In my last article I spoke about forgiveness being simply the canceling
of the debt of sin. I derive this definition from the Greek word that is
translated as forgive in the New Testament. So I now ask, "what does
it mean to cancel someoneís debt of sin"?
To cancel someoneís sin is to "not hold them accountable for
their sin". It is clear that when God forgives us of our sins after
we repent, He no longer holds us accountable for that sin. That sin is
removed from our lives in His eyes, and come the day of judgment we will
not be judged for it. That sin is cancelled and will not be found in Godís
The same should apply to us when we cancel a debt of sin directed out
way. We should no longer judge that person for the wrong. We should not
hold that sin against them. We should act as if that person had never
sinned against us in the first place. This is what the N. T. calls
"justification". Upon repentance God justifies us. Upon
repentance we should also justify a person who sins against us.
As I said in my last article, we are representatives of Jesus on earth.
He has given us the authority to act in His place to pronounce both
personal forgiveness and Godís forgiveness. This is what forgiveness
really mean. It has little to do with any negative feelings or emotions we
have against the person who sins against us.
Negative feelings are another issue altogether, although they are
associated with the offence of the one sinning against us. As Christians,
we are obligated to love others whether they sin against us or not, or
whether they repent or not. Love is not conditional upon repentance.
Forgiveness is conditional upon repentance. So if we have any negative
feelings against a sinning person, we need to allow Jesus to deal with
these feelings whether the sinning person repents or not.
The distinction between canceling the debt of sin and negative feelings
associated with the sinner has become much clearer to me than ever. Maybe
this will help you in your pursuit to understand these basic issues of our