What does the bible teach about Forgiveness?

There are two kinds of forgiveness in the world as we know it, Divine forgiveness and Human forgiveness, both are equally important and we as Christians need to practice one and receive the other.

Divine forgiveness is as follows:

Psalm 103:2 – 5

Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits– who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 

Psalm 130:3-6

If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.  I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. 

Matthew 26:28

 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark 1:4

 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Mat 6:14 – 15

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. 

Acts 2:38

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 5:31

God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 

 Acts 13:38

Therefore my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.

Act 26:17 –18 Paul speaking to King Agrippa, about why he preached the good news of the gospel.

I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them  to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Ephesians 1:7-8

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

James 5:15-16

 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 

1 John 1:8-10

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

These are but a few scriptures that show us the powerful divine forgiveness that is extended to us as human beings from God. He says that we all sin and fall short of his glory and therefore in order for us to be in right standing with him again, we need to have our sins forgiven and wiped away. That is what he offers to us.

Human forgiveness

The other side of that is that because he gives us forgiveness, we are commanded, (not suggested to) but commanded to forgive others as well, God makes it very clear that if we do not forgive others for what they have done to us, he will not forgive us. Ouch!

Therefore, let’s take a moment and have a look at what God commands us to do when it comes to forgiveness and what that looks like for us as believers in Christ Jesus.

 Matthew 6:9 – 15

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.   Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. 

Mark 11:25

 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

 Luke 17:3 – 5

 So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.   If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”   The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 

Ephesians 4:29 – 32

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.   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. 

Colossians 3:12 – 17

 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.   Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.   Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.   And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

As you can see, forgiveness on both sides of the track is vitally important. We need God’s forgiveness for the sins that we have committed that have separated us from him, and we need to forgive others because God has told us to.

Jesus says in John 15 that we are his friends if we do what he commands us to do.  Therefore he commands us to forgive, no exceptions or excuses, just forgiveness.

It is way easier said than done I know as it is often a nicer feeling (not really) to simmer about the injustice that you have just suffered at another’s hand. It feels good (not really) to think of all the things you should of said, could have said, and things that you would like to say to the offending party. It is often a temptation when you are placed in this situation to want to plot revenge.

God removes that burden and tells us that we need to leave space for him to take revenge for us.

Leviticus 19:18

“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

As you can see brothers and sisters in Christ, seeking revenge and holding onto a grudge or unforgiveness goes against what God has commanded us to do. It puts us into captivity as we brood over the injustice done and strips us of the freedom that Christ has given to us as his children, to be free to love our enemies, regardless of how they treat us.

I have personally suffered the sting of rejection from those whom I loved and thought would protect and love me, and if I had allowed unforgiveness to reign in my life I would have become very bitter, angry and hateful. But instead the lord had graciously revealed to me that holding onto grudges was not his will for my life and it was not in my best interest to do so. He came to set me free from those feelings and hurts and I could not be free until I released those who had injured me.

If you find yourself in a place of harboring unforgiveness in your heart, I want to urge you to consider the above verses that you have read, let the truth of them settle deep within your heart and not only receive God’s divine forgiveness but ask God for the faith and strength to forgive those who have wronged you. I know that you will not regret your decision to do so.

Blessings to you





Filed under: DiscipleshipHaving a heart that hears when God speaks