Contemplating the Almighty

The Divine Forgiveness


How well do you know God’s forgiveness?

1) We can make ourselves acceptable to God
     a) only through salvation and the forgiveness of our sins forgiveness of our sins
     b) by going to church and tithing
     c) by being a good person
2) Jesus Christ was able to fulfill all of the divine demands of sin because
     a) He is God and is perfect and infinite in holiness and character
     b) We participated with Him on the cross in taking up some of His sufferings
     c) He was first beaten and mocked
3) When we confess our sin we should
     a) still feel bad to prove to God and to others that we have truly repented
     b) still do some kind of penance
     c) believe that we have been cleansed, learn from it, and go on
4) Someone who is saved and is therefore in Christ Jesus
     a) is still under constant condemnation and will be until Heaven
     b) can be condemned by God but only for really bad sins
     c) can never be condemned by God again
5) The difference between punishment and discipline is
     a) nothing; they are synonymous
     b) punishment is judgment against sin and is only for the unsaved whereas discipline is God correcting the saved so that they might not sin again
     c) punishment is harsh judgement from God for really terrible sins whereas discipline is a more mild judgement and both can be applied to the saved and unsaved
6) When we understand just how sinful we are we should
     a) hang our heads in shame
     b) go someplace alone for a week and pray and fast to cleanse our souls
     c) rejoice that Jesus Christ has set us free
7) For the person who is not saved
     a) God can pretend that certain of his sins did not occur
     b) God can forgive some of their sins but not all of them
     c) God cannot forgive even one of their sins
8) We deserve to be forgiven of all of our sins when we get saved because
     a) Jesus paid the full price
     b) We are generally good people who earn it
     c) God knows a worthy recipient when He sees one
9) An aspect of forgiveness is
     a) not holding the offending person responsible for that sin ever again
     b) taking it back if the person commits that same sin again
     c) telling other people about that other person’s sin so that they will be aware of it
10) A hindrance to forgiving another person’s sin against us is
     a) praying for the power to forgive since that only confesses a lack of faith
     b) making the sin out to be more than w     c) studying forgiveness in the Bible because it must come from the heart and not from the head

