Paul used David as a witness in Romans 4:7-8, quoting from one of David’s psalms of confession after his terrible sin with Bathsheba (Ps. 32:1–2). David made two amazing statements:
- God forgives sins and imputes righteousness apart from works.
- God does not impute our sins. In other words, once we are justified, our record contains the Messiah’s perfect righteousness and can never again contain our sins.
The followers of Jesus do sin, and these sins need to be forgiven if we are to have fellowship with God; but these sins are not held against us. God does keep a record of our works, so that He might reward us when Jesus comes; but He is not keeping a record of our sins.
- Psalm 32:1–2 (NASB) — 1 How happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! 2 How happy is the man to whom the Master does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
- Romans 4:7–8 — 7 “Happy are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. 8 “Happy is the man whose sin the Master will not take into account.”
- Revelation 22:14 — 14 Happy are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.
I miss God’s goal (aka sin). There is a penalty for that. Unless … I am forgiven.
So there is great news! Forgiveness in the Bible is a “release” or a “dismissal” of something. The forgiveness I have in the Messiah involves the release from God’s just penalty and the complete dismissal of all charges against me. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in the Messiah Jesus.” (Romans 8:1).
True love is forgiving: God loves me so He forgives me for missing His goal for my life. Jesus paid the penalty for me. Colossians 1:14 says that in God’s beloved Son “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” The Amplified Bible translates the last phrase like this: “the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty].” God’s gracious forgiveness of my sin is to be the measure of my gracious forgiveness of others.
- Romans 5:8 — But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, the Messiah died for us.
- 1 Corinthians 13:4–5 — Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.
- Psalm 86:5 — For You, Master, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in loving kindness to all who call upon You.
- Psalm 130:3–4 — If You, Master, should mark iniquities, O Master, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
- Daniel 9:9 — “To the Master our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him.”
- Micah 7:18 — 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.
- Acts 13:38 — “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.”
- Romans 15:7 — Therefore, accept one another, just as the Messiah also accepted us to the glory of God.
- 2 Corinthians 2:5–11 — But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree—in order not to say too much—to all of you. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of the Messiah, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
- Ephesians 4:32 — Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in the Messiah also has forgiven you.
- Colossians 3:13 — Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Master forgave you, so also should you.