The Forgiveness of Sins

The Bible teaches that there is only one name under heaven whereby we can be saved and that name is Jesus Christ. Speaking to the Jewish Sanhedrin Council, the apostle Peter declared:

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Acts 4:11-12

The Council commanded Peter and the other apostles not to preach about Jesus, but we read in the next chapter they were arrested for doing just that. After a miraculous release from prison, they continued to speak about Jesus. Peter explained to them why they had disobeyed their instruction:

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 5:29-31

The apostle Paul also emphasized the importance of what Jesus accomplished by his death. Firstly, speaking in a synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia on his first missionary journey with Barnabas, he told his largely Jewish audience:

Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man (Jesus) forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

Acts 13:38-39

Paul also began his letters to the churches at Ephesus and Colosse with a reference to the importance of the forgiveness of sins obtained by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. To the Ephesians:

In him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he (God) lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.

Ephesians 1:7-8

Similarly to the Colossians:

He (God) has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:13-14

In order to seek God to forgive our sins, our attitude is very important. The Bible tells us that we should confess our sins, do our best not to repeat them and forgive others.

The Old Testament speaks of forgiveness only once, in the Psalms:

If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

Psalm 130:3-4

However, as we have seen, this forgiveness could not be obtained through the Law of Moses. The writer to the Hebrews explains why, and refers to a Psalm of David which provides a foretaste of God’s plan of salvation, centred in the sacrifice of His son, the Lord Jesus Christ:
But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me……” .

For by a single offering he (Jesus) has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Hebrews 10:3-5, 14

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus afford forgiveness of sins and hope of eternal life at his return.

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