BLESSED (spiritually prosperous)
ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS
HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN: makarioi on aphethesan (3PAPI) ai anomiai:
(Ps 32:1,2; 51:8,9; 85:2; 130:3,4; Isa 40:1,2; Jer 33:8,9; Mic 7:18, 19, 20;
Mt 9:2; Lk 7:47, 48, 49, 50)
Jew and Gentile
Restored to Israel
Slaves to Sin
Slaves to God
Slaves Serving God
Life by Faith
Service by Faith
Modified from Irving
L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's
Survey of the NT"
Listen to Dr J Vernon McGee on
makar which means to be happy but not in the usual sense of
happiness based on positive circumstances. Homer, for example, used the
word to describe the Greek gods as being blessed in themselves, a state
unaffected by the world of men, who were subject to poverty, weakness,
possessing the favor of God, experiencing "spiritual prosperity".
It describes a state of being marked by fullness from God. And so what
Jesus is saying in the "Beatitudes" is "Spiritually prosperous (blessed) are the poor in spirit...", etc
Blessed are the spiritual paupers, the spiritually empty, the
spiritually bankrupt who cringe in a corner and cry out to God for
mercy. They are the happy ones. Why? Because they are the only ones who
tap the real resource for happiness. They are the only ones who ever
know God. Theirs is the kingdom—then and there, here and now.
Blessed connotes the
state of “prosperity” that comes when a superior bestows his favor
(blessing) on one.
Makarios - 50x in
49v -Matt 5:3-5; 11:6; 13:16; 16:17; 24:46; Luke 1:45; 6:20-22; 7:23; 10:23; 11:27-28; 12:37-37, 43; 14:14-15; 23:29; John 13:17; 20:29; Acts 20:35; 26:2; Ro 4:7-8; 14:22; 1Cor 7:40; 1Tim 1:11; 6:15; Titus 2:13; Jas 1:12, 25; 1Pet 3:14; 4:14; Rev 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14.
NAS = blessed(1), blessed(46), fortunate(1), happier(1), happy(1).
Makarios is used 39 times
(Gen 30:13; Deut 33:29; 1Ki 10:8; 2Chr 9:7; Job 5:17; Ps 1:1; 2:12; 32:1-2; 33:12; 34:8; 40:4; 41:1; 65:4; 84:4-5, 12; 89:15; 94:12; 106:3; 112:1; 119:1, 2; 127:5; 128:1, 2; 137:8, 9; 144:15; 146:5; Pr 3:13; 8:32; 20:7; 28:14; Eccl 10:17; Isa 30:18; 31:9; 32:20; 56:2; Dan 12:12)
Cremer says that makarios
"is the gracious and saving effect of God’s favor … , but is enjoyed only
when there is a corresponding behavior towards God; so that it forms the
hoped-for good of those who in this life are subject to oppression.” He
goes on to add that in the NT makarios "is quite a religiously qualified
conception, expressing the life-joy and satisfaction of the man who does
or shall experience God’s favor and salvation, his blessedness
altogether apart from his outward condition … It always signifies a
happiness produced by some experience of God’s favor, and specially
conditioned by the revelation of grace.
Kenneth Wuest says that when
makarios is "used of the state or condition of the
believer, we would say that it refers to the spiritually prosperous
state of that person who is the recipient of the sanctifying work of the
Holy Spirit, who is enabled to minister these blessings to him when the
believer yields to Him for that ministry and cooperates with Him in it.
For instance, those who are reproached for the name of Christ, are in a
spiritually prosperous condition, for the Holy Spirit is ministering to
them with refreshing power (1Pe 4:14-note).
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the
Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Makarios is used
in pagan Greek literature to describe the state of happiness and
well-being such as the gods enjoy as distinct from that of men who were
subject to poverty and death, denoting a state of being of the gods who
were exalted above earthly suffering and the limitations of earthly
life. Other secular Greek writers used makarios to describe the state of
certain men as supremely blest, fortunate, prosperous, wealthy.
Some theological dictionaries
define blessed as a "state of happiness" but this is not completely
accurate because blessed differs from ''happy''
which describes a person with good ''luck''. "Happy" is
from the root hap = luck as a favorable circumstance. In
marked contrast makarios describes one who is in the world
yet independent of the world because their satisfaction comes from God
and not from favorable circumstances
Blessed is the state of the individual who is the
recipient of the God's grace (favor) and blessing. In the Old Testament
this blessedness may involve material things, but forgiveness is
foremost (Ps 32:1).
