Forgiveness: God’s requirements to forgive others

Forgiveness is not a difficult biblical topic to understand. However, because humans are creatures of emotion, forgiveness becomes more complex in its application. It plays out in may angles and levels and groupings: the need to forgive others, forgive ourselves and even forgive God. In seeking resolution to even a modest offense, it can involve the offender, the offended, God (if the parties are believers) and third parties — families friends, pastors, the church, mediators, attorneys and even the police.

Not all who call themselves Christians will be among the “first fruits” unless they learn the discipline of forgiveness.

Relevant texts: James 3:2, Acts 22:16, Luke 4:18-19, Ex. 34:9, Matt. 5:23-24; Hos. 14:2; Luke 6:27-38; Matt. 6:12-15, 1 Pet. 5:7; 1Pet. 2:19-24; Jer. 31:34; Psa. 103; Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30; Ex. 32:32-34; Gen. 50:15-21; Acts 6-7; Heb. 12:15

PDF Study on Forgiveness – John Walsh

The Greek word for forgiveness is a pretty straightforward word, apoluo (Strong’s 630), which means to be fully free, to relieve, to release, to dismiss, to send away. It has a similar root to the word apologia (Strong’s 627). Another Greek word for forgiveness is aphesis (Strong’s 859), which means deliverance as in pardon, forgiveness, freedom. It’s a noun that denotes a release from bondage, imprisonment. (See Luke 4:18-19, where the word is used as “liberation from captivity.”)

If the Spirit has called you to be a peacemaker, use that gift in the Body of Christ. Our body needs this gift to be exercised.

God can not forgive the sins of a person who refuses to forgive a fellow believer. We will all be severely tested on this issue. God needs to know how much his sacrifice and his forgiveness really means to us.

The Hebrew word is calach (Strong’s 5545) which refers to the forgiveness God extends to a sinner. It is not used as the type of forgiveness a person extends to another person. Moses says in Ex. 34:9, “and he said, ‘If now I have found favor in thy sight, O Lord, let the Lord, I pray thee, go into the midst of us, although it is a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin and take us for thy inheritance.’”

What is the theology of forgiveness? Yeshua’s life was bathed in forgiveness. He lived forgiveness. He taught forgiveness. He even died that humanity might have forgiveness for all our sins. One of the most basic examples is in Yeshua’s Sermon on the Mount. Matt. 5:23-24 tells us to leave our gift on the altar and seek the forgiveness of a brother before we seek forgiveness from God.

Since we no longer have a temple, what our the sacrifices we offer and how does God respond? Hos. 14:2 tells us that our prayers are the sacrifice we offer God in these times. God can not accept our prayers if we hold unforgiveness in our hearts.

How do we forgive? Yeshua gives us concrete examples of how to forgive in Luke 6:27-38:

“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.anyone hits you on the cheek,the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you?sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full.love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure — pressed down, shaken together, and running over — will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

There’s a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. You can forgive a person deep in our heart and yet not renew fellowship with that person. Forgiveness can be a one way street, but reconciliation is only possible when both parties are ready. Once you forgive a person, you should not keep hold of it to throw in the person’s face over and over in the future. But it doesn’t mean that we should be doormats for other people to trample upon.

We see that there are people in the world who have been warned of sin issues that were ignored until they grew the point of criminal activity (such as O.J. Simpson). If even the world holds people to a certain standard of conduct, the body of Messiah should hold itself to an even higher standard.

The Lord’s Prayer has a line about forgiving others as He forgives us and Yeshua goes into detail explaining the prayer after He taught it to the disciples.

In Matt. 18:15-18, Yeshua tells us how to reconcile to each other and to seek help in situations that are beyond our control, but this is rarely done properly in the body of Christ. People will seek reconciliation between themselves, if that fails, they may go to a few people but when it gets to the point that it should be brought to the fellowship, oftentimes, the pastor usurps the role of the body and makes the decision himself.

Nothing should inspire a troubled soul to move to forgive than Golgotha. Isa. 53:7-9 shows us how the guiltless Messiah died for us and one of his last words were words of forgiveness. The Deacon Stephen was called to forgive his murderers, too.

David makes God’s forgiveness a frequent theme in his Psalms. This is especially true in Psalm 103. This psalms should inspire us all to be forgivers as David reminds us here of God’s love and mercy and forgiveness for us. This Psalm is a great meditation for anyone struggling with forgiveness issue. Reading this psalm once a day for 40 days can be a wonderful prescription to help us forgive those who have hurt us deeply.

Vengeance is an issue with some. They really want to get back. It’s a no-no, period. Deut. 32:35-47 tells us that God will not let anyone “off the hook.”

One of Moses’s last words is “It is no trifle for you but it is your life…” Your eternal life depends on your willingness to forgive. God can do His own job and doesn’t need us to do it for Him. We are not called by God to be vigilantes.

Some of the greatest forgivers in the Bible include Moses, Joseph, and Stephen.

Application of forgiveness

(from R.T. Kendall, author of Total Forgiveness)

  1. Choose to keep no record of wrongs
  2. Refusing to punish
  3. Not telling what they did
  4. Being merciful
  5. Be gracious
  6. Forgiveness is an inner condition
  7. Absence of bitterness
  8. Forgiving God
  9. Forgiving ourselves

All of us will be tested on this issue, the closer we want to be to God, the more serious the testing. Everyone who struggles with this issue need to cry out to God in prayer to pour His Holy Spirit into their body and melt their hardness of heart.

Speaker: John Walsh. Summary: Tammy.


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