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Forgiveness In The Bible Matthew

Our Favourite Bible Stories About Forgiveness

Sermon: “Cultivating Forgiveness” from Matthew 5:7 Ephesians 4.3032

The prodigal son

The parable of the prodigal son is one of Jesus most famous teachings. It shows us that Gods forgiveness is always available to us. There is nothing we can do to separate ourselves from Gods lavish grace!

Luke 15: 11-22 There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, Father, give me my share of the estate. So he divided his property between them.

Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

When he came to his senses, he said, How many of my fathers hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son make me like one of your hired servants. So he got up and went to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.

Bible Verses About Forgiving Others

We may find it hard to forgive others, but the Bible encourages us to show others the same grace our Heavenly Father has given us. Take a moment to reflect on these scriptures on forgiveness and ask Gods help in forgiving those around you.

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Ephesians 4: 31-32 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.

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

Matthew 6:9-15 This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name,on earth as it is in heaven.Give us today our daily bread.And forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.

The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Like

Now to underscore his teaching, Jesus indicates that repeated forgiveness is not just a guideline, but a foundational principle of the Kingdom. To teach this he employs a parable.

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.”

The first character introduced in the parable is a king. He must be a king who controls vast lands, for, as we’ll see in a moment, one of his servants owes him a huge sum. The king is powerful. He decides to “settle accounts” , “take account” with his servants, who are obviously provincial governors or other officials in his government. The verb “settle” issynair, used here in a commercial sense as “settle accounts, cast up accounts.”3 The word “accounts” is the common noun logos. We often see logos used in the sense of, “word, message.” But here it is used in a special sense as “computation, reckoning.”4 The idea conveyed by these two words is to conduct an audit of the transactions of a business partner and then either receive what is due or pay what is due, depending upon the results of the audit.

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Jesus Is Our Ultimate Example

Jesus doesnt ask us to do something hes unwilling to do himself. He is the ultimate example for us to follow. Through Jesus the sins of the world are forgiven. All of them. Even the really heinous ones.

Hes done the heavy lifting. Hes set the example. Our charge is to do the same for those around us. Hes forgiven each of us of much. Therefore we are able to forgive those who have wronged us.

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The Analysis Of The Text

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There are different ways that the passage could be divided and outlined. I have chosen to divide it into three sections, putting the above middle story all together as one point–their accusation and Jesus explanation.

I. Jesus forgives the sins of the paralytic . Matthew begins the narrative by stating that Jesus took the boat across the lake and stepped out at his home town–Capernaum . That is all the detail Matthew gives.

Matthew simply tells us that some men brought the paralytic on a mat, and that Jesus saw their faith in bringing him to Him. Their act of belief is evident in the fact that they laid this man at Jesus feet. The implication is that the four men and the paralytic had the faith that Jesus could heal him.

The response of Jesus to their faith is in His words: Take heart, son your sins are forgiven. There are two things here that have to be probed. The first is the initial greeting: Take heart, son, or as the older translations had it, Be of good cheer, son. One might say just at the look of things that he had nothing to be of good cheer about. But more significantly, no Pharisee or teacher of the Law would have said that to a paralytic. They would have simply considered him as a sinner because of his malady. In their thoughts they would have concluded that had he been righteous, or a man of faith he would not be like that. And they probably would have been very put out that these men ruined the lecture.

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Definition Of Forgiveness According To The Bible

Before we go further into forgiveness, it is necessary to look at what forgiveness is according to the Bible. Once the concept is understood, everything else becomes much easier.

One of the best definitions of forgiveness can be found in Colossians 3:13, where you can see that human forgiveness comes by extension to Gods forgiveness, and this should try to resemble His forgiveness, i.e., we must forgive for the sake of loving.

Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another. As Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Thus, it is clearly written in the Bible: to forgive is to love. Christians should love each and every person in the world.

Our mission as children of God is to show the Sacred Scriptures to those who do not know them with respect and love. And when the whole world knows the message of the Lord, forgiveness will no longer be necessary, and we will all live holy in the Glory of God.

The Authority To Forgive Sins

In our studies in the Book of Matthew we have been seeing how the evangelisthas been emphasizing the authority of Jesus.1 Now, in the beginning of Matthew 9, we have an account of an event that shows that He has authority to forgive sins.

In our method of studying the text we have been noticing how the dialogue in a passage is the critical element for interpreting the events. This will be very important again in this short narrative as Jesus offers a detailed explanation of the connection between healing and forgiving.

We have also been noting how in studying the text we have different participants in the stories–Jesus, His followers, those He helps, and His enemies. It is important in studying the text to note to which of these the speeches of Jesus are directed, and then in turn to whom the whole event is directed. The words may be a corrective teaching or a rebuke to those who opposed Him, but they and the whole incident are intended to convince people of His authority. So when we come to making applications from the lesson, it is easy for us to think in these groups for points of reference, that is, how we should respond to Jesus and how we should not, based on the representative characters in the story.

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Is Divine Forgiveness Conditional Or Unconditional In The Gospel Of Matthew

In Matthews Gospel, forgiveness of sins appears to be both a result of a gracious offer or declaration on the part of Jesus received by faith as well as conditional upon the forgiveness that the disciple must offer to others . This study will focus on Matthews unique contribution to the theological implications of Gods forgiveness as compared to other Synoptic Gospels, the Old Testament background, and intertestamental and rabbinic teaching on the subject.

The question about divine forgiveness either has its ground or cause in the gracious offer of God due to a substitutionary sacrifice on behalf of the follower of Jesus or has its ground or cause in the actual offer of forgiveness of the follower toward other people .

