Understanding Forgiveness

The different points of view

How do we disciple a new believer, one who first discovered that Jesus is their messiah and had come to receive the free gift of eternal life? How do we help them grow and mature? I believe that it should be their goal to discover what Jesus had already done for them, what he had already given to them, but unfortunately this is not the view point of the majority of Christian leaders. They’re of the point of view that these new believers should start on the basis that they should now begin to live for God though they certainly must be motivated by what Christ had done for them. They must begin with leading a holy life, reducing the amount of sins in their lives, starting doing the things they should be doing, and refraining from doing the things they shouldn’t be doing.

My point of view is that their focus should not be about what they should do for God, but about what God has done for them. This view is expressed rather extensively in the article The Will of God about what we already have in Christ, what we have received from Him as an inheritance.

Among the precious inheritance that is guaranteed ours in Christ, forgiveness is first and foremost because without it salvation is impossible. A proper understanding of forgiveness can set you free in many ways and enable you to begin to walk into the new life that is before you in Christ Jesus. However a faulty understanding of forgiveness will paralyze you in your growth because forgiveness is truly the foundation of our faith, that Jesus died for our sins, and we’re forgiven because of what He did.

25 Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, and it collapsed; it was utterly destroyed! (Matthew 7:24-27)

A proper understanding of forgiveness is the foundation, the rock, upon which we build our faith, otherwise we’d be building it on the shifting sand of the flesh based view of sins and running in a mouse-wheel with lots of action without getting anywhere, to the point some may abandon the faith out of discouragement.

The right question to ask

If I were to ask a believer whether they believe that Jesus died for their sins past, present, and future, they would answer that they do believe it, however if I rephrased the question like this: “If you were to sin against God today, will He hold that sin against you?” they would most likely answer “YES,” and continue to explain that they would have to ask for forgiveness and find ways to redeem their trespasses, because if they don’t, their God may not bless them, or allow harm to come to them unless they do something about it. So we see that though theoretically, in their theological understanding, they believe one thing, in practice they live out their faith in the completely opposite way, that the issue of sin is still ever present and never completely dealt with at the cross at all. The issue of sin becomes to them a mouse-wheel of frustration that prevents them from maturing in the faith. To them the Christian life is still a continual process of dealing with sins and obtaining forgiveness.

Seeking forgiveness

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17)

Do you believe that Christ had been raised? Let me ask again, do you really believe that He had been raised? If you indeed believe that He’s been raised, then you must also believe that you’re not in your sins anymore. I can ask this a thousand times and though most Christians may answer yes equally as many times, I’m afraid they don’t really believe it as they professed. Because if they do, why the obsessions with trying to get forgiveness as a way of life if Christ is indeed raised? Let’s read the verse above more slowly and diliberately: “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins.” Let’s put this verse another way, it is because of Christ’s resurrection from the dead that gives you freedom from sin, the freedom from the effect of sin, its condemnation, its standing between you and God, its deadly consequences (Romans 6:32). Christ’s resurrection guarantees that all your past, present, and future sins won’t stand between you and God, but it does not guarantee that you won’t sin again.

If Christ has risen, and you’re no longer in your sins, then what is standing between you and God? Your unbelief?

How sins are forgiven

For a period of time God gave the Israelites a temporary means for relief of sins: the offering of an unblemished lamb as an atonement. But an atonement does not provide the forgiveness of sins, because if it does, there would not have been a need for Christ. An atonement actually memorializes sins, it serves as a reminder that the worshiper is in need of the Savior.

But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year. (Hebrews 10:3)

On the other hand, the perfect once-for-all offering of the Son of God is not an atonement, but a propitiation through which our sins are actually remembered no more.

• For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34) • I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more. (Hebrews 10:17) • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) • In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7) • in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:14) • Because Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God, by being put to death in the flesh but by being made alive in the spirit. (1 Peter 3:18) • I am writing to you, little children, that your sins have been forgiven because of his name. (1 John 2:12) • And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions. (Colossians 2:13) • But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? (Romans 5:8-10)

The common denominator between the Old Covenant atonement and the New Covenant propitiation is the shedding of blood. And these are the only two ways God provided for the forgiveness of sins, with the old being a shadow of the true forgiveness that is ours in Christ.

Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22)

Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. The irony here is many Christians, and denominations, believe there is a way to get forgiveness without blood: an apology. But God had never provided such a way for the remission of sin. What that amounts to is no matter how well meaning is the action performed by the worshipper, remorse, recompense, repentance, obedience, rending of clothes, self beating, shedding tears of even the most contrite of hearts, a thousand recital of the most heartfelt prayers, will not achieve the forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood, and the blood must be of no one else but the Lamb of God.

In utilizing the so-called confession, or rather in practicality an apology, as means for the forgiveness of sins, the believer trivializes the enormity of sin of which even in the smallest amount is enough to cast mankind from the Garden of Eden. No, an apology won’t do as it does not meet the requirement of the shedding of blood.

Furthermore, the continual seeking of the forgiveness of sins proves that this believer is still in his sins, hence his belief, or his understanding, or his faith, in the resurrection of Christ is worthless (1 Corinthians 15:17), he only pays lip’s service to his belief in Christ’s resurrection but he doesn’t really believe that he’s been delivered from his sins.

Why forgiveness is necessary

Forgiveness is the prerequisite of salvation which is the restoration of life, the returning of the Holy Spirit, that had been lost in Adam (Ezekiel 18:20). Therefore in order for someone to inherit the kingdom of God, he must be completely without sins. And since we will still sin until the day we die, what we really need is to be completely forgiven now and forevermore.

In short, to be no longer in sins doesn’t mean we stop sinning, but it does mean God no longer holds our sins against us, that He has already forgiven us even as He knows we cannot stop sinning. He’s no longer disgusted at us, or ashamed to call Himself our Father.

For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)

The knowledge that God has already forgiven us without any condition sets us free to rightly relate to Him and to serve Him. Then we can do good works and serve God from love and not from fear of punishments or loss of blessings. It sets us free from the paralyzing fear of displeasing God. Perhaps here I should add that as fallen sinners we can never please God no matter how hard we try, except that we are in Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone can please God in every way (Matthew 3:17).

This is our salvation, to be completely and perfectly forgiven by God, to be forever free from being afraid that He’s holding our sins against us. This is so the Holy Spirit of God can dwell in us.

What about those who still live in sins, those who have to daily seek forgiveness from God? They may still be saved on the promise of God that those who call on the name of Christ will have eternal live, but until the day they meet God, their lives now are paralyzed with fear, with the uncertainty of God’s disappointment with them for the sins they still commit. That is no way to live, because Christ is risen and He’s granted that you don’t have to live in your sins anymore.

The resistance to forgiveness

There are many reasons why people find it difficult to receive forgiveness or to grant forgiveness to others.

  • People intrinsically do not want to forgive others. They may say they do like in the Lord’s prayer, but given a right set of circumstances, perhaps they might want to kill those who have hurt them instead.
  • People do not want God to forgive others. Most if not all folks have experienced things done to them unjustly and it’s only natural that they hold grudges against the perpetrators all their lives. We can easily see it in the book of Jonah.
  • People do not want others to know that God had forgiven them in order that they may control or manipulate them, for if people know that God had forgiven them, the manipulators may lose the only leverage they had.
  • People do not want to believe that God has forgiven them because they want to hold on to the law. But this is a great contradiction for a believer because the law has to do with punishment in the event of failure, and if God no longer holds our sins against us, what then is the role of the law? God has forgiven us because none of us can comply to even the smallest of the law, and yet so many in Christendom still parade the law as means to control the flesh. God forgave because no one can pay even the smallest of the debt of sin.

The freedom of forgiveness

If God says He doesn’t hold our sins against us anymore, then why the issue of sins is still very much in the forefront of virtually all sermons across all mediums? It’s easy to spot a guilt-producing message, it may be cloaked in positive motivating words, but the end result is it leaves in the mind of the hearers a sense of missing the mark, of falling short of something, an expectation, especially if that something is dressed up as the will of God.

