Forgiveness In The Bible; It’s An Act Of Love.
Forgiveness in the Bible is an act of love. It is one of the primary ways in which God teaches us about Himself. The Bible teaches us that we must forgive each other unconditionally, as God in Christ forgave us. It says that each and every person receives the grace of God and everyone must grant the same to others, in the form of mercy when they are wronged.
From the book of Genesis to Revelation the Bible says that forgiveness is a gift received in the form of grace and it must be given to another in the form of mercy. Pastor John Arnott, founder of Catch the Fire Ministries explains these forgiveness concepts by saying this:
“Grace is getting something that you don’t deserve; mercy is not getting something that you do deserve.”
Throughout the Bible, the theme of forgiveness dominates the pages. Adam and Eve sinned against God in the garden. They had been warned that the wages of sin is death. They sinned anyway. Instead of destroying mankind, God in His forgiving nature commenced the plan of redemption for humankind.
Sin & Death
Because sin had been committed death was to follow. Adam and Eve had exposed themselves to the elements of the world and the devil. They felt shame at their nakedness and sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. Fear struck them and they withdrew and went into hiding. The blame game had begun. God forgave them but there were still facing the consequences.
No one can hide from The Creator.
Today, if you’re feeling shame because of what you did or because of what happened to you, God can forgive you. His grace can reach you right now. Ask for forgiveness. Forgive someone. When we forgive, the Bible promises us forgiveness from God.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
What The Fig Leaves Couldn’t Cover
The fig leaves couldn’t cover the sin that Adam and Eve had committed. So, God, in his mercy, made the first sacrifice. God took the life of an animal and used its skin to cover up the sin of our first parents.The fig leaves couldn't cover the sin. God, in His mercy, made the first sacrifice. He took the life of an animal and covered our sin. #forgive Click To Tweet
Over time, children were born and people increased, but so did transgression against God. The Mosaic sacrificial system of the Tabernacle ceremonies was introduced as humans continued to sin against God.
More animals needed to be killed as the people and Priests stood to sacrifice something that could never take away sins or offer total forgiveness.
The blood of animals would never be more than a covering. It did not have the power to wash the sin away.The blood of animals would never be more than a covering. It did not have the power to wash the sin away. #forgiveness Click To Tweet
Nonetheless, sacrifices were made. Whether sin was intentional or not various offerings were put in place. In the book of Numbers, forgiveness in the Bible becomes codified.
“So the priest shall make atonement for the whole congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them, for it was unintentional; they shall bring their offering, an offering made by fire to the Lord, and their sin offering before the Lord, for their unintended sin”.Numbers 15:25
An Insufficient Sacrifice
In the New Testament, we learn that these animal sacrifices were never sufficient.
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”Hebrews 10:4
The answer, is of course, no.
But, could each person die and shed their own blood for their own sins?
No, that wouldn’t work either.
A person filled with sin could not shed their own blood for the cleansing of theirs or anyone else’s sin.
God wanted us alive!
Not dead. Plus, there’s a bigger plan at play here. By demanding blood, God was re-establishing life. We, as humans, can not die, establish forgiveness for all, and restore life. But there is one who can.
Forgiveness in The Bible Looks Like Jesus
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, God no longer required the sacrifices or sin offerings
The Bible teaches that God prepared a human body for Himself so that He could shed His own blood for the remission of our sin.
In Jesus God became a man. Sinless in nature.
And through Jesus sin could finally be forgiven once and for all.
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgivenessHebrews 9:22
Forgiveness in the Bible is a Divine Plan
Here’s the thing, it would have been difficult for us to comprehend God’s divine plan on our own. In fact, it took Jesus himself to come and explain to us in plain language God’s plan for salvation. We learn from Jesus that salvation is God’s deliverance of believers from the consequences of sin. We also learn that it’s impossible to have salvation without forgiveness.
First, the Bible teaches us that God’s salvation in Christ is the ultimate example of forgiveness. In His teaching, Jesus showed us that God had made salvation available to anyone who will accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. Our sins are forgiven when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior.
Have you accepted God’s forgiveness and salvation?
Throughout the Bible, we are being taught how to forgive one another as God in Christ forgave us. All this time, Jesus knew that in our natural way of doing things we don’t normally overflow with mercy, understanding, and grace when we’ve been wronged.
Anger and resentment always kick in.
Jesus said this is a choice each one of us has to make. Instead of being bitter angry and resentful we needed to forgive one another.
Forgive us our trespasses.
In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus teaches that forgiveness is a two-way street. If you want God to forgive you, then you must, in turn, forgive others.
“And forgive us our debts,Matthew 6:12
As we forgive our debtors.”
Jesus then goes on to explain that God has already fully forgiven our sins and He expects us to do the same for one another. He teaches you and I the prayer and then highlights the fact failing to forgive others has real consequences.
“If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. “
Failure to forgive others makes unforgiveness a sin. Jesus repeats this quite a few times throughout the Bible. There is usually some confusion at this point but remember forgiveness is not based on our works.
Forgiveness in the Bible is all about our response to what God has done for us through Jesus. Our salvation is not all of a sudden nullified just because of a current situation in which we are finding it hard to forgive someone.
But, if we choose to carry that unforgiveness in our hearts after God has invited us to lay it to rest at the foot of the cross, we are walking towards rottenness, decay and general complications in our relationships due to the sin.
Forgiveness & Salvation
Forgiveness, just like salvation, is found in the person of God and by the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross. When we forgive we are showing that we understand God’s grace and we are willing to grant others the same grace we were given by Jesus. We are choosing to be Christ-like. We pass the gift along and let go of the unforgiveness in our own heart.
Later, the Apostle Paul echoes everything Jesus said. Paul uses his own words in many instances to say the same thing that Jesus said and taught. He calls unforgiveness ‘works of the flesh’ and something that will stand against the will of God.
Unforgiveness is a sin.
Remember this; unforgiveness destroys your life, not someone else’s. It leaves YOU feeling depressed, irritable, hurt and defensive. Choosing to stay this way when an alternative has been made available to us through Jesus is a sin.
If you’re struggling to let go of the pain and hurt, it’s probably time to talk to someone about unforgiveness. With so many tragedies happening around us, we are living in a society of the walking wounded.
Don’t bear the burden of trauma and tragedy alone. You can talk to your minister, pastor or priest and get help going through the process of forgiveness. Pastors, please seek help. Let’s talk. Even Moses needed help!
Or, you can book a free coaching call with me,
I’m a Pastor by day, and a Christian Life Coach by night. I specialize in helping people deal with the issues around unforgiveness so that they can enjoy the life God gave them.
No matter what has happened in your life, you’re not without hope.
Reach out today and get the help you need to let go of the pain and end the suffering.