Key Bible passages on forgiveness.
Understanding how God forgives you and how you are to forgive others.
(A vertical and horizontal relationship & attitudes and actions)
Ephesians 4:32 (review)
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
A command and an opportunity to behave as God behaves. A command is not a “preferred way to live”.
How did God forgive me? Graciously. As a favor. Laced with sincerity.
The standard is God’s forgiveness of us.
Romans 5:1-11 (review)
God, though offended, moved first.
God moved when we were sinners.
God did what was necessary.
God recognized the seriousness of our need.
An essential life perspective on the issue of forgiveness is found in these verses. (From God and toward others).
Learn this so that in the midst of huge hurts you can say, “I know I am obligated and privileged to do this.”
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
An acceptance of others–as the are–without allowing differences to rise to the level of an offense needing forgiveness.
(My personal preference does not mean someone has offended me)
Matthew 18:21, 22 (23-25 illustrative parable)
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
An ongoing daily kind of life.
1. It is safe to suppose that every one in our life will do something to offend us. A real hurt.
2. It is sure that we are obligated to forgive those who sincerely ask.
3. It is suggested (assumed) in this passage that it is the same person doing the same thing.
A readiness to receive the sincere request for forgiveness as often as it may come.
This is easier to write down than to live. But how many times have I asked God for forgiveness for the same thing over and over? Am I thankful he forgives?
v 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
The principle–we forgive as God forgives.
The reality? We CAN do that.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
An acknowledgment of our own need for forgiveness.
A faith in God to honor our own sincere request for forgiveness again.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
A release of our own desire and actions of revenge. (The essence of personal forgiveness)
A trust in God to handle, with proper concern for the offense, the need for vengeance.
“What if they repent and He forgives them!”
Special look at Romans 12:17-21
*Christian conduct should never betray the high moral standards of the gospel, or it will provoke disdain among believers and bring the Gospel into disrepute.
*Christians are to respect what is intrinsically proper and honest. “Good” carries the idea of visible and obviously having the right behavior when they are around others, especially unbelievers.
*You don’t have to get along with everyone, but you don’t be the one causing the problems.
*Doing good to one’s enemy (v 21) instead of trying to take revenge may bring about his repentance.
Proverbs 25:22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.
Don’t contribute to the evil. The goal is to bring them to Christ.
The coals of fire could have come from an Egyptian custom.
When a person wanted to demonstrate public contrition, he would carry on his head a pan of burning coals to represent the burning pain of his shame and guilt. The point here is that, when we love our enemy and genuinely seek to meet his needs, we shame him for his hatred.” MacArthur, J. (1996, c1991, c1994). Romans. Chicago: Moody Press.
*If the only thing that happens through my releasing my right to revenge is that the righteousness of God is revealed in my life–it’s all worth my holding this position.
What have we learned from looking at these passages?
*God has addressed the issue of forgiveness: our need to seek forgiveness and to grant forgiveness.
*God’s Word acknowledges that serious real life offenses take place which require a Biblical response. The expected response is not vague or obscure.
*God’s perspective on forgiveness focuses on the offended having appropriate attitudes, initiating proper actions of reconciliation.
*What if God waited for us before initiating forgiveness?
*My response before God as a Christian has nothing to do with them.
*I need to forgive as God has forgiven me. Eph 4:32
*I need to have God’s perspective. The offended one initiates actions of forgiveness.
*I need to accept others as they are. I must recognize that I too have idiosyncrasies.
*I need to be ready to receive the sincer request for forgiveness (as often as it is requested) from those who have offended me. Mt 18:21,22. YES, things may need to be dealt with.
*I need to remember that I offend God and others and need to seek and accept forgiveness for my wrongs. 1 John 1:9
*I need to release my own desire for revenge and trust God to handle any need for judgment. Rom 12:19