The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 demonstrates clearly the priority of forgiveness that gives Mary the freedom to relate to Jesus the way God intended. Martha must have been driven by guilt when she was doing good works, the works of serving Jesus and His disciples, the bondage she was experiencing expressed itself in her annoyance at Mary who was content at Jesus’ feet taking in His precious words.

Though this story didn’t mention forgiveness, it’s there if you can listen well. The forgiveness that Mary sensed from the Savior, much like that same forgiveness sensed by the Samaritan woman who drew water at Jacob’s well (John 4:1-26), gave them the freedom to rest at His feet. This is contrary to what we constantly hear from pulpits: Do’s. Lots of Do’s. To the point forgiveness sheepishly returns to its dusty corner on some book shelves of seminary as just a theological concept that has no relevance to real life.

41 Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:36-42)

Teachers of Bible place so much emphasis on other lesser things and neglect the “better” thing that Jesus commended Mary for. Unlike Jesus, they lead the Mary’s among us away from Christ to the things that He may have already prepared for them in advance. Let’s consider the following verses that also tell us what the better thing is.

9For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9it is not from works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

It’s not a coincidence that these verses discourage us from trusting in good works for salvation, then in the same context assure us that it is God who will give us works to do that He’s already prepared beforehand. The forgiveness, or our full appreciation of it, must come first before anything else, otherwise trying to please an unforgiving God is slavery that has no place in the heart of God.

The fear of forgiveness

The large majority of Bible teachers are afraid of teaching God’s forgiveness to its full extent. It’s not about the forgiveness that is dispensed in small doses for particular transgressions, but the total forgiveness of sins that completely sets the sinner free from the fear of ever being condemned again.

Their rationale is a full knowledge of God’s forgiveness will give people a license to sin. While this may be true, it does not justify hiding this truth from even one person who might through the knowledge of God’s full pardon know God in proportion with what He wants to reveal through the cross.

Realistically can the covering of God’s light of forgiveness make better people out of us? For so long people mistakenly believe that the law keep people from sins, but the Bible says otherwise:

• The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. (Romans 5:20) • For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. (Romans 7:5) • The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. (1 Corinthians 15:56)

The law actually produces the opposite effect of what people normally think. It actually increases sin so their depravity is exposed to the point all knees shall bow and call Jesus Christ Lord. That is the purpose of the law. It is the teacher to lead us to Christ, and then it’s done its job (Galatians 3:24) when God gets a hold of us.

Without a full trust and embrace of God’s forgiveness no one can really know God, because that’s how He’s shown Himself to the world. Forgiveness has to do with love and trust, while punishment has to do with the law and condemnation (1 John 4:18).

Antinomianism

Some people believe that complete forginess cannot be taught because “it leads an individual to the point of complete practical disregard for the law of God and a callous lack of concern for violating it.” This is a direct quote from a very well known preacher of grace and many people fully trust it to be true.

It’s entirely possible that there are folks who cite God’s complete forgiveness to justify their sinful lifestyles, but in reality have you ever met one who does that? Can a true Christian really do that with the living God residing in his heart? Neither can an unbeliever, a normal person without serious psychological problem, overcome the power of his conscience.

If you believe in the truth that God has already completely forgiven those who trust in Him, should you because of some, even ninety nine out of a hundred, who may take advantage of it and fall into antinomianism, hide this truth from all? No, you should not. Because in doing so, you will prevent all from ever knowing God for who He really is. I’d rather risk the ninety nine and remove the stumbling block for the one so he may know his God. This knowledge of God’s total forgiveness is the only way for anyone to know God.

To hide this truth from others is actually a complete disregard for the new law of God, the law of the spirit of life, the law with God’s total forgiveness as its foundation, the law which states that God no longer holds your sins against you, because Jesus paid it all, now and forevermore. Sadly so many Bible teachers still try to hold their flocks captives with the false gospel that hides the ever forgiving power of the cross of Christ. These folks indulge their own personal self interest by lying to you concerning this truth. They do that to put you under their control and influence.

