About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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 Forgiving Yourself


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 forgiveness. 


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). 


Biblical forgiveness, 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 our sins."


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:  


"Therefore, there 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 everything."


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?      



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