Forgiveness facilitates salvation

Leonard Lauriault

A man in our congregation presented an excellent sermon recently on what Christianity does. With his permission, this article is based on several of his points.

Most people know that Christianity should keep one honest, (2 Corinthians 8: 21; Hebrews 13: 18), pure (1 Thessalonians 5: 22; 1 Peter 2: 12; Hebrews 5: 11-14), joyful (Philippians 4: 4-9; 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18), thankful (Hebrews 12: 28), humble (Philippians 2: 1-5, with God’s help – 2 Corinthians 11: 21b-29; 12: 7-10), prayerful (Hebrews 4: 16), and forgiving (Matthew 18: 21, 22; 6: 14, 15).

Forgiveness is often misunderstood as meaning that sin is overlooked. God did overlook sin during a period of grace when nothing was available to completely atone for sin. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection has now made complete atonement (Acts 17: 29-31; 1 Peter 2: 24; Hebrews 9: 24-28). Consequently, the period of grace continues; but, because everyone can be forgiven (Acts 2: 38, 39; I Peter 3: 18-22), God can rightly hold our sins against us (he actually could’ve done that anyway had he not promised to provide the means of reconciliation – Genesis 3: 11-15; Isaiah 53: 5, 6; 2 Corinthians 5: 16-21; Hebrews 6: 16-20).

Forgiveness naturally happens as a Christian trait when Christians remember they’ve been forgiven (2 Peter 1: 5-9; Ephesians 4: 32; Romans 15: 7). But that requires sin to be acknowledged with repentance rather than overlooked (1 John 1: 9; Luke 15: 11-24; Psalm 32: 5). Sometimes the sin must be pointed out to the offender humbly with good judgment (Galatians 6: 1-5; Matthew 7: 1-5; 18: 15-17; 5: 23, 24).

Although the events took place before the Christian era, King David’s sin and repentance are an apt example, as is God’s response (1 Samuel 11: 1-12: 14). Unlike the reminder to David of his sins, God often lets us forget our past sin. But, sometimes there are consequences to sin that may impact other people as a constant reminder to the offender of the magnitude of any sin (1 Chronicles 21: 1-18; Psalm 51: 1-6).

As a matter of honesty, the Christian will acknowledge the sin when it’s recognized. If the sin continues to be denied, there’s no truth in the inner parts, making the offender a child of the devil instead of a child of God (John 8: 31-44). This is why honesty in acknowledging sin and seeking forgiveness is very fundamental to Christianity.

I’m so thankful God provided the means to bring about forgiveness through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Many Christians are remembering that event this week. Biblical example encourages us to remember Jesus’ sacrifice every Sunday when the church meets regularly (Acts 20: 6, 7; 1 Corinthians 16: 1, 2; 11: 17-32).

One of the sermon points was that Christianity brings salvation to everyone who will accept God’s grace (Titus 2: 11-14; 2 Corinthians 6: 1, 2). Are you living under God’s grace of forgiveness and being forgiving? Does your church remember Jesus’ atonement for our forgiveness every week?