Part 12 of 17 – 

Forgiveness of Sins Under the Two Paradigms of Law and of Grace

Comparing: “Forgiveness” under Jesus of Nazareth’s teaching to the Jews, still under The Law, versus “forgiveness” under Paul’s Mystery Gospel of the Grace of God.

1) Still under the Law, Jesus gave the Jews a prayer that included the fact that they had to forgive first in order to receive forgiveness of their sins by God.  

            Matt 6:12 And (God) forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 

While still under the dispensation of the Law (Matt 5:18), Jesus here presents a conditional requirement for Jews to be forgiven of their sins. Any preacher who today preaches this conditional requirement for forgiveness of sins today preaches “Law,” not “grace.”

2) Now note how the forgoing words of Jesus to the children of Israel are in stark contrast to Paul’s words to the members of “the body of Christ” at Ephesus, concerning God’s new paradigm for forgiveness of sins in this day of the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2, 2:8-9). Those who are “in Christ” are not under the requirements of The Law (Romans 6:14) or any of the conditional requirements that were placed upon Israel.

Paul instructs the Ephesian members of “the body of Christ” how it is that they are to forgive each other.

Eph 4:32 be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath (already, past tense) forgiven you. Col. 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave (already, past tense) you, so also do ye.

The grace believer’s forgiveness is unconditional, based solely upon his simple trusting belief in the shed blood of Christ. We receive forgiveness by simply receiving and trusting in Christ’s shed blood as being shed for us, on our behalf, fully justifying us.

Paul says we are unconditionally or freely “justified.” We forever stand righteous “in Christ” by His blood that was shed once for all time and for all sin.

Roman 3:24 Being justified (dikaioo, rendered righteous) freely (Gk. doreen, without cause, unconditionally) by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (Gk. hilasterion, an atoning victim) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Since today, we “in Christ” stand “already forgiven,” we are then to forgive others freely.

If we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us… How is it that God has already forgiven us?

God has already forgiven us freely by the cross of Christ, applicable to us from the moment we believe to receive Him; this forgiveness was available to us before we ever forgave anyone else. Thus, the contrast is significant when we compare forgiveness under Jesus’ teaching to the Jews, under the Law, with that of the gospel of grace to the uncircumcision – the Gentiles.

Then how is it that we can forgive others, and even ourselves?

We must see that God not only forgave us freely, but He also then freely gave us His life and His love to be on the inside of us, by which we can love and forgive others. Thus, He has equipped us to forgive ourselves, and others freely – no matter how others may have wronged us.

Reminding us of this truth, Paul encourages us to forgive others, and even ourselves, in the same way that we have been forgiven freely.  We now are empowered by His indwelling life and love…to forgive others freely.

The way of forgiveness is the way of liberation from the ill effects of not forgiving others who may have sinned against us. A “root of bitterness” chokes the bitter unforgiving one (Heb 12:15). If we hold onto unforgiveness, then we suffer. Rather, we are now equipped by His life, love, and forgiveness, so we can agree with Jesus’ prayer on the cross. Luke 23:34a Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…