A Proper View of Forgiveness

Forgiveness Under Paul's “Gospel of the Grace of God”

The dispensation “of Law,” given to Israel through Moses, continued even while Jesus of Nazareth was in His earthy ministry (Matt 5:18). Jesus told His disciples, in order to be forgiven you must FIRST forgive.

“Forgive, and (then) ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37)

“but IF ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (sins)” (Matt. 6:15).

“But now,” which is a term used often by Paul in order to introduce and draw significant contrasts between the basis of life for us today under “the gospel of the grace of God”… versus the basis of life under “the Law” of Jesus' time. Here below Paul, as "the Apostle to the Gentiles" (Rom 11:13) tells us “But now” we are not under Israel's law.

But Now We Are Discharged From The Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life].” Romans 7:6 (AMP)

Paul says, now, under “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2), we are forgiven on a different basis that that which Jesus expressed to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel," to which He had come. The Lord through Paul exhorts us to forgive one another AS God for Christ’s sake hath (already) forgiven you (us) (Eph. 4:32) - that is "freely."

“And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and FREELY], as God in Christ (already) forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 (AMP)

“Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [Freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].” Colossians 3:13 (AMP)

The difference between Jesus’ words spoken to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” to whom Jesus exclusively came to address (Matt 15:24), and the words of the Apostle Paul to the Gentile "body of Christ” are tremendous. The motive for forgiving is remarkably changed.

1.      Under “the Law,” before the cross, if you would be forgiven, you must FIRST forgive.

Thankfully, Christ’s cross brought theend of the law… to everyone who believes” (Rom 10:4).

2.      But now, under Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God,” we as believers have already been graciously andfreely forgiven “for Christ’s sake. Thus, in the light of being freely forgiven by God already, we are to be tenderhearted and forgiving toward others in the same way of forgiving others "freely" (cf., Eph 4:32, above).