By JOHN LIPSCOMB
GREAT WORDS OF THE SCRIPTURE… A weekly column of the THEOLOGY CONFERENCE, NewLIFE Network
“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins…” Acts 13.38
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…” Ephesians 1.7
The English language depicts forgiveness as an accomplishment occurring in a moment of time, providing consequences to both forgiver and forgiven that are eternal in scope.
“Forgive – To cease to feel resentment against (an offender): Pardon (one’s enemies). To give up resentment of or claim to requital for (an insult). To grant relief from payment of (a debt).” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 484.
Three key features of forgiveness include:
1. Action, by the person forgiving (whether to person being forgiven responds of not).
2. Cessation of any resentment, by the person forgiving.
3. Termination of any further claims against the offending party, by the person forgiving.
The Greek New Testament contains two principle words that are translated “forgive, forgiveness.” These terms are:
APHIEMI, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, # 863. This is the verb form of APHESIS, Strong’s # 859. This term means: “…primarily, to send forth, send away (APO, from, HIEMI, to send), denotes besides its other meanings, to remit or forgive…” Vine, W.E., The Expanded Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New
Testament Words, p. 452.
Describing the “forgiveness of sins” as applicable to this term, Vine states:
“In this latter respect the verb, like its corresponding noun, firstly signifies the remission of the punishment due to sinful conduct, the deliverance of the sinner from the penalty Divinely, and therefore righteously, imposed; secondly, it involves the complete removal of the cause of offense; such
remission is based upon the vicarious and propitiatory sacrifice of Christ.” Vine, W.E., p. 452.
The second Greek word, translated “forgive” is the term: “CHARIZOMAI, Strong’s # 5483. To bestow a favor unconditionally, is used of the act of forgiveness, whether Divine, Eph. 4.32; Col. 2.12, 3.13; or human, Luke 7.42-43 (debt); 2 Cor. 2.7, 10, 12.13…” Vine, p. 453.
“The foundational truth respecting the believer in relation to his sins is the fact that when he was saved all his trespasses (the past, present, and future)- so far as condemnation may be concerned- were forgiven. This must be the meaning of the Apostle’s word in Colossians 2.13, ‘having forgiven you all trespasses.’ So complete proves this divine dealing with all sin that it can be said, ‘There is therefore
now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus’ (Rom. 8.1). The believer is not condemned (John 3.18), and therefore shall not come into judgment (‘condemnation,’ John 5.24). It need only be remembered that since Christ has borne all sin and since the believer’s standing is complete in the
risen Christ, he is perfected forever by reason of being in Christ. As a member in the household and family of God, the Christian- should he sin- of course is, as any child, subject to chastisement from the Father, but never to be condemned with the world (1 Cor. 11.31-32).” Chafer, L.S., Systematic Theology, Vol. VII, p. 163.