Colossians 3:13c

Forgiving One Another
Christ Forgave You

HOW TO FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER: Even As Christ Forgave You


1. Even as = in accordance with; equivalent to; to the same degree; in proportion to…

2. This indicates that OUR forgiveness of others is to be equal to the Lord’s forgiveness of us: to the same degree!

3. So if we want to know HOW we are to forgive one another, we must look to HOW did God forgive us.

4. How DID God forgive you and me? Let’s see what the Bible says.

A. Upon repentance

1. At the moment of salvation – II Peter 3:9.

a. God is not willing that any should perish—but MOST men will perish.

b. God’s heart desire is for all men to REPENT… so that they will NOT perish.

c. Repent is = believing here (change of mind – from unbelief to belief).

d. The moment a man changes his mind God saves him and forgives his sins.

e. God required nothing more from the sinner but that he repent… a synonym for believe.

2. For every sin after salvation – confession (I John 1:9)

a. Here John is speaking about those who are already saved; those whose sins are already forgiven judicially.

b. But even after we are saved, we still sin… and that sin breaks our communion and fellowship with the Lord UNTIL we make it right.

c. We are told here to CONFESS (speak the same thing)… agree with God concerning our sin. This concept incorporates the concept of repentance…

d. When we were sinning, we were walking in darkness. When we repent of that sin, we change our mind about it. We agree with God that the sin is to be rejected and forsaken. Thus, we choose to walk in the light.

e. Agreeing with God implies that we see it as wicked; sinful; something to be rejected and forsaken! That’s what God thinks of our sins; and confessing sin means we agree with Him!

f. We can’t say that we agree with God about our sin if we are unwilling to forsake it!

g. But when we GENUINELY agree with God, He forgives us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

h. He forgives our sins and wipes the slate clean and pure!

B. To the same degree

1. Even as Christ forgives us, we are to forgive others:

a. Our forgiveness of others is to be in proportion to God’s forgiveness of us.

b. We should be willing to forgive others the equivalent of what God forgave us.

c. We should be willing to forgive others their deepest sins against us, because God forgave our deepest sins against Him.

d. To what degree was Christ willing to go to provide forgiveness for us? To what degree was the Father willing to go to provide forgiveness for us?
• Christ gave HIMSELF for us… the cruel death of the cross… He spared not even His own life.
• The Father spared not His only begotten Son… the most precious One to the Father… the Son with whom He had fellowship, love, and communion for an eternity in the past… He spared not His Son.
• When we contemplate this truth, it will put our forgiveness of others in its place…
• This will put all of our grief, suffering, and sorrow in its place…
• As we think about the cross, it will cause us to see that the person who sinned against us did not put us through NEARLY as much suffering, as our sin caused the Lord Jesus…
• Remember the illustration Jesus used, of the man who forgave the debt of 10,000 talents… and that servant was unwilling to forgive his fellowship a debt of a few pence?
• We are infinitely more indebted to God for what He forgave us… than the relatively puny offence committed against us by our brother!
• We are to forgive to the same degree that Christ forgave us.

2. Without exception – (John 6:37) –

a. No one is turned away, regardless of his or her past… regardless of the sins committed… the amount of sins… the severity of the sins…

b. God’s grace is sufficient to cover ALL sins…

c. The blood of Christ is sufficient to pay for ALL sins…

d. To an infinitely holy God, there really isn’t all that much difference between one man’s sins and another’s.

e. There is an infinite gap between God and ANY sin…

f. One sinner is the same as any other sinner: for ALL have sinned and come short (infinitely short) of the glory of God!

g. When a sinner repents, ALL his sins are gone—no matter how many… no matter how grievous… no matter how long he lived in sin… when he repents, he is forgiven!

h. When a man changes his mind and decides to come to Christ in faith, the Lord RECEIVES the sinner… and NONE are turned away because of his sins… or where he’s been.

i. Don’t ever use the excuse, “God will never forgive me… not after what I’ve done.”
• That’s a cop out… a phony excuse… a false humility… a smokescreen for NOT coming to Christ… unbelief…
• Because God said He WILL forgive all sins and turn none away! He wants us to BELIEVE Him and come for forgiveness.

j. He turns none away… no matter how many sins we have committed.

3. We are to forgive others EVEN AS Christ forgave us…

a. Regardless of how many times they sinned… how grievous the sins… how long they lived in that sin…

b. If they repent and come—forgive them!

c. No one who repents is to be denied forgiveness by God, and therefore, no one who repents is to be denied forgiveness by us either.

d. We are to forgive others to the same degree that God forgave us… there IS no limit!

