Forgiveness: Part 1 – Biblical Principles
Forgiveness: What It Is, What It Isn’t and How to Do It
Some have said that the most important phrases spoken in life are: “I love you;” “I’m sorry;” and “I forgive you.” While forgiveness is a central concept in Christianity, many people find it to be a confusing process that does not always come easily.
SCRIPTURAL DIRECTION & BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES
Forgiveness is a releasing of a debt.
God, through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, offers forgiveness to all believers. Because He has forgiven us, we are called upon to extend forgiveness to others.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Luke 17:3-4, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”
Romans 5:6-8, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Forgiveness, as Christ-modeled it, is truly a high mark that is only possible by God’s grace.
Luke 23:34, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Colossians 3:12-13, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
1 John 4:11-12, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
Forgiveness keeps bitterness from developing and causing more damage to a relationship and each person involved.
Hebrews 12:14-15, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”
Colossians 3:19, “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”
Being forgiving is part of God’s character and nature.
While God does not overlook sin, He is patient, gracious, merciful, and willing to forgive.
Daniel 9:9, “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him.”
Nehemiah 9:17b, “…but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.”
Exodus 34:5-8, “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed,The Lord,The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.”
Ephesians 2:4-5, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”
God desires that we forgive one another, keeping in mind that we have been forgiven by Christ.
Colossians 3:12-15, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
Matthew 5:43-48, “Ye have heard that it hath been said,Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Mark 11:25-26, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Luke 6:37, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:”
Withholding forgiveness, bearing grudges, harboring bitterness, and allowing hatred can all lead to serious consequences.
1 John 3:15-16, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Matthew 18:21-31, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.”
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