Last week, we talked about what forgiveness meant. To recap, forgiveness, simply put, is releasing someone from their debt. Jesus demonstrated this principle to the fullest extent when He released believerʼs debt of sin by dying on the cross.
People sin. That sin separates them from having a relationship with God, because He is holy. Because of that sin, there is no way that anyone could earn their way to heaven. No matter how “perfect” a person may seem, even one sin, perhaps an impure thought or selfish action, will prevent them from being able to earn their way to heaven. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”
In order for the relationship between God and man to be restored, someone had to pay the debt of sin – which is death. Romans 6:23 explains this further, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This debt has to be paid by someone who had never sinned and who could handle the enormous weight of the worldʼs sins. There was only one person qualified for this near impossible job – Jesus. Philippians 2:7-8 talks about what Christ did so that the world could be saved, “but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”
When it comes to forgiveness as a believer, Jesus set the standard for forgiveness because he paid the ultimate price; through him, people can have a personal relationship with God and have their penalty for sin removed. Christ paid off the worldʼs debts with an attitude of love and humility. Believers, in return, should be able to forgive the debts of offenses against them which fade in the comparison to what Jesus withstood.