First, due to lack of space, I had to place many references in the text of this lesson without displaying the entire Bible passage. Reading these passages will add more information that can be used by the reader.
Secondly, please keep in mind, that the importance of this Bible Study cannot be underestimated, therefore, it is vital that we look to the Bible for all of our beliefs on this subject. I have tried to diligently declare only what the Bible says on the subject of forgiveness, however, for the reader’s benefit, an open Bible used alongside this study make certain this study contains only Biblical truth.
May the Lord Jesus be glorified in this study, Rob Barkman
Have you ever lived with dread, knowing that you have wronged someone severely and there was nothing you could do to “take it back” or “undo it”? Do you avoid the person you have wronged, knowing every time you see them you are reminded, and guilt stricken, at what you have done? Do you ever wish you could start all over and be freed from this burden of guilt and shame? Thanks to a small, eleven letter word we can begin again, freed from the awesome weight of our guilt.
That word is “forgiveness”. Although a small word, “forgiveness” has a very huge meaning…. “to release, to let go, to send away.” Forgiveness is saying that we no longer hold the offense against the offender, instead it will be put away; we no longer desire retribution for the offender’s actions, but now seek a restored relationship with them.
What would life be like without forgiveness? Forgiveness is the only thing that can restore broken relationships and allow healing to begin. Forgiveness is one of the greatest virtues that man can possess. With forgiveness, the broken can be fixed and the crooked can be made straight once again.
The Word of God presents to us many different types of forgiveness… from one-time forgiveness for the smallest of infractions (Lk 11:4), to the need for multiple acts of forgiveness for great offenses (Matt 18:21-22), the Bible presents to us the necessity of forgiveness in our day to day walk of life.
But beyond human forgiveness, the Word speaks of a special type of forgiveness that is given by God to man through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the forgiveness that is given by God for offenses we have committed against Him….
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Col 1:12-14)
From these three verses we can learn much about God’s forgiveness and it’s results in our lives:
1. Giving thanks unto the Father” – If we are forgiven by God, we are thankful!
No one can begin to describe the awesome sense of relief, and gratitude, we possess when we receive the forgiveness of our many sins! Just having the knowledge that we will never face an eternal judgment for our sins, but instead eternal paradise with our Lord, results in eternal gratefulness for His forgiveness…
“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.” (Psa 107:21-22)
2. “which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” – If we are forgiven by God, we have a new inheritance from Him!
Just think of it… once our sins are forgiven, the Lord promises us an eternal dwelling place where God Himself will be present with us. And beyond that, we will have an eternal life freed from pain, sorrow, and sickness and, most importantly, sin!
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. “ (Rev 21:1-4)
3. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” – If we are forgiven by God, we are no longer the servants of sin, but now the servants of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Before our salvation, the Bible described all of us as being the “servants of sin”. This is because following the original fall of man in the Garden of Eden, a sin nature began to exist in all of mankind. Because of that sin nature, all humans are born separated from God, the servants of sin, and facing both physical and spiritual death. (Rom 5:12-14, Rom 6:23, Ezek 18:4, 1 Cor 15:21)
The phrase “physical death” is speaking of the soul/spirit being separated from the body. This is the death we read about in the papers everyday; this is the death that separates a loved one from this earthly family and friends. (1 Cor 15:55-56)
The phrase “spiritual death” is used to describe a different type of separation. It is not separation of the body from the soul/spirit, it is the separation of an individual from God. As sinners, our relationship with God has been ruptured by our sin. (Psa 66:18, Prov 15:29, Isa 1:15, John 9:31) Being spiritually dead, results in eternal punishment and separation from God in a place called hell, the lake of fire and everlasting fire (Luk 16:21-31, 12:4-5, Rev 20:13-14, Mat 25:41)
The physical and spiritual death that we face, due to our sin, is devastating; devastating to our life on earth, and devastating to our eternal existence; as well as devastating to our loved ones and the world as a whole. But, through the work of Christ, we can be delivered from our sin and changed to servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. Where we once were bound in death to sin, we are now alive to serve our Lord Jesus. (Rom 6:11-12)
What a magnificent work of God in our lives! To take us, as a member of rebellious, sinful mankind, wanting nothing to do with Him; and, then, making us a part of His privileged family, given an eternal inheritance and blessings beyond number!
“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Rom 6:17-18)
4. “In whom we have redemption through his blood” – If we are forgiven by God, we have been purchased by Christ through His death on the cross!
The most important question we should ask is “Now what?” What do we do now that we see our horrible straits? How do we receive the blessings that are awaiting us? Christ, through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension has given us the perfect answer to this very perplexing problem.
Christ, during His life on earth, made it very plain what we must do to have our sin problem taken away. We must look to Him in faith, trusting Him as our Deliverer and Lord of our life. In doing so, we will be trusting Him, and His work, while turning from our sins (repentance) to serve Him as Lord. (Rom 3:21-26, Gal 2:16, Eph 2:5-10, Heb 6:1)
Christ, through His shed blood on the cross, took the punishment of the sin of His people upon Himself so that we would not have to be punished. (1 Pet 3:18)
Christ, through His resurrection, declared to everyone that He had successfully paid the sin debt of His people and was the God He had claimed to be. (1 Cor 15:12-28)
Christ, after His resurrection to heaven, is now standing, pleading our case on our behalf to God the Father… he is ever living to declare our justified standing to God (Heb 7:23-28)
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. “ (1Pe 1:18-21)
5. “even the forgiveness of sins” – If we are forgiven by God, we have been released from the shame, guilt and punishment for our sins!
As we trust in Christ, we find that we are justified (declared innocent) of all the sins that we have committed. No longer do we have to labor under our sin debt, nor do we need to be concerned about our future. (Rom 5:1-2) We can know that Christ, as the indwelling spirit, is with us helping us in this life and securing our future with Him. (Col 1:27, John 14:16-17, 1 Cor 1:20-22, Eph 1:13-14)
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1Jn 1:5-10)
May we all praise the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all he has done for us….
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. “ (Php 2:5-11)
If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.
May the Lord bless your study of His Word.
Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”