The psalms begin with the acclamation of "How blessed (LXX = makarios) is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the
wicked..." (Ps 1:1)
and in the original Hebrew is in the plural implying the multiplicity of
blessings upon the man whom God justifies. One might translate it "Oh
One can be "makarios"
and yet be in miserable circumstances. "Blessed (makarios) are you,"
Jesus said, "when they insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of
evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for great
is your reward in heaven" (Mt 5:10,11,12-notes).
So "blessed are you" does not mean "untroubled are you" or "healthy are
you" or "admired are you" or "prosperous are you." It means "between you
and God all is well." You are deeply secure, profoundly content, happy
in God - even if you are weeping over the pain of a struck body, a
perplexed mind, or a heartbreaking relationship.
Whatever the makarios
state is, it is true of God. Whatever it means to be blest and blessed,
it is true of God and of Jesus Christ. For example, Paul describes God
as "He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of
kings and Lord of lords." (1Ti 6:15). Thus it stands to reason that the only people who
will ever experience makarios fully are those who partake
of God and of Christ. There can be no biblical blessedness or happiness
apart from Jesus. Only for those who know and love the Lord Jesus
Christ, who by faith have become partakers in the divine nature (2Pe
the same bliss, the same contentment, the same happiness, the same sense
of makarios that is fundamentally an element of the
character of God and Christ, is ours. So, when the Scripture speaks of
blessedness, it is from a biblical context and does not refer to a
superficial attitude based on circumstance.
David's psalm of thanksgiving
after his repentance over his sin of adultery w Bathsheba and murder of
her husband Uriah (2Sa 11:16,17) which by contrast left him "spiritually
destitute" (Read Ps 32:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). Paul thus notes that justification by faith was
true both before and after Moses--before, in Abraham, Israel's great
patriarch, and after, in David, Israel's greatest king & was always
apart from works.
Barclay has this note on
makarios writing that
Makarios is the word which
specially describes the gods. In Christianity there is a godlike joy.
The meaning of makarios can best be seen from one particular usage of
it. The Greeks always called Cyprus hē makaria (the feminine form of the
adjective), which means The Happy Isle, and they did so because they
believed that Cyprus was so lovely, so rich, and so fertile an island
that a man would never need to go beyond its coastline to find the
perfectly happy life. It had such a climate, such flowers and fruits and
trees, such minerals, such natural resources that it contained within
itself all the materials for perfect happiness. Makarios then describes
that joy which has its secret within itself, that joy which is serene
and untouchable, and self-contained, that joy which is completely
independent of all the chances and the changes of life. The English word
happiness gives its own case away. It contains the root hap which means
chance. Human happiness is something which is dependent on the
chances and the changes of life, something which life may give and which
life may also destroy. The Christian blessedness is completely
untouchable and unassailable. “No one,” said Jesus, “will take
your joy from you” (John 16:22). (Ed note: Makarios is an
inner peace, an inner bliss, an inner happiness. Such inner joy is not
produced by circumstance. It is a word that indicates character,
touching man at the very base of his existence) The beatitudes speak
of that joy which seeks us through our pain, that joy which sorrow and
loss, and pain and grief, are powerless to touch, that joy which shines
through tears, and which nothing in life or death can take away.
world can win its joys, and the world can equally well lose its joys. A
change in fortune, a collapse in health, the failure of a plan, the
disappointment of an ambition, even a change in the weather, can take
away the fickle joy the world can give. But the Christian has the serene
and untouchable joy which comes from walking for ever in the company and
in the presence of Jesus Christ.
The greatness of the beatitudes is
that they are not wistful glimpses of some future beauty; they are not
even golden promises of some distant glory; they are triumphant shouts
of bliss for a permanent joy that nothing in the world can ever take
away." (Barclay, W:
The Gospel of Matthew The New Daily
Study Bible Westminster John Knox Press)
from apo = prefix implies separation + hiemi =
put in motion, send; See noun
aphesis) conveys the basic
idea of an action which causes separation
and means to send from one's self, to forsake, to hurl away, to put
away, let alone, disregard, put off. It conveys the basic idea of
an action which causes separation and refers to total detachment, total
separation, from a previous location or condition. It means to send
forth or away from one's self. It refers to the act of putting something
away or of laying it aside. In secular Greek aphiemi initially conveyed
the sense of to throw and in one secular writing we read "let the pot
drop" (aphiemi). From this early literal use the word came to mean leave
or let go.
Aphiemi in Ro 4:7 is in the aorist
the definiteness of the act - when one knows beyond a shadow of a doubt
that they are definitively forgiven in the eyes and mind of God, this is
indeed a blessed condition!