      The conquest of sin by Jesus Christ is the triumphant glory of the Bible, the greatest manifestation of God’s love, and the central focus of His majestic dealings and relationship to man. To pervert this necessitates a humanistic, self-governing philosophy. The religion of man centers and depends on “works,” a ceaseless striving for an indeterminable standard in order to make oneself acceptable to God. To the degree that this is incorporated into any system or thought is to the degree that it blasphemes the Most Holy. Man’s intrinsic ability to be acceptable to God is as impotent as his ability to be as glorious and holy as the Lord of Hosts.
      To understand God rightly, a person must understand the cross and resurrection rightly. These issues of who Christ is and what He accomplished mark the most common perversions of the sacred scripture. The patience, the mercy, the justice of God, indeed, all of His discernable attributes are exemplified clearly and explicitly in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. By this alone, wretched man can meet the Most Holy God and stand unashamed and blameless in great joy. To discredit the cross is to outrage and blaspheme all that constitutes the pure nature of God. the pure nature of God.
      The estimation of our sinfulness cannot be computed from our viewpoint, but must be calculated from God’s perspective. We see ourselves as sinful; God sees us as wholly depraved and evil. We think of ourselves as sincere; God sees the inclination of our hearts to be evil from our youth. Evil cannot be weighed against evil; it must find its appraisal only in being contrasted to absolute holiness. Natural reason tells us that good must simply out weigh bad; revelation informs us that God demands perfection. Christ did not die for righteous men He dies for sinners – He died for us all. In our unregenerate condition, we viewed ourselves as better than we really were, but as children of God, we tend to degrade our position and appearance before Him. Our sinful nature refuses to agree with God.
      When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He could not have given any more of any less–He gave Himself. All that He was, He gave, yet without injury to His immanent holiness and deity. Because of God’s unapproachable holiness, sin demanded a high price. That price could be nothing less than the immeasurable holiness and dignity of the Christ. The mighty scriptures herald this truth, “you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” And again, “For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” It must, too, be further understood that no greater cost could have been demanded for our sin, no greater sacrifice could have been made. Nothing was withheld; nothing could have been added. Again, the heinousness of sin can only be properly determined when it is accounted that the absolute holiness of a righteous God was violated. This makes sin of infinite evil and significance. Divine justice had no minimum requirements-it demanded all. The propitiation of a righteous God was the most awesome accomplishment eternity shall ever witness. Redemption could have come by no other means. All was required-all was given. The result-God and believe man have peace.
      The resurrection of Christ proved with total absoluteness that His payment for sins was sufficient to propitiate the ineffable justice and holiness of God. Should justice not have been satisfied, should sin not have met its full judgment, Christ could not have risen. But the historical and Scriptural truth is that He did rise from the grave, triumphant and glorious. His death was totally efficacious. All that justice required Christ fulfilled. What remains is for us to believe it. For us to think that we need to add any to the payment of our sins is a heresy and a sin. The Lord Himself said, “sacrifice and offering Thou has not desired, but a body Thou hast prepared for Me; in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast taken no pleasure.” This is because “He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God.” Jesus Christ paid for our sins; He rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of God. We must be satisfied with the once for all death that satisfied God.
      How too frequently after we sin do we feel that we must do something in order to propitiate God. We think that we have to add to the work of Christ to be made acceptable to the Father, as though Christ’s efforts, in some undisclosed way, fell short. We must humble ourselves before God and admit that we do not need to justify ourselves before Him. We have already been eternally justified; God is completely propitiated. His forgiveness is conditioned only on Christ and not on our performance. If He accepts wholly the Lamb of God, He must necessarily also accept to the same level and standing, those who have been imputed the full righteousness of Christ through believing. To estimate the Lord’s acceptance of us, we must look only at Christ and not at all at ourselves. We do not have to appease Him because we are forever wholly accepted in the Beloved. “Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin,” not in animal sacrifices, not in penitence.
      How powerful Colossians 2:13 is, “And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.” And again Hebrews 10:14, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” There are no longer any divine consequences required for the sin of the person who is in Christ. That we have been forgiven all our transgressions must include those both past and future. And what we have been forgiven of can never be held against us or else this doctrine is a little value and God is a liar. But payment is once and forever. Christ died for our sins. That which is perfect before God must necessarily be without stain. The spiritual realty is that we are wholly and eternally forgiven of our sins. The sweetness of this truth should overwhelm our hearts into a never before achieved love for God.
      The fact of our divine forgiveness is a basis for growth and for our daily, experiential conforming to Christ. In 2 Peter, chapter one, God lists several qualities that will render us neither useless nor unfruitful in the full personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. He then explains that the reason we would lack these qualities is because we are blind and forgetful. What have we been inattentive to and neglected? What is it that we have become dull and shortsighted to? We have forgotten our purification from our former sins. We have forgotten that we are forgiven. The one who meditates much upon this tremendous truth of forgiveness shall experience a life of such intimacy with the Lord as never thought possible. In this, too, lies the key to never stumbling. And if we do stumble, then we know what it is we have forgotten. Regardless of the magnitude of our transgression and of its frequency, we can forever be overwhelmingly confident that God has forgiven us.
      In Nahum 1:3, God declares that He will “by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” In this, the absolute is established that sin produces guilt which, in turn, demands punishment. This punishment cannot be overlooked nor voided by any divine leniency or compassion. It is a fearful certainty. No man can escape from it; no man can placate it. However, for the believer in Christ, there are abounding promises concerning this punishment. Two of which are: John 5:24, “’Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My work, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” And perhaps one of the most glorious proclamations in the Bible, Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Hence, the one who believes in Christ is delivered from the divine wrath. His sins, however, do not escape punishment, but instead have fallen completely on the sacrificial Lamb. Thus, on the basis of the revealed will of God, it is impossible for a Christian to stand guilty before the Judge. “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justified; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” Jesus Christ, the righteous, is our Advocate with the Father, our faithful high priest who always lives to make intercession for us.
      One of the most basic truths which should be firmly implanted in the heart of every believer is that of our total and absolute forgiveness and judicial guiltlessness before the Most High. This relationship of peace is emphasized much in the Holy Scriptures; however, many Christians still have a problem with guilt. This reveals at least two things; a misunderstanding of the forgiveness of God though Christ and a miscalculation of our own sinfulness, even though now a child of the King.
      Though it should not be dwelt on, a person should make an attempt to comprehend their rebellion and gross sinfulness before the Lord. The apostle Paul demonstrated this in Romans 7:7-25. The necessity of this perhaps lies in the fact that we are creatures of comparison. We understand good because of the presence of evil. We recognize God’s love because we have felt Satan’s hatred. We feel alive because we once were dead. God uses this fact many times in defining Himself. He compares Himself to a shepherd, to a fountain, to bread. In the beginning, man was able to fully understand God directly, but a consequence of the Fall was the subjection of understanding to mundane comparisons. But great hope lies in knowing that when we are lifted into eternal glory, we shall see God as He is. A more proper apprehension of our sinfulness results in a greater appreciation of our forgiveness, thereby producing a true freedom from guilt. Though we are judicially holy and blameless before the Lord, nevertheless we sin. And though, as we fear the Lord, we will experientially become more holy, our transgressions will still be many. This cannot be ignored but it can be confessed and forgotten. We can forget the sin yet remain aware that we are sinners. The solution is a continual burden of guilt is not to try to ignore it, but to realize the forgiveness of it. Indeed, if we truly grasped our great sinfulness, we would be more gripped with the necessity to dwell not on our sin and feel guilty, but rather, to fall unhesitantly upon the forgiveness of God.
