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I forgive you

October 6, 2016

Four separate times Jesus relates forgiving to being forgiven. (Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:34-35; Luke 6:37; Mark 11:25-26)

Forgiving others is of such importance that the one who refuses to forgive cannot credibly claim to be a Christian. The forgiven Christian will forgive. If he does not the consequences will be disastrous.

Jesus does not teach that a person is saved by forgiving others nor that refusing to forgive will result in a loss of salvation. Jesus teaches that one who has been forgiven his mountainous debt of sin will respond with merciful forgiveness towards those who have wronged him. The person who refuses to forgive either does not understand the greatness of God’s forgiveness or has never truly sought forgiveness from God.

The Biblical ideas of forgiveness have become obscured by many misconceptions. Since the apostle Paul commands Christian’s to forgive as they have been forgiven it is worthwhile to meditate on the promises of God associated with His forgiveness. Below is an outline I use in counseling to help believers think rightly about forgiveness.

When I receive salvation through faith, God in His forgiveness promises several things.

God’s forgiveness is a promise:
✓  To not see our sin when He sees us (Isaiah 61:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
✓  To not hold our sin against us (Psalm 103:12)
✓  To not dwell on our sin (Isaiah 43:25)
✓  To not exact justice from us for our sin (Romans 3:25; 1 Peter 2:25)
✓  To treat us as if we have never sinned (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
✓  To have a full relationship with us (Colossians 1:20; Romans 8:16-17)

When someone repents of wrong done against me, I must extend forgiveness to that person.

My forgiveness must be a promise:
✓  To not see the sin when seeing the person (Philemon 1:16-17)
✓  To not hold the offense against that person (Philemon 1:18)
✓  To not dwell on the sin committed (Philemon 1:13,15)
✓  To not seek vengeance for the offense (Romans 12:19)
✓  To treat them as if they did not sin against me (Philemon 1:11-12)
✓  To do everything I can to have a full relationship with them (Romans 12:18)

Even if one does not repent of a sin against me, I must still act toward him in a Christlike fashion.

I must:
✓  Not be sinfully angry with them (Ephesians 4:26-27)
✓  Not seek revenge for the wrong done (Romans 12:17, 19)
✓  Not speak against them in the presence of others (1 Peter 3:9)
✓  Be kind and gracious in all my speech towards them (Ephesians 4:32)
✓  Do good to them, even when they do evil against me (Romans 12:21)
✓  Treat them with Biblical love, genuinely seeking their best in all situations (Colossians 3:13-14)

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