Aphiemi is used 143x in 131v (Take
a few minutes and hold
pointer over the following passages to help give you a better sense of
the meaning of this great NT word aphiemi) - Mt 3:15; 4:11, 20, 22; 5:24, 40; 6:12, 14, 15; 7:4; 8:15, 22; 9:2, 5, 6; 12:31, 32; 13:30, 36; 15:14; 18:12, 21, 27, 32, 35; 19:14, 27, 29; 22:22, 25; 23:13, 23, 38; 24:2, 40, 41; 26:44, 56; 27:49, 50; Mk 1:18, 20, 31, 34; 2:5, 7, 9, 10; 3:28; 4:12, 36; 5:19, 37; 7:8, 12, 27; 8:13; 10:14, 28, 29; 11:6, 16, 25; 12:12, 19, 20, 22; 13:2, 34; 14:6, 50; 15:36, 37; Lk 4:39; 5:11, 20, 21,23, 24; 6:42; 7:47, 48, 49; 8:51; 9:60; 10:30; 11:4; 12:10, 39; 13:8, 35; 17:3, 4, 34, 35; 18:16, 28, 29; 19:44; 21:6; 23:34; Jn 4:3, 28, 52; 8:29; 10:12; 11:44, 48; 12:7; 14:18, 27; 16:28, 32; 18:8; 20:23; Acts 5:38; 8:22; 14:17; Ro 1:27; 4:7; 1Cor 7:11, 12, 13; Heb 2:8; 6:1; Jas 5:15; 1Jn 1:9; 2:12; Re 2:4, 20; 11:9. NAS = abandoned(1),
allow(5), allowed(2), divorce(2), forgave(2), forgive(23), forgiven(23),
forgives(1), gave...permission(1), leave(7), leaves(2), leaving(8),
left(38), let(9), let...alone(6), let him have(1), neglected(1),
neglecting(2), permit(6), permitted(1), permitting(1), send...away(1),
tolerate(1), uttered(1), yielded(1).
Aphiemi is used 61 times in
(Ge 4:13; 18:26; 20:6; 35:18; 42:33; 45:2; 50:17; Ex 9:21; 12:23; 22:5; 32:32 -x2; Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7; 16:10; 19:22; Num 14:19; 15:25,26; 22:13; Deut 15:2; 26:10; Josh 10:19; Jdg 1:34; 2:21, 23; 3:1, 28; 16:26; Ruth 2:16; 2 Sam 15:16; 16:10, 11; 20:3; 1Ki 19:3; 2Ki 4:27; 23:18; 1Chr 16:21; 2Chr 10:4, 10; 28:14; Ezra 6:7; Job 39:5, 14; 42:10; Ps 17:14; 25:18; 32:1, 5; 85:2; 105:14, 20; 125:3; Pr 4:13; 24:31; Eccl 2:18; 5:12; 10:4; 11:6; Song 3:4; Isa 22:4, 14; 32:14; 33:24; 55:7; Jer 12:7; Ezek 16:39; Dan 4:15, 26)
Aphiemi refers to the act of
putting something away or of laying it aside
and as used in the present context means that God lets go of the
obligation we "owe" Him because of sin against His holiness. It means to
remit (to release from the guilt or penalty of) as one would a
financial debt (e.g., on the Rosetta stone it refers to the "total
remission" of certain taxes). Unfortunately the English word "forgive"
does not adequately picture the meaning of the Greek.
In secular Greek literature, aphiemi was a fundamental word used
to indicate the sending away of an object or a person. Aphiemi
was used to describe the voluntary release of a person or thing over
which one has legal or actual control. The related noun aphesis
meant described a setting free. .Later it came to include the release of
someone from the obligation of marriage, or debt, or even a religious
vow. In its final form it came to embrace the principle of release from
punishment for some wrongdoing. .
Colin Brown adds that
aphiemi means "With a personal object, to send
forth, send away (of a woman, to divorce; of a meeting, to dissolve,
end), to let go, to leave, dispatch; with an impersonal object, to loose
(e.g. a ship into the sea), to discharge (e.g. arrows), to give up. In
the figurative sense the verb (aphiemi) means to let alone, permit, let
pass, neglect, give up (taking trouble, etc.); in Josephus, Ant., 1, 12,
3, to lose one’s life, die. The legal use is important: to
release from a legal bond (office, guilt, etc. and also, a woman from
marriage, e.g. Hdt., 5, 39), to acquit (e.g. cancellation of criminal
proceedings, Plato, Laws, 9, 86, 9d), to exempt (from guilt, obligation,
punishment, etc.; e.g. Hdt., 6, 30). Similarly the noun aphesis (e.g.