Many scholars struggle with this question and have offered solutions assuming that in the Gospel of Matthew there is only one type of forgiveness and that Gods complete, eschatological, or final forgiveness either is unconditional or conditional . This paper seeks to argue that this either/or explanation is far too simple and that it is best to allow the author to define forgiveness differently depending upon the immediate context of the passages in question.

How To Forgive Someone

Why Forgiveness Changes Everything (Reflections on Matthew 18:21-35)
  • Remember what forgiveness involves. You are not condoning the wrong or acting as if it never happenedyou are simply letting it go.

  • Recognize the benefits of forgiving. Letting go of anger and resentment can help you to keep calm, improve your health, and increase your happiness. Even more important, forgiving others is a key to receiving Gods forgiveness for your own sins.Matthew 6:14, 15.

  • Be empathetic. All of us are imperfect. Just as we appreciate being forgiven, we should likewise forgive the mistakes of others.Matthew 7:12.

  • Be reasonable. When we have a minor cause for complaint, we can apply the Bibles counsel: Continue putting up with one another.Colossians 3:13.

  • Act quickly. Work to forgive as soon as you can rather than letting your anger fester.Ephesians 4:26, 27.

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    How Do We Translate Our Decision To Forgive Into A Change Of Heart

    God honors our commitment to obey him and our desire to please him when we choose to forgive. He completes the work in his time. We must continue to forgive by faith until the work of forgiveness is done in our hearts.

    And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

    Is It Okay To Feel Anger And Want Justice For The Person We Need To Forgive

    This question presents another reason to pray for the person we need to forgive. We can pray and ask God to deal with the injustices. We can trust God to judge that person’s life, and then we ought to leave that prayer at the altar. We no longer have to carry the anger. Although it is normal for us to feel anger toward sin and injustice, it is not our job to judge the other person in their sin.

    Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

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    Christian Forgiveness: 7 Questions And Answers In The Bible

    • General Biblical Studies, Interdenominational Christian Training Center

    What does the Bible say about forgiveness? Quite a bit. In fact, forgiveness is a dominant theme throughout the Bible. But it’s not uncommon for Christians to have many questions about forgiveness. The act of forgiving does not come easy for most of us. Our natural instinct is to recoil in self-protection when we’ve been injured. We don’t naturally overflow with mercy, grace, and understanding when we’ve been wronged.

    Is Christian forgiveness a conscious choice, a physical act involving the will, or is it a feeling, an emotional state of being? The Bible offers insight and answers to our questions about forgiveness. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions and find out what the Bible says about forgiveness.

    When Others Sin Against You

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    Matthew 1815 Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

    Matthew 18:15-17 speaks of cases where someone sins against us. Our response in such cases is two-fold.

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    Closing Thoughts On Forgiveness In The Bible

    Its clear that forgiveness in the Bible is a dominant theme. We are reminded time and time again that we are forgiven and challenged to go do the same for those around us.

    Forgiveness is not easy. But it is necessary for followers of Jesus. Without forgiving we will be unable to be forgiven. Our lives will suffer. If you want to live the good life that God has for you then you need to be willing to forgive.

    Hopeful Bible Verses About The Power Of Forgiveness

    Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

    For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

    Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

    Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

    “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’ “

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    Unforgiveness Is Not An Option

    I am convinced by Jesus’ words that unforgiveness is not an option for us. We must forgive. We make all sorts of excuses for ourselves. We find doctrinal reasons to set aside the clear teachings of our Lord and not take them seriously. But his words remain. Unforgiveness is not an option for a follower of Jesus. We may struggle, we may not have the strength on our own and call out to Him for the will and the power to forgive, but we cannot hold onto our bitterness — and continue to hold onto him.

    This is a tough one. Do we have to forgive someone who does not repent? We read:

    “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”

    I think that forgiveness is something like a pardon. We have to accept it for it to be granted. In a technical sense, we can’t really forgive someone who does not repent. But that doesn’t let us off the hook. I think that God requires us to love our enemies, and this from our side of the relationship differs little from what forgiveness would require of us. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is very clear:

    “I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    A book of the compiled lessonsis available in both e-book and paperback formats.


    Key Verses

    “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”


    1. Bruce C. Birch, “Number,” ISBE 3:559.

    3. Synair, BDAG 964.

    Structure Of The Passage

    God’s Forgiveness | Sermon on ‘Forgive Us Our Debts’ (Matthew 6:12)

    Once again the structure of the passage follows a clear pattern. There is the meeting with the paralytic, the response of the teachers, the teaching-reply of Jesus, and the completion of the miracle. In the first part Jesus speaks to the paralytic. In the second part the teachers speak to themselves. In the third part Jesus speaks to the teachers. And in the last part Jesus speaks to the paralytic. We can chart it this way:

      Paralytic is brought to Jesus Jesus says, Your sins are forgiven

        Teachers are upset by this They say, This fellow blasphemes

        Jesus rebukes their thinking Jesus says, Son of Man has authority

      Jesus heals the man Jesus says, Take up your mat

    If you get in the habit of charting or diagraming the flow of a story, you can see more clearly how it is put together. In this case, it is a story within a story. The main event is Jesus speaking to the paralytic and healing him. But in the middle of that event there is the response to the evil thinking of these opponents in order to explain the point of the miracle. Jesus used the miracle, and their accusation of blasphemy, to declare that He has authority to forgive sins. And He did this to show the primary need was forgiveness of sins, not the healing.

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