Forgiven for Christ’s Sake #4

Thursday, July 14, 2016

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

What is true forgiveness?

In the Greek New Testament, “forgiveness” is aphesis, derived from aphiemi. Aphiemi is translated elsewhere in our King James Bible as “leave,” “forgive,” “suffer” (that is, “permit”), “forsake,” “let alone,” “remit,” “send away,” “omit,” and others. Notice this sampling of its usage by our 1611 King James translators.

It is used when the disciples “forsook” Jesus at His arrest (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50). Or, when they “forsook” their nets to follow Him years earlier (Mark 1:18). Also, when “sending away” a multitude (Mark 4:36). It was employed to describe Israel’s religious leaders “laying aside” the commandment of God to keep their religious traditions (Mark 7:8). Also, it is used to explain the husband “putting away” his wife during divorce proceedings (1 Corinthians 7:11,12). Or, to highlight the apostate Ephesian group of Jewish kingdom saints who had “left” their first love, Jesus Christ (Revelation 2:4).

Misconceptions abound when people think of or hear the word “forgiveness.” One common error is to think that forgiveness means pretending like no one did them wrong. Thus, they refuse to forgive others. Friends, contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is not “sweeping wrongs under the rug.” If we are to truly forgive, we must do it the way God did. We must think of forgiveness as God does.

Dear friends, we see true forgiveness by looking closely at today’s Scripture. The word “forgiveness” carries the idea of “leaving behind,” “sending away,” “laying aside.” But, exactly where are we to “leave” those wrongs done to and against us? To where should we “send” them “away?” Where should we “lay” them “aside?” Again, we see true forgiveness by carefully considering today’s Scripture. God did not merely instruct us to forgive others; He told us exactly how to do it. We are not left to wonder, to guess, to do our best and hope we forgave. All we have to do is look to Jesus Christ—“even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Forgiveness becomes ever so clear!

Remember, the Summer Family Bible Conference runs until tonight!