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The basis of forgiveness

Why it is absolutely necessary for a Christian to forgive and be forgiven.


1. God will not forgive us and bless us unless we have forgiven people who have sinned against us.

(Eph 4:32 NIV) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

(Mark 11:25 NIV) And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

(Mat 6:12 NIV) Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

"As we forgive" suggests forgiveness only to the extent we are willing to forgive, and enforces the idea that only the forgiving are forgiven.

(Mat 6:14-15 NIV) For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

2. The basis of us being able to be forgiven results from what Christ did for us on the cross. His suffering saves us - if we repent and then forgive others.

Christ suffered for us

(Isa 53:4-6 NIV) Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He sacrificed Himself for us

(Heb 9:26 NIV) Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

(1 Pet 3:18 NIV) For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,

Mat 26:28 NIV) This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

God did this to enable us to come to Him

(Rom 2:4 NIV) Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

(Rom 5:8 NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

3. How this can affect our relationship with God. Our sins separate us from Him and we cannot be blessed or love others.

If we are not forgiven because we do not forgive others - we are separate from God. God will not even listen to us.

(Isa 59:2 NIV) But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

But is we do confess our sins - and have forgiven the other person's sins, we then can be cleansed.

(1 John 1:9 NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

We all need to turn to the Lord and be freely pardoned.

(Isa 55:6-7 NIV) Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

We have to show our love to God by being obedient to Him (by forgiving others) Then we will be loved by God.

(John 14:21 NIV) Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

(John 15:10 NIV) If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.

When we repent, God remembers our sin no more. However, unless we have forgiven others of their sin, God will not forgive us.

(2 Pet 3:9 NIV) The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

(Isa 43:25 NIV) "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.

WE should be doing God's work in helping others

(2 Cor 5:18 NIV) All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

(2 Cor 2:10-11 NIV) If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven--if there was anything to forgive--I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Jesus taught that as we are forgiven we are also healed. This is shown in the story where Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic

(Luke 5:17-26 NIV) One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.

Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'?

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . ." He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home."

Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today."

Forgiveness is the act of implenting a decision of the will, even if you do not feel like it. We do it because it is a command of Jesus and because of our respect and appreciation for His suffering and love for us. The consequences of not forgiving is a life filled with guilt, hurt and trauma. Forgivness brings peace, love and contentment into one's heart.

Ken Walker. Feb 1999