Demosthenes, 24, 45) means release, pardon, or remission, etc (Brown,
Colin: New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
Aphiemi was also used of teachers, writers, and speakers when
presenting a topic, in the sense of “to leave, let alone, disregard, not
to discuss now. It means “to abandon, to leave as behind and done with
in order to go on to another thing.”
The Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, contained many of these ideas.
In the Old Testament aphiemi spoke of releasing a prisoner or remitting
a debt, but it also came to mean pardon or forgiveness. Aphiemi
is used in Lev 16:10 to describe sending the scapegoat into the
Trench says that the image
underlying aphiemi is that of releasing a prisoner (Isaiah 61:1),
or letting go, as of a debt (Deut 15:3). One is reminded of the one goat
who was offered as a sin-offering on the Day of Atonement, and of the
other goat upon which was placed the sins of the people (symbolically)
and which was let go in the wilderness, never to be seen again by
Israel, the latter goat typifying that aspect of redemption in which the
sins of the human race were put away, never to be charged against the
individual again (see Leviticus 16)..
Wuest explains aphiemi
from God's perspective noting that
"It refers to the act of putting
something away. God did that at the Cross when He put sin away by
incarnating Himself in humanity in the Person of His Son, stepping down
from His judgment throne, assuming the guilt of man’s sin, and paying
the penalty, thus, satisfying His justice, and making possible an offer
of mercy on the basis of justice satisfied. When a sinner avails himself
of the merits of that atoning sacrifice, he thus puts himself within
the provision God made. His sins were put away at the Cross,
and he comes into the benefit of that when he believes.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the
Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Richards notes that aphiemi
"is a verb that occurs 146 times in
the NT. It has the sense of "forgive" 49 of these times, 44 of which
occur in the Gospels; but it has this meaning only once in Paul's
writings (Ro 4:7). It is used in the sense of forgiveness of sins, of
debts, and of crimes. The majority of the occurrences of aphiemi convey
a meaning other than forgiveness: i.e., dismiss, release, leave, or
Larry:. Expository Dictionary of Bible Words. 1985. Zondervan)
In 1Corinthians 7 (1Cor
7:11, 12, 13), Paul uses
aphiemi in speaking of a Christian husband’s not sending
away (that is, divorcing) his unbelieving wife. Divorce is total
marital separation, complete abandonment of the relationship. And so
this same Greek word is used here in Romans of forgiveness of sins. When
we are forgiven, our sins are put away from us, separated from us, "divorced"
from us. In Mt 15:14
the same term is used to speak of separating ourselves from false
Aphiemi basically means to send away and was used to
indicate the legal repayment or cancellation of a debt or the granting
of a pardon. It is used in Scripture to refer to God’s forgiveness of
sin. Through the shedding of His own blood, Jesus Christ actually took
the sins of the world upon His own head, as it were, and carried them an
infinite distance away from where they could never return. That is the
extent of the forgiveness of our trespasses.
The Scripture testifies,
“Who is a
God like Thee, Who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act
of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever,
because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on
us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, Thou wilt cast all
their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18, 19,
cp Isa 38:17, 43:25, 44:22, Jer 31:34, 50:20)
Comment: Henry Morris "Micah
7:18,19, climaxing the Old Testament message of the prophet Micah,
comprises a beautiful testimony to God's saving gospel. He pardons all
our iniquities forever. Furthermore, He will "subdue" them in our
personal lives by the compelling love of His compassion, and our sins
will not be remembered any more."
Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)
"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our
transgressions from us,” David declared (Ps 103:12-note)
ancient Israel the distance from east to west and “the depths of the
sea” represented infinity. God’s forgiveness is infinite; it
takes away our trespasses to the farthest reaches of eternal infinity.
Spurgeon's Wonderful Words:
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our
transgressions from us. O glorious verse, no word even upon the
inspired page can excel it! Sin is removed from us by a miracle of love!
What a load to move, and yet is it removed so far that the distance is
incalculable. Fly as far as the wing of imagination can bear you, and if
you journey through space eastward, you are further from the west at
every beat of your wing. If sin be removed so far, then we may be sure
that the scent, the trace, the very memory of it must be entirely gone.
