unbelief.

To the world, the cross is a crass reminder of sacrifice, suffering, and confusion. When Christ is observed as a master teacher or a standard to follow, the cross is either a good luck charm or a reminder to be better. Unbelief turns its head with pity over the tragic death of a great man who claimed to be God and fails to comprehend what was gained.  

To the few who trust in the message of the cross, it is a symbol of “forgetfulness.”

Picture a blank piece of paper with a vertical line from the top of the page to the bottom. Then, mentally draw a horizontal line from one side to the other until the lines intersect at the middle.

In this simple diagram we receive a perspective of the vertical nature of Christ’s forgiveness and the horizontal nature of a believer’s response.

Trusting in God’s promises secures the status of what Christ accomplished for the world on the cross. His perfect sacrifice is the only substitute for the consequences of our sins. Faith alone receives the legal status of being redeemed, justified, and saved from the penalty of sin. It is a present status from a written verdict signed and notarized by a Heavenly Judge.

God’s perfect love is made complete by his grace.

As far as the heavens are from the earth (top to bottom) our sins have been covered. They have been erased. As far as the east is from the west, (side to side) all of our sins have been blotted out from the records. Their sins are legally forgotten and lovingly reconciled in Christ.

The biblical truth is that Jesus doesn’t really forget our sins — as humans understand the word — they are completely wiped out as if they never happened.

The horizontal nature of a believer’s response to Christ’s “forgetfulness” can have a ripple effect.

It can provide self-forgetfulness.

We love because Christ first loved us. We forgive because Christ has forgiven us. Fully assured that sins are forgiven the stains of guilt and self-condemnation are washed away.

Now picture a rock falling into a still pond. Notice the splash and the ripples generated on the water’s surface. They wash ashore and the force of the ripples disappear.

The rock of Christ’s completed work on the cross enters the water and produces ripples in a redeemed soul. Buoyed by the energy and the power from the Rock, the ripples arrive on the shores of his grace. Like pounding waves of the sea, they wash, remove, and cleanse the refuse of sin. This is a picture of grace and its effect on a redeemed life in Christ.

But I think there is something more to this picture.

The vertical nature of Christ’s forgiveness can also cause a horizontal response to others. It can have a ripple effect.

Our hearts can forgive, but our minds never forget. It’s difficult to peel away harmful words and actions. We tend to preserve and protect rather than risk hurt, pain, and disappointment. The vertical nature of Christ’s love replaces anger, retribution, and bitterness with the horizontal response of peace and love. In Christ’s forgetfulness, we extend forgiveness and forgetfulness to others. This has a ripple effect on our soul. We are set free.

But that’s not all.

Jesus told the man in Gerasenes once he was set free from demonic possession,

“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

Mark 5:19 (ESV)

A believer receives the vertical nature of Christ’s complete forgiveness. A horizontal response to his work has a ripple effect on our work for him. Believers receive a Spirit-driven desire to provide this transforming message with people.

Personal evangelism is far more about God than it is about us.

It is far more about God’s work in us, for us, and through us, than our ability to work for God.

There are people desperate for hope and peace. And sadly, many lost souls have never heard a clear message of what Christ has done for us on the cross. They know who Jesus is, but they don’t know why.

Allow the ripple effect of God’s promises to equip and empower us to be his messengers.

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