God is Ready to Forgive

Psalm 86:5 – You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call upon you. 


  1. Let us start this difficult topic on forgiveness with a summary thought that we will need to carry with us for three weeks. Forgiveness, at the end of the day, puts the amazing power of the Gospel on display. Repeat
  2. For three weeks we will be working with the theme – forgiveness. This is a difficult yet necessary topic for Christians to address.
  3. Here is a general definition of forgiveness: Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, let’s go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, renounces payment from or punishment of the offender, however legally or morally justified it might be, and with an increased ability to wish the offender well.[i]
    1. Forgiveness is different from condoning (which means — failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness),
    1. Forgiveness is different from excusing (which means–not holding the offender as responsible for the action),
    1. Forgiveness is different from forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness),
    1. Forgiveness is different from pardoning (granted for an acknowledged offense by a representative of society, such as a judge),
    1. Forgiveness is different from reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).
  4. Defining Christian forgiveness is done with words and actions. The word “forgive” is a grace word in the English, as well as the Greek, meaning “to give or to grant.” The meaning is “to remit a debt, to give up resentment or claim for requital, or to pardon an offense.”
  5. Christian forgiveness also encompasses action. Our confession with God involves us seeing our sins as God sees it, bringing God’s forgiveness. When we sin against others, we sin against God. For this reason, we ask God to forgive us of our sins, but we must also forgive others.
    1. Please remember that the word “sin” means in the original translations of the Bible, means “to miss the mark.” The mark, in this case, is the standard of perfection established by God and evidenced by Jesus.
    1. Viewed in that light, it is clear that we are all sinners.
  6. Pause
  7. Lord’s prayer Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen
  8. Forgiveness, at the end of the day, puts the amazing power of the Gospel on display
  9. Have you ever had a relationship with someone you really care about end because the person was not willing to forgive a wrong that you caused?
    1. It’s painful.
    1. You want the relationship.
    1. You reach out and apologize and ask forgiveness, but the person holds on to the grudge, and the relationship dies.
  10. Just think; it could have been that way with God.  God could have said, “Sorry, you’ve sinned against me. You’ve ignored me. You’ve disobeyed my commands. I’ve had it with you. I will never forgive you.”
    1. And when Judgment Day comes, as it surely will, you could stand before God guilty.
    1. God would hold you accountable for every way that you have fallen short of loving him and other people, and you would be condemned forever.
  11. But thankfully, that is not the way it is with God. If we meet God’s conditions, he is willing to forgive.
    1. Our Scripture for this morning from Psalm 86:5 says, “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” (Repeat this)
  12. J. K. Grider writes in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology: “No book of religion except the Bible teaches that God completely forgives sin.”
  13. That’s why the Bible is good news, why it is Gospel.
  14. We believe that God completely forgives sins. And we need complete, not partial, forgiveness.
  15. There are so many obstacles for forgiveness to be successful: For example:
    1. Emotions: The person who is wronged can feel ongoing resentment, anger, and bitterness.
    1. Punishment: The person who is wronged will often want to retaliate, to exact vengeance.
    1. Recompense: The person who is wronged may have a legitimate claim that the wrongdoer should make things right by correcting the harm done.
      1. If the resident of a college dorm, for example, broke or stole something from a roommate, the offender obviously ought to pay it back.
    1. Favor: The person who is wronged not only needs to let go of negative emotions, but also to return to positive feelings of favor and enjoyment of the relationship.
    1. Remembrance: People who are wronged need to let go of the desire to remember the wrong. If it comes to mind, they must choose to turn away from the memory. They must refuse to talk about it ever again or to use it against the other as a weapon in arguments.
  16. With all these potential obstacles, it is no wonder that broken relationships do not mend easily. Emotions, punishment, recompense, favor, remembrance
  17. All these factors come into play when we want to mend our relationship with God.
  18. But, because God is love, God has made a way to forgive us. God wants to restore the relationship. God does not want to condemn us. And so, God sent his Son Jesus Christ to the earth to become a man, to live a perfectly righteous life and then to die as a substitute for our sins, thus making a way for us to receive his forgiveness.
  19. In Ephesians 1:7 “In Jesus we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace”.
    1. God made a way to forgive us because he loves us (John 3:16).
  20. When God—in love—forgives you because of your faith in Jesus Christ, God solves each of the five problems noted above that come with broken relationships and laws: list them again
  21. In his essay On Forgiveness, C.S. Lewis picks up on how Christ’s forgiveness sets the tone for our own posture towards others:
    1. Only, by remembering where we stand and give meaning to our words when we say in our prayers each night, “Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what he says.
  22. Lewis boils it down to a straightforward yet difficult truth: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
  23. Pause
  24. Forgiveness, at the end of the day, puts the amazing power of the Gospel on display.
  25. Jesus perfectly portrays God’s readiness to forgive in his portrayal of the gracious father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son:
  26. “17 But when [the prodigal son] came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:17–24 ESV)
    1. In this parable, Jesus clearly means that God is seeking us to return to God.
    1. Our Father in heaven is not reluctant to forgive us, but ready, willing, and able through Jesus to joyfully welcome us home.
  27. But pride makes fallen people slow or unwilling to forgive others who wrong them.
  28. Because of his great love, God wants to forgive sinners. But as Scripture says — they come to him through faith in the death on the Cross of the Jesus Christ.
  29. Pause
  30. Botham Jean was killed by Amber Guy-ger. The off-duty police officer walked into what she believed to her apartment and shot Botham. By now, many have seen the heart-wrenching story of Botham’s brother (Brandt) delivering a courtroom speech of love. He forgave Amber Guy-ger.
  31. He overflowed with the love of God.
  32. While this act of forgiveness is shocking to the world, it has been the centerpiece of the Christian faith for 2,000 years. When Christians are actually living out the truths of the Gospel, they show the world a better way.
  33. Brandt, who understood the heart and life of his brother Botham more so than anyone else, exhorts the world towards the radical nature of gospel forgiveness.
    1. While he has forgiven her, she still has to face the consequences.
  34. Forgiveness, at the end of the day, puts the amazing power of the gospel on display.
  35. Brandt’s act of forgiveness was a moment of immense personal strength and Christ-like character. But we often magnify these gestures because we desire neat, tidy endings that help us make sense of tragic circumstances.
    1. We are real people who feel the full range of pain, anger, sadness, hope, forgiveness, and love.
  36. Brandt forgave Amber. It reminds us of who Jesus is, who we are in Christ, and points the world to a different way.
  37. Forgiveness, at the end of the day, puts the amazing power of the Gospel on display.
  38. Thanks be to God!

[i] Wikipedia