The sure word of prophecy reveals that we are heading fast toward the ultimate battle between light and darkness. It is the highest privilege and honor just to live in these times, but we have a much higher purpose than to just endure the times – we are here to participate in the greatest victory since the Cross – the ultimate victory of light over darkness.
We see this in such places as Isaiah 60:1-3:
The greatest victory of light over darkness will forever be the Cross of Jesus. There will never be a greater example of God's love and His character than the Cross. If we are to be like Him and do the works that He did, we too must take up our crosses daily to follow Him, laying down our own lives for His sake and for the sake of those He died for (see Luke 9:23).
The ultimate demonstration of the love of God and the power of good over evil is the Cross. As we see in the Book of Revelation, Jesus will be forever known as the Lamb. He said that there was no greater love than one who laid down his life for his friends (see John 15:13), but Jesus did more than lay down His life. He emptied Himself of His divine nature to become one of us and lived in one of the most difficult places, in one of the smallest and most despised nations. Every day that He was on the earth was a major sacrifice, and then He made the ultimate one by embracing the torture and humiliation that He did for us.
Certainly, to be identified with Jesus and His sacrifice is the ultimate honor one could ever have, not just on the earth, but throughout the entire creation of God and eternity. This is our ultimate calling, our ultimate honor, and the basic responsibility of His disciples. As He said in Luke 14:27:
As the battle between light and darkness unfolds, our victory is not the destruction of our enemies, but their salvation. Jesus went to the Cross to save the very ones who had persecuted Him, and even for those who were torturing Him. As Christians, we may often resolve to forgive but secretly hope for justice from the Lord, but Jesus went beyond that. He did not want the Father to get even for Him – He even asked the Father to forgive them. That is ultimate forgiveness and ultimate love.
Forgiveness can be one of the most difficult of all things to do, but it is the most basic discipline of Christianity and the surest sign of Christian maturity. As we are told to take up our crosses daily to follow Him, we should also daily look for opportunities to forgive.
Many believe that they do not have to forgive until the person who did them wrong repents. That is not what Jesus did. He forgave us when we were yet in our sin. Some later acknowledged His great mercy and others did not, but He forgave them anyway, and we must do this.
Forgiving someone does not mean that they will not have consequences for their sin. Other spiritual laws apply here, such as Galatians 6:7, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." However, it is our basic calling as priests to intercede for those who transgress, seeking grace and mercy on their behalf.
The law that we will reap what we sow also works on our behalf when we forgive others. If we want to reap mercy, we must learn to sow mercy every chance we get. If we want to reap grace, we must sow grace every chance we get. The life of the Cross gives us daily opportunities to sow grace and mercy, and as we are able to do this, we too will reap the same.