      In Luke 7:47, Christ makes the powerful declaration, “he who is forgiven little, does little” and likewise, he who is forgiven much, loves much. It is not that the adulteress was so much greater a sinner than the Pharisee, he being so “righteous,” but that she assessed her sinfulness, and therefore, her forgiveness much more realistically. Any sin is of immeasurable offense to God, be it murder, adultery, blasphemy or simply an evil thought or an unloving heart. Any transgression is worthy of eternal damnation and though they may vary in intensity and will therefore be judged accordingly, nevertheless they are of immense insult to he Lord. No man is more deserving nor more needy of the Lord’s forgiveness than another. We are all great sinners, and we have all been forgiven much. The great issue lies not in how evil we were before our salvation, but in how much we will believe in our forgiveness afterwards. The heart that grows in appreciation of this grows in love.
      The proper consequence of realizing more clearly our wretchedness before God should not be a proneness to hang our heads lower and beat our breasts and cry over our miserable state, but rather, to declare triumphantly and to rest securely in the cleansing and forgiveness of God. We are able to say as Paul did in Romans 7:24-25; 8:1, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We are victors as the world can never know, exalted to a state which it can never attain. We are not forced to live a life given to creatively forget our misery, but to rejoice wholeheartedly in the glory and triumph which is ours in Christ Jesus, our Lord. This declaration of Paul’s is the anthem of all born-again believers. It is our confidence before the Lord God Most High. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.
      We will always be aware of sin in our life. We will never, in our mortal state, be in a position where we can boast of our sinless ness. This is because God is faithful to continually reveal those deeper sins which have been present and manifest in various ways through most of life, but which we have been consciously unaware of. He does this primarily that we might become holier and more obedient. We are, by nature, an evil people with evil habits. We have no inherent inclination toward righteousness. Our sins are both profound and numerous. However, God does not just expose everything at once, but only as much as we can bear. His desire is for us to overcome rather than to be overcome. We are a self-centered people, though, who are all too prone to self-pit. The tendency for us is to become discouraged and feel ineffective and useless. Yet we can always have the confidence that regardless of how much sin God in His loving-kindness reveals to us, it is all the much more so forgiven. There can exist no sin in the believer’s life which the Lord has not already forgiven. Rather than concentrate our attention on our own failings, this should draw our heart to the Lord’s victory. The more loathsome and vile our sin may appear the more glorious and triumphant the forgiveness of God should become.
      In Ephesians 4:32, we read the magnificent words, “just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” In these nine words, several vital certainties are established. The one to be principally discussed here is that forgiveness is one of God’s attributes which can only be truthfully experienced by a believer. God shows mercy, patience, and love to the unbeliever but He can never forgive their transgressions. Because forgiveness can only come through the cross, an unregenerate man can never be forgiven except unto salvation and then only to infinite completeness. God either forgives all sin for all time or He does not forgive at all. No man shall ever enter hell without the full burden of his sin to be paid. Guilt and punishment are necessary qualities of an unbeliever’s life; forgiveness and discipline are those of a believer’s. God in Christ has forgiven those who, at one time and for all time, humbly came to Him, dependent and trusting unto salvation. It is a permanent absolute.
      The reason why God cannot forgive apart from Christ is because forgiveness is not His pretending that we had never sinned, but that all of our sin has been properly dealt with. God can and does show mercy to all, but He cannot forgive outside of Christ. It is only for those to whom the cross has been personally applied. Forgiveness is not leniency nor is it some great magnanimity on the part of God. It comes at an infinite price. Payment is always demanded for iniquity, and divine wrath must always be vented upon the offense. All of this Christ has borne. Forgiveness is not at the expense of justice, but is the satisfaction of it.
      This leads us to the stupendous truth that we are forgiven as sinning Christians because we deserve to be, not in ourselves, but in what the Savior is and has done and because we are now and forever “in Him.” So in blissful reality, we now deserve not punishment or wrath for our sins, but forgiveness. To receive anything else is to qualify God as unjust. The redemption of man involved no small undertaking; its fruit is, therefore, no less majestic. We are its fruit. We are that for which Jesus Christ gave His life.
      Perhaps one of the starkest examples of what forgiveness of sins means to us is the immeasurable difference of our destiny. As gross and inhumane sinners, we deserved nothing less than to be immediately hurled into hell to pay eternally for our iniquity. Consequently, our present condition should be one of hopeless torment. The mercy and patience of the Most High stays this because the one who believes on Christ will never have to fear. This is an amazing truth. Our destiny, instead, is one of enjoying the presence of God forever. “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We have been bought out of the slavery of sin and are now the precious possession of the King Himself. Filthy rags have been replaced with robes of righteousness. Children of wrath have become children of God. How dull our hearts can become to this transformation. We take it for granted as though eternal life is what we deserved. Because all the requirements of justice that a holy and righteous God can demand have been met by Jesus Christ, a Christian can never stand before the Lord guilty or condemned. An unbeliever can never be excused of their sin; a believer can never be judicially guilty of theirs. Creatures deserving of infernal darkness are, instead, granted the honor of being forever with their God.
      A theme closely related to divine forgiveness is that of justification. These are but two of the many transformations that occur in a person’s life upon believing on Christ. They are easily confused as being synonymous but are in reality very much different. Both are a work of God, accomplished immediately and unchangeably upon salvation. Both are conditions of such superlative spiritual glory that the unspiritual mind must necessarily fall vastly short in its cognizance of such magnificent themes.
      The two words “righteousness” and “justify” originate from the same Greek New Testament word. Justification is the judicial proclamation of God whereby the believer in Jesus Christ is reckoned as immutably righteous as His Son. Righteous is what we have become; justification is the divine affirmation of such an act. We have been eternally declared as righteous as the One who walked the seas of Galilee and who is now seated at the right had of God. It is a position unconditionally given to the believer, the possibility of which required the most costly and immense undertaking demanded of the eternal Godhead. It is the crowning glory of God’s greatest work-the salvation and exaltation of sinful man.
      The notable passages on this theme are 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Romans 4:25; “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,” and “He who was delivered up because of our transgression, and was raised because of our justifications.” Whereas forgiveness is the remitting of sin, justification is the imputing of the divine righteousness. Forgiveness is the removal of all condemnation and complete exoneration from the penalty of evil. It entails the negative aspect which is of man. Justification involves the bestowing of the virtue and dignity of Christ. It is the imputation of the positive which is from God. Because we sinned, Christ died; because we were justified, Christ rose. Those who are “in Christ” now stand before the Father in the full unashamed righteousness of His beloved and holy Son. Romans 3:23 lists two conditions of the unregenerate person, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Forgiveness remedies the first condition; justification exalts us to the second. What we have been given is greater than what we have had removed, to the degree that God’s righteousness is greater than our sin.
      The incarnation of the Son of Man was ushered in with the words, “and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” The night of His betrayal, the Lord Himself declared of the cup, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is to be shed on behalf of man for forgiveness of sins.” And the great proclamation of believers is, “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him, forgiveness of sin is proclaimed to you.” This is the resounding theme of God’s work for man. “How blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven.” Those described as “none righteous” have become the righteous of God. The alienated have become His precious possession and those engaged in evil deeds have become partakers of the divine nature. What greater peace and security can we have than to know that we will never be condemned, never be judged? Who will bring a charge against Go      That a holy and just God would die for the sins of His creation is a reality that commands profound veneration. Moses said, “show me Thy glory!” “Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.’” “And Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.” Amen.

