Forgiveness comes from God
Repentance and Forgiveness
As Yeshua hung on the cross the last thing He did in His ministry before going to the tomb was - He forgave. [Luke 23:34] The Son dying in our place was the biggest act of forgiveness He had given to the world. [John 3:15-17] He had forgiven before; He had forgiven Adam and Eve so that mankind could be given another chance. He forgave Cain by allowing him to live and He gave us all another chance by allowing Noah and his family to survive the flood. [Genesis 7:13] God had even created a sacrifice system to give temporary entry to the Holy of Holies by the High Priest, where he could make atonement for the people for another year. [Hebrews 10:11]
But these sacrifices that were given at the Temple were nothing compared to what was to come. [1 Corinthians 5:7] People did ask God for forgiveness, David confessed: “Against you only God have I sinned” and then asked God to create a new spirit within him. [Psalm 51:1-4] A true act of placing one’s self at the mercy of the Father. Solomon went the way God had warned the people of in the time of Samuel [1 Samuel 8:10-17] and finally wrote vanity, vanity all is but vanity, [Ecclesiastes 12:8] showing he greatly regretted the path he had taken through life and was crying out for forgiveness because nothing he had tried had worked. He had power, [1 Kings 2:12] he had riches, [2 Chronicles 1:11] he could do anything he wanted to do but in the end it meant nothing. Had he asked forgiveness of all those women he had enslaved? [1 Kings 11:3] had he repented of going against the will of God? By his words in the book of Ecclesiastes it seems not. If he had there would be joy in the forgiveness he had received and not the sorrow he wrote of.
The people in the time of Moses sinned and came close to total destruction several times, only with Moses pleading with the Lord were they saved. [Exodus 32:11-14] When Moses said “Who is for God”, [Exodus ] in other words who repents, “Come over to me”. The Levites stepped forward, yes the priests of the Lord. [Exodus 32:25] They went on to have a mighty role in the plan of God because they were prepared to step forward and be counted. [1 Chronicles 6:48]
Many times the Lord has warned the people to repent and turn from their wicked ways and He would forgive them and heal their land. [2 Chronicles 7:14] But how can one repent without also asking for forgiveness for their actions? It is not possible, they go together like the old song says; like a horse and carriage. But if we ask for forgiveness then we too have to forgive. In Leviticus 19:18 it tells the Israelites to love their neighbours and never to bear a grudge, therefore it stands to reason they are to be loved in return. This can only happen if each forgives the trespasses against them done by other people. [Matthew 6:12] There can only be true peace between people if we forgive, as commanded by God Himself. As someone once said, to forgive is to be divine and how more divine could it be for Yeshua as He hung on the cross to forgive.
Nothing done before the Lord hung on the cross could give the people permanent release from their sins, so the Lord had to do something that had never been done before, He had to take the place and the punishment of the people. Now this is forgiveness at the most extreme. If God can forgive us for all the crimes we have committed against the Creator of the Universe and all that is in it, If He can forgive for all the things we have done and what we deserve, because of those acts of rebellion, surely we can forgive the little that is done to us in comparison. In all things God has not only been our guide He is also our example. Our Lord Yeshua never said to do anything that He Himself was not prepared to do, from loving the Father with all His strength [Matthew 26:42] to forgiving those who nailed Him to the cross.
Can we do any less? We must repent as Yeshua commanded and we must forgive. Repentance allows God to forgive us and releases us to move forward and to forgive others can allow them to move forward. But forgiveness can also allow us to move forward with our lives with a joy in our step and a song in our heart. The Word tells us for every sinner that repents there is rejoicing in heaven, [Luke 15:7] for every person we forgive who may sin against us just may bring them that much closer to repentance and a joy that they never thought possible. Just as we can rejoice knowing that through Yeshua on the cross we are also forgiven which allows us to have clean hands and a pure heart.
The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Psalm 24:1-5