Forgiveness is a theme that runs through the Old Testament. Sometimes, forgiveness is about reaching out to those who have wronged us. Sometimes it’s about releasing someone from a debt or obligation. But it always involves letting go of resentment so that bitterness doesn’t consume us and poison our hearts. As with any important lesson, there are times we need to be forgiven ourselves. The Bible contains many examples where God has graciously extended forgiveness to his people despite their shortcomings and failures
Forgiveness is a common topic in our society today. It comes up often in conversation and can be seen in many different forms and however we may choose to describe it, forgiveness is a practice to be embraced by all. The Bible’s Old Testament teaches us that forgiveness is an integral part of God’s plan for man, as well as mankind’s relationship with Him and other human beings.
The nature and essence of God’s forgiveness
Sometimes we need to be reminded of God’s promise for the forgiveness of sins.
Here are a few Old Testament scriptures that reveal the heart of God in dealing with His people. All of these ancient texts point us ultimately to Jesus whose very purpose on the earth was to “save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) This same truth is also found in the book of Hebrews, “But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:26)
The Apostle Peter tells us how we can experience this forgiveness, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)
So if we repent of our sins, confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord. (Romans 10:9-10) We can stand on God’s promise for the forgiveness of sins.
My prayer is that God’s word will fill our heart, heal our souls, wash our minds and renew our strength as we meditate on the wonderful nature of God’s forgiveness as revealed in the Old Testament.
How does God forgive us of our sins?
1. God’s forgiveness is cleansing in nature.
“…on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.” – Leviticus 16:30
2. God’s forgiveness pardons sinners.
“In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” The LORD replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth.” – Numbers 14:19-21
3. God hides our sins and does not hold them against us.
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. – Psalm 32:1-2
4. God forgiveness is purifying at its core.
“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin…Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” – Psalm 51: 2; 7
5. God forgiveness is infinite in nature.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever, he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:8-12
6. God’s forgiveness is redemptive in character.
“Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” – Psalm 130:7-8
7. God’s forgiveness is transformational.
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. – Isaiah 1:18
8. God moves our sins out of His sight.
“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” – Isaiah 38:17
9. God chooses not to remember our sins anymore.
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” – Isaiah 43:25
10. God dissipates our sins forever.
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” – Isaiah 44:22
Special note: “Nothing can more strikingly represent sin in its nature and consequences, than a dense, dark, frowning cloud that comes over the heavens, and shuts out the sun, and fills the air with gloom; and nothing can more beautifully represent the nature and effect of pardon than the idea of removing such a cloud, and leaving the sky pure, the air calm and serene, and the sun pouring down his beams of warmth and light on the earth. So the soul of the sinner is enveloped and overshadowed with a dense cloud, but pardon dissipates that cloud, and it is calm and joyful, and serene.” –Albert Barnes
11. God’s forgiveness is ultimately substitutionary.
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53:6
12. God’s forgiveness gives us a right standing before with HIm.
“After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge, my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” – Isaiah 53:11
13. God’s forgiveness does not dredge up our sins anymore.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” – Jeremiah 31:34
14. God’s forgiveness washes away all of our sins.
“I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me.” – Jeremiah 33:8
15. God’s cleansing forgiveness is restorative.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt.” - Ezekiel 36:33
16. God’s forgiveness is merciful in essence.
“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.” -Daniel 9:9
17. God’s forgiveness is profoundly freeing and utterly complete.
“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. – Micah 7:18-19
18. God’s forgiveness removes our sins to replace them with His blessings.
“See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” – Zechariah 3:4
Forgiven for Fellowship
“Forgiveness is essentially God’s way of removing the great obstacle to our fellowship with him. By canceling our sin and paying for it with the death of his own Son, God opens the way for us to see him and know him and enjoy him forever. Seeing and savoring him is the goal of forgiveness. Soul-satisfying fellowship with our Father is the aim of the cross.” — John Piper
May the love of the Father, the work of the Son and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be sweeter, stronger and more satisfying to you as you let the word of God work deep in your soul! Reminding you that you are HIS and you are richly forgiven by HIM.