If this be the distance of its removal, there is no shade of fear of its
ever being brought back again; even Satan himself could not achieve such
a task. Our sins are gone, Jesus has borne them away. Far as the place
of sunrise is removed from yonder west, where the sun sinks when his
day's journey is done, so far were our sins carried by our scapegoat
nineteen centuries ago, and now if they be sought for, they shall not be
found, yea, they shall not be, saith the Lord. Come, my soul, awaken
thyself thoroughly and glorify the Lord for this richest of blessings.
Hallelujah. The Lord alone could remove sin at all, and he has done it
in a godlike fashion, making a final sweep of all our transgressions.
On the Cross as He died,
cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up (aphiemi) His spirit.
(Mt 27:50, cp Jn 19:30)
Here aphiemi is translated
"yielded up" and has the basic meaning of letting go or sending away,
indicating an act of volition. Jesus’ life was not taken from Him by
men, but rather He surrendered His spirit by the conscious act of His
own sovereign will. As He had explained to the Twelve...
No one has taken it away from Me, but
I lay it down (tithemi) on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it
down (tithemi), and I have authority to take it up again. This
commandment I received from My Father." (John 10:18).
The literal meaning of
aphiemi is illustrated in Mark where the disciples
left (aphiemi) the nets and followed Him.
(Mk 1:18, cp similar meaning in In Mt 4:11, 20, 22)
They made a complete break from
their former life, yielding up their nets and separating from them. As
far as their life’s work was concerned, they abandoned, completely
separated themselves from, their father and his fishing business.
Jesus spoke a parable describes
"kingdom principles" (Mt 18:23) regarding forgiveness and ends with a
stern warning regarding the consequences of an
unforgiving spirit (Mt 18:33, 34) by those who had been freely forgiven
so great a debt. In this
parable He described an insolvent slave who was in debt to his lord and
the lord of that slave
felt compassion (splagchnizomai from
splagchnon [word study]) and released him and
forgave (aphiemi) him the debt. (Mt 18:27) (Note what precedes the
forgiveness - compassion! cp Mt 5:7-note,
When missionaries in northern
Alaska were translating the Bible into the language of the Eskimos, they
discovered there was no word in that language for forgiveness. After
much patient listening, however, they discovered a word that means,
“not being able to think about it anymore.” That word was used
throughout the translation to represent forgiveness, because God’s
promise to repentant sinners is, “I will forgive their iniquity, and
their sin I will remember no more” (Jer. 31:34).
God forgave at the Cross
when He put sin away by incarnating Himself in humanity in the
Person of His Son, stepping down from His judgment throne, assuming the
guilt of man’s sin, and paying the penalty, thus, satisfying His
justice, and making possible an offer of mercy on the basis of justice
satisfied. When a sinner avails himself of the merits of that atoning
sacrifice, he thus puts himself within the provision God made. His
sins were put away at the Cross, and he comes into the benefit of
that when he believes.
Forgiveness means God
buries our sin and does not mark the grave or leave the hatchet handle
exposed (so to speak). When God at Calvary paid the
penalty of human sin by satisfying the just demands of His holy law, He
put away sin (along with its guilt, defilement, and penalty), "bidding
it to go away" (aphiemi). This transaction was beautifully
memorialized in the symbolism of the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:21,
22 - celebrated as one of the most solemn Jewish holidays by modern Jews
who celebrate Yom Kippur on the 10th of Tishri or September) where
the scapegoat, figuratively or symbolically laden with all the sins of
all the people of Israel (one year's worth of sins!), was led away into the
wilderness to bear away their sins, perfectly foreshadowing Jesus' once
for all time work as our "Sin Bearer" (1Pe 2:24-note).
On the Day of Atonement there was also a second goat which was
chosen by lot and was sacrificed symbolizing the need for a substitute
to die in the sinner's stead!
conveyed the sense of to “throw.” For example in a secular Greek writing
we read "let the pot drop", where the verb is aphiemi (think
about that grudge you on which you are stubbornly refusing to release
your grip!!! Let it go, not just with your words, but from your heart.
You will experience a freedom that can only be described as supernatural
beloved!!!). From this
physical meaning we derive the common meaning “leave, let go.”
An instance is found in the Rosetta stone for “total remission” of
Thayer says aphiemi means “to send from
one’s self, to send away, to let go or give up a debt, to remit, forgive.”
