Forgiveness came at a very high price. The only way we could be forgiven of breaking God’s laws was to have Jesus pay our death penalty in our place.
What do we have to do to receive God’s forgiveness?
Acts 2 contains an account of the apostles shortly after Christ’s crucifixion. Peter addressed a crowd in Jerusalem and told them very eloquently (and bluntly) that they had crucified the Son of God. The crowd was “cut to the heart”—they suddenly saw the enormity of their sins. They asked Peter what they should do.
God even forgives a sin as monstrous as the killing of His own Son! And, since our sins are the reason Christ had to die, in a sense each of us was responsible for His death.Peter gave them the answer in Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
God even forgives a sin as monstrous as the killing of His own Son! And, since our sins are the reason Christ had to die, in a sense each of us was responsible for His death.
Once God forgives us, we must also forgive others for their sins and offences against us. Christ’s model prayer, often called the Lord’s Prayer, clearly explains what is required of us: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).
Seeking forgiveness, giving forgiveness
What is forgiveness? It is the wonderful gift of a merciful God who will absolutely forgive our sins when we show repentance and ask for His forgiveness. When sin is acknowledged and repented of and forgiveness is humbly requested, He shows forgiveness and mercy to us.
His nature is one of mercy, as shown in Psalm 103:8: “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” God is not anxious to punish us for our sins, but rather He desires to forgive us.
In return, God requires that we show the same forgiving attitude toward our fellow human beings. Matthew 6:14-15 sums up God’s approach to us and our sins: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”