Why Does the Bible Encourage Us to Forgive Others?

We Can Extend Grace to Another Person Based on the Shed Blood of Jesus

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Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).

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If God is the only one who has the authority and power to forgive sins, why does the Bible encourage us to forgive others? That is a good question to think through. In forgiving our sins, God did much more than speak forgiveness into our lives. He sent Jesus to die in our place, to shed his blood for our sins. That was a must. Forgiveness is always contingent on the shedding of blood.

In that sacrifice, he removed our sins, placed them on himself, suffered the punishment for them, sent them away, and then chose to remember them no more. How can we do that? Even if we died for someone else, would our blood be sufficient to take that person’s sin away? The answer is a resounding no. We can’t do for another person what Jesus Christ did for us.

We can, however, extend grace to another person based on the shed blood of Jesus. This is the nature of Paul’s encouragement to the believers in Ephesus and Colossae and to us. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). To the Colossians he wrote, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

To forgive is to willingly extend kindness and favor to another person. Normally we demand that others come back to us on their knees and ask for mercy before we respond in kindness. That’s not the way Christ forgave us. He took the initiative. God’s provision always precedes our need. His provision effects change in us.

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In kindness, we reach out to those who have offended or wronged us, seventy times seven. We do so on the basis of Christ’s shed blood. The Holy Spirit works this measure of grace into our hearts and empowers us to choose not to count people’s wrongs against them. Our forgiveness of others reflects the forgiveness we have in Christ.

In Him,


Bob Christopher

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