Another foundational truth in Christianity is forgiveness. We pray that God would forgive us our sins, but what specifically does that mean to us? Pastor Mark Gungor of Celebration Church in Green Bay Wisconsin defines forgiveness thusly:
- Forgiveness is not an act of any sort and has no physical action
- Forgiveness is not an emotion that we can feel and share
- Forgiveness is not an erasure of memory of something that happened
- To enact forgiveness to someone, you need to say “I forgive you, I will never use it against you in the future, I will never speak of it again to you nor to anyone else, including God”.
You may still feel hurt, you may remember the event for the rest of your life, but if you speak of it, you have not truly forgiven.
Jesus came to the world in the flesh to be sacrificed so that we could remain blameless in our new lives because we are all sinners and Jesus, who was perfect, shed His blood to wash us clean, or to forgive us our sins. This is why once we become “born again” we need to stop going back to that time of uncleanliness and worrying about the bad things we did in the past. It’s over! You have been cleansed and forgiven! Now we move on in life and try to sin no more.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ” John 1:1
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
“ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18
The Lord loved us this much, that He would come to us as a human so that He could do what He didn’t deserve so that we could have what we don’t deserve. But before He will forgive us our sins, we must be willing to forgive those of us who sin against each other. Jesus told us this in the Lord’s Prayer.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
Note the word AS in this sentence. Grammatically, this means that until the second condition is met, the first action cannot be performed. So here we see that, as many of His promises are, God’s promise of forgiveness of our sins is conditional for then he goes on to say :
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins“. Matthew 6:14-15
Not only must we first accept Jesus, but then we must also forgive our brethren. This is proof that forgiveness is the most important of the basic Christian truths. Because Jesus preached it.
These Christian truths are continued in “Basic Christian Truths”