What does God’s forgiveness mean to us?

We can forgive others
     Forgiving someone is perhaps one of the most difficult things that we can do. Some people would rather completely cut off a good relationship than to forgive. But the glorious truth of God’s forgiveness gives us great incentive and power to forgive others.
     God’s forgiveness is an example. We offend God far more frequently and deeply than anyone could possibly do to us. Yet God is always willing to forgive the repentant heart. Adam’s disobedience, David’s adultery and murder, Sarah’s laughing at God’s promise, Peter’s betrayal were all forgiven by God. Studying God’s forgiveness is the ultimate model for how we are to think and behave when offended. God does not forgive you because you are good; God forgives you because He is great. In the same manner, you do not forgive someone because they have done everything that you demand, but because you are filled with the Holy Spirit.ed with the Holy Spirit.
     He gives us the power to forgive. In Luke 17:5 the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" Their request was in the context of forgiving someone. Jesus just told them that no matter how many times someone offends you, you need to forgive each and every time. And they said, “But we can’t do this! It’s impossible! So give us more faith so that we can do this.” Jesus then continues with a story about a servant doing what his master expects him to do. Even if that person has hurt us badly, we only need a little faith to forgive. The problem is not that we do not have enough faith to forgive but that we do not have any faith to forgive. We get this faith through obedience. This story is about doing those basic things that God wants us to do. It is not even talking about doing great things. The servant in this story is not out there raising people from the dead or preaching the Gospel to thousands of people. He is doing that which is simple. He is plowing or tending sheep. He then comes in and serves a meal and clothes himself properly. God is saying that if you do not have the faith to obey God in even the basic commands then do not expect to have the faith to do something like forgiving another person. If you are not regularly attending a church or reading the Bible on a consistent basis or praying then how can you expect to be able to forgive? The choice to forgiving someone is not weighing the reasons for and against. It is in believing God to do the work in our hearts with His strength and His power. We will struggle with forgiveness so long as we leave God out of the picture and try and accomplish this on    When we drink the deep richness of God’s forgiveness we will want to share those blessings by forgiving others. In Matthew 18:21-35 there is the story of a slave who was forgiven of a great debt. But immediately after he went out he found someone who owed him money and rather than forgiving him of his much smaller debt he threw him in prison. That first slave did not understand the offer of forgiveness and so he was unable to grant it. Notice what is missing between verses 27 and 28. There was no humility or thankfulness. If God’s forgiveness were on his heart then that would have flowed out of his life when he met the second man.