C. Freely – Luke 7:41-42

1. Here Jesus teaches us something about forgiveness. He likens it to a creditor who blots out a debt when the debtor had NOTHING to pay.

a. The word “forgive” is the same word found in Col. 3:13.

b. means to “grace someone”… to shower grace upon them.

c. Here the Lord uses the illustration of a man who was owed a debt that the debtors could not pay…

d. He forgave them FREELY… he showered grace upon them.

e. He cancelled the debt at no charge…

f. He didn’t tell them to pay him a nickel a week for the rest of their lives… he didn’t put them on a payment schedule… he didn’t siphon money out of their weekly salaries.

g. He freely and gracious wiped out their debt completely!

h. This kind of gracious forgiveness incurs no debt – demands no payment. It is truly and entirely FREE.

i. When you pay off your debt (mortgage) the mortgage company has absolutely NOTHING to hold against you! You are free.

j. When the debt is cancelled NOTHING is owed! There are no strings attached

k. This is how the Lord forgave us. This is HIS teaching on forgiveness.

l. This is how we are to forgive others too. FREELY…

D. Graciously –

1. Grace implies without regard to merit—expecting nothing in return –

a. If forgiveness is offered in genuine grace, then it is free, and it is offered at no price…

b. Grace is not earned or merited.

c. The one who grants forgiveness therefore expects NOTHING in return or it wasn’t grace… it was a payment.

d. Grace isn’t paid for either up front or after the fact… or it isn’t grace.

e. If we expect a payment in return for grace, then the person is paying for it… on credit… “I’ll pay you later!”

f. Thus, when we GRACE someone by granting forgiveness, we have no right to say: “I’ll forgive you, BUT, you had better do this, that, and the other thing or else!”

g. Grace is completely free—no strings attached.

h. This is how God forgives us… graciously… not according to merit… expecting no payment for our sins in return.

2. Grace is sometimes gratefully received; sometimes it is taken advantage of!

a. When we forgive someone, it is with the full acknowledgment that our grace might be taken advantage of…

b. Will people take advantage of the grace of forgiveness? Of course they will!

c. But God says to manifest His grace anyway! Suffer yourselves to be defrauded. Turn the other cheek… even if they keep on smiting it!

d. But what if they know this and use it to take advantage of me and make a mockery of me? KEEP ON forgiving if they keep on repenting.

e. God will execute justice in His time and way. Our job is to obey and show grace by forgiving the one who says he repents.

f. In Col. 3, we are commanded to be forbearing… to put up with one another. We are to refuse to retaliate… be longsuffering… be patient…

g. But we are to go way beyond merely putting up with others and holding back on vengeance. We are to be willing to FORGIVE them! Shower them with the grace of God!

h. That is going the extra mile… and in that, Christ is magnified.

E. He Remembers Our Sin No More – Heb. 10:17

1. We mentioned this fact this morning.

a. When God forgives our sins, He remembers them no more.

b. That means that God chooses not to bring our sin to his mind again…

c. Of course, he remembers… He knows what we did. But He chooses not to rub our face in it…

d. When we forgive others EVEN AS God forgives us, we do the same. We REFUSE to bring the sin to mind again…

e. We don’t dwell on it… we don’t remind the offending part of what he or she did… we don’t talk about it.

2. It is dead and buried.

a. When something has been buried, you don’t go digging it up again!

b. We had a pet goat that died a year ago. I buried him in the back lawn.

c. It was not a happy day when the goat died, but we dealt with it… and I buried it. It remains buried to this day.

d. I can’t think of anything more disgusting than to dig up that dead goat! Imagine that?!

e. Digging up old sins is just as disgusting and distasteful. Nothing good comes from it.

f. It is like continually beating on old wounds or old sores. They will never heal… unless you leave it alone.

g. Don’t dig up the old sins and remind yourself and others all over again of the pain and hurt the sin caused.

h. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t do that to us?! He remembers our sins no more. He buries them in the bottom of the sea.

F. God Forgave Us For Christ’s sake (Eph. 4:32)

1. Forgiveness is Christ centered.

a. God does not forgive us for OUR sakes… although we benefit GREATLY from having our sins forgiven!

b. The Father forgives us for the sake of His Beloved Son!

c. Otherwise, Christ died for nothing!

d. IF Christ died for our sins, and the Father did not forgive us, it would be as if the Father did not accept the sacrifice of His Son as being sufficient.

2. When we forgive others, it too should be for Christ’s sake.

a. It is not for OUR sakes…
• Although those who lean heavily on Christian psychology say so.
• They say we should forgive others because it releases us from inner stress… it takes away guilt and pain from us… (self-centered forgiveness)!

b. When we forgive a brother, the forgiveness is not granted for the OTHER person’s sake either.
• Although the one forgiven will certainly benefit.
• He will be encouraged that his sin was forgiven… that the relationship is restored… that the sin is remembered no more.
• The one we forgive certainly benefits from us forgiving them… but that is not the reason either.
• That would be man-centered forgiveness.

c. We are to forgive others EVEN AS God forgave us: for Christ’s sake… and for His glory.
• We are to forgive others for the sake of Christ.
• For His testimony’s sake…
• For the sake of pleasing Him… obeying Him… following His example…
• We forgive others for the sake of Christ because in doing so we are demonstrating the life transforming POWER of being forgiven by Him!
• When He forgave us, it so transformed us and changed us, that we are now ABLE to forgive others… for His sake… for His glory… to demonstrate the reality of Christ in us.
• But as true as all that is, the original reads a bit differently.