31“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to[a] them,[b]” declares the Lord. 33“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

If the covenant you’re living under is anything like the old covenant, it’s not the new covenant. In the new covenant, God will “remember your sins no more.” And if this is true and you believe it, what else is there to forgive? Or does God still hold your sins against you? Then you don’t know God at all.

The work of forgiving those who come to the cross is completed. IT’S FINISHED!

License to sin

The labeling of the teaching of God’s total forgiveness of sins as giving people a license to sin is categorically erroneous.

Let us use a real life example such as a driver’s license. This license is given to a driver with rules governing what he can, or cannot, do in order to maintain safety. The issuance of this license also imply penalty upon failure to obey driving rules and how such penalty may be redeemed so the driver can continue to drive.

In this sense, it is the purveyor of the law who is giving people license to sin, as they give people a set of rules on what they can or cannot do, along with penalties which may be the threat of the loss of salvation or of blessings, and means for redemption which is generally accepted as a confession of sins.

These folks gives people an illusion of a forgiveness of sins through confession that does not deliver what it promises. In the “How sins are forgiven” above we learned that in order for sins to be forgiven there must be the shedding of blood, and it must be the blood of the Son of God, not of bulls or goats. Then how is it that a mere verbal confession, or a more down to earth expression of an apology, can achieve what only Christ could?

This confession as means for forgiveness is not only a license to sin, it is a deceptive one at best. We will delve into this topic of sin confession in the next section.

1 John 1:9

But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

This verse is normally used to support the idea that a confession, an apology, can be used to obtain forgiveness. As we’ve discussed previously, this approach shows its adherent do not take sins seriously. If it took Jesus on the cross to forgive our sins, how is it that now we can achieve the same thing just by mere confession? The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, now we trivialize them to be just simple apologies. This circumventing of the cross is from the devil, and yet it is predominantly the teaching of the church.

If you believe 1 John 1:9 is the way to achieve forgiveness as a way of life, you have no life. This verse has no application to a believer’s life. Let us find out why.

According to Dr. John Best, a Greek scholar, of the Dallas Theological Seminary, this verse should be translated from Greek to English as follows:

I don’t know if you are ever to come to your senses and agree with God concerning your sins, but if any time, today, tomorrow, or whenever you should decide to turn to Him, God can be depended upon to have forgiven your sins and to have cleansed you of all unrighteousness.

And all this is in the past tense in the context of salvation. You are already the beneficiary of this forgiveness that he has ALREADY given to you. How? By the death of Jesus on the cross. When? Two thousand years ago. This was the execution of forgiveness for humanity.

Now let’s go back to the verse before 1 John 1:9.

If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)

What kind of a person thinks he has no sins? It’s obvious this is not a saved person, an unbeliever, because there is no believer who thinks he has no sins. What then should this person do if he wants to be saved? He must acknowledge that he’s a sinner, that he’s not without sins, and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, that apart from what He did on the cross he has no hope of salvation. In this sense, and it is the context intended by the author, this confession is the confession of faith, to obtain the forgiveness once for all for salvation, not the kind practiced daily by most Christians. In practicing the daily confession for forgiveness of sins, the Christians say Jesus’ death on the cross was insufficient and they have to add to it with further confessions until the day they die. This practice is another gospel which is is not what the apostle Paul was preaching. The person who holds this belief must answer: Is death the wage of sin, or is it a confession?

Furthermore, if we move forward to the beginning of the next chapter, we’ll see even more proof that the means of forgiveness is not a confession, but something else, something that lines up perfectly with the foundation of the gospel.

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).