Our English word forgive as
commonly used does not give an adequate picture
of the Greek verb aphiemi. We say that we have forgiven some one who has
wronged us. By that we mean that any feeling of animosity we may have
had, has changed to one of renewed friendliness and affection. We do not
hold the wrong done against the person anymore. But so far as the act
itself is concerned, we cannot do anything about it. It has been done,
and it cannot be removed from the one who committed the wrong. But
aphiemi includes within its meaning, the act of
dealing with the act of wrong doing in such a way that the
sinner who appropriates the Lord Jesus as Saviour, has his sins put
away. First, they are put away on a judicial basis by
the out-poured blood of Christ. He paid the penalty the broken law
required, and thus satisfied divine justice. Second, God removes the guilt of that sin from the believing sinner and
bestows a positive righteousness, Jesus Christ Himself, in whom this
person stands justified forever This is what is in the Bible regarding
God's forgiveness of believing sinners. Remember, however that
forgiveness does not abolish the consequences of what we have
done but it puts us right with God.
The opposite of forgiveness is
obviously unforgiveness which is linked closely to bitterness one of the most dangerous of all plagues to healthy Christian
living. It will eat away at the vitality of your spiritual life until
your once-vibrant testimony is in shambles. Unforgiveness and bitterness is
like “cancer to the
soul”, and as Bryon Paulus the director of Life Action Ministries
explains, is the number one problem his revival teams encounter in
American churches. The cure for this spiritually toxic plague is one of the most beautiful words in
any language --forgive. Note that the essence of the word is in
the last part, give. To for give means to
give someone a release from the wrong that he has done to you. It means
to give up any right of retaliation.
God’s forgiveness, which must coordinate with His justice, is based upon
the payment of the penalty by a substitute. Jesus Christ, His Son, paid
the penalty for our sin by dying on the cross...Looking at Calvary, God
is now free to forgive those who come to Him through the blood of
When God forgives He forgives completely. This kind of forgiveness is
“Judicial Forgiveness”. It is one of five kinds of forgiveness in the
Bible. A failure to distinguish these kinds of forgiveness causes great
confusion, unnecessary guilt and needless fear.
Dictionary gives a nice synopsis on forgiveness
of sins describing it as
"one of the constituent
(being declared righteous). In
pardoning sin, God absolves the sinner from the condemnation of the law,
and that on account of the work of Christ, i.e., he removes the guilt of
sin, or the sinner's actual liability to eternal wrath on account of it.
All sins are forgiven freely (Act 5:31; Act 13:38; 1Jn 1:6, 7, 8,9). The
sinner is by this act of grace for ever freed from the guilt and penalty
of his sins. This is the peculiar prerogative of God (Ps 130:4-note;
Mark 2:5). It is offered to all in
Five Kinds of Biblical Forgiveness
1. Judicial Forgiveness
The eternal forgiveness of all sins of the one
who has trusted Christ. This forgiveness is the result of
has to do with the believer’s initial, necessary forgiveness from God.
The forgiveness one experiences upon being justified by faith is once for all,
and eternal. This forgiveness is accessed only on faith in Christ
Jesus, the Lamb of God Who took away the sins of the world. David
describes this type of forgiveness in his declaration
“Blessed is the man to whom the
Lord does not impute not iniquity.” (Ps 32:1, 2-note).
The psalms also teach that
"As far as the East is from the
West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Ps
And so dear reader you can
declare this moment,
"As I have trusted Christ for
my salvation, the debt I owed for all my sins past,
present, and future has been paid in full by the His precious blood shed
for me and my debts have been completely forgiven, sent
away, remitted. My Father remembers those sins no more." (Ps
Acts 26:18; Eph 1:7-note;
2. Paternal Forgiveness
This aspect of forgiveness
describes that which is broken with our Father when we fail to
forgive others. On the positive side this quality of forgiveness describes restoration of fellowship
between God the Father
and His beloved child thus speaking of "family" forgiveness. This forgiveness
is contingent upon the child of God (a) Confessing their sin or
specifically naming the sin, agreeing with God that it is in fact
a grievous sin, and expressing a
willingness and desire to forsake it, attitudes and actions that
are well summed up in the word repentance
(see 1Jn 1:9; Jn 13:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10;
cf Pr 28:13) (b) Forgiveness of debts (sins) others have
against us (Personal forgiveness - see the next kind of
3. 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. In fact paternal/personal forgiveness
is the only topic that Jesus elaborated on in the "Lord's
(Disciple's) Prayer" in
the Sermon on the Mount.
See notes on the actual prayer in Mt 6:12-note and
Jesus' further explanation in Mt 6:14,15-notes;
Mt 18:21-35; Luke 6:37; Col.
