1999 James A. Fowler
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I. Biblical references to "forgiveness"
A. Old testament words
- "to carry" - Ps. 25:8
- "to pardon, to forgive" - Ps. 86:5
- "to pacify, to satisfy" - Ps. 79:9
B. New testament words
- "to release, to forgive" - Col. 1:14
- "to show favor, to grant grace" - Col. 2:13
II. Divine forgiveness of sins
A. Divine prerogative - Neh. 9:17;
Matt. 9:6; Mk 2:7,10; Lk. 5:21,24
1. Only God can
forgive sins because it is His character that has been violated,
B. Objectively effected by the death
of Jesus Christ
1. Remedial action
of Christ's death - He took the death consequences of sin upon
and substitutionally in order to forgive our sins. Matt. 26:28;
Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14;
basis - no forgiveness apart from the presence of the Forgiver.
Not just a benign
or a grant of privilege
application of forgiveness?
No other offering for sin - Heb. 10:18
Confess and appropriate - I Jn. 1:9
C. Subjectively received by the receptivity
of faith - Lk. 3:3; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 10:43; 26:18
1. Unbelief as
basis of unforgiveness - Matt. 12:31,32; Mk. 3:29; Lk. 12:10
2. Do we need
to "ask" for forgiveness? or simply receive such in
Jesus Christ, the Forgiver?
3. What if don't
4. What if I
can't forgive myself?
III. Forgiving others
A. When the Forgiver lives in us,
He wants to express His forgiving character to others. -
4:32; Col. 3:13
B. As He does so, we learn to appreciate
the forgiveness He has extended to us.
C. The church is the fellowship of the
forgiven - I Jn. 1:7 (not the program of the pious)
D. Is God's forgiveness of our sins conditioned
or contingent on our forgiving others? - Matt
Mk. 11:25; Lk. 11:4
E. Do we have resentments and bitternesses?
Vengeance is assuming a right we do not have -
F. Don't "feel" like forgiving?
Forgiveness is a decision of faith to allow Christ to act in
G. Forgiveness is not a matter of forgetting.
Forgiving is a present action; forgetting is a process
H. No mathematical limitation to forgiveness.
- Matt. 18:22. When we forgive, then the next
is always the first.
I. In forgiving we focus on the action
of the offense, rather than on the person of the offender, and
that God can cause all things to work together for good - Rom.
J. Forgiveness involves willing to allow
Christ to minister to the other person through us.
K. Forgiveness involves willing to suffer
abuse - Matt. 5:11,12
L. Biblical examples of forgiving others.
1. Joseph - Gen.
2. Jesus - Lk.
IV. Asking forgiveness of others
A. Confessing ours sins to another
- James 5:16
B. Asking forgiveness and seeking reconciliation
- Matt. 5:23,24
C. Practical observations
the basic offense - pride, greed, rebellion (selfishness)
how to word your request
method of presenting such - letter, phone, visit
if they reject your effort of reconciliation? mock you? berate