What Does the Unmerciful Servant Teach Us?

Randy Alcorn

The parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35) teaches us two things about sin. First, it is beyond our capacity to repay, and second, it is greater than any offense we have suffered—or could suffer—at the hands of others. Without really seeing ourselves as impoverished sinners, we cannot appreciate God’s grace and cannot truly forgive others as we should.

The forgiveness of God is a prominent theme throughout Scripture, one that should invoke from us expressions of wonder and praise. Here is a passage from the Old Testament. There are countless others throughout the Bible.

What is the bottom line of God’s forgiveness? He has seen me at my worst and still loves me; because He knows everything I’ve ever thought or done, there are no skeletons in my closet; His love for me cannot be earned and therefore cannot be lost.

Christ not only removes my condemnation and considers me innocent, he declares me righteous. I am as acceptable, yes commendable, to the Father as Christ himself (2 Corinthians 5:21). God is totally and irreversibly satisfied with me because He is totally and irreversibly satisfied with Christ’s work on my behalf (1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10)....

If we have admitted, confessed, and repented of our sin, we have been forgiven by God whether or not we feel like it. But there is yet another dimension and evidence of forgiveness. If we have experienced God’s forgiveness, it will be shown in our forgiveness of others. In the parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus teaches that forgiving others is part of our own forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35).

Taken from "Good News: God Forgives" by Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 39085 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 206, Sandy, OR 97055, 503-668-5200, www.epm.org

Originally published September 01, 2010.