Completeness and Perfection of New Testament Forgiveness – Kent Bailey

Kent Bailey

The concept of forgiveness is a crucial component of God’s scheme of Redemption. When we consider such we find that in the minds of many individuals there is great difficulty in comprehension of this subject. Some individuals refuse to extend such to others whereas others find that it is very difficult to accept. Divine forgiveness is extended as a conditional blessing of New Testament Christianity.

The Nature of Forgiveness

The term forgiveness (aphesis) denotes a dismissal, release, sending away, or that of taking leave. It is a medical term that is often used with reference to a release of the consequences of a diseased body. Spiritually speaking it is identified with reference to that of sin. There are both affirmative and negative connotations regarding this specific term.

It does not erase the fact that sin has been committed. It does not undo the fact that the attributes of God’s righteousness, justice, and holiness have been violated. It does not blot from our minds the reality the memory of sin (Psa. 51:1-3; 1 Tim. 1:15-16).

New Testament forgiveness is a release from the enormous debt incurred by sin, it is a renewal of a broken fellowship and a reconciliation between the offended and the offender. Under the New Testament of Christ forgiveness is both complete and perfect (Heb. 8:1-13). Contrast New Testament forgiveness with forgiveness under the covenant of Moses. While one could both live and die in good standing with God under the Old Testament such was accomplished only upon an incomplete pass over basis. It took the atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in order that forgiveness be granted with completeness and perfection (Heb. 8:19-27; Rom. 3:20-25).

The Need for Forgiveness

The case being that the death of Christ was universal in scope for all accountable individuals, all accountable individuals who live in an unforgiven condition live in a state of condemnation outside the realm of Salvation (Isa. 53:1-6; 59:1-2; Rom. 3:23; 6:23).

All unforgiven individuals are not guilty of the same sins, however all unforgiven individuals are guilty of sin. Sins of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21; sins of negligence (Jas. 4:17), religious sins (Col. 3:17; 2 John 9-11; Matt. 7:21-23; sins of misplaced emphasis (Luke 9:59-62). Accountable humanity stands before God condemned in sin if not found in a saved state (Rom. 5:1-9).

The Difficulty of Forgiveness

Some individuals have a very low estimate of forgiveness. They view such as very insignificant and no greater than an individual placing an order for a material object. While God desires to forgive one must remember that God’s forgiveness comes at a great cost (Heb. 9:22; Luke 24:46-47).

In order to receive God’s forgiveness one must have an attitude of submission. One must be willing to accept the need for such (Rom. 6:23). One must be willing to believe Christ (John 1:12), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess our faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10) and be baptized unto the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). There is also the matter regarding walking in the light (1 John 1:6-10) and maintaining a willingness to forgive others (Matt. 6:14-15; Luke 17:1-3).

God has a justified holy hatred for sin (Prov. 6:16; Heb. 1:9). To view forgiveness as insignificant is to encourage sin. Because of God’s love for humanity he was willing to pay the price that Salvation could be offered.

The Completeness of New Testament Forgiveness

When individuals meet the conditions of Divine forgiveness God cancels the debt and remembers the sin no more (Matt. 18:27). When sins are forgiven God no longer holds them against us. When we receive God’s forgiveness God will never remind us of them again (Luke 15; Psa. 103:12; Isa. 38:17).

The Old Testament was given as a schoolmaster to educate humanity regarding the horribleness of sin. While God, under the Old Covenant, made provision for sin by means of animal sacrifice; the completeness of God’s forgiveness was not fully realized until the New Covenant became operative (Heb. 10).

The Blessedness of the State of Forgiveness

When one receives God’s forgiveness the barrier brought about by sin is removed. When one receives forgiveness of God it relieves the burden of dread and fear (1 John 4:17-18). When one is forgiven by God it should create within the forgiven a disposition and desire to forgive others when they repent (Eph. 4:31-32; 1 John 4:11). When one is forgiven by God it causes the human soul to rejoice (Acts 8:39; Rom. 4:6-8).

The Faithful Christian Must Learn to Live With Forgiveness

Even though individuals have either obeyed the gospel of Christ, or have, as fallen children of God, repented of sins and have been restored to the fellowship of Christ; some sincerely question if God has really forgiven them. While sin is a horrible concept. The blood of Christ is powerful to remove all sins stains if it is applied to our lives (1 Tim. 1:12-20; Luke 17:1-4).

Repentance is a change of mind. It is accomplished by our decision to forsake sin. This does not mean that when a Christian sins he no longer forgives; it means that we still have the promise of forgiveness just as long as we do not move beyond the scope of repentance (Heb. 10:16-17).

Once we meet the conditions of God for forgiveness we have done all that we can do. Let us move forward trusting Christ with determination to live for him.

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