Forgiveness (Ephesians #31)

Text: Ephesians 4:31-32

Forgiveness is cancelling debt based on acceptable conditions

  • The world would say you’re a Christian and you need to forgive and move on.  You can move on without forgiveness.
  • Blood is required by God for forgiveness
    • Leviticus 4:15, 18, 20
    • Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
    • Forgiveness is not turning a blind eye unconditionally to sin.
    • Forgiveness under the law required the blood of animals because blood was the price of the debt.  Flesh and blood, that carnal old man, took what God made and perverted it for himself.  And God said, I’m going to require that back now.  Except the destruction of the flesh and blood and the damnation of the soul was not what God wanted.  So God said He would accept the blood of animals for a time.  At least until He could live in flesh and blood and pay the debt Himself.
    • David’s adultery with Bathsheba – 2 Samuel 12:13-14
    • Colossians 1:14.  God would show His willingness to forgive sinners.
    • But just because Jesus Christ shed His blood for you does that mean you were forgiven?  Or was there something required of you?
  • Confession and repentance are required by God for forgiveness
  • Does God require something of you before He forgave you?  Or were you automatically forgiven when Jesus died on the cross for you?
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.
    • True confession and repentance accepts the consequences.  A person can be forgiven and still suffer consequences.  Someone that says they have sinned and may never recover, may never get their family back, may never be looked on favorably again, but their chief concern is between them and God.
    • Compare David’s confession in Psalm 51:1-12 to Saul’s confession in 1 Samuel 15:24-25, 30.
    • Saul confesses so that things will get back to normal – 1 Samuel 15:24-25, 30 Saul confesses his sin but there is no repentance.
    • God can forgive you, as He did David, but that didn’t bring back the dead baby.  That didn’t make all the men David killed trying to get rid of Uriah in battle come back to life.
    • If you’re on death row and you get saved do you know what you are?  A saint that still on death row.
  • Forgiveness is not blindly applied everywhere.
    • Some things don’t get forgiven.  When these criteria aren’t met, there is no forgiveness.
    • Matthew 12:31-32 blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.  Nation of Israel in Acts 7.  Also all individuals who reject God’s last attempt to ensure they are forgiven.

Forgiveness between people

  • …forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
  • So you see HOW God forgives and WHY He forgives.
  • A person can be right with the world and wrong with God.  Or a Christian can be forgiven by God, but guilty in the world’s eyes.  So forgiveness with God does not equal forgiveness between men.
    • Reason this needs to be said is because we can go overboard on the “God forgave them why can’t you?”  Sometimes the sin so affects the body of Christ, believers among believers, that it is no longer about the forgiveness of that person but it is about the health of the congregation.
    • 1 Corinthians 5:1-5.  Carnal Christians are more quick to gloss over the wicked because it makes them feel like good people, but more apt to judge and criticize the spiritual Christian.
    • Just need to give them room to grow.  Don’t spiritualize your arrogance.  Room to grow without a direction to grow in isn’t room to grow.
  • Ready to forgive
    • God’s attitude toward sinners is that He is willing and has made provision for sinners to be forgiven.  Go back to Leviticus 17:11 where God says it is the blood that He’s given to make atonement.
    • Psalm 86:5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive…
    • Ready to forgive is the right attitude.  If you’re going to be ready to forgive, then some things have to be let go.  Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
    • Ready to forgive means you’ll have to be kind and tenderhearted with a view toward how God has been to you.
    • If you came to church waiting to be offended, you won’t get anything from God.  See Mark 11:25
    • 2 Corinthians 2:5-11
    • Luke 17:1-10 …if he repent… Increase our faith… done that which was our duty.