d. The English reads: God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you
• Greek reads: ? ?e?? ?? ???st?^ ??a??sat? ?µ?^? (God in Christ has forgiven you.)
• Forgiveness is granted to us because of what the Father saw in Christ His Son.
• We are not forgiven because we are worthy, or because God saw some merit in us. We are not forgiven because God sees anything good in us.
• We are forgiven because God sees in His Son’s work on Calvary a more than sufficient basis upon which He can grant forgiveness of sins.
• We are forgiven because of who Christ is and because of what Christ did.

e. We are to forgive others, not for our own sakes, or for their sakes, because IN Christ there are proper GROUNDS for forgiveness.
• God forgave us because He saw in Christ sufficient grounds to forgive us…
• The sacrifice of His Son and Christ’s shed blood were enough for the Father to grant forgiveness to us.
• It should be enough for us too… to grant forgiveness to others too.
• In Christ we will find all we need to motivate us and empower us to forgive others.
• Having a hard time forgiving? Drive off to the ocean some day—just you and your Bible… and read about what Christ did for us to provide forgiveness of sins.
• Don’t stop meditating until God makes it clear to you that IN CHRIST is found all we need to BE forgiven, and all we need to FORGIVE others.

G. Eternally –

1. When God forgives our sins, they are gone—forever!

2. Our sins were paid for in FULL at Calvary. There is no future penalty for our sins.

3. They are not even brought up against us at the Bema seat. They are burned and removed for all eternity.

4. We suffer loss of reward, but there is no penalty to pay, for Jesus paid it all!

5. God remembers our sins NO more… now or forever!

6. No condemnation—Rom. 8:1—we are not to hold the offence against the one we forgive… now or forever… EVEN AS God forgave us!

H. Entirely –

1. All of the offences we have committed are forgiven. (Col. 2:13)

2. There is no sin so grievous that it cannot be forgiven.

3. There is no grouping of sins into mortal or venial… little white sins and big dark sins… some that can be forgiven and some that cannot. Sin is sin with God.

4. When God forgives our sins, He forgives them ALL…

5. He is FAITHFUL to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness! (I John 1:9)

6. There is no sin committed against us that we should not (by God’s grace working in us) be able to forgive!

7. We have no right to portion off sins… into sins we will forgive and sins we will not forgive. That’s not how God forgave us!

8. And there are no degrees of forgiveness. Either we have forgiven or we have not.

9. No matter WHAT that brother or sister has done to us, we need to be willing to forgive them… EVEN AS God hath forgiven us!

I. Immediately –

1. When we repented… when we believed on Christ, God saved us right then and there!

2. There is no time of penance… no purgatory… no probationary period… there is no period of proving or testing…

3. We are to forgive others EVEN AS God has forgiven us.

4. If the sinning brother repents, forgive him… right then and there on the spot. That’s what the Bible commands.

5. Feelings won’t change immediately.

a. But forgiveness is not based on feelings.

b. It is an act of the will… CHOOSING to bring up the sin no more.

c. It is an act of obedience.

d. We are expected to OBEY immediately.

J. Warmly –

1. Consider the story of the father of the prodigal son.

a. This story is not really the story of the prodigal son. That title is not found in the Bible.

b. It is the story of a forgiving Father! It is a picture of the Father’s willingness to forgive us… when we repent.

c. The prodigal son went off and lived in sin for a long time.

d. He then came to his senses, changed his mind, and decided to return to his father’s house.

e. Luke 15:20 – read

f. The father embraced him and KISSED him… and made merry.

g. Oh that we might learn to forgive EVEN AS God has forgiven us!

2. This is how WE are to forgive others…

a. Not at a distance… at an arm length…

b. Not half heartedly…

c. Not reluctantly…

d. But cheerfully… with joy… embracing the opportunity!

e. The father cooked up the fatted calf and made merry. He REJOICED that the relationship was now restored!

f. The father treated the son as if he had never run away!

g. After we forgive the offender, we are to treat him just as kindly as if he had not injured us—as God treats us when he forgives us!

h. Warmly! This is hard to do… because we are so inclined to allow our hearts to grow cold in times of anger, controversy, and quarrels…

i. That’s not how God forgave us.



» Quarrels come for a God given purpose… to put us to the test and help us learn to appreciate our forgiveness in Christ. Christ who had an infinitely greater quarrel with us because of our sin!

» Forgiveness is an expression of “seeking things above.” Down here on earth revenge reigns… not forgiveness. Everybody wants to get the last jab in… to get even. That is entirely earthly… the way men in Adam behave.

» But those in Christ have a heavenly mindset. We are able to forgive… because we have BEEN forgiven… and our Adamic life is over. Our new life is hidden with Christ in God… in heaven. There is no place for revenge in that heavenly scene.

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