What Does it Mean to Forgive?


It May Be Different Than You Think

We Must Forgive Others; a Seemingly Impossible Task for Some:

     We are told in clear and definitive terms by Christ, and if we do not forgive people’s wrongs against us, then God the Father will not forgive us of our sins, and we will be cast out of heaven. There are over 100 verses in the scriptures that make it clear that we must forgive all but what does that mean? The ramifications of what happens when you do not forgive others is made abundantly clear in Matthew 18 when Peter asks Jesus how many times are we supposed to forgive someone who wrongs us? Jesus answers and says 70×7 times. This is a well-established Jewish idiom which means an unlimited number of times. You are to forgive endlessly and without limitations. 

     Jesus then explains what happens when you do not forgive someone their wrongs against you. He provides a parable referring to the “Kingdom of Heaven” where we are brought before the King (God the Father) to be judged. We are guilty and deserve prison (hell); however, instead of casting us out, the Lord has mercy and forgives us of our wrongs. Almost immediately, this same man who would have certainly been cast into prison except for the forgiveness and mercy shown by the Lord, refuses to forgive and show mercy to those that wronged him. After the Lord hears of the wickedness of this man, he is brought back before the Lord and declared wicked and cast into hell (a place of perpetual torment). Jesus concludes by saying, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35). 

The Bible Gives a Very Precise Meaning of Forgiveness:

    Many Christians struggle with this concept as it might seem impossible to forgive people for the wrongs they do against us personally and against others in general. What does it mean to forgive? King David alludes to the answer in a poetic manner: “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the Earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear himAs far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Ps 103:10-12). We know that the “fear of the Lord” is to hate evil, so this passage only applies to those that “hate evil” [see the “The Fear of the Lord” article and what it means to “hate evil”].   Since the east and the west can never meet, it is literally impossible for our transgressions (sins) to even be remembered. From this description, it seems that once something is forgiven, it can no longer be remembered.

     To Forgive is defined explicitly in the New Testament and we are told that God “… will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12) and “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17). The definition to forgive is therefore explicitly “to remove from memory“. Since the memory of our transgressions can never be recalled, it now starts to make sense to us when we are called “saints” after we are forgiven. As a consequence of being forgiven, we are told that we, being seen as sinless, can have the assurance that we can enter into God’s presence: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19). Remember, this only applies to those that hate evil and take up their cross and follow Jesus [see the “How do we Follow the Lord” article].

Forgiving Others Just Became Much Easier to do:

     First, remember that we all would be eternally separated from God and cast into the Lake of Fire if God did not forgive us and remove from His memory our transgressions. We are no better than anyone else on Earth. Using an extreme example, we are no better than a Muslim who just beheaded a Christian. We both were condemned to eternal separation, and only because we have accepted Christ and follow Him are we going to heaven. The Muslim who just beheaded a Christian can also go to heaven if he finds Christ and commits his life to follow Him. Our sins are no better or worse than his sins as they all lead to death. Knowing we were on the same path to hell as the Muslim in this example should make us desire with all our hearts to spread God’s Word to those that don’t know Him so that they can also come to the saving Grace and Follow our Lord. When we think of “Forgiveness” as literally “removing from memory” their transgressions, it makes it much easier to forgive someone. Simply “forget” and “never recall” what they have done.

Why Doesn’t my Bible say to Forgive is to Remove from Memory?

     Over 400 years ago, when the King James Bible was being compiled, the scribes did not have a clear understanding of the meaning of each of the root words, but more importantly, they did not understand the majority of the Greek parsings that accompanied each word. Consequently, the King James scholars completely ignored them because they didn’t understand them. Don’t get me wrong – The King James Version is an amazing translation, but the scribes didn’t go far enough because they simply couldn’t because of lack of knowledge. It took another 260 YEARS before the Greek words were separated into their root components which was published by Strong in 1890. Without identifying the root words, the meanings they assigned to words in different verses constantly varied and had less to do with the true meaning of the text.

     Not only that, but the scribes had no clear idea of what the Greek parsings were that were assigned to over 115,000 of the words (of the 140,745 total words). The purpose of the parsings is to provide text that could not be misinterpreted which then results in a crystal-clear message. Since they didn’t use the parsings, the context and meaning of the English words they assigned constantly varied between verses and that gave rise to hundreds of denominations and disagreements which fragmented Christianity we see today. Their own letter to King James clearly states their frustration and their limitations in not knowing the words and their inconsistency in the final English text, and they chalk it up to their “creative freedom or liberty.” It wasn’t until 260 years after the King James Version was compiled that the parsings of each of the 115,000 words were clarified and released in 1894 by Dr. Scrivener using upwards of 100 scholars spending decades of work on the task.

The Pure Word is a Resource All Christians Should Have!

     The Koine Greek word to forgive (aphiemi) is used 149 times in the New Testament and in each case, it would make it clearer to have the scriptures say that our sins have been “forgiven (removed from memory)” than simply “forgiven”. The Pure Word has clarified this as well as many others. The Pure Word has taken each of the 5,624 Koine Greek root words and took the single primary meaning at the time of Christ of each word and directly substituted it into each use of the same root word. In addition, the precise parsings of each of the 115,000 words that were mostly ignored by the KJV scribes and nearly all scholars since, was applied to each word. This process removed all known discrepancies and provided a clarity of meaning that was never before possible.  

     I would strongly suggest that every Christian obtain a copy of The Pure Word and use it alongside your favorite Bible version to see the original meanings and open your eyes like never before. I humbly wouldn’t even say it was a translation as verses were not “translated”, but a Pure extraction from the Greek into English using the original meaning of each root word as closely as possible as it existed at the time of Jesus Christ and the Apostles along with the original parsings applied to each word.

      The Pure Word is a Resource All Christians Should Have!

The Pure WordWatch the official intro video now and see exactly how The Pure Word is an invaluable resource that should be used by every Christian, pastor, and Bible study group. Experience the gospel as they did in the first century, during the time of Christ, the Apostles, and the birth of the Church!

This article was authored by One Path Research and appeared first here.

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