Category Archives: Forgiveness

SHAME AND REGRET:

Everyone experiences a certain amount of shame and regret over sins committed in the past. The Bible has much to say about shame and regret, and there are numerous examples of people in the Bible who experienced these negative feelings.

Can you imagine the shame and regret Adam and Eve lived with after their sin? They spoiled the perfect creation God had made. Adam and Eve were in a perfect world, had perfect minds and bodies, and had perfectly close fellowship with God. When they chose to sin against God, all of God’s creation was made subject to sin’s effects, including disease, decay, death, and separation from God for eternity. Every human being afterward was born with a sin nature—the natural inclination to sin. Thankfully, God is sovereign, and He had a plan even then to redeem His world through His Son, Jesus Christ, and give mankind a choice for salvation and eternal life with Him. But Adam and Eve must have lived out their lives on earth with much regret over their loss of innocence and its associated blessings. We know they were ashamed at their nakedness (Genesis 3:10). They must have lived the rest of their lives with regret—after all, they remembered paradise.

Another biblical example of shame and regret is the experience of the apostle Peter. John 13:37–38 describes the night of Christ’s betrayal. Right after the Passover meal, Peter tells Jesus that he would lay down his life for his Lord. Jesus responds by telling him that on that very night Peter would deny three times even knowing the Lord. Later that night, out of fear of losing his own life, Peter denied ever knowing Jesus (John 18:15–27Matthew 26:31–3569–75). After Peter’s denial of Christ, “he went outside and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). Later, Peter was restored and grew in his faith, becoming one of the founding fathers of the early church. Peter did indeed “strengthen his brothers” after being forgiven, just as Jesus had foretold (Luke 22:32). While Peter must have lived with much shame and regret over his public denial of Christ, his deepened understanding of the person and work of Christ overcame his feelings of failure. He realized that he was forgiven by the grace of God, and he moved past his personal regret to feed Jesus’ sheep (John 21:17).

The Bible teaches us that, when we confess our sins and have faith in Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, we become children of God (John 1:12). We are cleansed from all our unrighteousness (Colossians 1:15–22), and our salvation is eternally secure (John 10:27–30Hebrews 7:24–25). As we grow spiritually by spending time with God daily in prayer and reading His Word, we find ourselves loving and trusting Him more. We trust that God has cast our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).Yes, we regret our past mistakes, but that is not our focus. We keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Paul put it this way: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of [the goal]. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14). Shame and regret are part of what is behind us. We must learn to forget.

Romans 8:1 is a great comfort to any believer who struggles with leftover feelings of shame and regret: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We are sinners, but we are justified. We have a shameful past, but we have a better future. We used to walk in foolishness and rebellion, but now we walk in newness of life (Titus 3:3–7Romans 6:4). God has forgiven those sins we feel shame and regret over. We can move on. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Prophet Nathan’s Sermon

FORGIVE PEOPLE:

6

Forgiveness in the Bible is a “release” or a “dismissal” of something. The forgiveness we have in Christ involves the release of sinners from God’s just penalty and the complete dismissal of all charges against us (see Romans 8:1). Colossians 1:14 says that in God’s beloved Son “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” The Amplified Bible translates the last phrase like this: “the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty].” God’s gracious forgiveness of our sin is to be the measure of our gracious forgiveness of others (Ephesians 4:32).

To some people, forgiveness may seem like weakness or letting an undeserving person win, but it has no connection to weakness or even to emotions. Instead, forgiveness is an act of the will. Forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. No one deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a deliberate act of love, mercy, and grace. Forgiveness is a decision to not hold something against another person, despite what he or she has done to you.

What is forgiveness in relation to salvation?
Forgiveness is an integral part of salvation. When Jesus forgives us, our sins, trespasses, iniquities, and transgressions are erased, wiped off the record. Forgiveness of sin is comparable to financial debt being erased. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” from the cross (John 19:30), He was literally saying, “It is paid in full” (tetelestai in Greek). Jesus took the punishment we deserved, so, when God forgives us of our sins, we are free; we no longer live under that debt. Our sins are wiped out. God will never hold that sin against us (Psalm 103:12).

It is impossible to have salvation without forgiveness. Salvation is God’s deliverance from the consequences of sin. God’s salvation in Christ is the ultimate example of forgiveness. Have you accepted forgiveness from God?

What is forgiveness of others?
Forgiveness is also an essential part of the life of believers. Ephesians 4:32 commands, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Similarly, Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” The key in both passages is that we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us. Why do we forgive? Because we have been forgiven!

The Bible tells us that we are to forgive those who sin against us. We keep no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5) but forgive as many times as necessary (Matthew 18:21–22). Refusing to forgive a person demonstrates resentment, bitterness, and anger, none of which are the traits of a growing Christian.

God promises that, when we come to Him confessing our sin and asking for forgiveness, He freely grants it for the sake of Christ (1 John 1:9). Likewise, the forgiveness we extend to others should know no limits (Luke 17:3–4). Are you holding someone in your heart for one reason or the other? Forgive today!

Prophet Nathan Emol

FORGIVING THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST ME:

Everyone has been wronged, offended, and sinned against at some point. How are Christians to respond when such offenses occur against them? According to the Bible, we are to forgive others. Ephesians 4:32 declares, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Similarly, Colossians 3:13 proclaims, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” The key in both Scriptures is that we are to forgive fellow believers as God has forgiven us. Why do we forgive? Because we have been forgiven! Our forgiveness of others should reflect God’s forgiveness of us.

In order to forgive those who sin against us, we must first of all understand God’s forgiveness. God does not just forgive everyone automatically with no preconditions—if He did, there would be no lake of fire in Revelation 20:14–15. Forgiveness, properly understood, involves repentance on the sinner’s part and love and grace on God’s part. The love and grace are there, but the repentance is often lacking. So, the Bible’s command for us to forgive one another does not mean we ignore sin. It means we gladly, gracefully, lovingly extend forgiveness to those who repent. We are always willing to forgive when given the opportunity. Not just seven times, but “seventy times seven” times (Matthew 18:22, KJV). Refusing to forgive a person who requests it demonstrates resentment, bitterness, and anger, none of which are the traits of a true Christian.

To forgive those who sin against us requires patience and forbearance. The church has the command to “be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). We should be able to overlook personal slights and minor offenses. Jesus said, “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39). Not every “slap in the face” needs a response.

To forgive those who sin against us requires the transformational power of God in our lives. There is something deep within fallen human nature that thirsts for revenge and urges retaliation in kind. We naturally want to inflict the same type of injury on the one who injured us—an eye for an eye seems only fair. In Christ, however, we have been given the power to love our enemies, do good to the haters, bless the cursers, and pray for the abusers (see Luke 6:27–28). Jesus gives us a heart that is willing to forgive and will work to that end.

Forgiving those who sin against us is made easier when we consider the extent to which God forgives our transgressions. We who have been lavished with grace have no right to withhold grace from others. We have sinned against God infinitely more than any person can sin against us. Jesus’ parable in Matthew 18:23–35 is a powerful illustration of this truth.

God promises that, when we come to Him asking for forgiveness, He freely grants it (1 John 1:9). The grace we extend to those who seek our forgiveness should be just as readily available (Luke 17:3–4).

Prophet Nathan Emol