Eph 4:31, 32-note)
(b) Personal forgiveness has a vertical dimension—we must release the
person to God. This can happen anywhere at anytime. Jesus taught,
when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive
him, so that your Father in heaven my forgive you your sins.” (Mk 11:25)
(c) Personal forgiveness has a horizontal dimension—we must confront the
offender and forgive if he repents.
“Be on your guard. If your
brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3)
4. Social forgiveness
Restoration of fellowship with society
(Jn 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.
Restoration of fellowship with the church)
2Co 2:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 2Th 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
Some Further Thoughts
• You do not have to forget after you forgive.
God's grace may allow you to do so, but your
forgiving can still be sincere even if you remember.
• You do not overlook people’s faults by forgiving them. You must
forgive them because you do hold them to account and refuse to agree
with or overlook their faults.
• Forgiveness deals with our emotional response toward an offender.
Pardon deals with the consequences of his offense. Unless we have the
authority we may not be able to pardon an offense, but we can always
• Forgiveness offers a chance at reconciliation; it is an opportunity for
a life together instead of "death" together. Forgiveness has creative
power to move us away from a past moment of pain, to unshackle us from
our endless chain of emotional reactions, and to create a new situation in which
both the wrongdoer and the wronged can begin a new way.
• The alternative to forgiveness is, in the end, a ceaseless process of
hurt, bitterness, anger, resentment and self-destruction. And as Jesus
clearly warns there is the continued hand of our Father which will
weigh heavy upon us...
'And forgive us our debts, as
we also have forgiven our debtors...for (Jesus explains why it is
crucial that believers forgive the spiritual/ethical debts others
owe us) if you forgive ("remit their debt", consciously choose to
send it away) men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father
will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men,
then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." (Mt
Forgiveness of others is absolutely crucial in order for believers
to experience the forgiveness (and fellowship) of their Father.
Such restored fellowship will also remove a major hindrance or
roadblock to effective prayer.
Has God's Spirit placed
someone on your heart that you need to forgive?
THE HIGH COST OF UNFORGIVENESS
AND DESIRE TO "GET EVEN": Even animals know the value of not
trying to get even.
Dale Carnegie once noted that the only animal the grizzly would allow to
eat with him was the skunk. Grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park often come
to eat at the place where garbage is dumped. This huge bear can fight
and beat almost any animal in the West, but it lets the skunk share its
meal. Carnegie said that the grizzly surely resented the skunk and could
have easily killed the little creature in any fight. No doubt the bear
would have liked to have gotten even with him for his intrusion. But he
didn’t. Why? Because he knew the high cost of getting even. Most animals
are not dumb. They are much smarter than many humans who allow their
stomachs to churn all day, their minds to storm all night and their
souls to turn black with hatred as they plot revenge.
TRUE FORGIVENESS TO SOME PEOPLE
IS SIMPLY "TOO MUCH"! - Marie de Medicis, the Italian-born wife of
King Henri IV of France, became the regent for their son Louis after her
husband's death in 1610. In later years her relationship with Louis
soured and they lived in a state of ongoing hostility. Marie also felt a
deep sense of betrayal when Cardinal Richelieu, whom she had helped in
his rise to political power, deserted her and went over to her son's
side. While on her deathbed Marie was visited by Fabio Chigi, who was
papal nuncio of France. Marie vowed to forgive all of her enemies,
including Cardinal Richelieu. "Madam," asked Chigi, "as a mark of
reconciliation, will you send him the bracelet you wear on your arm?"
"No," she replied firmly, "that would be too much." True forgiveness
is hard to extend because it demands that people let go of something
they value (Ed: The very essence of the verb for forgiveness -
Aphiemi = a sending away, letting it go, dropping it, canceling the debt
they owe you!) -- not a piece of jewelry, but pride, perhaps, as
sense of justice, or desire for revenge. (contrast Ro 12:17-note,
Ro 12:18, 19, 20, 21-note)
-- Daily Walk, May 27, 1992.
Illustration - The Forgiveness
Flower - A girl was asked what forgiveness is. She gave the
following beautiful answer: "It is the odor the flowers give off when
they are trampled upon." For the merciful Christian (Jas 2:13, Mt 5:7-note),
this odor reaches far, far away, even up to the judgment seat of Christ
(2Cor 5:10) so that the Christian need not shrink back when he gets
there. One day when Stan Mooneyham was
walking along a trail in East Africa with some friends, he became
aware of a delightful odor that filled the air. He looked up in
the trees and around at the bushes in an effort to discover where
it was coming from. Then his friends told him to look down at the
small blue flower growing along the path. Each time they crushed
the tiny blossoms under their feet, more of its sweet perfume was
released into the air. Then his friends said, "We call it the
forgiveness flower." This forgiveness flower does not wait until
we ask forgiveness for crushing it. It does not release its
fragrance in measured doses or hold us to a reciprocal
arrangement. It does not ask for an apology; it merely lives up to
its name and forgives-freely, fully, richly. What a touching
example of outrageous forgiveness!
Exposition of "Forgiveness" in
Exposition of "Forgiveness" in
Exposition of "Forgiveness" in
Illustrations and quotes on
Study the main NT words for
Forgive (send away from,
cancel the debt, release, let go) (863)
Forgive (grant, freely give, bestow) (5483)
Excellent 5 Part Sermon Series on
Forgiveness by Dr Ray Pritchard:
1) Forgiveness Healing the Hurt We
2) Forgiveness and the Lord's Prayer
3) Judge Not!
4) Is Total Forgiveness Realistic
5) The Final Step-Blessing Your
Forgiveness of Injuries (Mt 18:21-22) by John
Forgiveness of Sins by Henry Law - 17
Father, Forgive Them by Dr. Ray
Forgiving the Unforgivable by Dr. Ray
Forgiving the Unforgivable article by
Dr. Ray Pritchard
AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED: kai on epekaluphthesan (3PAPI) ai hamartiai:
means in essence "missing God's mark." (see more detailed discussion in
next verse below).
(epikalupto from epí = over +
= cover) literally means to conceal, hide, cover or cover over (as a
shroud). Figuratively or metaphorically it means to cover over sins,
i.e., forgive, pardon. Peter uses the derivative noun epikalumma
(1Pe 2:16 = figurative "covering" = a strategy for concealing something,
a pretext, Lxx - literal cover in 2Sa 17:19).
BDAG says that
epikalupto means first "to hide from view by covering’, then
by fig. extension as synonym for ‘forgive’ cover up."
Epikalupto - Used only in Ro
4:7 in the NT but 19x in the non-apocryphal
- Ge 7:19, 20 (Literally of flood waters covering the mountains) Ge 8:2; Ex 14:26; Nu 4:11, 13; 2Sa 15:30; 1Kgs 19:13; Job
16:18; Ps 32:1; 44:19; Pr 28:13; Je 3:25; 14:4; Ezek 1:11, 23
Septuagint (LXX) (Greek translation
of the Hebrew OT) uses epikalupto in Ps 32:1-note (and Paul quotes from the
Septuagint not the Hebrew). This same Greek word is used in the
Septuagint of Pr 28:13 but in an opposite sense for we
read that "He who
conceals (epikalupto in this case covers over so as to keep
secret) his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and
forsakes them will find compassion." (Commentary)
Vines writes that epikalupto
is "the equivalent to the Hebrew word for “to atone.” It signifies,
not merely a covering, but the removal of guilt under the covering; this
involves the removal of divine wrath from the sinner. The English word
“atonement” is not to be split into its parts as if it stood for
“at-one-ment.” “At-one-ment” is the effect of atonement. The atonement
stands for the sacrifice itself of Christ " (Vine,
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
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A Unique Offer
Several years ago a group of
Christian missionaries met in Delhi, India, with representatives
of other religions to discuss their beliefs. In the course of
their talks, a member of a major non-Christian religion said to a
missionary, "Tell me one thing your religion can offer the
Indians that mine can't."
The missionary thought for a moment
and replied, "Forgiveness! Forgiveness!" Unlike the
followers of all other world religions, those who put their hope
in Christ have full assurance that their sins are forgiven.
British Bible teacher and lecturer David Pawson says, "I have
talked to the most devout Muslims who pray five times a day, have
journeyed to Mecca, have fasted during Ramadan, and are more
devout than many Christians. But when I ask, 'Do you know if your
sins are forgiven?' they've said, 'We don't. We just have to hope
for the best.'"
In Colossians 1:14 (note),
Ephesians 1:7 (note) (and here in Ro 4:7),
Paul gave us the basis on which forgiveness rests--the
redemption Christ secured through His death on the cross. But
Christ is not merely the founder of a major religion. He is the
"image of the invisible God" by whom all things were created
(Col 1:15, 16-notes). The forgiveness He offers, therefore, is an
offer from God Himself. - D J DeHaan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted
by permission. All rights reserved)
Have you accepted the gift of
forgiveness? (Ro 6:23-note).
What family member, neighbor, or co-worker
needs to hear from you about God's offer of forgiveness?
The search for forgiveness ends
when you find Christ