11 Important Things to Know about God’s Forgiveness

Two women embracing each other as a sign of forgiveness
As we read the biblical account, we come across several Bible verses about forgiveness. These Bible verses give us hope that God will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

In this post, we will discuss the 11 most important things to remember about God’s forgiveness in the Bible.

During the prophet Isaiah’s time, God’s people were deeply engrossed in idolatry. Even in the midst of their rebellion, God invited them to come to Him:

Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV)

Isaiah uses everyday objects like “scarlet,” “snow,” “crimson,” and “wool” to show that no one, no matter how sinful, is beyond redemption.

Isaiah portrays God as the only one capable of forgiving, cleansing, and restoring His sinful people.

Matthew Henry expresses the results of God’s pardoning mercy in these beautiful words in his commentary on Isaiah 1:18:

"Though our sins have been as scarlet and crimson, a deep dye, a double dye, first in the wool of original corruption, and afterwards in the many threads of actual transgression; though we have often dipped into sin, by many backslidings; yet pardoning mercy will take out the stain, Psalm 51:7."

The Bible teaches that God never turns away anyone who comes to Him seeking forgiveness.

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. (John 6:37 NKJV).

When we stumble and fall into sin, we should not give up because we have an advocate with the Father.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1 John 2:1 NKJV)

Having said that, let us now answer the question, “What are the 11 most important things to remember about God’s forgiveness?”

The following is a list of the 11 things to remember about God’s forgiveness:

1. God Does Not Treat Us as Our Sin Deserves

God does not treat us as we deserve.

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:10)

God does not punish us according to the severity of our sins. Instead, He is merciful to forgive us:

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (Lamentations 3:22 KJV)

For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; (Psalm 103:11)

The mercy of God always triumphs over our sins.

God’s mercy is not contingent on our performance. It is a gift of God.

2. God Initiates Forgiveness

God is the initiator of forgiveness. He demonstrated His love for us through Christ’s sacrificial death.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 KJV)

The apostle refers to this love as God’s “own” love. This implies that this love can only be found in God.

This one-of-a-kind love was bestowed upon us “while we were still sinners.” Christ died in our place while we were helpless, guilty, and undeserving.

He died for us while we were already condemned to death (Romans 6:23).

Paul writes:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

The phrase “God made Him to be sin” confirms that the forgiveness of sins is God’s initiative. Christ’s death on the cross is God’s clear demonstration of His love for us.

3. God Is Ever Ready to Forgive Our Sins

The Bible expresses God’s readiness to forgive our sins in the following words:

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13 NKJV)
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NIV)

God sincerely wants everyone to be saved for all eternity. He awaits our repentance with patience because He does not wish for anyone to perish.

He gives us the opportunity to repent and be saved from impending judgment.

The psalmist attests to God’s willingness to forgive in these words:

For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You. (Psalm 86:5 NKJV)

4. God Is Faithful to Forgive Our Sins

God is faithful in forgiving sins.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NKJV)

We must confess our sins to God if we are to be set free from the grip of sin.

The life of David perfectly illustrates God’s willingness to forgive sins. David remorsefully repented to God for his heinous sins of adultery and murder. He prayed:

I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord "; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. (Psalm 32:5 NAS)

God forgave David because of his genuine remorse and repentance.

Numbers 14 shows God’s willingness to forgive sins. Moses is seen here interceding for the children of Israel. He pleads with God for mercy and forgiveness on behalf of his people.

Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; (Numbers 14:19-20 NKJV)

God forgives them because He is faithful.

5. God May Delay Judgment for the Righteous Sake

The Lord may delay or reverse His previously pronounced judgment against His people.

When God’s people have a change of heart, as in the case of Nineveh, he revokes the decreed judgment.

God may sometimes postpone or abandon visiting judgment on people because of the righteous few.

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” (Genesis 18:32 NIV)

God forgives His people when they repent and turn away from their evil ways.

6. God Abundantly Pardons Our Sins

Sin is a barrier that separates us from God. Regardless of our sin or how evil our intentions are, God’s forgiveness is limitless. God’s heart overflows with compassion and love for the penitent.

Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7 KJV)

For the wicked to abandon his way, he must first examine his heart, admit that his way is evil, and then abandon his evil purpose and seek the Lord. He must seek God’s mercy, as well as help and reconciliation.

Our sins are nothing compared to God’s mercy, which is infinitely greater and more abundant. God’s promise to forgive all kinds of sins is certain. The apostle Paul writes:

Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more (Romans 5:20 NKJV)

7. God’s Forgiveness Is Free

Forgiveness is a free gift because Christ paid for it through his sacrificial death. The Bible teaches that God “spared not His own die” in Romans 8:32.

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32 NKJV)

This language and figure alludes to Abraham’s act in Genesis of not withholding his son from God and teaches us that:

  • God’s forgiveness is unconditionally given to the penitent.
  • God wants us to be free of the bonds of sin.
  • God’s forgiveness is meant to bless and restore all humanity, not just the chosen.

Christ is the guarantee of God’s willingness to restore us to Himself. God subjected Christ to humiliation and, ultimately, death in order to redeem us.

The greatest gift is God’s son’s sacrificial death. This gift comes with additional blessings, but they are secondary to Christ, the greatest gift of all.

8. The Goal of God’s Forgiveness Is to Save

The forgiveness of God leads to repentance and salvation. God does not want anyone to perish:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV)

The end goal of forgiveness is to lead to eternal life.

Forgiveness occurs when God settles and cancels the debt of our sin. The scriptures testify:

He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot.(Micah 7:19 ESV)

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 38:16 ESV)

There is no salvation apart from forgiveness. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we receive forgiveness and salvation.

9. God Forgives out of Compassion

God forgives out of compassion, just as the father in the biblical parable of the prodigal son had compassion on his wayward son.

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 NKJV)
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. (Luke 15:22-24 NKJV)

While parental love has flaws, God’s love and compassion have none. We read:

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. (Isaiah 49:15 ESV)

10. God’s Extends Forgiveness to All People

God forgives all who receive Christ by faith and repent of their sins. God does not favor or discriminate against anyone.

For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:8 ESV)

God is impartial in His dealings with sinners. He doesn’t change the way men do..

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: (Acts 10:34 KJV)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17 NKJV)

11. God’s Forgiveness Knows No Bounds

We were taught in kindergarten that God’s love and forgiveness are as vast as the oceans and as deep as the ocean depths. But God’s love is far greater and deeper than oceans and seas. God’s forgiveness is infinite.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;(Psalm 103:11 NKJV)

Final Thoughts

In this post, we attempted to answer the question, “What are the 11 most important things to remember about God’s forgiveness?”

We learned that God does not treat us as we deserve, that He is the one who initiates forgiveness, and that He is always ready to forgive our sins.

We’ve also discovered that He is faithful in forgiving our sins and that He sometimes delays judgment to give us time to repent.

We’ve also discovered that God’s forgiveness is abundant and free, and it eventually leads to salvation. God forgives out of love and extends that love to everyone.

Finally, we’ve discovered that God’s forgiveness knows no bounds, which is why He promises to cast our sins into the sea of forgetfulness:

He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19 NKJV)

Remember that God’s forgiveness “makes us alive together with Christ.”

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Colossians 2:13 NKJV)

Prayer for Forgiveness

I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah(Psalm 32:5 NKJV)

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