About Biblical Forgiveness
Biblical forgiveness is an incredibly rich and dynamic practice that encompasses:
Fully receiving God’s forgiveness
Effectively forgiving other people
Asking other people to forgive us
Resolving anger towards God
Restoring broken relationships
Responding appropriately to hurtful people
Biblical forgiveness is God’s solution to a problem He calls sin.
However, sin is like a coin; it has two sides.
Every sin is like a crime, and as such, has a penalty. However, separate from the penalty, every sin also sets in motion a chain reation of negative consequences. Both of these sides of sin are lethal and result in death. For example, if a man broke into a government facility and stole nuclear material to make a bomb and in the process expossed himself to lethal amounts of radiation, he would be committing a crime and and also set in motion a chain reaction of negative consequences. The theft is a crime and has a legal penalty. However, dying of radiation poisoning is one of the consequences of his poor choice to steal radioactive material.
Since the problem of sin has two sides, so does biblical forgiveness.
The word, "to forgive" means, "to send something away." When God forgives the penalty for a sin, He is sending away the guilty person's need to pay the penalty for their sin. When He forgives the consequences of a sin, He is sending away the origninal set of consequences of that sin--He changes the consequences. God forgives both the penalty for and the consequences of sin, but He does so in different ways.
God forgives the penalty of a sin because Jesus Christ has already paid the penalty for every sin through His physical execution. We call the side of forgiveness that sends away the penalty for sins, and the anger associated with it, Personal Forgiveness, because it is something that happens inside of you. We receive God's forgiveness for the penalty for our sins when we confess our sins to Him, believing that Jesus Christ has already paid for our sins. And we can forgive other people in just the same way, by identifying their sins against us and believing that Jesus has already paid for their sins, too.
However, God forgives, sends away, or changes the original set of consequences of a sin when the guilty person repents of their sin. To repent means to change. To repent of a sin means to take responsiblility for it and commit to never doing it again. We call this side of forgiveness Relational Forgiveness because it is something that happens in a relationship, between you and God or between you and other people.
Biblical Forgiveness starts with Personal Forgiveness and moves into Relational Forgiveness.
The death of Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for sins is what makes Personal Forgiveness possible.
“…And without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is what makes real inner change and Relational Forgiveness possible.