About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
I sometimes hear
Christians saying that they need to forgive themselves.
I believe self-forgiveness is more of a product of New Age thinking
than it is a product of Biblical truth.
If you believe self-forgiveness is the process by which you rid
yourself of unwanted feelings associated with guilt and condemnation, as
many believe, then consider what I believe is the meaning of Biblical
The Greek word
"aphiemi" is translated as "forgive" in our English
Bible. This word was often
used as a financial term in the first-century, Greco-Roman, business world
that meant the cancelation of a monetary debt.
Similar to that financial debt, God views our sin as a debt owed to
Him. That is why Jesus, in
what we call the Lord's Prayer, told His followers to ask God to forgive
their debts (Matthew 6:12).
then, is the process by which God has cancelled, or deleted, the record of
our debt of sin from His heavenly accounting system.
Biblical forgiveness is not the process by which we are relieved of
bothersome feelings associated with guilt and condemnation.
To be Biblically
accurate, the Bible never tells us to forgive ourselves.
Instead, among other Scriptures, Colossians 2:13 tells us that God
has forgiven, cancelled, or deleted, all of the believer's sins.
"When you were dead
in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive
with Christ. He forgave us all
Furthermore, Romans 8:1
states that the born-again of the Spirit believer is not under any
pronouncement of condemnation by God.
That verse reads:
is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus ..."
If you are a born-again
of the Spirit believer, all of your past, present, and future sins, have
been forgiven, cancelled, or, deleted, from the heavenly record.
Your name has been written in the Lamb's Book of Life where there
is absolutely no sin associated with your name.
You stand before God, the Eternal Judge of all things, as being
judicially innocent of all charges that were once held against you.
Despite any bothersome feelings associated with guilt and
condemnation you may have, those feelings are irrelevant to the facts of
your forgiven state of being.
Guilt, as defined in
Biblical terms, is not a feeling. It
is the position in which you stand before God, the Judge.
If God has declared you innocent, innocent you are, no matter how
you feel. This is the meaning
of 1 John 3:20, which says:
"If our hearts
condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows
My heart stopped
condemning me in February 1970. It
was then when I began to understand forgiveness from God's perspective,
and not from my own Biblically illiterate perspective, and certainly not
from our unbiblical, New Age, cultural perspective.
I thank Jesus that my name has been written in the Lamb's Book of
Life where there is no sin associated with my name.
I stand before God as being innocent.
This heart-felt Biblical conviction has set me free of all the
bothersome feelings associated with guilt and condemnation that burdened
me throughout my youth. I have
no compulsion to forgive myself. How
can I logically forgive, or cancel, sin from my own mind when God has
already cancelled, or deleted, my sin from His mind?