We can forgive ourselves
     When we sin, we can willfully hurt ourselves in various ways. We can do penance by punishing ourselves for our sins. We can bear a grudge against ourselves, “I know that God forgave me, but I can’t forgive myself.” We can avoid church or Christians because we feel unworthy. And there are many others ways for us to add to the guilt of the initial sin. In all cases this is not humility but pride. If we have truly repented then God, who is infinitely more holy then we are, has forgiven us, but we refuse to forgive ourselves then we are saying that we have higher standards than God.
     The purpose of guilt is to bring us to God so that He can forgive us. It is not to make us feel bad or to make us miserable. These are the means of guilt. The purpose of guilt is to bring us to a place where God can wash us clean from all of our sin. Guilt is like a street sign that points the way to God’s forgiveness. But too often, instead of going to where that sign points, we pull it out of the ground and beat ourselves with it. beat ourselves with it.
     We may feel that we need to prove the sincerity of our remorse or repentance by suffering--by showing others that our sin does make us squirm. In this case we are more concerned about how others will perceive us than what God wants us to believe. Matthew 6:1 warns, "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” Is repentance a righteous act? Indeed. Do not turn your repentance into a drama. It is good to let others know that you have repented, but do not make a show of it. Do not put off repentance and forgiveness until you feel that you have convinced others that you are now worthy of it. The second that you sin, you have met every qualification necessary for G     When we refuse to forgive ourselves we often have self-pity or self-contempt. This provides a certain sense of security. If you think of yourself as a total failure then you can anticipate criticism. Seeing yourself as a complete failure is actually seductive. It enables you to continue to sin, “I’m just such a loser that I can’t do anything right.” Or, “There I go again; what is wrong with me?” It also enables you to avoid responsibility before others; “I’m hopeless.” Or, “Don’t give it to me because I mess everything up.” This is not humility. This is not what God wants. This is actually self-centeredness and a not-so-sly way of avoiding responsibility before God, before yourself and before others. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 is a powerful promise, “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” Sin does not give us an excuse to be helpless. Sin gives us a reason to fall before God and to let Him lift us up and to let Him pour His power into us. God wants us to be empowered by Him so that He can use us in other people’s lives.

