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Bible Study
See other Bible Study Articles

Title: What does the Bible say about forgiveness of sins?
Source: twopaths.com
URL Source: http://www.twopaths.com/faq_forgiveness.htm
Published: May 30, 2006
Author: unattributed
Post Date: 2006-05-30 00:21:58 by A K A Stone
Keywords: bible, forgive, sin
Views: 2931
Comments: 3

Sin is disobedience to God's commandments, either by doing what is forbidden or failing to do what is required. (See the Ten Commandments , the Greatest Commandments of Jesus, Mark 7:20-23, Galatians 5:19-26). In the Bible, sin is a serious evil that disrupts our relationship with God (Matthew 5:29-30, Mark 9:42-48, Romans 8:7-8, Romans 6:23).

Availability of forgiveness

The good news is that, no matter how serious the sin, God is always seeking us out and is willing to forgive and forget our sins and give us a fresh start. As long as we live, it is never too late to ask for forgiveness and make a new start!

So Jesus used this illustration: "If you had one hundred sheep, and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it? And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. When you arrived, you would call together your friends and neighbors to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found. In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away! (NLT, Luke 15:3-7)

When we have sinned, we can ask God for forgiveness, as in the Lord's Prayer:

and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. (TLB, Matthew 6:12)

Related verses: Psalms 25:7, Psalms 32:1-2, Isaiah 43:25, Matthew 1:21, Matthew 18:12-14, Matthew 26:28, Luke 15:11-32, Acts 10:43, Acts 13:38, Romans 4:7-8, Hebrews 10:17.

Conditions of forgiveness

Although God is always ready and willing to forgive us, He requires two things of us as conditions of forgiveness: repentance and forgiveness of others.

Repentance. Repentance means a sincere resolve to turn away from sin and toward God.

From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (NIV, Matthew 4:17)

If our sin has harmed another person, we should try to make amends for the wrong done (Luke 19:8-10). If we have tried to hide our sin, we should confess it (Matthew 3:1-6, Matthew 18:15-18, Acts 19:18, James 5:16-17). True repentance involves sorrow for acts of sin and leads to a fundamental change in attitude. We are not perfect and may fail in our attempt to avoid sin. In that case God is always willing for us to start over and make another attempt. However, if we ask for forgiveness with the intention of sinning again, we have not really repented.

Related verses: Matthew 3:2, Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15, Mark 6:12, Luke 3:3, Luke 5:31-32, Luke 13:3-5, Luke 24:47, Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Acts 8:22, Acts 17:30-31, Acts 20:21, 2 Corinthians 7:10.

Forgiveness of others. Jesus said we must be willing to forgive people who sin against us:

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NLT, Matthew 6:14-15)

There should be no limit to our willingness to forgive others (Luke 17:3-4). We should have a forgiving spirit even if the offender does not repent and ask for forgiveness (Mark 11:25). We damage our relationship with God and harm ourselves if we stay angry or hold a grudge (Matthew 5:21-24).

Related verses: Matthew 18:21-22, Matthew 18:34-35, Ephesians 4:32.

The unpardonable sin. Jesus said blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was an unpardonable sin:

I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin. (NIV, Mark 3:28-29)

The nature of this sin has been the subject of much debate. The most common interpretation is that Jesus was referring specifically to the sin of the teachers of the law (Mark 3:22-30) who said Jesus was possessed by demons and had an evil spirit. The total spiritual blindness of those who mistook the work of Jesus for the work of Satan put them beyond hope of repentance, faith and forgiveness.

Related verses: Matthew 12:31-32; Luke 12:10.

Process of forgiveness

Nearly all Christians agree that repentance and forgiveness of others are key elements of forgiveness, and that forgiveness comes from God. However, there are some doctrinal differences about the process of forgiveness.

The Catholic doctrine. Jesus had the power to forgive sins (Matthew 9:2, Luke 5:20). Jesus granted that authority also to His apostles (Matthew 16:18-19, Matthew 18:18, John 20:22-23). In Catholic doctrine that authority is now vested in the Church through the bishops as successors of the apostles. The Church exercises that authority to forgive sins, through its bishops and priests, in the sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as confession or the sacrament of Penance). A sinner confesses his or her sins to the priest who assigns a penance (often some prayers to recite) and grants forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." The sacrament of Reconciliation is practiced in Catholic and Orthodox churches, although some other Christian churches also have rites of individual confession.

The Protestant doctrine. In the middle ages, the Church's sacrament of Penance was often abused by selling "indulgences" for remission of sin in exchange for monetary contributions to the Church. This was a major factor leading to the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Protestants rejected the Roman Catholic Church's sacrament of Penance, its claims of apostolic succession, and its authority to forgive sins (1 Timothy 2:5). Authority on doctrine was placed in "Scripture alone" rather than in the Church. For most Protestants, the Church is instrumental in bringing people to repentance, but the power to forgive sins belongs to God and Christ alone.

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#1. To: A K A Stone (#0)

I would say the only thing wrong with this article is the multitude of Bible versions used. I tend to beleive that the Antioch Manuscripts are the purest source of God's Word in Greek and Hebrew and therefore am pretty much a KJO person.

If the American Constitution is "Just another G-dd----d piece of paper", Bush must think the Bible is "Just another G-d----d book" - since he defiles both by his actions!

Coral Snake  posted on  2006-05-30   0:38:33 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: All (#0)

The Catholic doctrine. Jesus had the power to forgive sins (Matthew 9:2, Luke 5:20). Jesus granted that authority also to His apostles (Matthew 16:18-19, Matthew 18:18, John 20:22-23). In Catholic doctrine that authority is now vested in the Church through the bishops as successors of the apostles. The Church exercises that authority to forgive sins, through its bishops and priests, in the sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as confession or the sacrament of Penance). A sinner confesses his or her sins to the priest who assigns a penance (often some prayers to recite) and grants forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." The sacrament of Reconciliation is practiced in Catholic and Orthodox churches, although some other Christian churches also have rites of individual confession.

I don't think you should confess sin to the priests as the catholics do. I think we are supposed to go directly to God through Jesus Christ.

A K A Stone  posted on  2006-05-30   0:41:02 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: A K A Stone (#2)

Not only does confessing to a human NOT work but everything that is said in the Confessional booth is recorded and goes STREIGHT TO THE VATICAN to be used for blackmail purposes in case a person should ever convert to genuine Christianity or ever assume a position of power.

If the American Constitution is "Just another G-dd----d piece of paper", Bush must think the Bible is "Just another G-d----d book" - since he defiles both by his actions!

Coral Snake  posted on  2006-05-30   0:57:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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