For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. MATTHEW 26:28
Forgiveness is the fundamental and essential truth of the new covenant. At this last supper before being betrayed to be crucified, Jesus Christ taught that the wine represented his blood. He offered himself as the sacrifice necessary in order to ratify the new covenant. His blood would be shed for the forgiveness of sins.
The solemn promises of the new covenant were foretold in detail by the prophet Jeremiah. After all things required were fulfilled, those covenant promises became reality. The book of Hebrews quotes that record from Jeremiah 31 which made known this fundamental principal of forgiveness.
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where forgiveness of these is, there is no more offering for sin. HEBREWS 10:16-18
The offering of Jesus Christ was flawlessly perfect and comprehensively complete. Therefore, absolutely nothing more is required to receive forgiveness. By the good pleasure of God’s will and the riches of God’s grace, God deliberately determined to forgive and ‘remember no more’ our sins!
In love, He determined beforehand for us to have sonship to Himself through Jesus Christ in accordance with the good pleasure of His will unto the praise of the glory of His grace [favor], by which He highly favored us in the beloved one [Jesus Christ]. In him [the beloved one] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His [God’s] grace. EPHESIANS 1:5-7*
During the forty days before the resurrected Jesus Christ was taken up into the heavenlies, he instructed that the great message of forgiveness should be preached to all people of all nations.
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures,And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved [it was necessary for] Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. LUKE 24:45-47
God desires that all people of all nations learn of His forgiveness and live in the freedom and deliverance of His grace.
To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a portion among those who have been sanctified by believing in me. ACTS 26:18*
We ‘have been sanctified’ which means ‘to be made holy’. We have turned from the darkness of Satan’s authority to the light of God and His holy nature. We have redemption and forgiveness according to the riches of God’s grace. Because we now have forgiveness and we have now been made holy, God exhorts us to imitate Him and walk in love.
So be imitators of God like beloved children, and walk in love even as Christ also loved us and delivered himself up for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet aromatic fragrance. EPHESIANS 5:1-2*
We are exhorted to love as Christ loved us! That is quite a high standard of love because he ‘delivered himself up for us as an offering and a sacrifice’. The verse that precedes this gives us another high standard to imitate.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other even as God also forgave you in Christ. EPHESIANS 4:32*
As God forgave us in Christ we are exhorted to forgive each other! That doesn’t leave any room for holding a grudge or for bitter retaliation does it? That is quite a walk of tenderheartedness toward the holy ones of God in the body of Christ. Let’s look at one more in the book of Colossians.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies [merciful compassion], kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. COLOSSIANS 3:12-13
We are holy and beloved ones of God. Because we earned it? Certainly not! It is by the goodness, grace and mercy of our Father. We are to imitate Him and to put on that merciful compassion. Therefore, we are forgiving one another as well as forbearing one another. Forbearing means to be patient or self-controlled when subjected to annoyance or provocation. And what if there is a quarrel, or a matter of complaint? Forgive! ‘As Christ forgave you, so also do ye’.
*From the Working Translation, A Journey through the Acts and Epistles, Copyright © 2006 by Walter J. Cummins. All rights reserved