Bible Verses About Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a common theme running throughout the entire Bible. In fact, the words forgive and forgiveness appear 134 times within the Old and New Testaments (NASB).
There is no doubt that we serve a God of great forgiveness – a God willing to sacrifice His only Son in order to redeem lost sinners. The overwhelming, undeserved forgiveness that we’ve received from Him can and should guide the course of our lives.
But what does God’s forgiveness toward us really look like? And what does that forgiveness mean for how we should live now? In this post we address these questions, providing just some of the many Bible verses that teach us about forgiveness.
WHAT DOES GOD’S FORGIVENESS LOOK LIKE?
God’s forgiveness is freely given. Because we are sinners by nature, there is nothing we can do to be worthy of it. Yet He made a way for us to be reconciled to Him. All we must do is repent of our sin and accept the free gift that He provides.
It is also permanent. Once our sins are forgiven, our slate is wiped clean. We don’t have to worry about God holding anything over our heads. While it may be in our nature to retain past hurts and bitterness, it is not in God’s.
It is unlimited. God’s forgiveness is not in short supply; it will not run out, and our sin will never be too much for Him. As we repent, He continually extends forgiveness toward us.
5 Bible verses about God’s forgiveness:
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:12-13)
“Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you…” (Isaiah 30:18)
“Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.” (Micah 7:18)
“But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR HOW WE LIVE OUR LIVES?
If we’ve accepted God’s offer of forgiveness and have been saved by the death of His Son, our sins have been washed clean. But now what? How should this gift of mercy change the way that we live today?
A life of freedom and holiness
Firstly, forgiveness means that we are released from sin and shame. This means that we no longer have to bear the guilt of our past mistakes; we are made righteous in God’s eyes.
But we are not forgiven simply to keep on sinning, disregarding the consequences. Instead, because of our newfound freedom we can pursue righteousness without being held back by the sins that once controlled us. Once forgiven, we’re commanded to “go and sin no more”.
5 Bible verses about our call to freedom and holiness:
“Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord’. And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on, sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)
“Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.” (Romans 6:6)
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.” (1 Peter 1:15)
A life empowered to forgive
God, in His perfect righteousness, has every right to condemn us for our sins. Nothing we can ever do will make us worthy of mercy. But He extends forgiveness anyway.
In the same way, we – who are nowhere near perfect – must be willing to forgive others. We cannot accept undeserved forgiveness from our Father while subsequently withholding it from those around us.
But showing forgiveness can be challenging. Thankfully, God is the one who empowers us to do so. We must ask Him to help us show mercy to the ones who have hurt us, because He will!
5 Bible verses about our call to forgiveness:
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
“Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” (Matthew 18:21-22)
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
As these verses have illustrated, the gift of salvation is free and ready for the taking. All that’s required of you is to recognize Jesus as your Savior and to ask Him to forgive your sins.
As believers, we have access to continual forgiveness from God if only we repent. Through the power of Christ working in us, we are equipped to live lives characterized by freedom and holiness.
Because of the forgiveness we’ve received, we are now charged with forgiving others. God will come alongside us and help us in this, if we simply surrender our anger and bitterness over to Him. The forgiveness found in Him truly has the power to transform our lives.