Forgiveness: Believers Forgiving One Another -- By: Paul R. Schmidtbleicher
CTSJ 4:2 (April 1998) p. 21
Believers Forgiving One Another
Chafer Theological Seminary
[*Editor's note: Paul Schmidtbleicher earned a Th.B. from William Tyndale College and Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary. Paul pastors Evergreen Baptist Church in the state of Washington and is on the National Board of Advisors of Chafer Theological Seminary.]
Forgiveness is a broad term. The Scriptures present two major subdivisions: the forgiveness of God and the personal forgiveness between individuals. Although Scripture grounds the forgiveness of one another in the forgiveness of God, personal forgiveness is the emphasis of this study. There have been volumes written on and about the forgiveness of God. Unfortunately, writers have given us much less material about personal forgiveness between believers.
People’s thinking about forgiveness seems to settle into two extremes. The first extreme becomes a wide open forgiveness where forgiveness is an overlooking of sin and sinful behavior based upon stand-alone interpretations of passages like Matthew 18–21-22 and Colossians 3:13.
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21–22)
Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do (Colossians 3:13).
The other extreme becomes a half-hearted forgiveness where believers do speak to one another, but there is no restoration of trust, interchange, or commerce like what existed before the offense. This, I believe, people base upon a defective view of forgiveness in which the offending sin of the guilty person has not been fully addressed.
This study seeks to present a balanced view on forgiveness between believers.
God’s Forgiveness: A Foundation
God’s forgiveness of the believer’s sins is a marvelous provision of eternal salvation. A believer receives the forgiveness of God for all past sins at the point of salvation. Yet, it is much different for God. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer has written:
Forgiveness on the part of one person toward another is the simplest of duties, whereas forgiveness on the part of God toward man proves the most complicated and costly of undertakings. As seen in the Bible,...
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