Most people do not understand how serious God takes forgiveness.
These are scriptures that takes you deeper into forgiveness:
The Basic Principle of Prayer: Forgiveness, Matthew 6:14–15
1. The very idea that a person must forgive others in order for God to forgive him was totally new. It was a shocking concept, an eye-opener. It had to be explained.
2. The very idea of forgiveness is just what it says: it is forgiving. God knows that He cannot forgive an unforgiving heart. His nature of love and justice will not permit Him to indulge in sin and give license to the passions of a man’s unforgiving spirit. He can forgive only where the mercy and tenderness of forgiveness are found. Therefore, Christ had to teach the basic principle of prayer—forgiveness (Mt. 18:21–35; Mk. 11:25–26; Lu. 6:37; 17:3–4; Ep. 4:32). Take a deeper look ⇒ Mt. 26:28.
1. The promise: forgive others and be forgiven (v. 14).
2. The warning: refuse to forgive others and be unforgiven (v. 15).
Forgiveness of Others: there is the promise to forgive and thereby to be forgiven. The words sin against mean to stumble; to fall; to slip; to blunder; to deviate from righteousness and truth. Note three things.
1. Christ takes for granted that we know that we need forgiveness. This is seen in His words, “your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” We are sinners; we have transgressed God’s law and we need forgiveness. Even the most mature among us fails to keep God’s law perfectly. We all stumble, fall, blunder, and slip; and we do it much too often.
a. We are seldom doing to the fullest degree what we should do. We come short.
b. We are always crossing over from the path we should be following. We deviate over into the forbidden area. Thus, we desperately need forgiveness. God promises that He will forgive our sins if we will do one simple thing: forgive men their sins.
2. The greatest thing in all the world is to be forgiven our sins: to be absolved and released from all guilt and condemnation, to be accepted and restored by God and assured of seeing Christ face to face. Forgiveness of sins means that we are freed: set at liberty in this life to live abundantly, and set at liberty in the next life to live eternally in perfection.
3. The only way we can be forgiven our sins is to forgive others their sins. Christ makes the promise: “Forgive men their sins [and] your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Forgiving men their sins means several very practical things.
⇒ We are not judgmental or censorious.
⇒ We do not become bitter or hostile.
⇒ We do not plan to take revenge.
⇒ We do not hold hard feelings against another person.
⇒ We do not talk about, gossip, or join in rumor; on the contrary, we correct the rumor.
⇒ We do not rejoice in trouble and trials that fall upon another person.
⇒ We love and pray for the person.
What is sinful when it comes to forgiveness?
1) Bad feelings against another person is sin. It is holding sin within our heart. Forgiving a person who has done us evil is proof that we wish to have a clean heart. We really wish God to forgive us.
2) Forgiving men their sins does not refer only to the sins against us, but all sins.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Mat 5:7)
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’ ” (Luke 11:4)
If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” (Luke 17:4)
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Col 3:13)
Forgiveness of Others: there is the warning—refuse to forgive and be unforgiven. The believer who prays for forgiveness and holds feelings against another person is hypocritical. He is asking God to do something he himself is unwilling to do. He is asking God to forgive his sins when he himself is unwilling to forgive the sins of others. Bad feelings against a person are clear proof that a person is not right with God. Matthew 6:15
1. Bad feelings show that a person does not know the true nature of man nor of God. He does not know the true exalted perfection of God nor the real depth of man’s sinful nature—how far short he is of perfect righteousness.
2. Bad feelings show that a person walks and lives in self-righteousness (that is, that he thinks that he is acceptable to God by deeds of righteousness). He feels better than others, and judges himself able to talk about and look askance at the sins of others.
3. Bad feelings show that a person has not taken the steps he must take in order to be forgiven his own sins (see Deeper Study # 1, 2—Mt. 6:14–15).
4. Bad feelings show that a person is living by the standards of society and not by God’s Word. God’s Word is clear: “there is no one who does good, not even one” (Ro. 3:12; see Mt. 19:17). Therefore, we are to help and love one another, and care and restore one another when we stumble, slip, fall, blunder, and deviate.
It is written “There is no one righteous, not even one; (Rom 3:10; see Ro. 3:9–19)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Rom 3:23)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph 4:31–32)
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (Gal 6:1–3)
Christ is explicitly clear in His warning about forgiving others.
Be merciful, just as your Father 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. (Luke 6:36–37)
The warning is severe when the opposite statement is seen: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (see Lu. 6:36–37).
Here are three significant lessons in this point.
1) The man who holds bad feelings against others has not looked at himself and his own sins. He does not know himself, not his real self, not the inner selfishness and motives that plague the depravity of man.
2) Feelings against others cause inward disturbance. They eat away at a person’s mind and emotions to varying degrees. Deep feelings against others can cause deep emotional and mental problems as well as serious physical problems.
3) Three things are necessary for God to hear our prayer for forgiveness of sins. (1) Lifting up holy hands, (2) being without wrath, and (3) not doubting.
I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. (1 Tim 2:8)
The answer to peace is Christ Jesus. “He Himself is our peace”—the only possible peace between two persons (see outline and notes—Ep. 2:14–18. Review the Scriptures below verse by verse in light of the following facts.)
1) He can make both one (Ep. 2:14).
2) He can break down the wall between both (Ep. 2:14).
3) He can abolish the enmity—in His own flesh (Ep. 2:15).
4) He can make the two into one new man (Ep. 2:15).
5) He can reconcile both to God—in one body—by the cross (Ep. 2:15).
6) He can give peace to both and bring peace between both (Ep. 2:17).
7) He can give both access to God the Father (Ep. 2:18).