Asking Forgiveness

Matt. 18:21,22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

(It is good that Peter denying the Lord is never mentioned by anyone after Peter asks forgiveness.)

The entire chapter is talking about forgiveness, so read the entire chapter for the complete story.


I.   Matt. 6:5-15 (12-15) - Our part in sin and forgiveness.

A.     If we don’t forgive those that trespass against us, God will not forgive us of our sins against Him.

1.       This doesn’t mean we will be lost, it means we will lose our fellowship with God because we cease to have the mind of Christ because we have the mind of the world.

2.       We will be thinking of our grudge not the goodness of God toward us and them.

3.       There is no fellowship between the world and God.

4.       There is no fellowship between us and God if we have the mind of the world.

B.     Forgiveness does not mean the other person will not have to pay the consequences of their actions.

1.       You can forgive the criminal, and the government can still punish him.

2.       Forgiveness means that you won’t have to pay the consequences of your not forgiving.

3.       Forgiveness is not for the person who offended you.

4.       Forgiveness is for you.

5.       “I forgive you” means “I no longer hold this grudge against you, instead I turn our case over to the righteous judge, Jesus Christ, who knows all the secrets of all the hearts.”

6.       “He will judge both you and me righteously.”

C.     What if they don't ask?

1.       If they don’t ask, that is their problem, not mine.

a.       I shouldn’t make their problem my problem.

b.       I must still be in a "heart attitude" to forgive them anyway.

c.       If I don’t have the proper “heart attitude”, I will be suffering equal to, if not more than they are.

2.       What if they don't mean it?

a.       I must still forgive them just like they did mean it.

b.       I cannot control them or their intentions.

c.       I have enough trouble controlling myself.

D.     Col. 3:12-15 - Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

1.       If you don’t forgive those that offend you, you will never have any peace with God, or them.

2.       It is not whether they deserve to be forgiven, God commands you to forgive.

3.       It is not whether they ask to be forgiven, God commands us to forgive.

4.       Jesus said in Matt. 5:43-48 that Christians should:

a.       love your enemies,

b.       bless them that curse you,

c.       do good to them that hate you, and

d.       pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.

e.       If we would do what God commands us to do, our attitude toward our enemies will change.

f.        It is impossible to pray for your enemies without loving them.

5.       Ps. 51:4 - David said, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:…” 

a.       Remember that sin is against God, trespasses are against people.

b.       We can and do sin against God when we don’t follow His commandments.

c.       Some of His commandments demand that we not hold grudges against anybody!  (Even our “enemies”)


II.   God’s part in sin and forgiveness.

A.     Rom. 12:19 - We must remember that “Vengeance is mine; I will repay”.

1.       Read these verses beginning with Romans 12:9-21.

2.       Romans 12:14 - Paul commanded that Christians would “Bless them that persecute you: bless and curse not.”

3.       Our attitude when our enemies are judged of God.

a.       Prov. 24:29 - Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.

b.       Matthew 7:12 – Remember the “Golden Rule.”

c.       Proverbs 24:17-20 - Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18  Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him. 19  Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; 20  For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

d.       Romans 12:21 – “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” 

B.     Sin must and will be paid for.  Whether it is our sins or the sins of our enemies.  Example:

1.       Gal. 6:7-10 - Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.

a.       You still must reap what you sow.

b.       Even if you have been forgiven!

c.       We will also pay if we don’t forgive when God commands that we should.

C.     The criminal must still pay for their crime before God Almighty, whether or not they pay before man.


III.   Forgiving and Trusting.

A.     There is a difference between forgiving and trusting.

1.       I can and must forgive immediately.

2.       They must then earn my trust by continually doing those things necessary to earn it.

B.     Examples of those we can never trust.

1.       Jesus makes it clear that there are those that we cannot trust.  This type of person, we should avoid because they are out to hurt us.

a.       Matt. 7:15 - Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

b.       Luke 20:46 - Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;

2.       Paul makes it clear that there are those we cannot trust.

a.       Phil. 3:2 - Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

b.       Col. 2:8 - Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

c.       I Tim. 1:20 - Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

d.       II Tim. 4:14 - Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:

3.       Examples of those who were forgiven, then earned trust.

a.       Peter was forgiven for denying Christ, and it was never mentioned again.  God used Peter to write some books of the Bible.

b.       Paul was before a blasphemer, but was forgiven, then earned the trust and respect of all believers.