Summary: We ask God to forgive us, but we often times withhold forgiveness from others. Yet, Lord Jesus issues a startling warning in Matthew 6:15: “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

We ask God to forgive us, but we often times withhold forgiveness from others. Yet, Lord Jesus issues a startling warning in Matthew 6:15: “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Jesus desires mercy, not sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22,23; Psalm 40:6-8; 51:16-19; Jeremiah 7:21-23; Hosea 6:6; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:6-8; Matthew 9:13; 12:7).

When we choose to not forgive others, we have not yet realized that the only reason for the forgiveness of our sins by God, and the infinite depth of His promise to forget them, is the death of Jesus Christ. For we read that: "In Him we have redemption through His blood" (Ephesians 1:7). From Ephesians 4:32 we are taught to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Those who do not forgive have not become one with Christ, who was willing to forgive even those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34).

God forgives us only on the basis of the Cross of Christ, the agony at Calvary, the enormous cost to God that made all of this ours. Without the atonement God cannot forgive.

Those that do not forgive others have never truly repented of their own sins - they have not truly believed the Gospel. Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful (James 2:13).

We must understand that either all our sins are forgiven or they are not.

Romans 8:1 clearly states that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. If I believe this to be true, then no matter what sin I have ever committed or ever will commit, there is no condemnation if I am in Christ. In Christ, God does not condemn us, but is well pleased with us (Matthew 17:5). However, this is not a license to sin, for when we sin, we must judge our hearts as to why we sin, acknowledge that we have sinned and confess the sin to God.

Unlike the temporary atonement prior to Calvary, Christ’s atonement is a once and for all cleansing of sin for we read in Hebrews 7:27: “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.”

Because Jesus died once for all, he brought the sacrificial system to an end. If you are in Christ Jesus, He has forgiven your sins - past, present, and future. Christ Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, completed the work of redemption; He is the final sacrifice for you. This does not prevent us from sinning but it does prevent us from being condemned for sinning. His atonement is a perpetual atonement always being made for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 10:11 explains how the Old Testament Priests stood daily ministering offerings time after time the same sacrifice that could not take away sins. However, our Lord is seated at the right hand of His Father, having taken away complete and utter condemnation for sins (past, present and future). No present or future work of atonement is necessary since Christ’s atonement was complete.

Any person or system to gain salvation through good deeds rejects the significance of Christ’s death and the work of the Holy Spirit. Beware of anyone who tells you that Christ’s sacrifice still leaves you incomplete or that something else is needed to make you acceptable to God – you cannot be saved by your good deeds. The Bible teaches:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8)

What then happens when (not if) a believer dies and has unconfessed sin? Romans 8:1 settles that argument. However, there are some who will try and persuade you that you must continually seek forgiveness in order to be what you already are. This is a works-based salvation and places the actions of man at the center of salvation rather than Christ Himself. We become Christians through God’s unmerited grace, not as the result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice, or act of service on our part. No action or work we do can help us obtain salvation.

We must forgive as we hope to be forgiven; God has forgiven our debt, therefore, we also should forgive others.

Have you forgiven the people who have wronged you?

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