Does the verse say: if you do sin, confess? No. It says: if you do sin, you have Christ who defends you. There is no mentioning here of any penalty, such as a confession, of any method of recompense, or even forgiveness, but a line of defense. And the defense doesn’t say: please forgive this child, but it says: he’s not guilty, because I, Jesus, paid it all already at Calvary. This is the reason why the apostle Paul boldly wrote, without any fear of anyone taking advantage of his pronouncement, the following verse that was revealed to him from God Himself:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

If there is now no condemnation, then what is forgiveness for? Therefore 1 John 1:9 is a call to an unbeliever to come to an agreement with God that he’s a sinner in need of God’s grace. It’s not for a believer, and it has no application in a believer’s life such as confession to obtain forgiveness.

Why confession?

Why is this practice of confession so prevalent if it’s not in the Bible? There are several reasons from both the practitioners and those that promote it.

Some say they experience a sense of peace after they confess their sins. Granted there might be positive psychological effects from being able to unload guilty feelings, but in my experience, the benefit doesn’t last. Additionally, the practice does not bring the forgiveness of sins as it’s purported to do. The Bible says that there must be the shedding of blood for sins to be forgiven, but according to Hebrews 10:26, shedding of animal blood, or even the blood of Christ, is no longer accepted by God; it is finished with Christ. For an unbeliever, his sins can be forgiven once for all through faith in Christ, for believer, he’s already forgiven now and forevermore. Therefore for a Christian, if God says He doesn’t remember their sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:12), what then can be achieved by reminding Him of our sins through the act of confession?

For leaders in a legalistic church, holding their flocks under sin give them the benefit of their dependence on them, it provides job security. These leaders may or may not know about the truth that the issue of sins has been resolved at the cross two thousand years ago; if they don’t, it’s not only that they walk in confusion, they also lead others on the same path; if they do and they chose to disregard the truth and chose to lead others astray … ? At any rate, the tendency to use guilt to control others is common within or without Christianity. Confession is a leash that prevents Christians from realizing the freedom they have through Christ’s total forgiveness of their sins.

The Lord’s prayer

At the end of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:14-15, we read:

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)

In these verses God gives us a recipe for receiving forgiveness from Him: forgive others when they sin against us. But if we know ourselves, can we honestly say that we’ll be able to forgive anyone under any circumstances? Will we be able to forgive someone who might possibly commit the worst act of atrocity upon us?

However, let us not forget that in order for anyone to enter the kingdom of God, he must be completely forgiven by God, to the point he can be as perfect as is required by God (Matthew 5:48). Jesus declared this requirement of perfection after He gave what we now call the Sermon on the Mount. He raised the bar so high with the intention of demolishing all prideful arrogance of those who think they can somehow achieve the perfection of God with their own fleshly efforts. So it was with the Matthew verses quoted above. Jesus didn’t give that requirement as a golden rule for us to follow, but as a means to put us where we really belong: sinners in need of God’s grace and mercies, because no one even come close to being able to forgive anyone in its truest meaning.

Being forgiven

The universal truth is no one is righteous, or to put it another way, everyone is a sinner. Except for some whose conscience does not seem to have a strong influence on their lives, the rest will get on some paths trying to become better people, through obedience, repentance, or other ways to reach this noble goal. If there is even a slightest hint of honesty in the hearts of such people, they would soon come to the place of realization that the effort to become better people, to banish sins from their lives, is futile. However, there may be others who are more persistent their quest for personal excellence even until the time they lay on their deathbed. The strangest thing is even though all will never have achieved their state of perfection, they attempt to teach others how to do what they know will end in failure.

The honest seekers will come to a place where they realize they are in need of God’s forgiveness. They realize all their efforts in obedience and repentance will not bring them any closer to the state of perfection. They fell too far short of the glory of God. What they need is God’s forgiveness. Much like a drug addict under the spell of the powerful mind altering substance becomes absolute slave to it. Obedience and repentance to a Christian is like pep talk or imploring as they will fall on deaf ears, as the only thing an addict hears is the voice of his delusional mind which cannot be trusted. Addicts or sinners, they need forgiveness for the sins they WILL commit. An addict doesn’t need to confess that he is one. He knows it, and he hates it. He desperately needs to get out from under the bondage of drugs that is stronger than steel. But there is something stronger than steel: it’s God’s enduring forgiveness that sets him free and empowers him to begin anew.

