Keys to Forgiveness


Receiving forgiveness from God


Jesus is the incarnate mercy of God.You can receive Him by responding to the gospel.Part of obeying the gospel is to


  1. Forgive others
  2. Seek forgiveness from other whom you have sinned against.


This document provides scriptural instructions on both of these topics.


Forgiving others

Why forgive?

In order to believe the Gospel, you must be convicted of your own sin.This helps you forgive others.People tend to focus on other peopleís sin, instead of focusing on their own guilt (see 2 Samuel 12 below).This can be a type of hypocritical judging.The gospel message puts the focus back on the only person you can change:You.



††††††††† Matthew 6:12

††††††††† And forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.


Read Godís Law in the Pentateuch.Note that every transgression you ever made of His moral law, He had to bear the pain for it on the cross.He also bore that pain that you bear from the person you have not forgiven. Why are you trying to bear it?You canít.Let Him.Believe and be free.



Some sit around trying real hard to forgive others.However, the ability to forgive others from your heart is one of the many positive side effects of obeying the gospel.Through obeying the gospel, anyone can achieve a level of spiritual understanding that is mutually exclusive to harboring un-forgiveness.This document explains how that works.If you are not following the gospel, it may not make sense to you.Either way, here goes:


John 20:20‑28

20††††† After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21††††† Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."

22††††† And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

23††††† If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

24††††† Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.

25††††† So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."

26††††† A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"

27††††† Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

28††††† Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"(NIV)


Thomas believed when he saw the price that Christ paid.When you realize your part in the piercing of Jesus, and the fact that He even singles you out to give you another chance to believe, it becomes more difficult to stop the flow of forgiveness.


Matt 6:11-15

11††††† Give us today our daily bread.

12††††† Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13††††† And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'

14††††† For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

15††††† But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.(NIV)


Christ in you will not stop letting His blood flow to others through you, covering their sins as He did yours.


1 Pet 4:8

8††††††† Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.(NIV)


Jesus is love, and therefore the source from which comes your ability to love and forgive as He does.In fact, Jesus is the one alive in you who perform these and all other miracles through you.


Luke 7:47

47††††† Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-- for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."(NIV)


Let Him live in you and your flesh will die.


Matt 18:15-35

15††††† "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

16††††† But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'

17††††† If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

18††††† "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

19††††† "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.

20††††† For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

21††††† Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

22††††† Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23††††† "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

24††††† As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

25††††† Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26††††† "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.'

27††††† The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28††††† "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

29††††† "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'

30††††† "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.

31††††† When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32††††† "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.

33††††† Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?'

34††††† In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35††††† "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."(NIV)


Is there someone you havenít forgiven?Donít bother trying to hear God.Just study forgiveness in the Bible, and ask God to show you how much He has forgiven you.


2 Samuel 12
Nathan Rebukes David
1 The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 "Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him."
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity."
7 Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! This is what the LORD , the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over
Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.'
11 "This is what the LORD says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all
Israel.' "
13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD ."
Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, [1] the son born to you will die."
15 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill.




Seeking forgiveness from others


Luke 19
7All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner.' "
8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."
9Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.


James 5:16

16††††† Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.(NIV)


Return to's home page.