We are free to do what is right
     Sin is the greatest tragedy of mankind. It not only separates us from God but it enslaves us. Proverbs 5:22b declares, “He will be held with the cords of his sin.” One of its greatest powers is to command much of our energy and time as we attempt to assuage its guilt. But when we are forgiven we realize that the guilt has been washed away and now we are free to focus on something else. Hopefully, understanding the cost of God’s forgiveness will turn our hearts to love God and to motivate us to do what is right.

We avoid falling into sin ourselves
     We might not want to forgive because we want to be angry, or because we want revenge or to see them suffer, or because we want to play the victim, or because we really do not like that person and want to keep it that way. Forgiveness defeats th    Forgiveness washes away bitterness. It frees us from enslavement to the memory of that offense.

We hate sinning even more We hate sinning even more
     We might think that the more we understand that God forgives sin the more we might feel free to sin knowing that option is available. But the truth is that the more we understand forgiveness the less we desire to sin. We can only deeply comprehend the magnitude of forgiveness by grasping the heinousness of sin. When we see how truly ugly and destructive sin is then our response wi     Also, as we recognize the tremendous cost that each of our sins cost the Savior then we will be repulsed by the thought of adding greater suffering to Him just so that we might enjoy a worthless pleasure. Ephesians 4 lists many sins but perhaps our greatest motivation to avoid all of them is in verse 30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”ay of redemption.”

We are less judgmental
     When you think well of yourself you will be tempted to think poorly of others. But when you realize how great of a sinner you are then how can you possibly be contemptuous of others? The person who is dripping wet when caught in a sudden rainstorm cannot scoff at those who have just had the     As we understand forgiveness we realize that as sinners we are closer to each other than we are to the infinitely greater holiness of God.

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Nancy received a harsh email from a good friend of hers accusing her of things that Nancy did not do. She called Nancy “fickle,” “insensitive,” and “selfish.” Nancy left several unanswered messages trying to explain what the real situation was and how what her friend hear through rumor was not true at all. Then her friend sent another email further accusing Nancy of other wrongs and never once addressed Nancy’s explanation. This went on for another two cycles before Nancy realized that her friend is set on believing what she heard and that nothing Nancy can say will make any difference. Nancy came to you distraught over what happened and admits that she is having really negative thoughts about her friend but since her friend will not listen to her or talk to her there are no real lines of communication. What will you tell Nancy that she should do and how she should think?

1) In addition to the ones discussed above, what are some other assurances that God’s forgiveness means to us?orgiveness means to us?
2) What is your own definition of forgiveness?
3) Why is it important to understand God’s forgiveness?
4) God says in Hebrews 10:17, “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” What does “I will remember no more” mean?
5) Why did Jesus Christ have to die so that we might be forgiven?
6) Read 1 John 1:9
a) What does it mean to “confess our sins”?
b) Why is God’s faithfulness so important?
c) What does it mean to cleanse us from all unrighteousness?
d) Do we have to diligently root out every sin that we commit no matter how small and confess it?
6) What is the difference between failure to confess a sin and refusal to confess a sin? How does God treat you in each situation?
7) What are some ways that we can try and do penance for our sins?
8) Why is the fact that God is so compassionate important for us when we sin?
9) Why do we still feel guilty even after we have confessed our sin?
10) When it comes to forgiveness, God says that His ways and thoughts are above our ways and thoughts. Why is this important to understand?
11) Why is it dangerous to think that we can help out God with our forgiveness?
12) What are some ways in which God forgave people in the Bible?

Copyright Bob La Forge 2011        email: