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« The Center | Main | Jesus Is the Answer…I mean, REALLY! »

Forgiveness: The Way To Spiritual Freedom

forgiveness.jpgForgiveness is not a virtue of the human spirit.

Pagan and Jewish Ideas: Forgiveness was not a pagan virtue. The large-souled man might disregard offences in cases where he considered them beneath his notice, but to forgive was weak-spirited (F. W. Robertson on <1 Cor 4:12>).

Even in the Old Testament, man’s forgiveness of his fellow-man is infrequently mentioned. In every case the one asking forgiveness is in a position of subserviency, and is petitioning for that to which he has no just right <Gen 50:17; Exo 10:17; 1 Sam 15:25; 25:28>.

The Imprecatory Psalms attest the fact that forgiveness of enemies was not esteemed as a virtue by Israel. They could appeal to the law which enjoined upon them to seek neither the peace nor the prosperity of their avowed enemies (<Deut 23:6>; compare <Ezra 9:12>).

Jesus gave the popular summing-up of the law and not its exact words when he said, “Ye have heard that it was said …. hate thine enemy” <Mt 5:43>, and this certainly does represent their attitude and their understanding of the teaching of the Scriptures. (from International Standard Bible Encylopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (C) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Forgiveness is an attribute of God.

Psalm 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Isaiah 38:17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.

Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Nehemiah 9:17 And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.

Daniel 9:9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

We need forgiveness because we have violated the commandments of God—-we have sinned.

Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Forgiveness is directly linked to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

What is forgiveness?

Three Greek words:

  • Chorizomai: I show grace to you.
  • Apoluo: I release you.
  • Aphiame: I send away.

The complete meaning of forgiveness, therefore, is this: I show the grace of God unto you, I release you from the debt you owe to me and I send away the offense into the blood of Jesus.

One of the most complete pictures of forgiveness is the story of Joseph and his brethren. Genesis 45

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Why do we have to forgive one another?

Matthew 6:12-15

Matthew 18:21-22

Eph 4:25-32 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 8 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Why do we find it difficult to forgive one another?

  • We have been hurt very deeply.
  • The offender has hurt someone we love.
  • We think the offending person should have known better.
  • We believe the offender will just do it again.
  • We do not believe the offender is remorseful.
  • The offender has not asked for forgiveness.

We already understand some reasons for forgiving one another.

  • Because the Bible commands us to forgive.
  • Because Jesus forgave his enemies.

But we may not understand the greater reasons for forgiveness.

  • Because it has a powerful and profound spiritual impact upon our lives and our relationship with God.
  • James 5:15-16 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
  • 1 Peter 4:7-8 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
  • We cannot demand forgiveness from God while refusing to grant forgiveness to one another.

Our sensitivity to the Spirit of God will be greatly increased through the act of forgiveness.

Who do you need to forgive?

  • Mother, father.
  • Husband, wife.
  • Ex-husband, ex-wife.
  • Authority figure.
  • Person in your past.
  • God.

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