8. Forgiveness

FO = Forgiveness

 God forgives us

1. What must we do in order to receive forgiveness from God for the sins we’ve done?

1 FO 1 John 1:9 The only thing we can do to get rid of our sins is to confess them to God. Then He will forgive. But that’s not all He will do for us: He will also cleanse us from all unrighteousness. When we confess our sin, God cleans us up completely, and welcomes us into His presence—on the basis of our Love for Jesus and for following His example/teaching.

2. What does God do with our sins.

2 FO Isa 38:17 Because of Christ’s sacrifice, God treats our sins as unworthy of notice. He casts them behind His back; He tosses them into the trash; He forgets about them. He clears us of all sin.

3. Micah gives us another, more liquid picture of God’s treatment of our sin.

3 FO Micah 7:19 Here we see that God is far from disinterested in our sins. Yes, He just casts them behind His back as unworthy of notice, but He hates what sin has done to us—and to Jesus. Micah pictures Him treading our sins underfoot. This act is an act of cursing [placing a curse upon] that on which you walk. He treads underfoot the sins that killed His Son. Then, to get rid of them completely, He hurls them into the depths of the sea.

4. What other illustration do the prophets give us to describe God’s way of dealing with sin.

4 FO Isa 44:22 Jerusalem lies at the altitude of about 2500 ft in elevation. To the east is a great rift in the earth that descends to 1200 ft. below sea level. The air is hot and dry, with updrafts reaching far into the sky.

            At Jerusalem, the clouds may be very thick, but as they

drift to the east and meet the rising hot, dry air, they melt away, and disappear.

This is the situation to which Isaiah refers in this verse. Our sins, when meeting the melting love of God, will just disappear.


Men’s forgiveness of each other

5. What is the fundamental principle that controls our treatment of other people?

5 FO Lev 19:18. This is the second of the two great commandments that Jesus quoted to the scribes and Pharisees.

Mat 22:37-40 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  38.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  39. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  40. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

6. How does the Lord’s prayer treat forgiveness?

6 FO Matt 6:9-15 Jesus said that if we are unwilling to forgive someone else, then He cannot forgive us. Our unwillingness to forgive others shows us that we have no true love for our fellow men, and thus we’re not really serious about being forgiven ourselves. In fact, as you’ll notice, Jesus, after giving us the prayer that we call the Lord’s Prayer, spends some time emphasizing the fact that forgiveness is vital to our relationship with God. Our forgiveness of others controls the way that God will forgive us.

7. Interpret the actions that take place in these verses that pertain to forgiveness.

7 FO Matt. 18:23-34 Here we have a servant—probably a noble in charge of vast amounts of the king’s holdings. But he’s been cheating on the king, and has fraudulently taken 10,000 talents (several million dollars) from the king’s treasury. The king gets wind of his dishonesty and calls him in to give account for the money he’s taken. The king sentences that he and his family and all of his belongings be sold and the money used to pay his debt.

      The man begs for forgiveness and promises that he will pay all. He really doesn’t realize how great his debt has become.

      The king sees his utter despair and his heart is touched. So he forgives him the entire amount and lets him go.

      You’d think such an experience would make him loving, kind, and charitable to those who are under him.

      But we are wrong. He happens to see a man who owes him 100 denarii (several dollars), and he shouts at him and takes him by the neck and demands payment. And when the man pleads with him that he will pay it all [almost the same words the noble had used in his plea to the king just moments before], he shuts him up in prison until he pays the debt.

      The king hears of this debacle and can’t believe his ears. He calls in the formerly forgiven noble, and shouts at him for not showing the charitable attitude toward his servants that the king had given him. So he arrests the man and has him put in jail until he should pay the entire debt—which would be for life.

      And Jesus said:

Mat 18:35  "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

8. How often should we forgive our brother/sister when they ask for it?

8 FO Matt. 18:21, 22   Luke goes on to describe what the forgiveness involves in the way of numerality:

Luke 17:3, 4 So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.  4. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."

So even if your brother sins against you several times in the same day—the same sin—you are to forgive him. This requires love that can only come from Jesus. But He has promised to be in our hearts at all times if we let Him. So it will not be us who forgives, but the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

9. How does forgiveness affect our attendance at church?

9 FO Mark 25, 26 [Verse 26 is not in the original manuscript, but the principle is stated elsewhere]

If we should realize, while attending church—especially when we pray—that we have something against our brother, we should forgive them before we present our own petitions to God.

      Each person must decide the logistics of this: Either asking God’s forgiveness and then searching the person out to ask their forgiveness; or perhaps even better, searching the person out and ask their forgiveness before we ask God’s forgiveness for our sins. If the person is in the sanctuary, the second method may be the best.

10. How should we treat those who have hurt us?

10 FO Luke 6:37, 38 It’s so easy to judge someone whom we really should forgive. We think that they really are not worthy of our act of forgiveness. But Jesus says that we should not condemn them, but forgive them, just as God has forgiven us.

      The illustration of the reception of those things that are needed (here, grain) shows how important it is for us to forgive. If we do, then we will receive special blessings from the Lord.

11. How should we treat someone who has been disfellowshipped from church?

11 FO 2 Cor 2:5-8 When a person has been disfellowshipped from church they are usually hurt by the church’s action—even if they agree that they deserved it. But we, and other members of the church, should show love toward them and forgive them. The church may not be able for a time to take them back again, but we can show empathy and welcome them to worship with us until such a time that they can be brought back into full fellowship.

12. How deeply should we love those who have sinned against us or against God?

12 FO Ex. 32:31, 32 Moses offered to die for the people, rather than have them all die for their idolatrous sin. In acting this way, he became the mediator between God and the people, thus becoming a type of Christ.

      I don’t think we will be called upon to do anything that drastic, but if our hearts are in tune with God, we will find that we are willing to give all for those whom we need to forgive. 


Are you willing to forgive others as God forgives you?