One of the most precious aspects of our salvation is the complete and perfect forgiveness of our sin. The apostle John wrote, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
But there is nothing that fills the human heart with peace more than knowing that God has removed our sins from us. Sin forgiven by God is sin that is forgotten; never will He mention it again! As we stop to consider this blessing of forgiveness, why do we so often fail to forgive those who sin against us? Why do we hold grudges and refuse to let go?
The apostle Peter asked the Lord Jesus a question concerning forgiving those who do wrong by us. He asked, "Lord, how often should my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?" Jesus, answering him, said, "I say not unto you, until seven times, but until seventy times seven" (Matthew 18:21-22).
The point that Jesus made was not concerning a specific number of times one should forgive, but about complete and perfect forgiveness. No matter how many times someone sins against us, no matter the nature of the sin, we must be willing to forgive and forget.
Jesus taught that men should forgive one another, saying, "And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any, that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses" (Mark 11:25).
How can we come before God, having received the blessing of His forgiveness through faith in Christ, and be unwilling to forgive another? Well, the answer to that question lies in the simple forgetfulness of all that Christ has done for us.
Because we are unlovely, bound by sin and deserving of death, God sent His Son to be sacrificed, which would pay the debt of human sin. Suffering in agony and shame, Jesus shed His life's blood as a covering for man's sins. He became obedient unto the eternal plan of God, because there was no other way of salvation for fallen man.
As we come to the Father through faith in Christ we find complete forgiveness of sins and unconditional acceptance with God. Never again will God rebuke us for sins past, because they have been judged in Christ, and removed from us. Jesus is truly "... The Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world."
Paul wrote, "And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32).
Has anyone wronged you? Are you holding a grudge against them? The best thing you could ever do is to forgive them. Forgiveness is not only a gift you give to others, it is a gift you give yourself!
Jerry L. Dunn, pastor of Oak Street Baptist Church, Sixth and Oak Streets, can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.