Forgiving others, and conclusion

Why is a debt forgiven? If a debt can be paid up but the creditor decides not to pursue payment, then it’s not a forgiveness of the debt, but a gift. A debt is only truly forgiven if the debtor cannot repay it.

Aside from money, there are debts that one person owes another that cannot be repaid. Such debt as the taking of lives, acts of injustice, abuse, etc., cannot be repaid with mere apologies, or confessions as usually offered by Christians.

What then does Jesus mean when he asks us to forgive others? We forgive others with a firm conviction that they can never repay in the same way God has forgiven us. I don’t know about you but I’m not sure if I can really forgive someone the way God does. I can’t guarantee that there won’t be moments I secretly require a payment in my heart, when I entertain the thoughts of vengeance, but I know God can forgive like that. He sent His Son to the cross even when we were still sinners like the drug addict howling in agony and in a frantic search for his next fix.

It’s not an easy thing to know and fully believe that God has forgiven us and has cast our sins as far as the East is from the West, as the bottom of the sea is from the high heavens. It’s not easy to believe that God no longer counts our sins against us. But we can only forgive others in proportion to how we know and experience God’s forgiveness for us. We cannot outdo Him.

So what are you doing whispering in God’s ears what God had banished by sending His precious Son to the cross?

Credit

I owe a debt of gratitude to brother Aaron Budjen who produced a life changing series of 12 sermons with the same title, “Understanding Forgiveness”—please click on the link at left to access the full series in mp3 format—that this article is derived from as well as much of its content.

As I was near completion of this writing, a wonderful opportunity came with a request that I serve as an editor for a book being translated into English from Vietnamese. The book consists of testimonies from people who suffered from drug addiction but had been delivered miraculously by the power of the love of God. The testimonies that I had the privilege to edit gave me just the perfect closing thoughts to bring home the key concept of God’s complete forgiveness that took a while to build. Thank you the VCRM team for making me a part of this wonderful project.

Nghi Nguyen

- Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion on the topic, which does not necessarily reflect the church's theology, or beliefs of the individuals in it — Nghi Nguyen

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Comments

Ted Clemens

Thorough. Forgiveness is the trigger of a paradigm shift like no other. It titles the closing chapter in one book in order to go onto the next. Peter wrote the opening line to the new at the close of his letters: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Each of these words has meaning. And God is patient to teach us all about them. Thank you, Nghi. I’ll be referencing this.

Nghi Nguyen

Yes, “Grow in the grace …”. 2 Peter 3:18 that I memorized without a full understanding of it until decades later. When I first saw the topic “Understanding Forgiveness” at Aaron Budjen’s website, I thought to myself: basic stuff, I knew all about it already. Little did I know it sure does help me “grow in the grace …” way beyond my already held belief on the topic. Aaron didn’t teach me anything new, but he did help me grow deeper in the understanding of God’s forgiveness.

Trong Du

I like this statement: “ It’s entirely possible that there are folks who cite God’s complete forgiveness to justify their sinful lifestyles, but in reality have you ever met one who does that? Can a true Christian really do that with the living God residing in his heart? “

Ted Clemens

Good point. I’ve heard the argument made many times in my 40+ years as a Christian to justify reinforcement of the law. Most who fail however, do so out of sincere effort not seeing the millstone that’s been placed around their neck.

Nghi Nguyen

The real issue is most Christians don’t know God’s grace enough to abuse it.

When the apostle Paul says “Everything is permissible” in 1 Corinthians 10:23, he really unleashed God’s grace. But most sermons don’t expand on this part of the verse, and instead focus on the part that follows it: “but not everything is beneficial.” The end result is God’s forgiveness is dispensed in small doses; Jesus’ blood is used repeatedly to cleanse each sin, like through our confessions.

The truth is there is one confession to call Jesus Christ Lord and Savior, and there is one shedding of blood of the Son of God to forgive the sins of the whole world once for all and never to be repeated again.

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