Summary: We need so desperately, the forgiveness of God daily. It is cleansing and vital to our walk with Him.
Griffith Baptist Church – 6/1/08
Text: Psalm 32
Main Verse: Psalms 32:5 - I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.
In A Forgiving God in an Unforgiving World, Ron Lee Davis retells the true story of a priest in the Philippines, a much-loved man of God who carried the burden of a secret sin he had committed many years before. He had repented but still had no peace, no sense of God’s forgiveness.
In his parish was a woman who deeply loved God and who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ and he with her. The priest, however, was skeptical. To test her said, “The next time you speak with Christ, I want you to ask him what sin your priest committed while he was in seminary.” The woman agreed.
A few days later the priest asked., “Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?”
“Yes, he did,” she replied.
“And did you ask him what sin I committed in seminary?”
“Well, what did he say?”
“He said, ‘I don’t remember’“
What God forgives, He forget.
- David H. Bolton A Forgiving God in an Unforgiving World, Ron Lee Davis.
1. Paternal Forgiveness (Restoration of fellowship with God the Father after the believer has broken fellowship by continued, unconfessed sin. This has to do with the believer’s fellowship with God.)
The conditions to this kind of forgiveness are twofold:
(b) Forgiveness of others (Personal forgiveness - see the next kind of forgiveness.)
2. Personal Forgiveness (Restoration of fellowship with another human being).
(a) This facet of forgiveness is so important that Jesus conditions our forgiveness and restoration to fellowship with our Heavenly Father on our willingness to forgive others. Matt. 6:14-15; 18:21-35; Luke 6:37; Col. 3:13); Matt. 18:21-35; Eph. 4:31-32)
(b) Personal forgiveness has a vertical dimension—we must release the person to God. This can happen anywhere at anytime. Jesus taught, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven my forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)
(c) Personal forgiveness has a horizontal dimension—we must confront the offender and forgive if he repents. “So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3)
3. Social forgiveness (Restoration of fellowship with society (John 8:1-10). This may be a personal attitude in our own communities or involve us in ministries like Chuck Colson’s prison ministry.
There is little forgiveness by society today partly because there are very few things that society frowns on.
4. Ecclesiastical Forgiveness (Restoration of fellowship with the church) 2 Cor. 2:5-11; 2 Thess. 3:14-15. This forgiveness assumes a prior discipline by the church body and an evidence of a repentant heart on the part of the one disciplined. The purpose of discipline is restoration, and forgiveness assumes repentance and restoration.
5. Judicial Forgiveness (The eternal forgiveness of all sins of the one who has trusted Christ. This goes with the doctrine of justification and has to do with the believer’s relationship with God. It is once for all, eternal, and conditioned only on faith in Christ.) The Psalmist says, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.” (Ps. 32:1-2). He also says, “As far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12).
You can say right now, “As I have trusted Christ, all my sins past, present, and future are forgiven. God remembers my sin no more.” (Ps. 130:4; Acts 26:18; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14. See also Rom. 3:21-26; Heb. 9:12; 10:17; Jer. 3:34; Eph. 2:8,9.)
We need to also understand the two aspects of forgiveness.
1. For the Unbeliever – There is no forgiveness of sin apart from trusting in Jesus Christ, that will save from the penalty of sin, which is hell – Ephesians 1:7 - 7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; and John 14:6 - 6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
2. For the believer – Once one has trusted Christ, he is judicially forgiven, restored to a relationship with God, never to be lost.
3. This does not mean that our sin nature has been eradicated.
4. We are saved now from the penalty of sin but not it’s presence. It still has a reach in our lives.
5. Our salvation will be complete when we are finally changed from the corruptible to the incorruptible (1 Cor. 15:53-54)