Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
Clarence E. Mason's "Soteriology"
FORGIVENESS

BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
1970

FORGIVENESS

  1. THE MEANING OF THE WORD FORGIVENESS
    1. There are three OT words translated "forgiveness."
      1. Kaphar - "to cover"
        Divine justice (always in view of the coming sacrifice of Christ, Rom. 3:25) being satisfied, God could cover the sin. By sacrificial blood the sin was "covered," in the sense that it no longer beckoned to God to perform righteous judgment (Dt. 21:8, read 1-9; Ps. 78:38; Rom. 3:24-26; Jer. 18:23, also v. 11).
      2. Nasa - "the sin is lifted away from the sinner"
        Gen. 50:17; Ex. 10:17; 32:32; 34:7; Num. 14:18-19; Josh. 24:19-27; 1 Sam. 25:28; Ps. 25:18; 32:1,5; 85:2; 99:8; Isa. 2:9; 33:24
      3. Salach - "to send away"
        Lev. 4:20,26,31,35; 5:10,13,16,18; 6:7; 19:22; Num. 15:25-26,28; 30:5,8,12

        The fundamental idea in both nasa and salach is the separation of the sin from the sinner. It is no longer upon him. Before God the sinner and his sin are dissociated; the man is no longer, in respect to his sins, a "sinner" but a righteous man. This does not touch the question of his innate sinfulness of nature, but refers to his sinful acts.

        Taken together, kaphar, nasa, and salach complete the OT doctrine of forgiveness based upon atonement. The Divine justice is satisfied and the sin is no longer upon the sinner.
         
    2. Four NT words are translated "forgiveness."
      In the NT the prominent thought concerning forgiveness is the separation of the sinner from his sins through the sacrifice of Christ and upon the ground of pure grace.
      1. Apoluo - "to set free, dismiss, send away" (Lk. 6:37; Mt. 27:15; Mk. 6:36; Lk. 13:12)
      2. Charizomai - "to be gracious unto" (Lk. 7:42; 2 Cor. 2:7,10; 12:13; Eph. 4:32; Col. 2:13-14; 3:13)
      3. Aphiemi - "to send off or away" (verb)
        This word has the same picture as salach (Mt. 4:11, 20, 22; Lk. 5:20-21,23-24; 7:47-49; Mk. 11:25-26; Acts 8:22; Rom. 4:7).
      4. Aphesis - "a sending away" (noun)
        This word, like #3 above, has the same idea as the Hebrew word salach (Mt. 26:28; Acts 5:31; Col. 1:12-14; Heb. 9:22; 10:18). God has been satisfied and sin has been taken away from the sinner.
         
  2. THE DEFINITION OF FORGIVENESS
    In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God in grace forgives the sinner by remitting the penalty for sin through the sacrifice of Christ, and He forever separates the sinner from his sin in the Divine reckoning.
     
  3. THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATION OF THE TRUTH OF FORGIVENESS - Leviticus 16
    Two great things were accomplished on the Day of Atonement:
    1. The Lord's lot (Lev. 16:8-9,15-19)
    2. The live goat (w. 8, 20-22)
      1. The people became identified with the scape-goat (v.21).
      2. All the sins were lifted up from the people.
      3. The scape-goat bearing the sins was led away into a land not inhabited (v. 30, cp. Heb. 9:11-14; Jn. 1:29).
         
  4. SOME IMPORTANT DISTINCTIONS
    1. The origin of forgiveness is God's grace.
    2. The basis of forgiveness is the sacrifice of Christ.
    3. The result of forgiveness is the remission of the penalty of the sinner.
      Note: The distinction between human and Divine forgiveness.
      1. Human forgiveness means the remission of the penalty.
      2. Divine forgiveness follows the execution of the penalty (Lev. 4:35; cp. Mt. 26:28; Heb. 9:22).
    4. Two things are involved in forgiveness.
      1. Divine justice is satisfied.
      2. The separation of sin from the sinner.
    5. The sin of the believer is forgiven upon confession, but always on the ground of Christ's once-for-all propitiatory sacrifice (1 Jn. 1:9).
    6. As a result of the Divine forgiveness, we should forgive one another (Eph. 4:32; Mt. 18:32-33).
 

"Mason's Notes"


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